Friday, January 31, 2014

Susun's Smartphone

Susun's been getting a LOT of questions about her Smartphone.  The questions fall into three categories:

  • What type of phone is it?
  • Who's the carrier?
  • How much does it cost?
First, it is pre-paid, no contract Smartphone sold by Wal-Mart under the "Straight Talk" brand.  Straight Talk has been around quite a few years.  It is actually a Trac-fone company.  Trac-fone also owns Net10.  Trac-fone is an Asian Indian company.  We used them about ten years ago.  Their customer service is a lot better now.

The phone itself is a Samsung Galaxy Centura.  Here is the link to its spec sheet:

Most of last year, the phone was retailing for $100 and as of today, it is still listed for $99 on the Wal-Mart website here:

Here's the phone thumbnail description from the above link:

The Straight Talk Samsung S738C Prepaid Smartphone runs on the Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) OS. With a talk time up to 7.22 hours, this Straight Talk Samsung Galaxy Centura Smartphone can keep you connected throughout the day without constantly recharging. Capture pictures and videos with the 3MPl camera and video recorder when you insert your own microSD card, up to 32GB. Prepaid Straight Talk Samsung Galaxy Phones are WiFi and 3G connected, so you can enjoy your favorite websites, videos, games and music on the go with this 3.5" touchscreen.

Straight Talk Samsung S738C Galaxy Centura Prepaid Smartphone:
  • Talk Time: up to 7.22 h
  • Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) OS
  • 3.5" touchscreen
  • 3 megapixel camera and video recorder
  • microSD card slot supports up to 32GB (not included)
  • 3G/WiFi connectivity
  • Phonebook entries up to storage limit
  • Hearing Aid Compatible (HAC) Rating: M3/T3
  • Includes battery, charger, activation card, service guide and user manual
  • This phone will only work with the Straight Talk $45/30-Day Unlimited Service Plan or the $60/30-Day Unlimited International Service Plan

On Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving it came up for sale for $30.  We were able to buy it online and have it delivered free to the Cottonwood store. Saving $70 is always an attractive alternative.

We waited until Susun's T-Mobile prepaid minutes were about to run out and then activated the Smartphone with a $45 per month plan that provides unlimited talk, text and data.

Here are the details of the $45 plan in a nutshell:

Straight Talk Unlimited* 30-Day Service Card with Text, Talk and Web Access (Email Delivery):

  • Nationwide service on Straight Talk's reliable network
  • No activation, reactivation, cancellation, daily access or overage fees
  • 30-day plan
  • Unlimited minutes and texts nationwide
  • Unlimited* high speed data for the first 2.5GB of data use and unlimited data at 2G speeds for the rest of the 30-day cycle (on Mobile Web-enabled phones)
  • Calls to 411 at no additional charg

Verizon is carrying the primary signal for this phone.  Straight Talk phones use a variety of carriers, as many as four.  We're lucky to have Verizon carrying this particular phone as their signal is very strong in our area here and also in Idaho.

The biggest glitch so far has been the set up of the voice mail.  Susun tried for many days to get it set up with no luck.  The morning of January 31, we spent several hours online and on the phone trying to solve the problem.  The problem was finally solved.

The primary reason for going with a low cost prepaid phone was to see if Susun would "like" the Smartphone and be able to use its many features.  So far, she has learned many of the features on her own without assistance.  She appears to "like" the phone very much.  We will definitely now consider perhaps a more expensive phone and a more expensive monthly service plan as well.

There really was no point in signing onto a two-year agreement until we know that she would actually like and use a Smartphone.

John has no interest in owning or using a Smartphone.  Susun wants the Smartphone so she can post pictures to Facebook and also to text with easier testing technology.  John will continue to use an ancient flip phone on T-Mobile prepaid.  His plan provides 1500 minutes for $30 a month.  He generally uses only about 300 minutes but there is no cheaper plan to suit his needs.

1 comment:

The Goatherder said...

That's the exact phone Kate got for Xmas, only hers is a Tracfone. It's triple minutes under tracfone service. She loves it. I'm thinking of getting one too. Contracts are for chumps.