Author Topic: Cell Phones w/o Plan  (Read 3024 times)

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Offline abdulmuhsee

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Cell Phones w/o Plan
« on: Sun, 28 December 2014, 19:46:39 »
Alright, so I've never owned a cell phone in my life; I have a home phone and also use Google Voice on my PC.  I'm thinking about getting a smart phone, mainly just to have a mobile camera/internet/etc., and to use it exclusively with wifi.

I'm not sure what all the 'unlocked' and 'SIM card' terminology even means.  Can I just purchase any android cell phone, connect to wifi, and have a VOIP app or Google Voice open to function as a cell phone, or is there something else to it?

Offline tp4tissue

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Re: Cell Phones w/o Plan
« Reply #1 on: Sun, 28 December 2014, 19:57:58 »


Never owned a cell ?  in middle school ?

well nways..  pretty much stick with the big brands for slightly better warranty..

unlock means, you can use it for any carrier..

usually, if you buy the phone FROM the carrier, instead of say, Amazon, they're LOCKED to that carrier..



However, it is possible to purchase unlock codes (semi-legal) off Ebay, and your phone will be unlocked.. anywhere from $15-$30 per code..  You only need to buy it once and your phone is unlocked FOREVER..


If your budget is $600-800.. get the nexus 6 or a note 4

if your budget is $400-500.. get the Galaxy s5

if your budget is <$400.. i have no idea..


if your budget is $25-50..  get the Nokia 635 or 521 or 520... They're rock solid for email, text, and call..    Everything else is slow as balllls..  but the basics will work perfect..

Offline hwood34

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Re: Cell Phones w/o Plan
« Reply #2 on: Sun, 28 December 2014, 20:01:07 »
Without a contract, any phone's gonna be pretty expensive, especially if you go with the big brands like samsung or apple. That being said, a Galaxy S 5 is a pretty good way to go. Fast, light, and, my opinion, but I prefer android even if it's just for a more open and diverse app market and software.
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Offline tp4tissue

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Re: Cell Phones w/o Plan
« Reply #3 on: Sun, 28 December 2014, 20:03:01 »
What do you mean NO-Plan..  as in no cell-plan  AT ALL ??   as in you're just going to use this thing on wifi ?

if that's the case.. PC is better ANYDAY..  you'll get bored of the whole touch screen thing after about an hour...

Offline pnutster

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Re: Cell Phones w/o Plan
« Reply #4 on: Sun, 28 December 2014, 20:12:08 »
Hi,

By no means an expert myself, but I have looked around for solutions recently with the goal to not be tied up to a monthly plan and pay the least as possible.

First of all, I live in Canada, things may be different where you are at, but the best solution for me was to be a cheap "unlocked" smart-phone. Unlocked meaning it is your phone and not tied to one sole provider. You can buy a prepaid plan from any provider. That prepaid plan comes with a phone-number and the so-called sim card. This sim card (a physical card, very similar to an sd card you use in photo-cameras) you will be able to put in your unlocked phone. From that moment on you can start putting credit / buy voucher on your phone. Again, I am from Canada and things are crazy different in Canada compared to the USA.

Your best bet is to go to an electronic store, bring your unlocked phone and tell them you want a prepaid plan and you got your own unlocked phone. They will be able to help you out. What I did was set up a prepaid plan in a electronic store and then buy a $100 voucher and put the sim card in my own phone. In Canada, you got all kinds of voucher for $10, $25 etc, but the $100 is the only one that is valid for a year. For me, that means I will spend a $100 a year on my phone. Then one day before that year expires, I buy a $100 voucher again. Have now done it 3 years in a row. I have no use for a monthly plan as I use my phone for emergency only and same as you describe, most of my phone use is on wifi.

Now for me, one $100 voucher per year is absolutely the best deal you can get here in Canada and not be tied up to anything. Make sure you research thoroughly what are possibilities for you. Maybe in your case, you could buy a $10 voucher that has a validity for a year. That means you would spend $10 per year. In Canada those $10 vouchers are only valid for 1 month, so that would mean buying 12 x $10 = $120. Therefor for me $100 voucher iks the best deal.

Now for the phones, there could be pre-paid packages available with a smart phone where you are at. In my case there was not a lot of choice in smart phones. So I bought one from Amazon.

The brand I found that was relatively cheap is "Blu". http://www.bluproducts.com

I got a phone from Amazon for less than $100 and it works perfect! Amazon is full of good deals for this up and coming "Blu" brand.

Hoping this is helpful information for you. Good luck on your smartphone ventures!



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Offline abdulmuhsee

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Re: Cell Phones w/o Plan
« Reply #5 on: Sun, 28 December 2014, 20:22:27 »
Alright, so locked or unlocked is meaningless, since I will not be having a cell phone plan, prepaid or otherwise.  The phone will be used exclusively with wifi and Google Voice (or equivalent app) as far as its use as a phone is concerned.

Would getting an android tablet that has a microphone be a better option I wonder?

Offline tp4tissue

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Re: Cell Phones w/o Plan
« Reply #6 on: Sun, 28 December 2014, 20:25:17 »
Alright, so locked or unlocked is meaningless, since I will not be having a cell phone plan, prepaid or otherwise.  The phone will be used exclusively with wifi and Google Voice (or equivalent app) as far as its use as a phone is concerned.

Would getting an android tablet that has a microphone be a better option I wonder?

Dude.. the way you've described it.. you don't need a phone  AT ALL..

Everything you can do on IOS or Android  can be done BETTER on a PC..

If you're NEVER going to take the thing outside..  it will NEVER be useful/easier to use than your desktop/laptop.

Offline pnutster

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Re: Cell Phones w/o Plan
« Reply #7 on: Sun, 28 December 2014, 20:26:44 »
I would say, if there is no need for "emergency" phone or phone use in any way, then yes, a tablet would be a better option indeed.
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Offline pnutster

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Re: Cell Phones w/o Plan
« Reply #8 on: Sun, 28 December 2014, 20:29:53 »
Quote
Dude.. the way you've described it.. you don't need a phone  AT ALL..

Everything you can do on IOS or Android  can be done BETTER on a PC..

If you're NEVER going to take the thing outside..  it will NEVER be useful/easier to use than your desktop/laptop.

I do have to say, sometimes it is nice to sit on the couch with my wife's iPad and not the laptop. So there is certainly something to be said about a tablet in and around the house.
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Offline tp4tissue

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Re: Cell Phones w/o Plan
« Reply #9 on: Sun, 28 December 2014, 20:32:17 »
Quote
Dude.. the way you've described it.. you don't need a phone  AT ALL..

Everything you can do on IOS or Android  can be done BETTER on a PC..

If you're NEVER going to take the thing outside..  it will NEVER be useful/easier to use than your desktop/laptop.

I do have to say, sometimes it is nice to sit on the couch with my wife's iPad and not the laptop. So there is certainly something to be said about a tablet in and around the house.

You're behind the times friend..

I haven't sat in a couch in 14 years..


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Offline dimmu

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Re: Cell Phones w/o Plan
« Reply #10 on: Sun, 28 December 2014, 20:43:52 »
depends on your location, price range, what you're looking in a phone and how you're gonna use it. for a good starter but non burner phone, i would suggest a moto G. it's a decent device for under 200 that can do most of the other important features of other phones but none of the icing on top. the resolution, battery, and camera are not that great, it doesn't have an external battery or an expandable memory (no sd card) but has most of the features that you will want/need on a device like navigation, web browsing, etc. if you want to pay for more features i would suggest to get a moto X instead, it is a juiced up version of the previous phone but with better hardware. motorola android is probably the only manufacturer android version that i would suggest over the vanilla one. they add real features (active notifcations, user profiles - phone automatically switches to speak to text mode when the gps detects that you're driving, always listening voice command, convenient gestures like twisiting the phone to launch the camera and others  that you can actually use without the complications and bloat of others (eg samsung). another good phone is google nexus 5.

http://www.motorola.com/us/Moto-G-2nd-Gen/moto-g-2nd-gen-pdp.html

if you have already invested on the apple ecosystem you may also want to get an iphone. i can't really comment much on this since i prefer the customization of android myself but i would not recommend getting their "budget" line as the price difference isn't really not that much but the construction quality is alot lower.

i wouldn't recommend getting a samsung unless you're planning to root it (install a different operating system). their version of android is infested with bloatware (programs that you won't even use but can't remove) and gimmicks like heart rate monitor, low quality fingerprint scanner, face recognition, etc.

Offline dimmu

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Re: Cell Phones w/o Plan
« Reply #11 on: Sun, 28 December 2014, 20:45:35 »
just read your new post. ignore my wall of text and just get a tablet.  ;D

Offline pnutster

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Re: Cell Phones w/o Plan
« Reply #12 on: Sun, 28 December 2014, 20:48:37 »
Quote

You're behind the times friend..

I haven't sat in a couch in 14 years..


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Not even a few minutes of Angry Birds on a couch???  ;D
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Offline tbc

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Re: Cell Phones w/o Plan
« Reply #13 on: Sun, 28 December 2014, 20:52:33 »
isn't the motorola g like dead cheap?
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Offline abdulmuhsee

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Re: Cell Phones w/o Plan
« Reply #14 on: Sun, 28 December 2014, 21:06:49 »
You're behind the times friend..

I haven't sat in a couch in 14 years..


Computer-chair 4 lyf

That's the problem, I'm too much like you :-).  I've always been the, "Why waste your money on a tablet/phone/etc. when you can just do it all on your PC!?"

But there's the thing, I don't want to, say, read a book in my computer chair, and I don't necessarily always want a microphone plugged into the PC with a program open for calls; I'd rather have a phone-like device for that.  Lastly, I don't have a camera.

just read your new post. ignore my wall of text and just get a tablet.  ;D

Haha.

Not even a few minutes of Angry Birds on a couch???  ;D

Exactly.  I want something a bit more mobile that doesn't tie me to the computer chair and I can take pictures with.  I've had so many friggin' moments where I was like, "If only I had a camera right now."

The issue I'm facing with the tablets is that I don't know enough about any OS other than Windows.  Why do some tablets have Android "Jellybean," "KitKat," "Ice Cream Sandwich," etc.  Will I always be able to get a web browser that supports the latest stuff/flash/etc.?

Offline tp4tissue

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Re: Cell Phones w/o Plan
« Reply #15 on: Sun, 28 December 2014, 21:19:04 »
I think you should borrow one from a buddy for a week..


Whenever I use a tablet, either my neck hurt, or my arms become sore from holding it up..

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Offline pnutster

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Re: Cell Phones w/o Plan
« Reply #16 on: Sun, 28 December 2014, 21:39:05 »
I think you should borrow one from a buddy for a week..


Whenever I use a tablet, either my neck hurt, or my arms become sore from holding it up..

No.. I don't Lift-Br0..

I totally agree, they are a weird type of console to hold. Best buy we made was: http://www.ipadgrabbit.com if it wasn't for that gadget, we would have dropped it many many times. We also have an iPad stand http://www.amazon.ca/Griffin-Technology-GC16036--frame-iPad/dp/B003GAJ67Y/ref=sr_1_1/176-3267756-6952740?ie=UTF8&qid=1419824211&sr=8-1&keywords=griffin+ipad+stand with both these tools, the iPad becomes and easy to handle on the couch / breakfast bar gadget for fast Geekhack replies  :D

I would assume many similar gadgets are available for android tablets.
« Last Edit: Sun, 28 December 2014, 21:40:47 by pnutster »
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Offline byker

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Re: Cell Phones w/o Plan
« Reply #17 on: Sun, 28 December 2014, 21:46:14 »
If you are looking for a cheaper phone look at the brand Kata, I recently picked up a Kata M2, for $170 CAD  on amazon.ca, the phone is great. It doesn't have the latest and greatest specs inside, but a 5.5" screen and a good quality phone. I am sold for the price!

Offline user 18

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Re: Cell Phones w/o Plan
« Reply #18 on: Sun, 28 December 2014, 22:24:56 »
The issue I'm facing with the tablets is that I don't know enough about any OS other than Windows.  Why do some tablets have Android "Jellybean," "KitKat," "Ice Cream Sandwich," etc.  Will I always be able to get a web browser that supports the latest stuff/flash/etc.?

Jellybean, Kitkat, Ice Cream Sandwich, are all versions of the android operating system, with later versions being deeper into the alphabet. The current version, is Lollipop, my device is still running Kitkat version 4.4.4. A device that comes with a specific version may or may not have upgrades available to it, depending on the manufacturer. Usually cheaper devices don't have as many opportunities to upgrade.

I can get a decent web experience using my Nexus 4 with Android 4.4.4 Kitkat. If you're happy with a slightly larger screen size, I'd suggest looking at 7-inch tablets, instead of cell phones. Tablets are slightly less portable, but still fit in a shoulder bag, I can also fit a small tablet in the pockets of some of my jackets. Decent tablets can be found in the $100-200 range fairly regularly, and are designed to be used for wifi only. Don't know 100% about Google Voice support, as I've never used it, but I imagine it could be used without much trouble.

Do some googling about 'Chrome for Android,' see if its capabilities are all that you need. That's the browser that tends be included with most recent android devices. Some older devices have a stock 'browser' app, but I never used it so I don't know much about it.
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Offline jdcarpe

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Re: Cell Phones w/o Plan
« Reply #19 on: Sun, 28 December 2014, 22:26:12 »
As for a cheap-ish cell phone, I would recommend a Moto G at the minimum, or a OnePlus One at the higher end. Those would set you back $200 and $350, respectively.

Now, if you truly will never use it with a cell phone plan from even a prepaid carrier, I would recommend going with something like an iPod Touch. You can use that as a cell phone with no plan, by installing VoIP and messaging apps, if you will always be on wifi when placing calls.
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Offline IvanIvanovich

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Re: Cell Phones w/o Plan
« Reply #20 on: Sun, 28 December 2014, 22:40:48 »
If it were me, I would forget Android and Apple stuff and just get one of the cheap basic Windows 8.1 tablets like HP Stream 7, or if you're in Europe the Linx 7 seems like a real good basic cheap cost device. It runs Windows like you are used to, so you can use the programs you are familiar with. It comes with a full install of Windows, plus office 365 which has 1TB of skydrive and some skype minutes also for 1 year... a pretty good deal if you ask me. I'm not sure about how good the pictures would be, it only has a 2MP camera on it so... probably potato like. There are some others, so look around but you get the idea. They start at about $100/€90.
« Last Edit: Sun, 28 December 2014, 22:45:20 by IvanIvanovich »

Offline tbc

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Re: Cell Phones w/o Plan
« Reply #21 on: Mon, 29 December 2014, 01:28:55 »
If it were me, I would forget Android and Apple stuff and just get one of the cheap basic Windows 8.1 tablets like HP Stream 7, or if you're in Europe the Linx 7 seems like a real good basic cheap cost device. It runs Windows like you are used to, so you can use the programs you are familiar with. It comes with a full install of Windows, plus office 365 which has 1TB of skydrive and some skype minutes also for 1 year... a pretty good deal if you ask me. I'm not sure about how good the pictures would be, it only has a 2MP camera on it so... probably potato like. There are some others, so look around but you get the idea. They start at about $100/€90.

office 365 is slowly getting rolled out with UNLIMITED onedrive storage.  i think free accounts get 1TB free with persumably options for buying more.  i think this is still rolling out too though.

with 1gb of ram, I think it will be very hard to run even a desktop web browser, but for tablet use cases?  shouldn't be an issue.

overall, I agree with ivan, a windows tablet is far more flexible than an android tablet.  I'd bet against an ipad as well.

« Last Edit: Mon, 29 December 2014, 01:30:38 by tbc »
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Offline dimmu

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Re: Cell Phones w/o Plan
« Reply #22 on: Mon, 29 December 2014, 01:58:43 »
As for a cheap-ish cell phone, I would recommend a Moto G at the minimum, or a OnePlus One at the higher end. Those would set you back $200 and $350, respectively.

Now, if you truly will never use it with a cell phone plan from even a prepaid carrier, I would recommend going with something like an iPod Touch. You can use that as a cell phone with no plan, by installing VoIP and messaging apps, if you will always be on wifi when placing calls.

i love my OPO and is IMO the best phone you could get right now (if you could get an invite) if you factor in everything but i would not recommend it for a first time smart phone user. CM11s is just not that user friendly out of the box and the possibilities for customizations will most likely just overwhelm him.

Offline abdulmuhsee

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Re: Cell Phones w/o Plan
« Reply #23 on: Mon, 29 December 2014, 11:35:58 »
If it were me, I would forget Android and Apple stuff and just get one of the cheap basic Windows 8.1 tablets like HP Stream 7, or if you're in Europe the Linx 7 seems like a real good basic cheap cost device. It runs Windows like you are used to, so you can use the programs you are familiar with. It comes with a full install of Windows, plus office 365 which has 1TB of skydrive and some skype minutes also for 1 year... a pretty good deal if you ask me. I'm not sure about how good the pictures would be, it only has a 2MP camera on it so... probably potato like. There are some others, so look around but you get the idea. They start at about $100/€90.

This actually sounds like a decent option; I didn't know there were Windows tablets available apart from the uber-expensive Surface, and Apple was never an option I would consider.

My only reasoning for looking at Android is that I assume Android is much less resource-intensive than Windows 8 for a tablet.  I could be wrong, but my guess is that my experience on a 1.5 GHz, 1 GB RAM tablet running Android would likely be smoother than the same tablet running Windows 8.

Offline IvanIvanovich

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Re: Cell Phones w/o Plan
« Reply #24 on: Mon, 29 December 2014, 11:53:26 »
Windows 8 is actually quite good at scaling down. I installed it once for a laugh on a crappy old Via single core cpu with 1GB ram and it was usable as long as you didn't try to multitask.

Offline tp4tissue

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Re: Cell Phones w/o Plan
« Reply #25 on: Mon, 29 December 2014, 12:07:18 »
Windows 8 is actually quite good at scaling down. I installed it once for a laugh on a crappy old Via single core cpu with 1GB ram and it was usable as long as you didn't try to multitask.

oh man.. did you try turning it on and doing nothing... wow.. so fast... it's perfectly fine..

Offline IvanIvanovich

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Re: Cell Phones w/o Plan
« Reply #26 on: Mon, 29 December 2014, 12:25:15 »
Useable for basic task yes... I didn't say it was fast. For someone that doesn't do a lot, like just use internet and the occasional word document it would suffice. 2ghz Atom dual core with 2GB ram is definitely fine for that kind of thing.

Offline IPT

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Re: Cell Phones w/o Plan
« Reply #27 on: Mon, 29 December 2014, 12:53:17 »
if you want something you can throw into your pocket and just make wifi calls with google hangout/voice#, get an ipod touch
its basically an iphone 5 without the cell antennas and what not.

if you want something bigger to hold for reading stuff and what not, get the nexus 7 2013 tablet.
groupon has it on sale today for ~$140

Offline abdulmuhsee

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Re: Cell Phones w/o Plan
« Reply #28 on: Mon, 29 December 2014, 15:10:01 »
if you want something you can throw into your pocket and just make wifi calls with google hangout/voice#, get an ipod touch
its basically an iphone 5 without the cell antennas and what not.

if you want something bigger to hold for reading stuff and what not, get the nexus 7 2013 tablet.
groupon has it on sale today for ~$140

Is there a non-Apple equivalent to the iPod Touch?  I was actually thinking of getting an Amazon Fire 6", unless someone can convince me a cheaper Windows tablet won't be riding the hardware too roughly.

Offline jdcarpe

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Re: Cell Phones w/o Plan
« Reply #29 on: Mon, 29 December 2014, 15:14:32 »
if you want something you can throw into your pocket and just make wifi calls with google hangout/voice#, get an ipod touch
its basically an iphone 5 without the cell antennas and what not.

if you want something bigger to hold for reading stuff and what not, get the nexus 7 2013 tablet.
groupon has it on sale today for ~$140

Is there a non-Apple equivalent to the iPod Touch?  I was actually thinking of getting an Amazon Fire 6", unless someone can convince me a cheaper Windows tablet won't be riding the hardware too roughly.

Samsung used to make the Galaxy Player, which was basically the Android equivalent of the iPod Touch, but it's been discontinued.

If you really want a Fire HD 6, give me a shout. I bought one just before the holidays, but I received an iPad mini as a gift, which I am keeping. The Fire is LNIB, and I would sell it for $80 plus shipping/fees.
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Offline tp4tissue

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Re: Cell Phones w/o Plan
« Reply #30 on: Mon, 29 December 2014, 15:59:48 »
if you want something you can throw into your pocket and just make wifi calls with google hangout/voice#, get an ipod touch
its basically an iphone 5 without the cell antennas and what not.

if you want something bigger to hold for reading stuff and what not, get the nexus 7 2013 tablet.
groupon has it on sale today for ~$140

Is there a non-Apple equivalent to the iPod Touch?  I was actually thinking of getting an Amazon Fire 6", unless someone can convince me a cheaper Windows tablet won't be riding the hardware too roughly.

If you have no desire to carry this outside as a phone.. you're gonna want at least a 7 inch..

6 inch is still quite trying when it comes to getting-stuff-done...

BUhhhh if you just want to play android games and stuff.. 5" to 6" is better unless you have HUGE hands..

Offline jdcarpe

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Re: Cell Phones w/o Plan
« Reply #31 on: Mon, 29 December 2014, 16:04:05 »
if you want something you can throw into your pocket and just make wifi calls with google hangout/voice#, get an ipod touch
its basically an iphone 5 without the cell antennas and what not.

if you want something bigger to hold for reading stuff and what not, get the nexus 7 2013 tablet.
groupon has it on sale today for ~$140

Is there a non-Apple equivalent to the iPod Touch?  I was actually thinking of getting an Amazon Fire 6", unless someone can convince me a cheaper Windows tablet won't be riding the hardware too roughly.

If you have no desire to carry this outside as a phone.. you're gonna want at least a 7 inch..

6 inch is still quite trying when it comes to getting-stuff-done...

BUhhhh if you just want to play android games and stuff.. 5" to 6" is better unless you have HUGE hands..

Yeah, the 6" form factor is good for using one-handed.
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Re: Cell Phones w/o Plan
« Reply #32 on: Mon, 29 December 2014, 16:06:11 »
if you want something you can throw into your pocket and just make wifi calls with google hangout/voice#, get an ipod touch
its basically an iphone 5 without the cell antennas and what not.

if you want something bigger to hold for reading stuff and what not, get the nexus 7 2013 tablet.
groupon has it on sale today for ~$140

Is there a non-Apple equivalent to the iPod Touch?  I was actually thinking of getting an Amazon Fire 6", unless someone can convince me a cheaper Windows tablet won't be riding the hardware too roughly.

If you have no desire to carry this outside as a phone.. you're gonna want at least a 7 inch..

6 inch is still quite trying when it comes to getting-stuff-done...

BUhhhh if you just want to play android games and stuff.. 5" to 6" is better unless you have HUGE hands..

Yeah, the 6" form factor is good for using one-handed.

also...

heads up on android games.. they're kinda crummy... vs PC

not saying there arn't good ones,  but because of the control scheme and processing power restrictions,  most mobile games have extremely simple play mechanics.. maybe 1 step above free-flash games..

Offline Findecanor

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Re: Cell Phones w/o Plan
« Reply #33 on: Mon, 29 December 2014, 17:07:46 »
I didn't want a cell phone either, and I held off until three years ago, when I got very ill and the doctors practically demanded that I get one. A relative gifted me a mobile dumb-phone with a pre-paid plan that lapsed recently because I hadn't refilled for over a year.

These past few days, I have been very tempted to get a Asus VivoTab 8 on a sale, as a smaller successor to my netbook.
It is a 8" tablet with the big features are that it runs an Intel CPU, real Windows 8.1 and has a Wacom stylus like the Surface 2 Pro. Unlike on iPads, phones and most Android tablets, the stylus is detected separately from touch and it is precise enough that it allows the use of proper desktop apps for which touch isn't very usable.
The big drawback with it (and all other 8" tablets I have seen) is that it has only one tiny USB port ... for charging and peripherals - so I wouldn't be able to use a wired keyboard while charging, which is f**ked up.
The built-in stylus is small, though. If you want to use it often or for painting, you should buy a larger Wacom stylus which would cost at least $40 - and you must be very careful to get one that is compatible. There are lots of cheap styli that only emulate a finger tip, and you absolutely don't want any of those.
Another drawback is of course that there aren't many touch-oriented apps for Windows.

I was actually thinking of getting an Amazon Fire 6"
Android is not just one OS. It is a jungle, that you need to learn about and then choose direction in. Amazon's OS is based on Android but then there is lots of stuff on top.
(Disclaimer: I don't have any Android devices, but I keep up to date by reading about it on the web...)

1. First, there is free, open-source Android... which no device has.
2. Then there are open-source Android with vendor extensions, like on Blackberry, OnePlus One etc. These can normally not access Google's app store.
3. Then there is Google's Android with apps that can access their "Play store" and services. Devices with this are the ones branded "Google Nexus" or is a "Google Play Edition". These can get frequent OS updates, and allow you to run the latest version of Android.
4. The majority of Android devices run a version of Google's Android with lots of vendor-extensions: bundled apps, branded skin, special OS features etc. Most vendors do this. However OS updates can lag behind, more or less and are even nonexistent with some vendors/models.

I am not sure which variant of these above that Amazon's OS is... Be sure to find out before you choose.
« Last Edit: Mon, 29 December 2014, 17:10:39 by Findecanor »
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Offline IPT

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Re: Cell Phones w/o Plan
« Reply #34 on: Tue, 30 December 2014, 09:11:53 »
I didn't want a cell phone either, and I held off until three years ago, when I got very ill and the doctors practically demanded that I get one. A relative gifted me a mobile dumb-phone with a pre-paid plan that lapsed recently because I hadn't refilled for over a year.

These past few days, I have been very tempted to get a Asus VivoTab 8 on a sale, as a smaller successor to my netbook.
It is a 8" tablet with the big features are that it runs an Intel CPU, real Windows 8.1 and has a Wacom stylus like the Surface 2 Pro. Unlike on iPads, phones and most Android tablets, the stylus is detected separately from touch and it is precise enough that it allows the use of proper desktop apps for which touch isn't very usable.
The big drawback with it (and all other 8" tablets I have seen) is that it has only one tiny USB port ... for charging and peripherals - so I wouldn't be able to use a wired keyboard while charging, which is f**ked up.
The built-in stylus is small, though. If you want to use it often or for painting, you should buy a larger Wacom stylus which would cost at least $40 - and you must be very careful to get one that is compatible. There are lots of cheap styli that only emulate a finger tip, and you absolutely don't want any of those.
Another drawback is of course that there aren't many touch-oriented apps for Windows.

I was actually thinking of getting an Amazon Fire 6"
Android is not just one OS. It is a jungle, that you need to learn about and then choose direction in. Amazon's OS is based on Android but then there is lots of stuff on top.
(Disclaimer: I don't have any Android devices, but I keep up to date by reading about it on the web...)

1. First, there is free, open-source Android... which no device has.
2. Then there are open-source Android with vendor extensions, like on Blackberry, OnePlus One etc. These can normally not access Google's app store.
3. Then there is Google's Android with apps that can access their "Play store" and services. Devices with this are the ones branded "Google Nexus" or is a "Google Play Edition". These can get frequent OS updates, and allow you to run the latest version of Android.
4. The majority of Android devices run a version of Google's Android with lots of vendor-extensions: bundled apps, branded skin, special OS features etc. Most vendors do this. However OS updates can lag behind, more or less and are even nonexistent with some vendors/models.

I am not sure which variant of these above that Amazon's OS is... Be sure to find out before you choose.

fire tablet would be option 2.
unless you root it and then sideload the play store.

Offline vivalarevolución

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Re: Cell Phones w/o Plan
« Reply #35 on: Thu, 01 January 2015, 10:52:29 »
Alright Brosephs, this is what I do.  I buy my phones outright and use a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO).  These MVNO piggy back off the major carriers network and I have never had a problem with  No contract, month-to-month, and you can adjust the amount of minutes/data/text messages based on your usage.  Most people don't even know MVNO exists.  Read up and enjoy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_virtual_network_operator

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_mobile_virtual_network_operators

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Offline SpAmRaY

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Re: Cell Phones w/o Plan
« Reply #36 on: Thu, 01 January 2015, 11:25:29 »
Alright Brosephs, this is what I do.  I buy my phones outright and use a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO).  These MVNO piggy back off the major carriers network and I have never had a problem with  No contract, month-to-month, and you can adjust the amount of minutes/data/text messages based on your usage.  Most people don't even know MVNO exists.  Read up and enjoy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_virtual_network_operator

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_mobile_virtual_network_operators
That's cool but the OP doesn't want cell service. ;)

Offline Bencze

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Re: Cell Phones w/o Plan
« Reply #37 on: Fri, 02 January 2015, 16:18:42 »
I use a htc one m8 as a phone alternating it with a lumia 735. The second is a lot cheaper and just as good for whatever I do (mails, calendar, browsing etc.).
But if you don't need phone I'd second the Windows tablet option. Android tablets may be cheaper but, as much as I hate the metro stuff, I think it was made for tablets and it's perfect for that purpose. Plus it should just work wich isn't always the case with Android.

Reading up on windows tablets, I decided that I want a 8 inch one (7 is a bit small, almost like a phone and 10 is big. there's quite a few 8 inch ones out though). Hardware-wise, to make sure it's future proof I'd make it 2 gb ram and 32 gb storage. The cheapest ones have 16 gb storage but with the OS fully updated you're looking at 1-3 gb free space which is really not a lot. The 2gb ram might be a bit less mandatory but I think 1gb nowadays is really on the low side, who knows in 2 years it may get real slow because of it.

A mid category tablet would be the lenovo miix 3 for example, it's one that I am considering at the moment. There's even cheaper alternatives, people say that for a chinese brand Pipo is quite acceptable at its price point. A wifi tablet like these is usually cheaper than a half decent smartphone. These tablets might not have the best screens though, of course, for a quality screen it will be more expensive, but at the display size it should be just fine for whatever daily usage it might get. For good colours you can always go outside. :)
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Offline meztek

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Re: Cell Phones w/o Plan
« Reply #38 on: Fri, 02 January 2015, 21:06:01 »
If you have absolutely no intention of using it as a cellular phone, might I suggest actually buying a camera?  The Samsung Galaxy Camera has a large touch display and runs Google Android - see here. Also has WiFi.   
 

Offline vivalarevolución

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Re: Cell Phones w/o Plan
« Reply #39 on: Wed, 07 January 2015, 12:14:00 »
Alright Brosephs, this is what I do.  I buy my phones outright and use a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO).  These MVNO piggy back off the major carriers network and I have never had a problem with  No contract, month-to-month, and you can adjust the amount of minutes/data/text messages based on your usage.  Most people don't even know MVNO exists.  Read up and enjoy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_virtual_network_operator

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_mobile_virtual_network_operators
That's cool but the OP doesn't want cell service. ;)

Oops.  Sorry Brosephs.
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Offline ShawnMeg

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Re: Cell Phones w/o Plan
« Reply #40 on: Thu, 15 January 2015, 00:47:32 »
Alright, so I've never owned a cell phone in my life; I have a home phone and also use Google Voice on my PC.  I'm thinking about getting a smart phone, mainly just to have a mobile camera/internet/etc., and to use it exclusively with wifi.

I'm not sure what all the 'unlocked' and 'SIM card' terminology even means.  Can I just purchase any android cell phone, connect to wifi, and have a VOIP app or Google Voice open to function as a cell phone, or is there something else to it?

There were some good Black Friday deals for Android phones that can be used as a mini tablet.  Even now, the LG Realm can be purchased for about $35.  You don't need cell service.  Simply connect to wifi.  The Lumia 520 can be purchased for about $30 and used as a mini tablet.  You can use Skype on these phones.


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Offline Hak Foo

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Re: Cell Phones w/o Plan
« Reply #41 on: Thu, 15 January 2015, 00:57:46 »
On tablet:  I use a Win81 tablet daily.  Right now, my big PC is in the shop, so it's my primary home PC.

You can get models with 2Gb memory and 64Gb storage; they're harder to find than the bargain-bin models, but the extra storage is nice if you want to load a few actual pieces of software on it.  I use an Asus Transformer T100, which is 10" and comes with a clever keyboard-dock thing.... miserable switches but it makes it a complete mini-laptop and adds a real USB socket.

I had a Dell Venue 8 Pro and it seemed nicely made, but my unit was a lemon.  The older models apparently had Wi-Fi issues up the wazoo,

On phones, most models wll just scream at you briefly during setup if you run them with no SIM card in.  Many people just buy a cheap phone, especially one with a SD slot, for an iPod alternative.

I had a Lumia 1020 whose screen shattered, so i grabbed a ~80 USD no-contract Lumia 635.  The experience is remarkably consistrent between the two devices, although this may be somewhat due to the 1020 being a sort of "almost but not quite a flagship" as well as the 635's strong value proposition.  The camera, however, does suck badly.  Windows Phone feels snappy on the same sort of kit that Android would not, and the battery life is excellent-- 2.5 days on a charge.
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