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Old 10-16-2019, 12:49 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by ngrant View Post
tl;dr No need to wait for Black Friday deals! This is a nice deal on a new Android Oreo smartphone with a 5.45" display and USB-C charging.

Link here NO OBLIGATION for no-contract cell service... read more >>
I got this phone made by ZTE and it's lovely. You'll need to create an account on Visible.com and "order" a month's service with the phone @ $40 which includes unlimited calls, text and data on Verizon's network. While this seems a very nicely priced service bundle, you don't have to go through with it. If you don't activate the phone and just use it on Wifi, you never get charged the $40 or any future fees. So it nets out at $19 plus tax, with free shipping.

I can confirm that this is a real deal. JUST BE SURE THAT YOU ORDER THE PHONE @ $19 "ADD TO BAG" AND NOT A PHONE SWAP which requires you to send in your old phone with no charge for the new one. If you DO want to sign up for the Visible/Verizon service, it is presently offered UNCAPPED and UNTHROTTLED and grandfathered "for a limited period for anyone signing up now", implying that it *MAY* be capped at some future date for future customers. Lots of discussion about this on Reddit, and Visible also has a Facebook page which apparently is monitored actively by Visible employees who are very responsive to customer questions and problems.

Disclosure: Although the above makes me sound like a shill for Visible, I am neither on their payroll nor on their service! I'm on unlimited calls and text for zero dollars, only monthly fees at around $2.50 on Xfinity Mobile as I have internet service with Comcast. I don't use any data, which is priced at $12/GB. Bought a Moto E5 Play for $119 for that service; although XM is also on Verizon's network, my unlocked "any carrier" Moto G6 and G4 were not supported. Neither are they supported on Visible for "bring your own phone". But since I have my "real" phone number on Google Voice, I use the GV app on any phone/tablet/computer to make and receive calls/texts and I'm good to go. So yes, I have 3 phones that I use anywhere that has Wifi, which is most places.

I always accessorize my phones! For this one, I added a 128GB MicroSD card from Newegg for $12.49 and loaded up all my music and audiobooks. Cute case for $2.98 and ring holder/stand 4 pack for $3.49 on eBay.

Specs for phone
Spoiler:

Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 / 1.4 GHz Quad-Core Processor
2 GB of RAM
5MP front camera with screen flash for perfect selfies
16GB of built-in storage, expandable to 256GB using a micro-SD card (not included)
13MP rear camera with HDR, panorama, collage and timelapse flash
LCD IPS 5.45” display fits nicely in the palm of your hand
12 month warranty guarantee
Smart power management to extend 3200mAh battery life
USB-C 2.0 charger
Hearing Aid Compatibility - M4/T4
Includes free mobile hotspot connection with Visible service
Great post. Just a bit of added info so nobody on Comcast goes searching for your $2.50/mo. deal: that changed for new subscribers on August 1. You now get charged a minimum of $12 for that first GB of data, whether or not you use any.
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Old 10-16-2019, 01:58 PM   #32
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Well, it looks like you and I are in search of the same phone.

Wish us luck
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Old 10-17-2019, 11:47 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by 4691mls View Post
For those looking for more information on prepaid phones and plans, I suggest looking at https://www.prepaidphonenews.com/ or https://www.howardforums.com/forumdi...VNO-Discussion

Be warned there are a fair number of idiots on Howard Forums but there are also some knowledgeable people, and if there's a prepaid phone company out there, somebody on that forum is sure to have tried it!
Thanks for the tip. I'll incorporate the links
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Old 10-17-2019, 01:10 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by ngrant View Post
tl;dr No need to wait for Black Friday deals! This is a nice deal on a new Android Oreo smartphone with a 5.45" display and USB-C charging.
Excellent post and information. For those interested, Visible is owned by Verizon. I'll add this phone to the no-contract phone post I'll be creating shortly. Thanks

Two major cons: single band wi-fi only (2.4 GHz) and less than 5 GB of storage to work with


Visible R2 -- PC Mag Review

Visible Review: Is This Carrier's $40 Unlimited Plan Too Good to Be True?
.

Last edited by tubemonkey; 10-17-2019 at 06:18 PM.
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Old 10-17-2019, 02:19 PM   #35
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I Need a New Cheap Phone

This post is for those cheap no-contract/prepaid phones we like to use for media players. It's cross-linked to the front page.

No Contract Phones --- Wi-Fi | RAM | Storage | Display | Resolution | And OS================================================== ==========

References / Sources.

Last edited by tubemonkey; 11-07-2019 at 05:50 AM.
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Old 10-18-2019, 02:28 AM   #36
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Smart Speaker Comparison

Small Speakers
  • Spoiler:
    Amazon Echo Dot 3

    Spoiler:
    Quote:
    $50 | 2018 | Alexa | 1 x 1.6" driver | stereo pairing | audio out

    Google Nest Mini 2

    Spoiler:
    Quote:
    $49 | 2019 | Google | 1 x 1.6" driver | stereo pairing | no audio out

    ---------------------------

    Amazon Echo Show 5

    Spoiler:
    Quote:
    $90 | 2019 | Alexa | 5.5" display | 195 ppi | 1 MP camera |

    1 x 1.7" driver (4W) | stereo pairing | audio out

    Lenovo Smart Clock 4

    Spoiler:
    Quote:
    $60 | 201x | Google | 4.0" display | 233 ppi | no camera |

    1 x 1.5" driver (3W) | no stereo pairing | no audio out
Medium Speakers
  • Spoiler:
    Amazon Echo 3

    Spoiler:
    Quote:
    $100 | 2019 | Alexa | 1 x 3.0" woofer | 1 x 0.8" tweeter | stereo pairing |

    audio in/out

    Google Home

    Spoiler:
    Quote:
    $99 | 201x | Google | 1 x 2.0" driver | 2 x 2.0" pass rad | stereo pairing |

    no audio in/out

    ----------------------------

    Amazon Echo Show 8

    Spoiler:
    Quote:
    $130 | 2019 | Alexa | 8.0" display | 189 ppi | 1 MP camera |

    2 x 2.0" drivers (10W ea) | stereo | audio out

    Google Nest Hub 7

    Spoiler:
    Quote:
    $129 | 201x | Google | 7.0" display | 170 ppi | no camera |

    1 x full-range spkr | no stereo | no audio out

    Lenovo Smart Display 8

    Spoiler:
    Quote:
    $140 | 201x | Google | 8.0" display | 189 ppi | 5 MP camera |

    1 x 1.75" driver (10W) | 2 x tweeters | no stereo | no audio out
Large Speakers
  • Spoiler:
    Amazon Echo Studio

    Spoiler:
    Quote:
    $200 | 2019 | Alexa | 1 x 5.25" woofer | 1 x 1.0" tweeter | 3 x 2.0" mid-range |

    stereo pairing | audio in

    Apple HomePod

    Spoiler:
    Quote:
    $299 | 201x | Siri | 1 x 4.0" HE woofer | 7 x BF tweeters |

    no stereo pairing | no audio in

    Google Home Max

    Spoiler:
    Quote:
    $299 | 201x | Google | 2 x 4.5" HE woofers | 2 x 0.7" tweeters |

    stereo pairing | audio in | USB-C

    -----------------------------

    Amazon Echo Show 10

    Spoiler:
    Quote:
    $230 | 2018 | Alexa | 10.1" display | 149 ppi | 5 MP camera |

    2 x 2.2" drivers (10W ea) | stereo | audio out

    Google Nest Hub Max 10

    Spoiler:
    Quote:
    $229 | 201x | Google | 10.0" display | 151 ppi | 6.5 MP camera |

    1 x 3.0" woofer (30W) | 2 x 0.7" tweeters (10W ea) | no stereo | no audio out

    Lenovo Smart Display 10

    Spoiler:
    Quote:
    $230 | 201x | Google | 10.1" display | 224 ppi | 5 MP camera |

    1 x 2.0" driver (10W) | 2 x tweeters | no stereo | no audio out
.

Last edited by tubemonkey; 11-07-2019 at 05:40 AM.
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Old 10-18-2019, 06:00 AM   #37
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Adoptable storage - Android Marshmallow 6.0 and later

tl;dr Boost cheap Android phone/tablet storage with microSD card + "adoptable storage". Works on Moto and ZTE/R2 phones but not LG and Samsung. May slow performance and SD card failure requires phone factory reset so don't do it on your only or main life/job/critical phone. Best not to remove the SD card once you do this.

Re: Visible/ZTE R2: Certainly this cheap phone has its limitations and these are valid concerns -- tiny storage space and single band wifi. This is how I address the storage problem: use the adoptable storage feature to "merge" the internal phone storage with the 128GB SD card, then instruct apps to use the SD card for data instead of internal storage.
Settings> Storage *Options* > Migrate Data. Note: THIS PROCESS FORMATS THE SD CARD AND ERASES ANYTHING SAVED ON IT PREVIOUSLY.

Or, one can go through each app's settings individually and where desirable, "change" from "Internal Shared Storage" to "SD Card". Some Google apps and all System apps don't allow this change. This leaves the max space for new app and data installs. But, since SD cards are slower and generally shorter-lived than internal phone memory, you may notice a slowdown in performance and the SD card may die taking your data with it and forcing a factory reset of the phone. So you may wish to leave your really important apps and data safely using internal storage.

ALWAYS BACK UP YOUR DATA, AND IT'S A GOOD IDEA TO BACK UP THE ENTIRE PHONE CONTENTS ON GOOGLE DRIVE. Then it's easy-peasy to restore the phone to its former glory with a NEW OR BIGGER SD card in place.
Settings > System > Backup > Backup to Google Drive.

While many reviewers of this feature *scare* readers with the potentially catastrophic results of removing the SD card, or having it malfunction after enabling adoptable storage, it doesn't have to be that way. Go back into the Storage > SD card options and select "Format as portable". Then power off the phone and remove the SD card safely. Then, once the card is back in the phone (or a different/replacement SD card) you can choose to enable the adoptable storage once more... or not... as you prefer. Or, do a factory reset with a new SD card in place, and restore the phone from your Google Drive backup (assuming that you made a backup of course).

This explanation is rather long -- sorry about that -- but I thought it may be worthwhile to add to any discussion of using cheap Android phones (cheap usually = small storage) as media players as this solution is applicable to most modern Android phones. Adoptable storage has been available since Marshmallow (Android 6.0 in 2015) but not enabled by all manufacturers, Samsung and LG being the major holdouts.

Have you noticed that *I REALLY LIKE* Moto phones (G4, G6, E5 Play), as well as this latest acquisition the R2? They come with minimal non-Google bloatware and since 2015 have adoptable storage enabled. Thus I have been able to load up my main music collection (about 70GB) on all my phones and still have room for a bunch of videos and audiobooks. Hope this explanation helps someone to make a more informed decision about a phone/device to suit their needs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tubemonkey View Post
Two major cons: single band wi-fi only (2.4 GHz) and less than 5 GB of storage to work with
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Old 10-18-2019, 03:56 PM   #38
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Re: Visible/ZTE R2: Certainly this cheap phone has its limitations and these are valid concerns -- tiny storage space and single band wifi.
It's the single band wifi that's a deal breaker for me.

I shall continue my quest in search of - The Phone
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Old 10-18-2019, 04:04 PM   #39
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AT&T has a prepaid no-contract special that was extended to Dec. 31 2019. 360 days unlimited talk/text, 8 GB download with 1 month rollover (whatever you don't use one month can be rolled over to next month). All for $300 prepaid ($25/month).
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Old 10-18-2019, 04:21 PM   #40
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Well, today marks the opening day of the Black Friday shopping season. The first Black Friday ad was posted today. It's Harbor Freight, the perennial first ones out of the gate. Of course, it means nothing to us, unless you're a glutton for punishment. I tried speed reading a book on a band saw blade once and it drove my eyes bonkers. For days after that aborted experiment, everything was a blur. Thank goodness for ereaders. Tools and reading just don't mix.

Anyway, Harbor Freight is two weeks late. Sure hope it's not a harbinger for things to come. I don't want the really good ads being late. Sooo...

Happy Black Friday Shopping Season
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Old 10-20-2019, 01:28 PM   #41
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Attention Veterans

In Nov 2017, the DoD authorized online shopping privileges at military exchanges for all honorably discharged Veterans. Prices appear to be similar to Amazon and Walmart. The big advantage is no sales tax. Additionally, they'll price match (except during Black Friday and Cyber Monday). Not sure if they'll match Amazon's low BF prices that occur outside of these dates.

You can join any or all four of the military exchanges. I was discharged from the Army in 1979 and had no trouble when I signed up earlier this year. So far, I haven't purchased anything.

Quote:
VetVerify is a shared verification service of the four military exchanges (AAFES, NEXCOM, MCX and CGX) that supports the Veterans online shopping benefit by verifying Veterans who cannot be authenticated by the exchanges alone.

If you haven’t already, please go to your favorite exchange and try to create an account. You will be redirected to VetVerify if additional information is needed.
  • AAFES (Army & Air Force Exchange Service)
  • NEXCOM (Navy Exchange)
  • MCX (Marine Corps Exchange)
  • CGX (Coast Guard Exchange)
For more information about why you may need to submit to VetVerify, please see the Missing Information page.
Quote:
THE BASICS (eligibility)

Spoiler:
Quote:
Who is eligible for this benefit?

Spoiler:
Quote:
Honorably discharged Veterans of all United States Armed Forces, including the Air Force, Army, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard as well as the Air Force Reserve, Army Reserve, Navy Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve, Coast Guard Reserve and National Guard.

What is the benefit?

Spoiler:
Quote:
Approved Veterans can shop the online exchanges, including ShopMyExchange.com! Shopping with the Exchange online gives you access to exclusive military pricing and offers, tax-free shopping and more. This is a lifelong benefit that will be extended to all who discharge honorably from service.

When did this benefit take effect?

Spoiler:
Quote:
The Department of Defense announced this benefit in January 2017; it became effective on Nov. 11, 2017.

Where can I use this benefit?

Spoiler:
Quote:
Online with any of the military exchanges. This benefit does not grant installation access.

Why have these shopping privileges been extended to Veterans?

Spoiler:
Quote:
To recognize and honor your service, make your life better and improve the overall military community. Expanding online shopping privileges strengthens funding of military Quality-of-Life programs including Army Child Development Centers, Youth Programs and Fitness Centers, Air Force Outdoor Recreation programs, affordable school lunches for Warfighters' children overseas, combat uniforms below cost and more.

How do I know if I'm eligible?

Spoiler:
Quote:
Click here to sign up for an account! Note: You may be asked to submit discharge paperwork for review to verify your eligibility. This can be for several reasons, but most likely, the record we have for you is missing a type of discharge (commonly called "Character of Service" or "Character of Separation"). You will be provided a link to VetVerify.org, a shared service of the four military exchanges, to upload your documentation. This process can take up to three days to complete; you will be notified by the VetVerify customer service team when your documentation has been reviewed.
.

Last edited by tubemonkey; 10-29-2019 at 10:53 PM.
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Old 10-20-2019, 11:27 PM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tubemonkey View Post
Well, today marks the opening day of the Black Friday shopping season. The first Black Friday ad was posted today. It's Harbor Freight, the perennial first ones out of the gate. Of course, it means nothing to us, unless you're a glutton for punishment. I tried speed reading a book on a band saw blade once and it drove my eyes bonkers. For days after that aborted experiment, everything was a blur. Thank goodness for ereaders. Tools and reading just don't mix.
That was your mistake, everyone knows you have to use scroll saw blades for speed reading! Oh and stock up on Dramamine first.

I'm impressed, you took up the entire first page of the thread this year from the start.

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You can join any or all four of the military exchanges. I was discharged from the Army in 1979 and had no trouble when I signed up earlier this year. So far, I haven't purchased anything.
Thanks for this, I didn't know about it and I need to get my dad signed up. Hopefully it'll help him and mom save some money. Since sales taxes here are really high (~9.75% on everything except food) it might! Their TV in the den died recently so they're needing a new one. Hoping to find a 55" for under $300 for them this year. Doesn't have to be high-end, just cheap and functional.
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Old 10-21-2019, 10:40 AM   #43
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Amazon US has a sale on some stuff today. Paperwhite 4 for $89.99 for 8G, $114.99 for 32G. Kindle 10 - $64.99. Oasis 8g $174.99 Echo 2 $69.99. There are also a couple of trade-in offers. Fire 8 is $59.99.

Also, since I know some of you buy stuff from Ebay, Ebay will start charging you sales tax for your state in early November. I don't know the exact date (11th?), but just thought I'd give folks a heads up if you want to get that used Oasis.

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Old 10-21-2019, 12:32 PM   #44
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Posts: 37,762
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Join Date: May 2010
Location: Seattle Metro
Device: Kin7; FHD6; SGT4; ClipZip; LG Trib; Echo Dot
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Originally Posted by Tarana View Post
Amazon US has a sale on some stuff today. Paperwhite 4 for $89.99 for 8G, $114.99 for 32G. Kindle 10 - $64.99. Oasis 8g $174.99 Echo 2 $69.99. There are also a couple of trade-in offers. Fire 8 is $59.99.
And those prices will be lower during BF.

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Also, since I know some of you buy stuff from Ebay, Ebay will start charging you sales tax for your state in early November. I don't know the exact date (11th?), but just thought I'd give folks a heads up if you want to get that used Oasis.
Thanks; good to know info
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Old 10-21-2019, 12:53 PM   #45
tubemonkey
monkey on the fringe
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Posts: 37,762
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Join Date: May 2010
Location: Seattle Metro
Device: Kin7; FHD6; SGT4; ClipZip; LG Trib; Echo Dot
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Originally Posted by Manabi View Post
That was your mistake, everyone knows you have to use scroll saw blades for speed reading! Oh and stock up on Dramamine first.


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I'm impressed, you took up the entire first page of the thread this year from the start.
What I do is copy/paste last year's front page and start updating. I'm nearly done with the updating. Still need to do the shipping & returns post and the last section of the discount programs post.

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Thanks for this, I didn't know about it and I need to get my dad signed up. Hopefully it'll help him and mom save some money. Since sales taxes here are really high (~9.75% on everything except food) it might! Their TV in the den died recently so they're needing a new one. Hoping to find a 55" for under $300 for them this year. Doesn't have to be high-end, just cheap and functional.
YW - I hear you on sales tax. Here, it's around 10% (but no income tax). I'll add the TV to your wish list. I picked up a 43" 4K Roku TV from Costco earlier this year for $200. Works great for me. It's plenty loud too, so no need for external speakers.

Last edited by tubemonkey; 10-21-2019 at 01:08 PM.
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