Amazon Thinks A Few Ads Are Worth $50

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There’s no doubt that the Amazon Fire Phone missed the mark with the end user. Even though it was a great device with some crazy cutting edge features, the price point and bugginess of the OS just didn’t make it a favorite with users. This hasn’t stopped them from continuing on into the mobile space though. Today, Amazon announced their new Prime Exclusive Phones. The Moto G4 and BLU R1HD are both up for grabs in the new program and both devices feature a hefty $50 discount for the ability for Amazon to set an advertisement on your lockscreen.

The BLU R1 HD is available in two configurations. The first a $99 handset that is discounted to $49.99 with the Prime Exclusive deal. This model features 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage. The second is a $109.99 handset that drops to $59.99. The upgrades the RAM to 2GB and the storage to 16GB. The specs for the BLU R1 HD are listed here:

    • Fast 1.3 GHz quad-core MediaTek 6735 ARM Cortex processor with 16 GB Internal memory and 2 GB RAM
    • Enjoy the best of Google Android 6.0 Marshmallow, including Google Maps, Gmail, Play Store, and more
    • Offers and ads, including personalized deals and recommendations, display on the phone’s lockscreen
    • Dual SIM and MicroSD support for up to 64 GB of expandable storage
    • Stunning 5″ HD display with curved Gorilla Glass 3 protection, plus an 8 MP main camera and 5 MP selfie camera that includes a front-facing LED flash
    • 4G LTE plus GSM unlocked for your favorite compatible carrier or for international travel (including AT&T, T-Mobile; not compatible with Verizon or Sprint)

The Moto G4 is also available in 2 configurations. The 16GB and 32GB models both feature 2GB of RAM and carry price tags of $149.99 and $179.99 respectively. The Moto G4 continues the Motorola tradition of being an exceptional value with a spec sheet worth of a phone costing quite a bit more:

    • Fast 4G LTE speed, an up to 1.5 GHz octa-core processor, 2 GB of RAM, and a bright 5.5″ full HD (1080p) display ensures videos and games run smoothly and look great
    • Enjoy the best of Google Android 6.0 Marshmallow, including Google Maps, Gmail, Play Store, and more
    • Offers and ads, including personalized deals and recommendations, display on the phone’s lockscreen
    • Take brilliant photos with the 13 MP HD camera or snap group shots with a 5 MP wide-angle selfie cam. Add up to 128 GB of additional storage with a microSD card
    • The all-day battery includes TurboPower charging which provides up to 6 hours of use in just 15 minutes
    • Unlocked and carrier-friendly, works with all major carrier networks domestically or abroad (including AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon)

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Both devices are available from Amazon right now, but we have a feeling that these will sell out very quickly. Frankly with just the “ad” being placed on the lockscreen, we can’t see a reason not to take the $50 discount if you are already a prime member. The worst thing that could happen is that you find yourself buying a few new items that you may not have needed. As far as our choice goes, obviously, the $179.99 Moto G4 is a steal, but the money saving side of us really loves the 16GB BLU R1 HD for under $60. Ironically, both models ship free with Prime.

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Grab The Unlocked Asus Zenfone 2 Laser For $199

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Have you been looking for a great deal on a GSM handset to use with AT&T or T-Mobile? The Asus Zenfone 2 Laser should certainly fit the bill, and with it’s price falling under $200 for the 32GB model, it’s the perfect time to grab yourself a new device.

    • Unlocked GSM Dual Active SIM Smartphone compatible on GSM Networking including AT&T and T-Mobile
    • Powerful performance with 3GB RAM and Qualcomm Octa-Core Processor
    • 5.5″ IPS Full HD Display protected by Gorilla Glass 4; 13MP Rear and 5MP Front Camera
    • Equipped with Laser Autofocus Technology for camera focusing 2-3 faster than traditional smartphone cameras
    • High-capacity 3000 mAh battery – Replaceable for increased longevity

Overall the specs on the Zenfone 2 Laser puts the device is the mid-to-upper range models of today’s offerings. The $199 price tag matches that rating nicely, though the mark down from $229 certainly makes the device much more tempting to grab before they sell out or go back up to regular price.

If you’re in the market for a new device to use the a GSM network, hit up the link below to grab yours today.

Amazon – http://amzn.to/1T3r6ob

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Dear Manufacturers: Bring Back The Thick Phone…

If there is one trend in mobile that EVERYONE seems to be partaking in lately, it’s bigger phones with more screen real estate. The second, and almost as popular trend is making phones as thin as possible. Whether this means they have a bulging camera, or an inferior design, thin has taken on the phablet as the silliest design concept ever invented. Remember the days of the Zoolander phone, where they were trying to make one as tiny as possible? Now it seems that big and flat is the design trend of the masses. What they don’t think about is what you give up to give that new device that slim line and how much better a device could be with a bit more heft to it.

For example, I’m currently holding a shiny, gold Galaxy Note 5. It measures a meager .3” thick and weighs just 6 ounces. That’s crazy for a device that offers so much power to be so thin. Which makes one wonder, that if they had just made it as thick as it is with the Spigen Neo Hybrid Carbon case is, how much more could they have done? The case adds a solid 1/16”-1/8” of thickness to the phone. If that space could be appropriated to the battery, that would mean a full 2.5 cubic inches of room that could be used to increase the capacity of the battery. This could theoretically mean a 4000mAh battery instead of a 3000 mAh battery would be used in the device. That would mean an additional 2-4 hours of screen on time without using a power saving mode. All for an 1/8” used correctly.

Manufacturers have become so intent on building the ‘perfect’ feeling phone, that they’ve forgotten that the first thing most people do is throw a thick, protective case on the device. If they took the route that many of the backup battery/case companies did, and built this into the design of the device, you would see a major improvement in devices lasting through a full day of use, rather than just making it from charger to charger throughout the day. The Alegant Galaxy Note 5 Battery Case is a great example of how they can ‘blow up’ the device and get a solid look to it. This particular battery adds 4200mAh of power to the device without adding more than a 1/4” of bulk to it.

Perhaps we can stop the talk of creating the thinnest phone ever by creating the longest lasting phones since Nokia ruled the planet. Maybe they will start putting a premium on power instead of ultra-thin designs. Everyone will like them for that one, even if it’s not the most fashion forward look on the planet.

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Republic Wireless Cuts $30 From Moto G Pricing

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If you were looking at making the leap to the hybrid calling champions, Republic Wireless, this could be the day to do it. For a very limited time, you can receive the Moto G (3rd Gen.) for $199 for the 16GB or $179 for the 8GB models.The G is a solid competitor in the entry to mid level Android market and at these prices, the device is something of a bargain. When you combine the sub $200 price point of the 16GB model along with the monthly savings that Republic delivers to their customers, it almost becomes too simple to make the jump.

The Republic Wireless won’t last forever, but it’s a great time to jump in and give them a test drive. With monthly plans from $10 a month, the savings will add up very quickly for you and anyone else that needs a great deal on a smartphone.

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Unlimited Voice And Text To US And Mexico For Under $20 A Month

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If you are a user with friends south of the border that you love to chat and text with, our friends at FreedomPop have a deal for you. Yesterday, the folks down in Hollywood launched a new program that includes unlimited talk and text to the US and Mexico. To make it even better, you get a virtual US and Mexico phone number. The $19.99 monthly price tag is a small price to pay for unlimited talk and text, but when you add the 500MB of included data to the mix, it becomes a major value. You can expand that data for free using the FreedomPop Freedom Friends and Data Earning programs.

To make the deal even sweeter, you can land a Kyocera Hydro Icon at 85% off list price with the current deal. Of course, it wouldn’t be right to not have a free month of service to offset the cost of the device, so that’s thrown in also. The features of the plan are highlighted below. If you think you’re ready to experience a $20 a month cell bill that includes all the calling and texting you can dish out to your friends stateside and in Mexico, then hit the link below for more details.

Main Features:
– Unlimited Talk & Text to the US
– Unlimited Talk to Mexico landline & mobile
– 500 MB of data each month
– Virtual Mexico phone number in addition to your US number
– No contracts & no credit checks
– Visual Voicemail
– WiFi calling & texting from anywhere

Link: FreedomPop

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Is A “10” Enough To Save Face?

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In 2013, HTC revolutionized the smartphone market with the HTC One. Later dubbed the One M7, the device was followed up with the M8, which offered modest upgrades over the original M7, but took a few features off the the board that really impacted the performance of the device. The M9, or the 2015 successor to the M8 was supposed address each of these shortcomings and really stir things up in the industry one more time. Unfortunately, the M9 was met with a barrage of bad press and horrible user experiences. From blurry photos and bad camera compression to battery woes and overheating issues, the M9 was a perfect storm of one disaster after another. It went from savior device to industry joke in a matter of a few blog posts.

Fast forward to April 12, 2016 and the next generation of HTC’s flagship device, the 10, and once again, HTC is out in full force touting that everything that was wrong with the M9 has been fixed in their latest offering. The issue that we have a journalists, or even just a public place for you to read our opinions, is can we believe them or not? Time after time, they have told us that this is the great One, and time after time, we’ve been let down. What makes this time different?

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Starting with the build, the 10 is back with an all aluminum body. Crafted a bit different, but more of the same that made the original so comfortable in the hand. So far, so good, but there’s a long way to go to get things back on track here. After steering us to UltraPixels in 2013, HTC did an about face from them in 2015 for the M9. For two years, they told us how amazing UP’s were and how we couldn’t live without them. Then they told us to ignore that and more was better. Now, we’re back on the UP bandwagon. We think this is definitely the right move. Sure, the UP cameras blow out a bit of the highlight in bright outdoor photos, but it’s always better to blow out a bit than lose all the details in the dark. Great move HTC. This UltraPixel model comes in at a whopping 12UP, or enough to zoom 200% over the original M7’s images. Still not a 41MP zoom, but it’s an amazing start.

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Moving on to the audio portion of our program, HTC has worked hard embedding 24-bit Hi-Res audio into the device. The experience should be magnificent, though we will hold off until we get a few FLAC tracks going on one. The performance of the 10 is also a center stage item. Each component of the 10 has been fine tuned to make the experience perfect. On top of this, HTC’s performance tuning has translated into a battery that can last for days instead of hours. Again, we will want to get one in our hot little hands for more testing before we substantiate these claims, but it sure looks good on paper.

Of course, had we not heard this all before, multiple times from HTC, it would be much easier to take all of this in and throw a serious party. Unfortunately, the “customization” was something left over from the M9 days. So is the 24-bit Audio support, the “best BoomSound ever” and best design ever. When the two previous best ever’s have left us wanting, what makes HTC so sure that we will part with the $699 for one of these when we can grab 2 of the Samsung S7’s for the same price from our local carrier?

We will have to wait and see what carrier support ends up happening, but for now, we will leave you with this: if the claims that HTC is making this time are true, this could be the best smartphone they have put out in 4 years. They don’t have the marketing dollars to compete with Samsung, but for now, the HTC 10 looks like a true winner on paper. You can check out the link below for more information.

http://www.htc.com/us/smartphones/htc-10/