Verizon Moto E 2015 PrePaid

Motorola released the second generation of their Moto E in 2015. I was curious about this device because of its near-stock Android experience. Best Buy has this phone in its prepaid flavor for $69. I thought I would give it a try. The Verizon store also has the device but they will not sell it to you unless you activate it before leaving the store.

Unboxing

The package is simple, nothing fancy. The phone is enclosed in plastic. It comes with a sim card and wall charger. It also comes with a manual and information about the radio frequency. Two things right off the bat I had a hard time with. The first is taking off the plastic screen protector advertises some of the phone’s feature. A trick you can do is peel it from the top where the speaker is. If you try to peel from the bottom left as it suggest, you will have a difficult time. The second is removing the plastic band was a little tricky. Once you remove it though, you will find the sim card slot and the micro SD card slot.

unboxing

Box contents

Hardware

For the price, the phone is a good deal. It has a Snapdragon 400 quad core processor running at 1.2GHz with 1GB of ram. You shouldn’t have issues with basic gaming. It comes with 8GB of storage but approximately 5GB of that is useable. With the microSD slot you can add an additional 32GB of storage. It has a 4.5″ qHD (960×540) with Gorilla Glass 3 display. It also has Bluetooth 4.0 and NFC support.

Software

You get near-stock Android experience. As of May 2015, you get Android Lollipop 5.0.2. Motorola has announced an update to 5.1 soon to be available as an OTA. The latest is 5.1.1, but at least you have a newer version than many expensive flagship phones out there. There are some Motorola apps preinstalled as well as some from Verizon. You can disable them but they still use up storage resources. Based on my searching, this model (XT1528) has a locked bootloader. Hopefully in the future it changes. The phone is also locked to Verizon even though most of the LTE smart phones come unlocked.

Camera

The phone comes with a 5MP camera and 0.3MP front-facing camera. I have taken some shots indoors and the outcome is not that great. At full view, it’s a bit grainy. I’m not sure if I’m just used to view photos taken at higher resolution or I had higher expectations on the camera.

sample1

4.9MP | 2560×1920 | 551KB | f/2.2 | 1/19 | 2.471mm | ISO640

sample2

4.9MP | 2560×1920 | 508.4KB | f/2.2 | 1/30 | 2.471mm | ISO640

The video can capture up to 720p at 30fps.

Conclusion

The phone is affordable and the specs are reasonable for the price. On top of that, I was able to activate as a postpaid device – without waiting for the 6 month period. I just called customer service and provided the IMEI and SIM number.

LG G3 VS985 for Verizon

I wanted to wait a few weeks of using my new LG G3 before posting about it. So far, it’s been a great phone. I’m a very curious person that is also technical. So I try my best to switch between iOS and Android every year. To preface, my previous phone was the Apple iPhone 5S running iOS 7.1.2 I decided not to get the iPhone 6/6 Plus mainly because of missing features in iOS.

The LG G3 was released some time in July 2014 for the Verizon network. I didn’t get it right away until I saw what Samsung was going to announce in IFA 2014. The Note 4 and the Note Edge didn’t really impress me much. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great device but compared to the LG G3, that’s already available, not much more will the Note 4 give. Samsung’s TouchWiz may have been improved, but I don’t really care for it nor use it so that didn’t play a factor with my decision. Now LG’s Optimus UI exist but I think it’s less obtrusive than TouchWiz.

Here are some specs that may interest you. This phone is specifically the VS985 for the Verizon network.

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 2.5GHz quad-core
  • Adreno 330 GPU
  • I have the 32GB internal storage model so it has a 3GB ram
  • 3000 mAh battery
  • 13MP camera on the back with f/2.4 and dual LED flash, with laser autofocus
  • 2.1MP camera on the front with f/2.0
  • 5.5” IPS display with Gorilla Glass 3

For more information, you can visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LG_G3. So here are some pics I took during my unboxing.

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It’s just like any other phone where it comes with a manual, USB cable, and home charger. Now, normally smart phones come with headphones. Surprisingly, the LG G3 does not come with any. I double checked the box content lists and confirmed that headphones are not included.

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One of the unique features of the LG G3 is that there are no buttons on the front. To turn on the phone, you tap on the screen twice. You can also use the button below the camera on the back to turn on the phone. The usual Android security is still available.

  • Swipe
  • Face Unlock
  • Knock Code (LG implementation)
  • Pattern
  • Pin
  • Password

The current version of Android is 4.4.2. I’m hoping the Android L support will be available.

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The pic above is the back. You will notice the buttons below the camera, they are the volume and power buttons. It took some time to getting used to but I can see why they implemented it there. After a few weeks it feels natural.

Overall, the phone is great. Here are my favorite features with the LG G3 and Android.

  • Expandable micro-sd slot. I have added 64GB to my 32GB internal memory.
  • I don’t have to rely on iTunes for synchronizing content. I can connect using the USB cable and the phone mounts on my computer like it’s a flash drive.
  • Uses inexpensive and common micro USB cable. No proprietary and expensive cable needed (30-pin and lighting cable).
  • The combination of large 5.5” screen and quad-core processor makes multitasking a great experience.
  • You can use both front and back cameras at the same time.

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  • I can transfer files via bluetooth once again. And that’s any file type, not limited to just images or other media. This feature was not available on my old iPhone 5S as of iOS 7.1.2. From the iOS 8 preview, you can finally use Airdrop with the upcoming OSX Yosemite OS. My ability to transfer files between Android and PC can also be done on a Mac and is not limited to media files.

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  • It’s cheaper to own an Android phone. My monthly insurance is $2 cheaper and the deductible is 50% less. My LG G3 actually not only cost less than my 16GB iPhone 5S, but it also has a larger capacity and I’m able to expand storage.
  • Removable battery. This makes 2 things possible – 1) you can carry a spare battery just in case your primary runs out and there’s no way to charge it, 2) if your primary battery breaks, replace it.

So far here are the things I’m not liking with Android which makes me miss iOS.

  • There is no Flashlight app built-in. You can download some off the Play store but many of them want access to all sorts of things – a flashlight does not need access to all those private things.

flashlight_app_access

  • When listening/watching to media in the car via bluetooth audio, the information or meta tag cannot be read/displayed on my car’s screen. This was no issue with my iPhone 5S using Spotify, even Youtube.

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  • Although, not too big of an issue, the battery life is shorter and charge time is longer.

Check out the video I posted on my Youtube channel.

Verizon V740

I was using my Blackberry Pearl tethered to the laptop before and it uses EDGE to get internet access while away from home or work. It was horrible at best. I was lucky to get over 70kbps. On average I would get 48kbps. So I started to look for an alternative. I checked out AT&T since they started to use 3G. According to one of the sales associate, T-Mobile no longer rents towers from AT&T. Instead they sold all their old towers to them. Not sure how much truth is in that, but thought it was interesting. Basically, T-Mobile bought old technology from AT&T. Again, this is from an AT&T sales associate. There is no confirmation whether it is true or false or he’s just trying to get my business.

Then I went to Verizon and checked out what they have. To my surprise, they have a deal where all of their broadband access cards are free with a 2 year contract. I’m hesitant on getting the whole 2 year contract thing but I went with it anyway since in California you get a 30 day trial whereas 14 days elsewhere. I picked up theVerizon V740. So far it has been great. Areas where it is predominantly Verizon coverage, I’m getting over 900kbps down and 300kbps up. Otherwise I’m getting an average of 200kbps down and 100kbps up. Browsing is a lot better either way compared to what I had with T-Mobile. Playing World of Warcraft in areas where I get slower connection isn’t that great but tolerable.

The $60 monthly is a bit high but it may be worth it in the long run. Also, the V740 can only be used with the newExpress slot.

verizon v740

verizon v740

Looking at the picture above, I’m beginning to miss my Nokia N80IE and it’s 3MP camera 😦