Tag Archives: 3G

First Impression – Blu Advance 4.0

This will be a first impression review of the Blu Advance 4.0. I had this phone for a week, although wasn’t able to make full use of the features until about 24 hours ago. There are a couple of reasons why I purchased this phone. The first is to replace the role of my DECT phone which is a terrible product (as with most VTECH phones) for something that will function better in the modern world. The second reason is to see if I will be able to suffice off of a free phone plan when my obligations are completed.

The Blu Advance 4.0 (Model Number A270a) is a Dual SIM GSM-3G phone. It has a 4″ screen, capacitive touch buttons, and a physical power and volume keys. There is also a micro-USB port and a 3.5mm headphone jack. There is a replaceable battery which hides the dual SIM trays, and micro-SD card slot. The Advance can be acquired for less than $100 on Amazon (as of 2015-04-21), and comes in black or white. The phone supports Wifi-N, and Bluetooth. It runs Android 4.2 OS.

The Good

This phone functions well enough as a budget phone. Spending less than $100 on an Android phone is typically a very bad mistake, and while I would never be able to use this a primary phone (due to my requirements), for those on a tight budget – they might find this suitable. The phone comes with 1.27GB of storage space out of the box, but if you need or want a basic phone, expect another 500MB of apps to be loaded. This is good considering that I had real concern that there would have been 250 or 500MB of storage. It’s not the 16-128GB found on newer higher end phones, but the micro-SD card makes up for that somewhat.

The phone is dual SIM. This means I can have 2 SIM cards from the same or different providers. This is unusual in the US, as there are still times when one is required to sign a 2 year contract (which you should run from like the plague). In my instance, I am using one SIM for data, and another for voice. You just have to be careful to install the data SIM into SIM 1. SIM 2 only supports GSM-2G.

And of course, you will find it hard to beat the price. I last seen this phone for $75, and I bought it on sale for $50. Even the Motorola Moto E doesn’t compete on those grounds, although the Moto E has advantages over this phone, it is worth looking at if nothing else.

The Dual SIM management tool was simple enough. I was able to select SIM 2 as default for voice calls, and allowed SIM 1 to handle data by simply selecting the appropriate card. There was a couple of hiccups in navigating when it came to the phone, and services – but this more of an Android problem.

The Bad

There are a number of things that I find at fault with this phone. Yes, I understand that the phone is less than $100, and I am taking that into consideration. There are still some things that needs to be addressed.

First, the OS. Android 4.2 is just not an inconvenience of not having newer features in Android, but a security flaw. Just as people should update the OS on their PC, so should the phone OS be updated. I have concerns that this will never happen and that is a shame. And considering this is a brand new phone – it should have an updated OS. Now some will say that the phone is a lower spec phone. I call bulls**t on that as Android’s newer versions are to be easier on lower end phones.

Next is marketing. The phone claims 3D gaming, and I doubt that with a Dual Core 1.3Ghz CPU on 512MB of memory, nad only 1.3GB of storage. The marketing on the box also screams 4G, and again – Bulls**t. Under the ITU Specs, 4G cellular is LTE and WiMax with Wimax seeing the last days, so let’s just say LTE. HSPA is 3G. Plain and simple, and just because the top of the line HSPA is equivalent to LTE in the infancy doesn’t make it 4G.

And speaking of 3G, it would have been a better value if Blu didn’t skimp on supporting the other two 3G bands. My Nexus 4 from 3 years ago with no LTE at the time supported all of the GSM 3G bands, and I can’t see why a new budget phone can’t do the same. Bands supported are 850/1700/1900 bands. If they are trying to cater to the emerging market, or budget friendly choices, they have made a failing here.

The Ugly

For what ever reason, companies known to be budget likes to put the micro-USB port on the top of the device. Not only is this unusual, but it can be a problem with handling the device while charging. Next, the micro-SD card cage was a pain to open. The arrows suggested on direction which one will likely imply to open where it is to close. The capacitive touch buttons would have been nice to be rid of. A 4.3″ screen with onscreen buttons would have been better.

Initial Impression

This phone is good enough. I wouldn’t expect it to be anything really good, or an impression, but even as a Single SIM service, it could serve well enough. If you are looking for a “first” smart phone, back up, or in need of a low cost dual SIM phone, this is a good enough choice.

My main gripe is the OS. This is something that Blu can solve with all of this model phone, they just choose not too. If you are worried of a reliable update path, you may have to consider spending twice as much for a Motorola Moto series phones which have a reputation of a reliable update path. However, you may find it hard to get a dual SIM phone, and only model I know is the Moto-G.

Let’s Reform Data Charges

If you have a smart phone, you are most likely paying for data. Here’s a couple of questions. How much, and what kind? I know on a Motorola Razr I never use, but have a SIM card in it until the contract expires uses GPRS (1G speeds). RIM 8xx0 series uses EDGE (2G), although CDMA networks claim everything is 3G. Almost all new smart phones uses HSDPA, UMTS, or EVDO (3G), and Sprint now offers one WiMax (4G) phone. However, the problem is not so much of the data connections, but the charges. I pay the same price on my UMTS Android phone for data as I did on my RIM 8320. And while everyone at one time claimed “unlimited” data, there was a 5GB cap in the fine print – which in my opinion was false advertising.

Some companies decided to rephrase their bandwidth caps from unlimited to 5GB. Sprint does claim that their 4G phones would be unlimited when using WiMax, but 5GB when on EVDO, even though you are required to pay an extra $10 per month for the privilege of having a WiMax phone even though you are most likely not in a WiMax market.

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Predictions for 2010

I have certain predictions that I think that would come to pass in 2010. Many of these are technology, or similarly related, but that is because it would seem that these have the most trending things, and I have no interest in finances, or other things that predictions would make sense in. So, here are what I think would happen sometime in 2010.

  1. Android phones will outsell iPhone
  2. Cell Data services would decrease in prices
  3. In the US, number of new smart phones would outsell cell phones.
  4. Palm WebOS will be in the last year.
  5. Sidekick will die
  6. Microsoft Courier dual screen tablet will come out
  7. Apple will offer subscription services for iPhone, and iPod Touch
  8. Google Wave, Nexus 1, and Chrome OS will flop
  9. T-Mobile will take 3rd place in the US.
  10.   A sub $300 Android phone will come out (non contract).

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Verizon’s ETF Sucks, but they have funny commercials

In the US, the two biggest carriers are Verizon Wireless, and AT&T. As for pricing, they are both about the same ($100 unlimited voice + $20 unlimited SMS + $30 unlimited data) = $150 + tax/fees. Verizon is CDMA only which is not compatible with the large inventory of unlocked GSM phones. In addition, Verizon has been known for only having rather basic cell phones rather than anything anyone really wants to have.

AT&T has many phones that people love to have, and has been known to the be the place for cool phones (although still lacking Android. In addition, in the US, AT&T is the exclusive carrier of the locked iPhone. Even if you bought, and fulfill your contract, you can’t get it unlocked – so like Verizon where it would seem more like you should be renting the phone rather than owning it.

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Life Laughs at Me Again!

A few days ago, T-Mobile finally rolled in UMTS (a version of GSM 3G) into the city of Pittsburgh PA. Being a big user of my data, and feeling constrained, the 3G bandwidth would have definitely been something I would have benefited from even despite there is no 3G smart phone with UMA.

So, yesterday while trying to resolve a problem with the 8220 my brother used, I inquired about it, and found out that T-Mobile would not renew a contract until 22 months of the 24 month contract. Well, this is a shock. I would have expected the industry standard of 18 months, but here it’s 22 months with T-Mobile.

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Finally T-Mobile, you got it in Pittsburgh.

I was checking the data coverage map on T-Mobile’s web site, and it would seem as if Pittsburgh finally has UMTS coverage with T-Mobile. Not that I would see any benefit since the RIM 8000 series uses EDGE, but it’s good to know that I don’t have any delay when considering the upgrade to my phone.

I don’t blame T-Mobile, as if what I heard was true, the spectrum for UMTS was originally being used for emergency services communication. Sometime in November, the first line would be eligible for an upgrade, but I doubt I would do that. Most likely, I would eventually let the phone line expire when the contract ends. The reason is the original and former purpose of the phone is no longer being served. I also don’t have the money for a the 3G phone I would want, and doubt I would in November.

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Please – something good within a year

I’m at a dilemma here. I’m on a contract that ends in July for my phone, and I do want something better. However, I am stuck at some issues that is coming out. I don’t think there is anything perfect as for solutions, and this is of course partially the fault of the carrier. Maybe I should explain my situation. I bought a RIM Blackberry 8320. For those that don’t know, this is like the 8300, but lacking GPS for wifi, and UMA calling. I love the 8320 with the exception of the that as with all Blackberrys with numbers between 8000 and 8999, the data connection is EDGE. Also, the 8320 has no GPS. So, this means if I want GPS, I have to rely on Bluetooth, and the one I bought kills the battery, and was pretty much crap.

So, what do I want in my phone? Well, a smart phone of course. I am not going for iPhone even if it was on T-Mobile, and forget WinMo as a standard phone. I heard too many bad things of Windows Mobile, and I am not committing to 2 years of anything to regret over. GPS, and 3G is a must. I hate relying on Cell Triangulation, which could be accurate from 100 – 1000 meters. Oh, yeah – really good if I should have to go into a wheelchair, and trying to find a bus stop. EDGE is OK for some things, but I do rely on my phone for more than just basic browsing, and basic email. I definitely would love to have a call manager. I think it is more flexible, and cheaper to control incoming calls from the phone than to rely on Google Voice for the half ass way they do the phone rules. Don’t get me wrong, Google Voice is great, but not perfect. I would like to have UMA, although I am not as important to since I’m unloved, and no one calls. However, UMA is still important to keep my cell phone bill assured down.

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T-Mobile Is Cool

OK, I am sure there would be some whom may disagree with me, but I have been a customer of T-Mobile’s Cell phone service for a few months now, and come to find out that they offer a great deal more than the other carriers. Yeah, I know – AT&T has rollover, Cricket has the cheapest Unlimited plans, and blah blah blah. I had a taste with every carrier at one time or another, and while I haven’t had them in recently, I do not have a job testing carriers.

So, what makes T-Mobile cool? Well, first – their Faves feature. It allows you to make and receive calls with 5 phone numbers for free. If you are like me, and have a very small social circle, this is actually good. If you have a larger social circle, than this is a step in the right direction. They don’t offer network calling without charging extra, but in all reality, I only know two people who uses T-Mobile.

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