Mar 24

Mint SIM vs. MetroPCS: Which is better for you?

How does Mint SIM stack up against MetroPCS? Here’s our comparison!

Mint SIM and MetroPCS are both mobile virtual network operators — MVNOs for short. They’re known as alternative carriers, offering consumers choices beyond the Big Four (AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint).

Switching to an MVNO can save you money because they simply lease coverage from one of the larger networks and resell it to customers. Plans are often prepaid, so you don’t have to worry about overages.

Let’s take a look at two major players — Mint SIM and MetroPCS — and see how they compare to one another.

  • Mint SIM background
  • MetroPCS background
  • Mint SIM plans
  • MetroPCS plans
  • Best phones available from MetroPCS
  • Which should you go with?

Who owns it? Ultra Mobile

Which network does it use? T-Mobile 4G LTE

How long has it been around? Since 2016

Tethering allowed? No

Cheapest plan: $35 for 1 month: 2GB 4G LTE, unlimited nationwide talk, text, and 2G data

Who owns it? T-Mobile

Which network does it use? T-Mobile 4G LTE

How long has it been around? Since 1994 (originally as General Wireless). Merged with T-Mobile in 2012.

Tethering allowed? Yes, on all but the $50 unlimited data plan

Cheapest plan: $30/month: 1GB 4G LTE, unlimited talk, text, and 2G data

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list of international rates here.

All plans from MetroPCS feature no annual contracts, with all taxes or regulatory fees included in the price. Voicemail and visual voicemail are included with each plan, along with Caller ID, Call Waiting and 3-way calling.

Music Unlimited is included on $40 and higher rate plans, which lets you stream from 40+ streaming music services including Apple Music, Pandora, iHeartRadio, Napster, Spotify, and more without it counting against your monthly high-speed data allotment.

4G LTE Mobile Hotspot is included in all plans except for the $50 unlimited plan.

Additional Services

Napster Unlimited Music

For $10 a month, you get unlimited, ad-free access to the Napster app, which allows you to download and play your favorite music for offline listening or stream online. There are ad-free artist radio channels to choose from as well as live radio options available There are millions of songs available to be downloaded.

Mexico Unlimited

Do you have friends or family living in Mexico? Do you often vacation south of the border? For only $5 a month, you can add Mexico Unlimited to your plan and get unlimited calling to and from Mexico to mobile phones and landlines, unlimited data in Mexico just as you would receive in the U.S. (based on your $40, $50, or $60 base rate plan), as well as unlimited text messages, sending and receiving, while in Mexico.

Canada Unlimited

Essentially the same as Mexico Unlimited, except for our pals to the North. For $5 a month, you get unlimited calling to and from Canada (including mobile phones and landlines), unlimited data while in Canada (high-speed data based on your $40, $50, or $60 base rate plan), as well as unlimited text messaging while in Canada.

Value Bundle of Features

For just $5 a month, you can add five features to your account to make life easier. They include:

  • Name ID: Blocks calls from unwanted, restricted, anonymous, private or unknown parties. Also includes Reverse Number Lookup and Real Time Caller ID.
  • International Text Messaging: Send text messages across the globe. Find the full list of countries here.
  • Voicemail to Text: Converts your voicemails to texts and delivers them straight to your phone
  • Call Forwarding: Allows you to forward calls to any local number. Call Forwarding is easy to setup and use for those times when it might come in handy.
  • Unlimited Directory Assistance: Unlimited calls to directory assistance for business and residential listings in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico.

The Premium Handset Protection Program

For an added $6 a month, Premium Handset Protection covers your device against loss, theft, damage and out-of-warranty malfunction. Includes access to Lookout Mobile Security Premium, which helps keep your device secure by backing up your data including your contacts, photos and call history, and will also send you an email alert if they suspect your phone has been stolen.

Premium Handset Protection can only be added on the day of activation.

check compatibility first. If you don’t have a phone to bring, we recommend the following:

  • Samsung Galaxy S7: $549 (after offers)
  • iPhone 7 32GB: $649
  • iPhone 7 128GB: $749
  • iPhone 7 Plus 32GB: $769
  • iPhone 7 Plus: 128GB: $869
  • Samsung Galaxy S6: $299

What is an alternative mobile carrier?

  • What are the advantages of going with an alternative carrier?
  • How to make sure your phone works on a prepaid alternative carrier
  • 8 Important Considerations When Switching To An MVNO
  • These are the cheapest data plans you can buy in the U.S.
  • Mint SIM vs. Cricket Wireless: Which is better for you?
  • Mar 17

    Thumbs-up or thumbs-down? Netflix is bringing some changes to its service

    Plus, a new algorithm system for finding films and shows

    Continue reading…

    Mar 07

    Pixel 2: Sketchy rumor suggests Google may remove headphone jack

    Don’t freak out just yet, but there’s a small chance the next Pixel might exclusively use USB-C audio.

    It seems like just about every major phone announcement is accompanied by a rumor that it may ditch the headphone jack and, iPhone-style, force you to buy new headphones or life the #donglelife. Sometimes that’s accurate. Sometimes not so much.

    Today 9to5Google is reporting via a single source — apparently some internal Google documentation — that this year’s Pixel phones will ditch the jack, presumably going with a single USB Type-C port for both charging and audio.

    Multiple models of Pixel 2 are supposedly in development.

    Such a move would be unwelcomed by Android fans wanting to use their own 3.5mm cans with the upcoming phone, as well as highly ironic given the shade thrown on the iPhone’s single lightning port in Google’s own advertising.

    9to5 itself doesn’t seem especially confident in this single-sourced rumor, giving it a 6/10 score, and earlier rumblings have suggested that multiple Pixel 2 models are in testing anyway, which would be entirely understandable more than 9 months out from launch.

    So maybe it’ll happen. Maybe it won’t. In the meantime, be sure to share your thoughts down in the comments — would the removal of the headphone jack make you think twice about buying a future Google phone?

    Mar 07

    Rumor claims the Pixel 2 will drop the headphone jack

    An unverified rumor claims that the second-generation Pixel device will not feature a headphone jack.

    Feb 18

    Sources: TAG Heuer to launch a new connected watch in mid-March

    Tag Heuer Connected Modular to appear March 14, fully customizable and convertible.

    Back in January 2017, TAG Heuer CEO Jean-Claude Biver said the company wanted to release a successor to the $1,500 TAG Connected in May 2017 during an interview with Swiss paper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Android Central has learned some details about the coming TAG wearable from one of those people “familiar with the matter.”

    Our sources tell us the Tag Connected Modular will arrive March 14, 2017, and have a unique set of features that make it a true one-of-a-kind Wear 2.0 smart watch. The TAG Connected Modular will feature fully customizable lugs complete with a choice of straps and clasps to swap at your convenience. A custom automatic watch head module will allow the wear to switch between the digital connected Android Wear 2.0 body and a more traditional automatic movement.

    TAG Heuer considers the original TAG Connected a successful product citing strong initial sales that exceeded the original goal of moving 20,000 units of the expensive wearable. Biver noted that TAG considers smart watch technology to still be in “the stone age” and there is plenty of future potential in the market. TAG wants to be part of that future.

    We understood that TAG Heuer planned to leverage its strength as a traditional watchmaker by offering to accommodate the variety of styles and wrist sizes found in the different markets it services. A modular customizable timepiece meets and exceeds those goals. With no word on the pricing, we expect this one to be a wearable we can long for and admire from afar. We’ll know more come March.

    Feb 04

    This is Google Home’s big 2017 Super Bowl commercial [VIDEO]

    Earlier this week we learned that Google was paying $5 million to advertise Google Home during the 2017 Super Bowl. Here’s the commercial they plan on airing during the event.

    Feb 03

    How the $500M VR lawsuit might be a good thing for the technology

    Why copyright could pull the Rift from store shelves

    Continue reading…

    Jan 31

    Everything we hope to see in the Android Wear update

    Google is rebooting Android Wear, and that’s exciting!

    Despite repeated reports that smartwatches are dead, we know for a fact that Android Wear is about to get a massive refresh. Rolling out alongside Google’s Wear 2.0 update are two new watches meant to act almost like the Nexus program of old, and we know several manufacturers will be following up quickly with new hardware of their own. With new hardware and new software, Android Wear as we know it is being rebooted.

    The big questions now lie in our expectations. What do we as Wear users want from this new generation of watches? Here’s a lap around the Editor’s table with all of our thoughts!

    Andrew

    Android Wear has a bit of an identity crisis, and I hope that the launch of Android Wear 2.0 helps spur manufacturers to lock in and put out some compelling hardware that can meet a variety of needs. Though external case designs of Android Wear watches have differed, they’re all basically the same: a too-big watch with clunky bands and very little feature differentiation.

    Going forward I hope companies can bring in some variety with smaller, thinner watches, as well as mid-sized watches that skip out on trying to do everything to focus in on the core features people use these watches for. This new era will hopefully introduce a better variety of offerings to fit more needs and styles, though I know the business models of these companies may not be compatible with hitting niches inside of an already small market.

    Jen

    While I’m really excited to have longer battery life and Assistant on my watch, what I really want to see are smaller watches. I am a teensy human, and having a watch that actually properly fits me without looking like a child playing dress up would be amazing.

    I’m also pretty stoked about the activity trackers. I’m terrible at remembering to open up my activity apps before I start working out, [and if what we saw at Google I/O is true](http://www.androidcentral.com/android-wear-20-brings-new-features-fitness, this won’t be a problem for me anymore.

    Jerry

    I want to see watches that look better and feel better while I’m wearing them.

    I have been in situations where being able to discreetly check notifications was a plus. I think we all probably have. But in general, I’ve found that there isn’t much reason for me to wear a smartwatch. I have my phone in my pocket no matter where I am, and when I wear a watch it’s because I like the way it looks on my wrist. And I don’t mean it looks better than other options like my Huawei Watch does. I mean I like the way it looks. Everyone wants things that look good, right?

    I know it’s hard to pack everything into a watch to make it smart, then put a big enough battery in it to keep it running. I’m hoping new processors and smarter software that is easier on battery life means someone can make a smartwatch that doesn’t look like a smart watch. Samsung got very close with the Gear S3 Classic (it’s not necessarily a size thing), so I have hope.

    Flo

    Someone give me a reason to wear Android Wear. It’s been a few years since they’ve come into existence, but I’m still struggling to find a reason to take my Asus ZenWatch 2 out of its drawer.

    Here’s the problem with Android Wear: Google and its partners have failed to convince me, the consumer, that it’s worth buying one for any reason other than it’s a way of showing allegiance to the Android brand. I want seamless interconnectivity between my phone and my watch, but I also want a watch that doesn’t try too hard to cram everything my smartphone does into a 1.5-inch display. Features like Google Assistant and Android Pay are certainly worth looking forward to, but they fail to solve the problem of why I’d wear a computerized wristwatch in the first place.

    Alex

    My first wish is for the watchmakers themselves, not Google. Just as Android Wear has adopted some of Samsung’s Gear features in the 2.0 release, manufacturers should steal Samsung’s rotating bezel idea for rotating through notifications and menus. It’s more convenient than blocking the screen as you swipe and would allow for some neat design flourishes.

    From a purely software perspective, I’ve already written at length about how I think smartwatches, including Android Wear, need to do fewer things and then do them better. Focus on the essentials, make notifications awesome, and everything else can just be gravy.

    Russell

    Bring on the watches that last me more than a single day! With the new Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor and denser batteries, we should see thinner watches with one day of life and thicker watches offering two full days. I want to leave the charger at home, especially if the charger is one of those ridiculous pin things.

    I’m also looking forward to Assistant on my wrist, but only if it’s available without needing to press a button. I’d even be happy with a gesture to activate Assistant if an always-on mic isn’t good for power consumption.

    Ara

    I’m more than ready for Assistant on my wrist, but more than anything, I want Android Pay on my wrist. I’ve had an OG Moto 360 that’s been bootlooping intermittently for the last six months, and the only reason I refuse to upgrade yet is the lack of tap-and-pay. We’ve seen NFC in a number of watches, including in leaks of 2.0 devices, and Apple and Samsung already have tap and pay on their wearable platforms. It’s time for Android Wear to catch up.

    Beyond that, I’m hoping that with full-fledged watch apps comes more finessed controls for media apps. Even before Android Wear, even before I was an Android nerd, I had a singular vision for wearables: controlling my music. I could fast-forward and rewind my iPod Video’s click wheel inside a folio case in my pocket with frankly disquieting consistency and accuracy. When I came to Android and Google Play Music, I had to give that up. Now, to fast-forward through 90 seconds of a 25-minute show or rewind 30 seconds to replay the sweet bridge that my coworker interrupted, I have to wake my phone, unlock my phone, open the music app, and seek as desired. I want a click wheel on my wrist. Or at the very least, I want a button in Android Wear that can let me rewind and fast forward in 30-second intervals.

    Daniel

    More than anything, Android Wear 2.0 has to show me things I didn’t know I needed. I think it’s a given that the platform will integrate Google Assistant, but what I really enjoyed about Android Wear’s early forms was its occasional perfectly timed Google Now card. Give me that experience more consistently, and use the new watch’s GPS and/or cellular connection to show me more accurate location data — and the contextual information around it — without having to rely on the slow Bluetooth connection from my phone.

    I typically find that, aside from the push notifications mirrored from my phone, smartwatches are no better than phones at doing most things, and even as a companion to my phone, don’t excel at anything particularly well. So start to use AI and machine learning to adapt what’s shown at any particular time in a way that, because your smartphone is turned off in your pocket for most of the day, only a smartwatch can do. Google is well-positioned to offer a solution like this, but it really has to bring all of its separate pieces together.

    Your turn!

    Got some thoughts on what you want from the next wave of Android Wear? Share it with us in the comments!

    Jan 14

    How to install new games on your NES Classic

    The NES Classic — you saw our first vid on it, right? — is a cool little piece of nostalgia. But it’s sorely lacking in the games department. Or, rather, it REALLY needs a way to add games.

    Fortunately the NES community has answered, and in a big way. And after a few rounds of tinkering we now have a super easy way to add games to the NES Classic.

    I used the “hakchi2” method. You’ll want to read through the instructions yourself, but here’s the gist of how I did it, boiled down from a reddit post … and another Reddit post. Full props to those folks!

    You’ll need at least Windows 7 to get this done.

    OBLIGATORY WARNING: You’re doing this at your own risk. If your teeth loosen and your eyes start to bleed, I didn’t do it.

    1. Download hakchi2 and unzip: direct download link
    2. Browse to your saved ROMs, and decide what you want to install on the NES Classic. (I kept the original 30 games, too.)
    3. Find box art — either use your own, or just hit the handy Google button in the GUI to automagically search. (Nice touch!)
    4. Plug your NES Classic into your PC using the Micro-USB cable. Leave the console turned off. We’re going to enter FEL mode.
    5. Hold down the reset button on the front. Then press (and release) the power button. After a few seconds, release the reset button. You won’t actually see anything happen.
    6. You should now be able to hit the sync button in the hakchi2 program. (If you didn’t get the FEL mode thing right, it’ll tell you. I didn’t do it right the first time and nothing blew up.)
    7. Reboot the NES Classic.
    8. Profit!

    Subscribe to Modern Dad!

    See the NES Classic
    See the NES Classic controller extension

    Jan 03

    The new ASUS Chromebook Flip features a 360-degree hinge and USB Type-C

    ASUS has announced the new ASUS Chromebook Flip C302 which features 2 USB Type-C ports, a 10-hour battery life, and the same 360-degree hinge as its predecessor.

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