Selasa, 29 Oktober 2013

OSX 10.9 Mavericks Tips and Tricks

I've long questioned software companies that feel the need to charge for updates.  I do get that there is a revenue stream there, and companies can never have enough money.  What I don't get is charging for updates.  When Apple released OSX 10.7 in 2011, and made the decision to only charge $19.99, I hesitantly applauded.  I liked the price, but Apple really could do better! For years, they have been giving away the iOS update, so why not do the same for OSX?   Now they have!  OSX 10.9, Mavericks, is Free!  What a concept!  Perhaps Apple realized the success they had giving iOS for free could be matched by giving OSX away.  I for one, believe more people will update, and make use of the great features of Mavericks, now that there is no cost.  

Since iOS 5 was released back in 2011, and with it iCloud,  I was wondering how long it would take Apple to better integrate OSX with iCloud.  10.7 was a good start, and 10.8 a bit better, but now with Mavericks, the integration with iOS, though not complete, is much better, and I will say, fantastic!  In this blog, I'm going cover some highlights in Mavericks. 

With the release of OS X Mavericks Apple has proved to us that they care about making the best operating system. Mavericks includes a plethora of updates and tweaks that make using the Mac even better. While many of the changes are under the hood, Apple also included many visible changes and features that I will  cover in this blog.   New features in the the App Store, the new Maps App, and some new features in the Contacts and Calendar apps.  This is by NO means an exhaustive list, but it's some of the features I think everyone should know about, and that I think are incredibly good to know.

First, lets talk about  Automatic updates from the MacApp Store!  Finally, as they added this functionality to iOS 7, they have also passed along this nice feature to Mac users.  

In System Preferences > App Store, you now have the ability to install app updates, system data files as well as security updates, all automatically!  Simply check the boxes (same as the photo below), and you will never have to click anything to update your apps again...A very welcome change!

Next, Apple has included a Maps App with Mavericks.  It works very much the same way as the Maps App for your iOS device works.  You can very easily swap display modes by either clicking the Standard, Hybrid or Satellite buttons, or you can click Command+1 (Standard), Command+2 (Hybrid), Command+3 for Satellite.  

A great feature of the Maps App is the ability to view bookmarks, and contacts from you iOS device (via iCloud).  You simply press the bookmarks icon (just to the left of the search bar).

While we are on Maps, let's talk about some other cool new features.  In the Contacts app, if you hover over an address, you get a Show Map button (right side of screen, next to the address).  If you click this button, you'll be taken directly to the selected address.  Very cool and very useful!

You can also view traffic by simply clicking the View menu option, and choosing Show Traffic. You'll notice the dots along the road just north of the 280 Freeway, indicating traffic...:)

You can also very easily get directions to wherever you are going.  For instance if I wanted to go from my home just north of Chicago, to Cupertino, I'm looking at about a day and a half drive!  Simply select the directions button, or press Command+R, choose your start and end points, and your directions are there for you...You can even choose walking or driving directions, those buttons are located just below the start and end entry fields.

My favorite new feature of the Maps app, is the ability to send directions to your iOS device!  Simply click the button to the right of the Directions button, and you get the ability to send those directions to your iPhone/iPad, or you can send via Email, iMessage, AirDrop, Twitter, Facebook, or even add the directions to your bookmarks.  

One last tip for the Maps app.  You can easily add an address from the Maps App directly into Contacts.  Simply type the address into the address bar, click on the pin, then click the address, and a window opens that gives you the ability to Add Bookmark, Get Directions, Add to Contacts, or Report a problem.  

A new feature for the Calendar, allows you to view a Map within a Calendar event.  If the calendar event has an address, simply double click the address, and a map will appear!  Clicking the Map will open the Maps app with the event location zoomed in...:).  You'll also notice, in the Info Panel, next to city (Northbrook, Il in this example), you'll get a temperature reading for the High and Low's of the day, as well as if it's going to be partly sunny, or rainy.  

Also new to Calendar, is continuous scrolling.  Now to move between months (forward or backward), simply scroll up or down on your Magic Mouse, or Trackpad.  

Also new to the Calendar is the Current Week Marker.  You'll notice the red line running across the calendar view, this designates the current week, making it easier to find when you are scrolling between months.  

So I've touched on just a few of the cool new features, and will be adding more in the coming weeks. Enjoy the Mavericks, it's a nice step forward from Mountain Lion.  

If you have questions, thoughts or concerns, please drop me a note...
Until next time, Best to you and your devices!

Sabtu, 26 Oktober 2013

Samsung Galaxy Centura Review - Tracfone Smartphone

Review of the Android Powered Centura from Tracfone

This review by de9w2dsl will cover the newly released Samsung Galaxy Centura, one of Tracfones first Android smartphones.

samsung galaxy centura
Samsung Galaxy Centura Front
The Samsung Galaxy Centura is one of several new Android smartphones recently released by Tracfone for their wireless prepaid customers.

Tracfone is a prepaid wireless cell phone service provide that offers low cost phones and service. They only recently began selling Android smartphones, and the Samsung Galaxy Centura is one of the first available.

The ZTE Valet, Huawei Glory and LG Optimus Dynamic and Dynamic II are the other Android phones also available. Follow the links to read our reviews of each phone.

If you're looking for more phone options with Tracfone, be sure to visit our Tracfone BYOP page where we give all the details on bringing your own smartphone to use with Tracfone.

Now let's get to the full review of the Samsung Galaxy Centura.

Review of the Samsung Galaxy Centura Smartphone

The Samsung Galaxy Centura is a touchscreen smartphone running on Android 4.0 operating system. It can be used exclusively with Tracfone prepaid wireless service, meaning you can't buy the phone and then try to use it with other service providers. The Centura uses the CDMA network, running on Verizon towers.

You can read more about the difference between GSM and CDMA, and how to determine which is right for you, in our recent post on that topic.

Before we get to far, let's take a look at the features and specifications for the Centura.

Samsung Galaxy Centura Features and Specs
  • Android 4.0 OS
  • 3 MP Camera and Video Recorder
  • 3G speeds
  • WiFi connectivity
  • Bluetooth Wireless
  • Mobile Web
  • MP3 Player
  • Instant Messaging
  • GPS Capabilities
  • Gravity and Tilt sensors
  • Hearing Aid Compatible
  • Hands free speaker
  • Voicemail, Caller ID, Call Waiting
  • Comes with Battery and Charger
Now let's look at the technical dimensions and specifications for the Samsung Galaxy Centura:

Samsung Galaxy Centura Dimensions and Specs
  • 3.5" Touchscreen
  • Dimensions: 4.4 x 2.4 x 0,4 inches
  • 4.4 ounces
  • 800Mhz Processor
  • Internal Memory: 4GB NAND
  • 512MB RAM
  • Compatible with up to 32GB external MicroSD Card
  • Battery Standby 10 days
  • Battery Talk time 7 hours
The Centura is a phone from Tracfone packed with more features than any other non-Android phone. You can surf the web on 3G or for free on WiFi. You can use thousands of apps from Google's app store. The possibilities are greatly expanded with the Android OS.

To give a balance of the pros' and cons' for the Samsung Galaxy Centura, let's take a look at de9w2dsl's short list of Likes and Dislikes about this new touchscreen smartphone. While we don't cover every good or bad thing about this phone, we do strive to highlight enough information to allow you to make a more informed decision when buying this phone.

So let's get to the review.

    Samsung Galaxy Centura Review - Likes and Dislikes

    We will begin by taking a look at some of the things we really like about the Centura, and then move to some features we didn't like, or thought should have been included.

    Likes for the Samsung Galaxy Centura:
    There are many features that come with this phone that make it a great value compared to other Tracfone cell phones.
    Samsung Galaxy Centura tracfone
    Samsung Galaxy Centura Back

    We like that the Centura comes with WiFi connectivity, 3G speeds, Triple Minutes for Life and a 3MP camera.

    WiFi access on the Samsung makes it possible to surf the internet for free when connected to wireless internet. 3G speeds means that when you aren't on free WiFi, you can still be online at decent speeds using the phone's data.

    The 3 mega pixel camera will take both pictures and video recording at fair quality, especially compared to the 1MP camera's on many other Tracfone devices.

    Triple Minutes for Life is the best deal offered by Tracfone. (Some of their older phones have only double minutes for life.) What this means is that for every minute you add to the phone, you get 2 more for free. So if you add a 60 minute prepaid card, you will get 180 total minutes!

    The biggest like about the Samsung Galaxy Centura is the Android operating system which allows users to have access to over 700,000 apps from Google's Play store. Many apps are free, or a just a few dollars and provide huge features and functionality. You can use Google Maps, play thousands of games, or find time saving apps that make your life easier. Visit the Google Play store to learn more about the apps they have to offer.

    There are a few things we are not such huge fans about for the Centura, which we will now cover.

    Dislikes for the Samsung Galaxy Centura:
    The first thing we are not huge fans about is the new system for splitting up calling minutes/texting minutes/data into three separate pots or pools. What this means is that when you add a 60 minute prepaid card, you will get it tripled into 180 calling minutes, 180 texts, and 180 mb of data.

    For many, this will work just fine, and is even a better deal than the previous system where you would just get 180 total minutes for calling/texting/web browsing.

    But for those who are heavy text users, this reduces the number of texts you get form a 60 minute card from 600 to just 180. That is a significant reduction. So if you tend to do way more texting than other activities, you may want to stick with older models. For the rest of us, this is simply a new system we must get accustomed to.

    Another small dislike about this phone, and all the new Android phones from Tracfone, is that Tracfone Promo Codes won't work on them. You can no longer get extra minutes for free when adding a new prepaid card.

    We also dislike that there is no Airtime display on the home screen, but you can quickly and easily find your minutes balance, which we will explain a little further below.

    Finally, the Samsung Galaxy Centura is on the expensive side compared to other Tracfone mobile devices. It typically retails for $130 in stores and on the Tracfone website. We will cover more on where to buy this phone, and how to get it for less, at the end of this review.

    That covers the main likes and dislikes we found with the Centura, check out the comments, or leave your own, with more thoughts on the pros' and cons' of this phone.

    How to Check Your Airtime Balance on the Samsung Galaxy Centura

    This is a question/problem we have been seeing a lot, so we want to cover it here for your convenience. As we mentioned above, these is no display on the home screen, but checking your Tracfone balance is very easy.

    The first option is to use the new Tracfone app, that will give you your balance. We haven't tested this very much, but you can go directly to the app on Google Play to learn more, and download it.

    The other option is to follow this simple process:
    To find out the number of minutes/text/data left, you'll need to log on to your Tracfone account and submit a balance request, OR set up a bookmark in your browser (on your computer or phone) to go to "" (replace 1234567890 with your phone number). You'll get a free text message on your phone with your balances. The service end date is not in the text message. It's only shown on the browser screen.

    Overall Review of the Samsung Galaxy Centura

    samsung galaxy centura review
    View on Amazon

    The Centura is a powerful phone form a well known electronics company with a history of great devices. The Samsung Galaxy Centura is best suited for those who want their phones to do more than just text and call. With access to thousands of apps, this phones potential is nearly endless, limited only by what the user chooses to do.

    For those who prefer a more simple device, check out some of the other phones we have reviewed at our Cell Phone Reviews page.

    Overall, the Samsung Galaxy Centura is a great value and provides massive improvements over past Tracfone cell phones. It is one of the first true smartphones offered by Tracfone. The ability to surf the web for free via WiFi and use apps for entertainment, work or social make this a phone with multiple uses and functionality.

    For those comparing it to the ZTE Valet, we suggest checking out our post showing the features and specs for both the Valet and Centura.

    The Samsung Galaxy Centura typically retails for $129.99 in stores and online. We found the Centura on Amazon at a discount. And you can also read several informative customer reviews there as well.

    You may also want to check out eBay and for phone/minutes bundles that can be a good deal.

    We would suggest you look into getting a case and/or screen protector to help keep your phone in good shape. There are lots of cases and screen protectors for the Centura on Amazon.

    This concludes our review of the Samsung Galaxy Centura. We hope you found this useful. Be sure to share this with others who might like it, and leave a comment with any questions, thoughts or corrections.

    You might enjoy reading some of our other recent posts such as Where to Find Tracfone Prepaid Cards or perhaps the Summer Sales and Discounts on Tracfone Cell Phones (2014)

    Thanks for Visiting!


    Interactive Tutorial

    Samsung Galaxy Centura User Guide (pdf)

    Rabu, 16 Oktober 2013

    ZTE Valet Review - Tracfone Smartphone

    The ZTE Valet- Android Powered Smartphone from Tracfone

    This review by de9w2dsl covers the ZTE Valet (Z665C) from Tracfone.

    ZTE Valet review android tracfone
    Tracfone ZTE Valet Android Smartphone
    It has been a long time coming, but Tracfone has finally released several new Smartphones powered by the Android operating system for use with Tracfone prepaid service.

    The ZTE Valet, which we will review here, the Samsung Galaxy Centura, the LG Optimus Dynamic, LG Optimus Dynamic II and the Huawei Glory are the new smartphones offered by Tracfone.

    Read our reviews of each of the other phones (by following the links above) to learn more about their features,

    Tracfone also recently made it possible to bring your own phone to Tracfone, including smartphones and the iPhone 4/4S. Visit our Tracfone BYOP page for all the details and a list of compatible phones.

    Visit our post on Android powered smartphones coming to Tracfone to learn more.

    Now let's get to the review of the ZTE Z665C Valet from Tracfone.

    Review of the ZTE Valet Android Smartphone

    The Z665C is a candy bar style, touchscreen smartphone that runs on Android OS 4.1 and is available to use exclusively with Tracfone prepaid wireless. The Valet is a CDMA phone, and uses Verizon networks, although some Tracfone CDMA phones may use Sprint networks.

    Let's take a look at the full feature list for the ZTE Valet.

    ZTE Valet Features and Specs:
    • Android 4.1 Operating System
    • 3 MP Camera and Video Recorder
    • 3G/WiFi Connectivity
    • Triple Minutes for Life
    • Alarm Clock
    • Bluetooth
    • MP3 Player
    • GPS Enabled
    • Gravity/Proximity Sensor
    • Instant Messaging
    • Five customizable home screens
    • Access to Google Play with over 700,000 Apps
    • Multi-calling
    • Hearing Aid Compatible
    • 4 GB Micro SD card included, up to 32GB capacity
    • Mobile Web
    • Handsfree speaker, Voicemail, Call Waiting, Caller ID, and Text/Media Messaging
    • Also comes with Battery and Charger
    Now let's look at the dimensions and technical details for the ZTE Valet.

    Specs and Dimensions for the Valet:
    • 1.0 Ghz processor
    • 3.5" touchscreen
    • Size: 4.6" x 2.5" x 0.5"
    • 4.5 ounces
    • 11 days standby, 5.5 hours batter talk time
    Quite a list of feature sand specifications for the Valet, which packs a powerful phone for calling, texting and surfing the web. The Valet is hard to compare with any of the previous non-Android phones offered by Tracfone because of the huge increase in the things you can do with an Android powered smartphone. Even the LG 840G, which has lots of impressive features, can't come close to the practicality of having access to hundreds of thousands of apps from Google Play.

    Before we got too far on this, let's look at some of the likes and dislikes for this prepaid Android smartphone.

    Likes and Dislikes for the ZTE Valet

    ZTE Valet Likes:
    First off, this phone comes with three great features we see on several of Tracfone's other top phones: Triple Minutes for Life, WiFi, and 3G connectivity.

    zte valet review android tracfone
    Back of the ZTE Valet - Note camera w/ flash
    With Triple Minutes for Life, any airtime you add to this phone will automatically be tripled. So if you add 60 minutes, you will get 180 total minutes. (We will discuss more about minutes, texts and data rates for this phone below)

    WiFi allows you to connect to wireless internet and surf the web for free without using minutes/data. This is a great money saving feature and especially useful if you are often in WiFi areas like you home or work. The ZTE Valet even has a feature that allows you to turn off the phones data, so that you will only connect to the web through the free WiFi whenever available.

    3G speeds make this phone fairly quick when not connected to WiFi and, while not as fast as 4G, it is quite adequate for most people.

    Two other convenient features for the Valet are the 3 MP camera and included 4GB Micro SD card. The camera on the ZTE Valet is decent, although you would want a better camera if you plan to take a lot of pictures in medium to low light areas. With the included Micro SD card, you can store pictures, apps or music without overloading the phone's internal memory. It is also possibly to purchase up to a 32 GB Micro SD card if you want to expand the memory.

    Finally, our biggest like about the ZTE Valet is that it uses Android 4.1 OS. This opens up a world of options and features. You can choose from thousands of apps on Google Play and download them (save money by using WiFi) to the phone. You can use Google maps to get directions, or watch videos on Youtube. The possibilities are impressive and make this phone way more than just a device for calling and texting.

    But there are a few dislikes about the ZTE Valet we want to mention in this review.

    ZTE Valet Dislikes:
    The main dislike we have for the ZTE Valet isn't really a problem with the phone, but rather a dislike about how Tracfone is going to charge for Calling, Texting and Data.

    On all of Tracfone's non-Android devices, calling and texting are both deducted from a single minutes pool.

    With the new Android Smartphones, calling, texting and data are split into three different pools. So if you add a 60 minute card, it will be automatically tripled, and you will get 180 minutes for calling, 180 texts, and 180mb of data.

    The problem is that some people text way more often than call, and with this new break down of minutes, they would run out of texts rather quickly, but still have lots of calling minutes and data left over.

    The same would happen for those who mostly use the phone for calling. They would run out of calling time, but have a lot of texts and data left over. The only good news is that all minutes, data and texts for the Valet will carry over to the next month. But this could be an issue for some people.

    Another dislike about these new Android phones is that they may not accept promo codes. We haven't tested this extensively, and would appreciate feedback on this.

    While there are a few more likes and dislikes we could mention about the ZTE Valet, this covers the major information that would be useful for learning about this phone.

    How to Check your Airtime Balance on Tracfone Smartphones

    Many are wondering how to find out what your airtime balance is on these new Android smartphones. There is no dedicated display that shows your balance, however, there is a very easy way to check your balance. This information courtesy of an anonymous visitor:

    To find out the number of minutes/text/data left, you'll need to log on to your Tracfone account and submit a balance request, OR set up a bookmark in your browser (on your computer or phone) to go to "" (replace 1234567890 with your phone number). You'll get a free text message on your phone with your balances. The service end date is not in the text message. It's only shown on the browser screen.

    We recommend you signup for an account on the Tracfone website, which will make managing your cell phone and adding minutes much easier. If you have further questions or thoughts on adding/checking minutes, leave a comment below!

    Overall Review and Pricing for the ZTE Valet

    The Valet is a powerful mobile phone that offers a number of features appreciated by more tech savvy individuals. While it would not be a good choice for someone who just needs a phone to call and text, it is a great choice for those who like a lot of features, and want access to Google apps. It is a true smartphone, and provides good functionality while keeping costs low by using prepaid. This might be a great phone to use with Tracfone's family value plan.

    zte valet tracfone android smartphone
    ZTE Valet
    on Amazon

    In comparison to the Samsung Galaxy Centura, another Android Tracfone smartphone, de9w2dsl would choose the Valet for the lower price, included Micro SD card, and better processor. But you should make that decision for yourself. Read our recent post with the feature and specs for the ZTE Valet and Samsung Galaxy Centura to help compare these phones.

    The ZTE Valet retails for $99 in most stores, and online at the Tracfone website. We have also found the ZTE Valet on Amazon at a discount.

    Learn more about the CDMA network the Valet uses, in our post, GSM vs CDMA. You might also enjoy getting some free bonus minutes by using a Tracfone Promo Code. Although they don't work on the Android phones.

    Be sure to leave a comment with any thoughts, reviews, or questions about this phone, and share this review with others who might find it useful.

    We strive to provide useful, informative and accurate reviews for your convenience. But we make no guarantees and you take full responsibility for how you use this information. If we made a mistake, let us know in the comments! Thanks for visiting.

    Selasa, 08 Oktober 2013

    Wi-Fi...the case for using it with your Smartphones/tablets at home and wherever it's secure.

    Recently I decided to do some research on LTE speeds amongst the top US carriers.  I was quite surprised at how SLOW LTE is compared to the fastest home internet speeds (and of course home Wi-Fi).  Now I'm not sure why I'm so surprised, but I truly thought LTE would bring us speeds much closer to that of the fastest Wi-Fi that is offered.  Not so, sadly.  My blog today is going to cover the research, and explain why you should DEFINITELY be using Wi-Fi at home, and also, if it has security, wherever and whenever you can.

    For starters, LTE is still limited.  You hear and watch these commercials from Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile flaunting their new LTE networks and speeds.  Folks, don't believe the hype and drama!  LTE is barely faster than 3G!  I've got research to prove it.

    Through an iOS App called OpenSignal, I've been able to capture some great information.  The first screen capture that you'll see, is the aggregated Network speeds provided by the four main carriers in the US.  

    This picture  gives a portrayal of the speeds (2G - 4G) you are most likely to encounter as you travel in and out of your carriers coverage areas.  You will NOT obtain LTE speeds everywhere you go, even if you have an LTE capable device.  Ok.  You'll notice, when combined, Verizon can claim they have the fastest download speeds at 5.9 Mbps (Mega Bytes Per Second).  AT&T is right on their tail, coming in at 5.85 Mbps, while T-Mobile is not far behind, clocking in at 5.14 Mbps, finally Sprint trailing SO far behind it's embarrassing!

    Now if we remove 2G from the equation, let's look at how the coverage and speeds change.

    In the above graphic, you'll notice AT&T now has a slight advantage over Verizon, with T-Mobile coming in a respectable 3rd, and Sprint still miles away, at a crazy slow download speed of only 1.90 Mbps!!

    Now, look how it changes when we limit the discussion to only 4G (LTE).

    AT&T leaps ahead of Verizon, going from 6.03 Mbps to 8.35 Mbps!  T-Mobile also makes a significant jump from 5.53 Mbps all the way to 6.93 Mbps narrowly coming in 3rd to Verizon.  Sprint folks, even with their unlimited data offering is so far behind, it almost doesn't pay to be using them!

    Now, why am I bothering with Cellular speeds, wasn't this supposed to be about Wi-Fi you ask?  Yes, thats exactly why I'm offering you the Cellular comparison first!

    If you have internet coming into your home, you are paying for the speed with which your providers is providing your internet, which I hope you realize.  What you may not realize is that  you have the opportunity to get speeds at your home that run laps around what your carriers are able to provide with LTE right now.  Incoming internet speeds ranges from the ridiculously slow 768 Kbps (just a refresher, 1000 Kbps is equal to 1 Mbps) all the way up to warp speed of 50 Mbps.  Now, if you have internet at your home, do you even know what speed you are getting?  If not, find out!  Think of how much more efficient you'd be, and how much more you'd get it done with incoming speeds of well more than 100% faster than LTE! AT&T LTE tops out at 8.35 Mbps.  AT&T's home internet now claims to come in at over 40 Mbps!    Bazinga!  As one of my kids favorite TV show likes to say!  Even if all you do is check and respond to your email, it still pays to be doing it faster and more efficiently!  I'm not going to list all the home internet providers, or their available speeds, it's too much for this blog.  You should, however find out from your provider what speed you are getting, and if you aren't happy, get more speed!  Then, use your home Wi-Fi for your devices!  It's less expensive and it can be significantly faster!  Trust me, if you don't think faster is better with Wi-Fi, just do a test and try downloading a song, or movie at 8 Mbps, then retry at 25 Mbps, then again at 40 Mbps.  The speed difference with which downloads occur at higher rates will make you cry tears of joy!  Not too mention piss off your Cellular carriers, as you now can save money because using Wi-Fi is free (yes you pay to have internet coming to your home, but you can use as much data, on as many devices, as your heart desires, with no crappy overage costs!)

    ...:).  So you have a few take aways here.  First, if you have internet coming to your home, find out the speed.  Second, if you are not happy with the speed, ask for faster options.  If your current provider is limited to 20 Mbps or less, check out Comcast and AT&T.  Both now claim to have top speeds of over 40Mbps!  Third, loose the wireless router provided by your carrier, tell them you simply want a modem, then go and get yourself a great wireless router.  I highly recommend Apple's Airport Extreme.  It's the easiest to set up (can be set up right from your iPhone or iPad), easiest to use, and provides some of the best wireless coverage for your home.

    I truly hope you found this information helpful, and until next time, best to you and your devices!

    Senin, 07 Oktober 2013

    Tracfone ZTE Valet and Samsung Galaxy Centura Smartphones

    A Comparison of the Valet and Centura Galaxy from Tracfone

    The Samsung Galaxy Centura and ZTE Valet are both in stores and online, including Amazon, eBay, and Tracfones website. We want to give you a quick comparison of these two new android powered smartphones.

    review samsung galaxy centura tracfone
    Samsung Galaxy
    These phones are just the first two of a total of four phones Tracfone has released that use Android OS, as we mentioned in our recent post covering Tracfone Android Smartphone Rumors.

    Check out our review of the other two smartphones, the LG Optimus Dynamic and Huawei Glory to learn more.

    The Samsung Galaxy Centura and ZTE Valet both come with Triple Minutes for Life, WiFi Connectivity and many more standard features that are also available on phones like the LG 840G.

    What these two phones offer that has not been available before is the Android operating system, which allows users to access thousands of apps for almost anything you can think of. Tracfone will also be offering data cards alongside their normal prepaid minutes and service days.

    Now, let's just cover some of the features that make these two phones stand out among the rest of Tracfone devices. We will do a full review for the Samsung Galaxy Centura and ZTE Valet in the near future, once these phones are a little more 'tested'.

    Samsung Galaxy Centura Features and Specs

    This touchscreen smartphone is pretty standard when comparing it to other smartphones with a 3.5 inch screen and standby batter life that will last 10 days (but battery talk time of only 7 hours). It comes with Android 4.0, which is one of the newest versions of the Android OS.

    As we mentioned above, this phone has WiFi connectivity, which means that when there are wireless networks around, you can connect and surf the web without using up your data. So if you are usually in an area with WiFi, this phone could be very budget friendly.

    tracfone android samsung galaxy centura
    Samsung Galaxy Centura - Click for full size
    Other great features for the Samsung Galaxy Centura:

    • Uses Verizon 3G Networks (CDMA)
    • 3MP Camera
    • 800 Mhz processor
    • Mobile Web
    • MP3 Player
    • Micro SD card slot (for up to 32 GB - But no card included)
    • Triple Minutes for Life
    • Airtime Display for Prepaid Minutes and Service days
    For more features, specs, details and opinions, read our full Samsung Galaxy Centura Review.

    Obviously, compared to older Tracfone mobile phones, the Samsung Galaxy Centura has a lot of powerful features. The most important features it comes with for us are Triple Minutes for Life, WiFi, and Android OS.

    This phone (and the ZTE Valet) finally bridges the gap between cell phone and smartphone for Tracfone prepaid users. If you like the incredibly low cost of Tracfone ($6 a month for some) but want a newer phone with powerful features, this phone is a great option.

    The Samsung Galaxy Centura is available at several locations online, including at and eBay, but it retails for $129.99 at the Tracfone website.

    We have also recently found the Samsung Galaxy Centura on Amazon for around $120.

    Now, let's take a look at the ZTE Valet, which has a few nice surprises, and a lower price!

    ZTE Valet Features and Specs

    The Tracfone ZTE Valet comes with many of the same features as the Samsung Galaxy Centura, like a 3.5 inch touchscreen. The Valet has a slightly better processor, at 1.0 Ghz and it uses a slightly newer OS - Android 4.1.

    Tracfone zte valet review android
    ZTE Valet - click for full size
    Features for the ZTE Valet:
    • 3G and WiFi
    • 3MP Camera
    • Mobile Web
    • MP3 Player
    • 4 GB Micro SD card included (expandable up to 32 GB)
    • 11 days Standby batter life, 5hrs talk time
    • Tracfone Airtime balance display - to track your prepaid minutes
    • 4.65 x 2.46 inches (height/width) and 4.5 oz.
    • CDMA Network

    For more features, information, details and specs, read our full review of the ZTE Valet.

    Both the ZTE Valet and Samsung Galaxy Centura have access to Android apps through Google Play (with over 700,000 apps available). Both phones also have Google Maps and other online Google services.

    These two phones are fairly similar, but there are some important differences we want to point out.

    review zte valet tracfone
    ZTE Valet from
    The ZTE Valet comes with a 4 GB Micro SD card, which the Samsung Galaxy Centura does not come with. The Valet also has a faster processer, and uses a slightly newer version of Android.

    But perhaps the most interesting difference between these two Android smartphones is the price. As we already mentioned, the Samsung Galaxy Centura goes for $129. The ZTE Valet is available in stores and online for a retail price of just $99.

    You can also buy the ZTE Valet on Amazon for about $90.

    So while you will have to choose for yourself which of these two Tracfone smartphones you prefer, based on price and features, we at de9w2dsl prefer the ZTE Valet.

    Both phones can be found and purchased at the Tracfone website, under 'shop for phones'. Just enter your ZIP code and you should be able to browse these phones and others. If you can't find the phones, leave a comment below.

    We hope you found this useful, and we will be trying to put together full reviews for each of these phones in the near future. Be sure to share this with friends or family who might want to know about these new Android prepaid phones!

    More articles on Tracfone that might be useful: Learn about the Difference between GSM and CDMA Tracfone Cell Phones and which one is right for you. Also check out our Tracfone Promo Codes for October 2013 but you may want to see the full Tracfone Promo Codes page where we list lots of codes to get free minutes whenever you add airtime to your phone.

    We've got lots more info on Tracfone phones and service, so just take some time to browse! Thanks for visiting!

    Rabu, 02 Oktober 2013

    New Tracfone Promo Codes for October 2013

    Tracfone Promo Codes for October 2013

    tracfone promo codes october 2013
    Tracfone Codes for October!
    Below you will find Tracfone codes valid for use in October 2013 when adding minutes to your Tracfone device. We strive to make this as easy as possible, just browse the list below and choose your code!

    We maintain a full list of Tracfone Promo Codes with many more codes for each minute card, but these are just the codes verified to work for the month of October.

    Tracfone offers these promotional minutes as an incentive to buy and add airtime to your Tracfone cell phone. All you need to do is enter the promo code that corresponds with the amount on the minute card you are adding, and when your minutes are added to your phone, you should also get the bonus minutes.

    For October 2013, there are several new codes released from Tracfone, as well as several codes that are still working. Visit our main promo code page for the complete list of codes.

    New Promo Codes for October 2013

    Most of these codes are new for October, with some tested and still working form last month. Always try to enter your promo codes online, where you can try more than one code, in case the first code doesn't work.

    For a 60 minute card, code 72685 is working, and will give you 30 extra minutes

    On 120 minute cards, the new code is 93760 for 30 bonus minutes

    For 200 minute cards, use 23154 to get 40 bonus minutes

    Also for 120/200 minute cards, use 74316 to get 60 bonus minutes! This code is an older code, but still working in October and gives more free minutes than other codes! (use on the 450 minute cards too)

    For 400 minute/1 year cards use code 48334 to get 250 minutes for free added to your phone

    On the 450 minute card, use 93528 to get 50 bonus minutes

    13037 is an untested code for 200 minute cards that gives 20 bonus minutes

    This should have you covered for October 2013! Be sure to visit our main Tracfone Promo Codes page where you can find more codes to use. You can also read through the comments to help you know which codes are working for people.

    If you enjoy these free codes, share this with your friends and family and spread the word about free minutes! Also leave a comment with which codes are working for you!

    If you are interested in learning more about Tracfone, check out our recent articles that cover a wide range of important topics:

    Learn about the New Android Powered Phones Coming to Tracfone or read our full guide on the Difference between Tracfone GSM and CDMA phones, and which one you should buy.

    You might also find our report on the new ZTE Valet and Samsung Galaxy Centura Smartphones available now from Tracfone very interesting.

    You might also find our cell phone comparison, LG 840G vs LG 530G useful if you are shopping for a new phone.

    Thanks for visiting!

    Selasa, 01 Oktober 2013

    Cloud Storage Options Volume 3...

    Cloud Storage.  Your options have changed...Again...

    Happy Sunday!  When I originally created this blog about a year ago, the cloud scene storage scene  was similar, yet very different.  Since then most, if not all the cloud service providers have upped the ante and now offer more free storage and better options., for some reason, has gotten rid of there free option. and Google have greatly enhanced their cloud options, so with all the change occurring I thought it would be a good idea to update the blog, yet again with the most current information for all my readers.  So, here we go, again!

    Well start this updated blog with the same five cloud options that I reviewed back in October of 2013.    Those sites are Dropbox, Google Drive, CX, Copy and Box.  Dropbox was one of the first players on the cloud scene, so I’ve been using it for a few years now.  I like the ease with which it integrates with Mac OSX (and Windows), though it does have it’s drawbacks.  CX and Copy are newer to the game.  Copy offers  more storage for free, and like Dropbox have a very good App for your iOS devices.   CX no longer has a free option, which right off the bat would lead me no longer recommend it.   Google Drive is one of the many tools to spawn out of Gmail.  One of the great features of Google Drive is that, if you have a Google account, you automatically get access to Google Drive for free!  The final option that I’m going to write about, Box, has also been around for a few years.  Box is geared toward the enterprise, though anyone can sign up.  Box now gives users 50GB of free storage, thats the most free storage offered.  Also, like the other four, has the ability to upgrade to more storage for a monthly fee.

    Let’s dig a little further into the options, we’ll start with Dropbox.  Nothing has changed for Dropbox since the previous update in October.  They have been around longer than the four others here (since 2004), that doesn’t however make them the best option.  Dropbox has a very user friendly interface, and new users start with 2gb of free storage.  It entices you to share Dropbox with everyone you know by offering you 500mb of free storage for everyone who joins based on your introduction, giving you up to 18gb of free storage. Dropbox installs on your Mac (or PC) as well as your iPhone or iPad (or android device).  Once you’ve installed in on your Mac, you can easily transfer files using Finder (a very nice option), or you can log into from your browser of choice and upload files through it’s friendly easy to use interface.  Dropbox’s features are more limited than some of the others here, but it’s very good at what it does, which is provide you with either additional storage, as well as a place to back up and share your important files.  If the 2gb you get for free (or if you can get your friends/family to join you and get up to 18gb free) isn’t enough, you can purchase additional storage, starting at 100gb  for $9.99 a month, 200gb for $19.99 all the way up to 500gb for $49.99 a month.  Dropbox’s iOS app has been updated to work nicely with iOS 7.  It let’s you download or upload files from your iPhone or iPad, a nice addition and a great way to have access to the files you need, wherever and whenever you need them.  Some other nice iOS features include the ability to share files (rather than having to email or message them to someone), create folders, send a file as a Facebook message, or post to Facebook as well as being able to share via Twitter.  All in all, a nice easy to use interface, potential for 18gb of free space, but from a storage perspective, Dropbox is far behind Drive, Box and Copy.

    Next up, Google Drive.  Google is continually adding free storage, and they have really upped the ante with their latest offerings.  Google drive has actually been around since 2005, when it started as Google Docs.  What is now Google Drive, is a nice leap forward.  When I last updated the blog, Google Drive had upped their offering to 15gb of free storage, plus the ability to create documents using Google’s web suite of applications, something not offered by Dropbox, CX, or Copy.  Not too mention, there’s even an online store where you can add apps to your Google Drive, a very nice feature indeed, although let me point out this caveat, most apps require Google’s Chrome browser in order to work.  So if you don’t use Chrome, most of those apps are not suitable for your browser!  Similar to Dropbox, Drive has a nice, easy to use interface, as well as an iOS companion app that gives you access to all your files, wherever and whenever you need, also allowing you to upload photos or videos from your iOS device and share them.    If the 15gb of free storage is not enough, Google has recently changed their upgrade options, yet again, and the changes are better!   You can upgrade from 100GB for only $1.99 a month, all the way to  10TB for a measly $99.99 per month.  In between those options, you can get 1TB at $9.99/month.  Easily the best options of any of the cloud service providers.  Drive let’s you share documents with other Google users (and vice versa), and in my opinion has the best integration companion, Google Hangouts.   With an upgraded interface, tremendous storage options, Google drive is definitely a cloud storage option to consider.

    Now onto CX.  CX has changed things up, and in my opinion, not for the better.  They have removed their free starter option (you do get to try the service for 30 days for free, but that really doest count!).  CX gives you 10GB of storage for $9.99/year.  Not a bad deal, but when your competitors are giving away storage, it's not a good deal by any stretch!   They have 256 bit encryption for those of you looking to keep your stuff as encrypted as possible, they have redundant backups in case anything happens to their systems, and added firewall protection to keep you data safe, all killer features!  Like Google Drive, CX has a group feature that let’s you collaborate with other people (team members, family, friends etc.), though it does not offer video conferencing as of this blog writing.  It also has a nice feature where you can highlight some files as favorites for offline viewing when necessary.  Like the other cloud offerings, Cx’s iOS app allows you the ability to upload photo’s directly from your iPhone or iPad.  CX seems to like the Dropbox idea where you share with friends, and if they sign up you get additional storage, only where Dropbox offers 500mb of storage per person, CX is offering 300mb with the ability to earn up to 6gb additional free storage, giving you a potential total of 16gb free storage.  Unlike Dropbox, CX’s integration with the Mac is not through Finder, rather it has an App you can download, run and pick which folder(s) you wish to sync (very easy to use).  CX has great plans if you wish to add storage.  I’m just going to cover the Personal Plans here, there are additional plans for businesses.  CX's upgrade options have remained the same.  A user can upgrade to 25GB for $4.99 a month.  If that isn’t enough for you, you can go to 100GB for $9.99 a month, and if you still need more, for $21.99 a month you’ll get 250GB of storage!  Seven months ago those options were very good.  Today, with the options you are getting from both Google Drive and, they don't look all that good.  Your options are not as numerous as with Google Drive, however if you are looking for a good online back-up of pictures or movies (or both), CX is a good way to go!  All in all I still like CX’s online interface, but wish the Mac access was via Finder instead of having to run an additional app to sync your files.  But sadly, I can no longer recommend CX as a viable cloud storage option.  Sorry guys!

    Very little has changed for the next cloud storage option,   Copy was created by Networking security specialists, Barracuda Networks, so you can be sure your content will be as secure as possible!  Similar to Drive, Copy starts you off at 15GB of free storage.  Copy has both personal and business options, for the purpose of this blog, I'm only going to cover the personal options.  Beyond the 15GB free plan, Copy now has only one other plan, 250GB for either $9.99/month or $99/year.  They have gotten rid of their 500GB for $14.99/month or $149/year option, perhaps no one was using that much space?  The two options are good, not great .  Your options are more limited than what Google offers with Drive.  The best part of Copy is still its referral plans.  There literally is no option to how much free storage you can accrue!  I've read review of people earning up to 600gb of free storage by inviting their contacts!  That is absolutely amazing!  Copy works across platforms, including Linux.  Most cloud service providers are limited to Mac OSX and Windows.  Copy is even now available on the Windows mobile platform, for those that have Windows mobile phones.  Both and the desktop client are very easy to use.  The desktop client integrates with Finder (for Mac), which I love as it makes syncing files and folders a very easy and intuitive task.  All in all (and certainly in my opinion), Copy is a viable cloud service options, that I would recommend.

    The last storage option I’m going to cover here is  Box started selling cloud storage into enterprises before it opened up to consumers.  Box perviously had been offering 10GB of free storage, which they recently bumped up to 50GB.  There is a slight catch.  You don't get the extra 40GB of storage until you install Box on your iOS device.  But that's the whole point of these cloud storage sights right?  Having your files in the cloud so you can have access to them on your devices.  Like Dropbox, Box has great integration into Mac OSX, where you can access your files through Finder.  Box’s big differentiator is still their ability to allow you to create a document using the Microsoft Suite (Word, Excel and Powerpoint) of tools.  If you do not have a copy of Microsoft Word (or Excel or Powerpoint), it opens a cloud version for you, and automatically saves your work to your Box storage, not your computer.  One thing I don't like about Box, is that it will not store your iWork files!  So if you are a Pages/Keynote/Numbers user, you'll have to export your files to PDF format in order to store them on Box.  To me that's a huge detractor.  In Boxes favor, is that it let's you create a document in Google Doc format!  Little by little we are getting away from the need to own copies of Microsoft Office (or any other office products for that matter).  Because of it’s tight Microsoft integration, Box, in my opinion, offers a great alternative for those users confined to Microsoft Office.  Box has, an easy to use online interface.  Box’s iOS app is very similar to the others, with the same features.  You can tap a file and make it a favorite, which will allow offline access.  You can also upload pictures and video from you iPhone or iPad.  If you are looking for additional storage, now a single user can upgrade to 100GB for only $5 a month.  Not as good as Google Drive's offering, but still fairly reasonable.   There are also many other options for businesses that I'm not going to cover here.

    So quite a bit has changed.  Most of it for the better, in CX's case, not so much.  When you are trying to figure out which one is best,  there may not be a best, like me, you may end up using multiple cloud storage sites.   If you are looking for the most free storage, Box is now the way to go.  If you are looking for the most mature product, Box is again the way to go.  If you are looking for one with the most options, Google Drive should be your choice.  Since all but CX are free,  I recommend trying them all out and seeing which one suits you the best.   I hope the updated blog helps, if you like it or even if you don’t, leave a comment I love hearing from you…
    Until next time, Best to you and your devices.

    And for more information on The MacMentor, Like our page on Facebook.  Connect with us on LinkedIn and check out our homepage,