Wi-Fi Phone With Free Unlimited National Calling

Introduction

Wi-Fi calling is the ability to make phone calls from your mobile phone when there is little or no mobile signal. Until recently, people living in areas with poor mobile signal strength had to purchase micro-cell devices at a cost of about $150. These devices would plug into Ethernet and work like a small cell tower in your home. With Wi-Fi calling, it’s possible to make phone calls anywhere there’s a wireless Internet connection, even if no carrier signal is present — like basements or office buildings.

Skype Phone Number – $6 / mo.

Wi-Fi calling has been available for a while in various forms. The Skype app for mobile phones was an early offering that was initially blocked by carriers for use over cellular data because it was seen as a way of circumventing the mobile phone packages that limited the monthly calling minutes. You could still use Skype wherever wireless Internet was available, just not while away from wireless. Eventually, mobile phone carriers began offering unlimited nation-wide calling so cellular data use by VoIP apps was permitted. Skype continues to be a favorite solution for video calling.

A drawback to setting up a Skype phone number is that the available area codes are limited. For example, in Iowa, only 712 (Sioux City) is available. Unless you live in that calling area, people calling from landlines will need to pay long distance fees.

Republic Wireless – $10 / mo.

One of the first innovators to offer wireless calling included in their phone service was Republic Wireless. Initially the cost was $5 per month. That’s now up to $10 per month. With phones starting at about $130, you can have wireless calling as well as a pay-as-you-go cellular phone service.

Google Voice – $0 / mo.

Google Voice is available at no cost for every person who has a free Google account. If you setup an Android phone with the Google Voice app for Android or an iPhone with the Google App for iOS, you get a free phone number in just about any area code you choose. You can then receive and make calls from that number. The phone service includes voicemail and SMS text messaging.

If you’d like to activate the phone with a carrier, you can, but you don’t need to. So, essentially, you can have free phone service, and a free phone number, forever. It will work anytime you’re in range of a wireless Internet connection.

NOTE: Incoming calls can only go to voicemail or be routed to a working phone line. So, if you’re using your Google Voice phone as your only phone, then you’ll need to have people leave a message and then call them back using Google Hangouts.

Making Calls with Google Hangouts.

The instructions below explain how to make a call with the Google Hangouts App. Click this image for a larger view.

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Best Phones for Google Voice

If you plan to save money by using a mobile phone with or without carrier service activated, here are some great models to choose from. It’s best to choose a model with 16GB or more memory so the phone isn’t running out of room frequently.

  • Motorola Moto G 16GB Global Phone 3rd Generation – $219 on Amazon. This phone looks great and sounds great with dual front facing speakers. It has a fast quad-core processor and includes an FM radio. The smooth design all around is very comfortable to hold. The 5″ screen is an ideal size — not too big, and not too small. The display is super colorful, crisp and bright. As a global phone, it has maximum compatibility and resale value.
  •  Motorola Moto G 8GB 2nd Generation – $99 to $165 on Amazon. The 2nd Generation Moto G is available in 8GB only, but it will save you some money. It has many of the same benefits and features as the 3G. The US model is $99 and the Global model is $165.
  • Unlocked Android Phones on Amazon. There are a variety of unlocked Android phones on Amazon. Unlocked phones have the greatest flexibility and need not be bound to a contract with a particular carrier. Android phones offer the ability to use the Google Play store for apps.
  • Unlocked Apple Phones on Amazon. There are a variety of unlocked Apple phones on Amazon. Unlocked phones have the greatest flexibility and need not be bound to a contract with a particular carrier. The Apple iPhone offer the ability to use the Apple App store which may have more elaborate features than their Android counterparts. Newer models of Apple iPhones have one-touch fingerprint readers which help secure your phone.

Consider an iPod Touch $199

If you’re planning on exclusively using Wi-Fi calling you might consider using an iPod Touch starting at $199 for the 16GB model. The iPod touch offers many great features and it’s super slim and light.

Consider an iPad $269 – $1,400

Like the iPod touch, an iPad would also serve as an excellent phone system with the added advantage of having great computing features for other work. Using cloud storage with Dropbox or Box turns the iPad into a desktop-class file storage system.

AT&T Wi-Fi Calling

Recently AT&T partnered with Apple to allow Wi-Fi calling on new iPhones. This is great news for people who had very poor signal quality in their homes or offices.

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Important Travel Planning: Mobile Phone Voice and Data Service Coverage Areas

Problem Summary

Something to keep in mind when traveling with a non-Verizon phone is that there may be times when you have only voice services or no signal at all — meaning, you’ll be without even the ability to make an emergency phone call. With no signal, if you misplace your phone, you can’t call it to hear it ringing, and it can no longer be located using the ‘find my phone’ features available from most companies. With voice services only, the GPS mapping images won’t download and update. Even if you have data services available on your non-Verizon device, the slower remote service typically can’t keep up with map reloads. Most people don’t discover these things until they are already traveling

So, if you’re traveling to someplace other than a big city, and aren’t a Verizon customer, plan on being without Internet during your travels and when you get where you’re going.

Hotel Wireless Isn’t Reliable

Don’t expect to rely on your hotel’s WiFi service because it will probably be very slow or inaccessible (as shown below).

20150523sa-nomadix-hotel-wireles-wifi-internet-service-not-available-IMG_7126

Need to meet a deadline or catch up on important emails? Sorry. Better luck next time.

Best Verizon Mobile Hotspot

Your best option is to travel with a Verizon MiFi 6620L Jetpack 4G LTE mobile WiFi hotspot (shown below). This will allow you to get data services such as GPS mapping updates and look up important information on the internet. You’ll also be able to make phone calls using Skype, Hangouts, or a similar VOiP (voice over IP) service.

20150523sa-verizon-mobile-hotspot-500x500

Here’s Why Verizon Costs More

Companies like AT&T and Sprint offer lots of shared data and typically lower monthly prices, with relatively good signal coverage in most cities, but they don’t cover rural or remote areas well. This is because they’ve not invested in the additional tower placements (therefore the lower monthly bills). Verizon costs more because they provide service in bigger cities as well as in rural and remote areas. They’ve invested in more tower locations nation-wide.

Hybrid Service Model

A hybrid service model will save money while giving you the services you need when you need them. In other words, rather than paying higher monthly fees for Verizon’s amazing national coverage year-round, pay for it only when traveling (unless you travel all the time or live in a rural area). Then, for your year-round phone service, get a lower priced local service provider.

Cost of a Mobile WiFi Hotspot

The cost of a mobile hotspot is a $200 one-time purchase price (with no contract) and then $50 for 5GB data during any month you’re planning to travel. Other data plans are also available. When you’re not traveling, you can set your Verizon service to dormant and not pay anything until your next trip. There are other lower cost mobile hotspot devices, but they work only with 4G and won’t provide service in 3G areas. Also, they don’t have the large color screen with buttons for navigation and system configuration.

Limitations and Problems

Even if you use a Verizon mobile WiFi hotspot as described above, you’ll still have some limitations with your non-Verizon phone. For example, although the data will work, and you can make outbound calls with Skype, any inbound phone calls or SMS text messages won’t come through (although, Apple iMessage still works).

Click here to learn more or purchase
a Verizon Mobile WiFi Hotspot.

How iPhone and Android Smartphone Apps Track and Access Your Private Information

The following series of four videos from AJ+ presents an introduction to the privacy issues related to using smartphone apps.

How Apps Access Your Private Information

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNNulgHYAbo?rel=0]

Google Is Tracking Your Every Move

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HqOdp0u7eE?rel=0]

Free Wi-Fi Terms of Use Are Broad and Invasive

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7hHJevLh59Q?rel=0]

Who’s Really In Control Of Your Phone?

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqfgcw-v_fA?rel=0]

Motorola Moto X 2nd Gen 32GB Bamboo Smartphone

The Motorola Moto X smartphone ($400 base price) offers a user customizable design with Moto Maker. The cost when fully configured with 32GB memory ($50), bamboo back ($25), the Motorola Turbo Charger ($35), AT&T carrier configuration ($100), and Moto Care Accidental Protection ($85) is about $700. The warranty is transferable and tied to the device’s unique IMEI number.

Moto X 2nd Gen Product Images

Motorola Turbo Charger ($35)

From the Turbo Charger product page:

  • Our fastest charger ever — incorporates Qualcomm® Quick Charge™ 2.0 technology and 15W of power
  • 15 minutes of charging on the latest Moto phones delivers up to 8 more hours of battery life. Other USB-enabled phones and tablets enjoy up to 1.6 amp charging rate.
  • Our optimized battery charging algorithm enables turbo charging while maintaining good battery cycle life.

General Moto X 2nd Gen Specifications

Below are general specifications about the Moto X 2nd Gen.

Operating system

Android 5.0 Lollipop® now available for some carriers

System Architecture/Processor

Motorola Mobile Computing System including 2.5GHz Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 801 with quad-core CPU (MSM 8974-AC), Adreno 330 @ 578 MHz GPU, Natural Language Processor, Contextual Computing Processor

Memory (RAM)

  • 2GB

Storage (ROM)

  • 16GB*** & 32GB***
  • 64GB*** (Moto Pure Edition only)

Dimensions

  • Height: 140.8mm ( 5.54 inches)
  • Width: 72.4mm ( 2.85 inches)
  • Curve: 3.8-9.9mm ( 0.15- 0.39 inches)

Weight

  • 144 grams (5.08 ounces)

Display

  • 5.2″ AMOLED
  • 1080p FULL HD 1920×1080
  • 423 ppi
  • Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3

Battery

  • 2300 mAh
  • Mixed usage up to 24 hours*

Water Resistant

  • Yes

Networks

  • GSM/GPRS/EDGE, UMTS/HSPA+, 4G LTE

Bands (by model)

Moto X – Pure Edition (GSM Unlocked with T-Mo SIM – XT1095):

  • GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
  • UMTS/HSPA+ (850, 900, 1700 (AWS), 1900, 2100 MHz)
  • 4G LTE (2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 17)

AT&T (XT1097):

  • GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
  • UMTS/HSPA+ (850, 900, 1700 (AWS), 1900, 2100 MHz)
  • 4G LTE (2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 17)

Verizon (XT1096):

  • GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
  • UMTS/HSPA+ (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz)
  • CDMA (850, 1900 MHz)
  • 4G LTE (2, 3, 4, 7, 13)

USC (XT1093):

  • GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
  • UMTS/HSPA+ (850, 900, 1800, 1900, 2100 MHz)
  • CDMA (800, 850, 1900 MHz)
  • 4G LTE (2, 4, 5, 12, 17, 25)

Rear Camera

  • 13 MP
  • f/ 2.25 aperture
  • Quick Capture
  • Tap anywhere to capture
  • Ring flash with dual LEDs
  • 4K UHD video capture
  • 1080p HD video (30 fps)
  • 4X digital zoom
  • Slow motion video
  • Burst mode
  • Auto HDR
  • Panorama
  • Drag to Focus & Exposure

Front Camera

  • 2 MP

SIM Card

  • Nano-SIM

Connectivity

  • Micro USB, 3.5mm headset jack

Bluetooth® Technology

  • Bluetooth version 4.0 LE

Wi-Fi

  • 802.11a/g/b/n/ac (dual band capable)

Speaker

  • Front-ported

Video Capture

  • 1080p HD and 2160p Ultra HD Video, 30fps (MPEG4, H.264)

NFC

  • Yes

Location Services

  • GPS

Base Models**

  • Black
  • Black with Black Leather
  • White with Bamboo

Backs**

  • Choose from 25 different backs (17 colors, 4 woods, 4 leathers).

Accents**

  • Choose from 10 accent colors on the back and now the front too.

Motorola Turbo Charger ($35)

  • Our fastest charger ever — incorporates Qualcomm® Quick Charge™ 2.0 technology and 15W of power
  • 15 minutes of charging on the latest Moto phones delivers up to 8 more hours of battery life. Other USB-enabled phones and tablets enjoy up to 1.6 amp charging rate.
  • Our optimized battery charging algorithm enables turbo charging while maintaining good battery cycle life.

Apple Notes Program Undo Delete or Recycle Bin

The Problem

Most programs have a built-in trash or recycle bin so that deleted items can be recovered. It’s very disconcerting if you’re using a program that doesn’t have an undo feature or trash/recycle folder where deleted items can be recovered from. The Apple Notes program is an example of a program without an undo feature or trash/recycle folder.

The Solution

The solution to this problem is to create a folder called trash and instead of deleting items, move them to the trash folder.

Apple iPhone 6 Plus Clear Cases

There are a variety of cases available for the iPhone 6 Plus. One of the best values is the Insignia clear case (shown below) available at Best Buy for about $15 or available from Amazon as the Flexion case for about $13.

Design Benefits

Here are some of the benefits of this case design:

  1. Slim. This case design is light, slim, and contoured so it retains the very thin design of the iPhone 6 Plus.
  2. Protective. It is thick enough to prevent scratches to the surface.
  3. Screen Care. There is a slightly raised edge on the face of the cover to protect the glass surface if the phone is placed face down.
  4. Secure Grip. The case has just the right amount of grip so the phone doesn’t slip out of your hand, yet slides into a pocket easily.
  5. Modifiable. As with just about any case, the power and volume buttons aren’t as easy to push with the case on. Fortunately with this case, a modification can be made by using a box cutter or similar sharp cutting tool to very carefully cut out a hole for easier access to the power button. Volume buttons are less of a concern since volume isn’t adjusted as frequently.

For the price, this is an excellent case. If you need something with more protection, you can view ruggedized cases on Amazon.

Insignia Clear Case

Click any image below for a larger gallery view. Click here to buy.

Flexion Clear Case

Click any image below for a larger gallery view. Click here to buy.

Instruction Guide for Replacing an iPhone

Follow these instructions if you’re upgrading or replacing an iPhone.

  1. Backup. Backup your current (old) phone using iTunes. You may already have an iCloud backup, but a local backup will be a faster method. This will require synchronizing the phone which may involve transferring purchased or upgraded apps to or from the phone. You may also be prompted to perform any updates for the phone. It may be faster to use iTunes (and a fast Ethernet connection) to download the latest updated apps. Once everything is updated in iTunes and on the iPhone, and backed up, you are ready for the next step.
  2. Logout of iCloud. Logout of your iCloud account on the iPhone. Without doing this, Apple will still have a record of the phone as being assigned to your iCloud account and nobody else will ever be able to use the phone until it is deauthorized and disconnected.
  3. Secure Erase. From Settings > General > choose to Reset all data and settings.
  4. Restore Backup to New iPhone. You can now restore the backup made in step #1 to the new replacement iPhone. Start iTunes and connect the phone. You’ll see a message in iTunes stating “Welcome to Your New iPhone” and “Restore from this backup” will have the most recent backup selected. You may also see a message stating that an update is available for the phone. You screen may look like the one below. Click the image for a larger view.
    20150219th1942-iphone-setup-itunes-restore-from-backup
  5. License Agreement. Accept the license agreement by checking the box and clicking Continue as shown below. Click the image for a larger view.
    20150219th1945-iphone-setup-license-agreement
  6. Restore Progress. You’ll see a message, “Restoring iPhone from backup” with the estimated time remaining as shown below. The time remaining may fluctuate during the restore process since it is an estimate based on the current transfer process.
    20150219th1947-restoring-iphone-from-backup-time-remaining
    20150219th1950-restoring-iphone-from-backup-time-remaining
  7. Restart. After the iPhone is restored, it will be restarted.
  8. Available Updates. Even though the phone is new, you may be reminded of available updates. It’s common that new computers and devices need updates after purchase. Examples of update notifications are below. You can ignore or cancel these for now. If you have an option to download only, you can choose that.
    20150219th2008-new-iphone-software-version-8-1-3-is-available
    20150219th2009-update-carrier-settings-for-iphone-available
  9. Initial Setup Wizard. When your phone has restarted, it will still say “Hello” as if it’s a brand new phone. This is because the initial startup sequence hasn’t run yet. Walk through the navigated guide to perform the initial setup. You can setup the touch ID (fingerprint access) during the phone setup process, or you can do it later.
  10. Account Passwords. You’ll be asked to enter the passwords for all your email accounts, social networks, and other online accounts. This is to avoid someone restoring your backup to a device and having full access to any  accounts with saved passwords.
  11. Synchronize Apps. The restoration process will involve copying all apps from iTunes back to the iPhone. The reason this happens is because the iPhone backup does not seem to make an extra copy of the apps during the backup process (since they are already in iTunes or available in the cloud). So, the iPhone backup contains your unique user settings and data. The synchronization process may take a while if you have many apps and/or larger apps.
  12. Google Accounts. For Gmail accounts that have additional security measures enabled, you may need to generate a password from the app passwords generator. These are found under your Google Account security settings. You can delete (revoke) any previous access codes generated for your old phone.
  13. Facebook. For Facebook accounts that have additional security measures enabled, the Facebook app may prompt you to enter a uniquely generated password key that will be sent via SMS.
  14. Update. After your phone has completed the initial synchronization, this would be a good time to perform the iOS update if available. Even if your old phone had the latest iOS, your new phone, even though restored from a backup, may not have the latest iOS, and since this isn’t part of the backup/restore image the update will need to be done manually. You can perform an iOS update from within the phone under Settings > General > Software update. Or, you can do it from within iTunes under the iPhone page.
  15. Disable iPhoto Launch. By default, your phone may automatically launch iPhoto when it is connected to your Apple computer. To disable this, close out of iPhoto and open Image capture from the Applications list. Select your device, and then expand the options window in the lower left corner by clicking the tiny triangle in the box as shown below. Click the image for a larger view.
    20150220fr0148-image-capture
    20150220fr0153-iphone-image-capture-connecting-iphone-opens-application-01
  16. From the options menu, under “Connecting this iPhone opens” choose “No Application” from the drop-down menu as shown below. Click either image for a larger view.
    20150220fr0153-iphone-image-capture-connecting-iphone-opens-application-02
    20150220fr0153-iphone-image-capture-connecting-iphone-opens-application-03
  17. Connection Error. At some point along the way you may see a connection error like the one below. If so, click the OK button. Exit iTunes and start again. You should be able to connect. Make sure the phone is on and logged in when starting iTunes.
    20150220fr0158-iphone-synchronization-error-itunes-could-not-connect-iphone-invalid-response-received-from-device
  18. Backup. After performing all of the above steps, you may not yet have a backup of your new device. From within iTunes, on the device page, under Backups, choose to backup to ‘This computer’ and click on the ‘Back Up Now’ button under ‘Manually Back Up and Restore.’ Click the image below for a larger view.
    20150220fr0202-iphone-backups-this-computer-backup-now

At this point, you new phone should be setup, backed up, and ready to use.

Apple iPhone App Updates Number Won’t Reset or Clear

You may find yourself in a situation where your iPhone app updates number won’t reset or clear. This can happen after restoring a phone using iTunes. It could happen if you’ve updated the apps in iTunes and synchronized your phone, but the App Store on the phone doesn’t acknowledge that the apps have updated.

There will be a notification on the iPhone App Store icon indicating a certain number of updates are pending, but when you check they have already been updated. Restarting the phone won’t fix the problem.

At some point, additional apps on the iPhone will have updates available. At that time, the App Store will recalculate the number of available apps and display the correct number.

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2014 Motorola Moto G and Moto X 2nd Generation Review

The 2014 Motorola Moto G and Moto X 2nd Generation phones have both been updated to offer faster performance compared to the previous years’ models, and each have their unique benefits. This article will briefly explore the advantages of each phone.

2014 Motorola Moto G ($180)

Although the Moto G is one of the least expensive Android phones on the market today, it’s actually one of the most advanced and serves as a standard by which all other phones can be measured. The Moto G is available in a US/Canada model (XT1064) and a Global GSM model (XT1063). Both are about $180 without a contract. [Buy Now]

Here are some of the features that make the Moto G one of the best phones available today:

  • Android 5 Lollipop. When you read the 14 page summary of new features offered in Android 5, you may agree that Android has surpassed all other smartphone operating systems. It’s not just a slightly modified version of Android 4.4.4, but a total redesign (familiar, yet so much better). This makes any phone with Android 5 an amazing phone. The Moto G (Global GSM Version) is one of the first phones on the planet to offer Android 5. Although the Nexus 6 is advertised as the only product to offer Android 5, the Nexus 6 remains sold out and unavailable to the average consumer. It’s important to note that it’s only the Global GSM Version of the Moto G that receives the free OTA (over the air / pushed out) automatic Android upgrade from 4.4.4 (KitKat). The US Model doesn’t offer this upgrade yet. If having access to Android 5 is a priority for you, then the Moto G Global Version is the only phone for you. There are unapproved ways of reprogramming other phones to load modified operating systems including Android 5, but these void the warranty. By the time you read this article, other phones may be receiving updates to Android 5, but you’ll need to check to verify this, and the updates sometimes get rolled out over a period of days or weeks so it’s not guaranteed. Where Android 5 is adopted by other manufacturers, it probably won’t be the pure (stock) Android version, but a heavily modified and tweaked version to make it compatible with the modifications and special apps from that manufacturer and the carrier. Moto G offers one of the purest cleanest Android 5 experience available.
  • Audio. The Moto G has two front facing stereo speakers that produce surprisingly good sound. Many other more expensive phones have only mono sound with a tiny speaker on the back of the phone where you might cover it with the palm of your hand, or have the sound muffled when the phone is sitting on a noise dampening surface such as a couch, bed, or blanket.
  • Case. The Moto G is durable enough that you may not feel a case is needed for protection. At only $180 for the phone, the cost of a case is significant — given that the price of some phone cases could be as much as 20% to 30% of the entire cost of the phone. Not having to buy a case saves considerable money and helps retain the thin light design of the phone.
  • Display. The Moto G has a very bright and colorful 5″ display that’s easy to read. When playing high quality 4K YouTube videos for example, it almost looks 3D. Even though the resolution is 720p (1280×720), it looks stunning and amazing.The AMOLED technology of the display makes it very pleasant to look at. The surface of the screen is made of Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3 which is virtually indestructible. This is much preferred to other phones which seem to use ‘chimpanzee glass’ that shatters into a million pieces with the slightest provocation.
  • Feel. The Moto G has a very nice feel to it. The back of the phone is a smooth but not slippery surface that is very comfortable and soothing to the touch. The fit and finish where the back removable case meets the phone is almost seamless, so there are no rough or sharp edges.
  • Handling. The Moto G is thin and light, making it easy to handle and slip into your pocket.
  • Size. The Moto G isn’t much bigger than its 5″ display — which makes it easy to handle and operate with one hand. It’s tempting to have a larger phone that can double as a small tablet device. However, for all the times that one handed operation is needed, it’s preferable to have a smaller phone and buy a separate tablet device with the screen you really desire. Displays smaller than 5″ become less usable either because of having a limited viewing area and/or because of smaller fonts being hard to read.
  • Storage. Although the phone comes with only 8GB RAM, it can be easily expanded with an internal microSD memory card.

Drawbacks. There are a few drawbacks to the Moto G.

  • Camera. The camera quality in the Moto G is adequate, but not exceptional, and some people have reported difficulty getting the camera to focus precisely on what they want to be taking a photo of. If you swap out your camera app with the Google Camera rather than the build-in camera software, you may get better results. Keep in mind that these are not for award winning professional competition photos that can be enlarged. These cameras are primarily for quick snapshots of average quality.
  • Battery. The battery isn’t removable. For people who travel a lot, it’s nice to have a few extra fully charged batteries with you to swap out when the battery gets low. Or, if a battery becomes defective, removable batteries ensure that you only need to replace a battery instead of the entire phone.
  • Speed. Having a slightly slower processor than the more expensive phones, the Moto G may be sluggish when playing some games or when viewing very high resolution videos — depending on what else is running.
  • Storage. Despite having a removable microSD storage card for added expansion, the Moto G is still limited to the included 8GB storage for most system operations. Application and media can be stored on the microSD, but other system functions can’t be moved, so you may at some point reach the upper limit of the device’s storage capacity.

Moto X 2nd Generation ($424)

In 2014, Motorola announced the Moto X 2nd Generation phone. It’s an excellent choice for people who like the benefits of the Moto G, but want a more powerful processor and faster 4G LTE mobile data speeds. Based on the Moto G specs shown above, here are some points for those who are considering the phone.

  • Android. The Moto X comes with Android 4.4.4 KitKat. Although it’s been announced that Android 5 is available for the Moto X, the update hasn’t been fully released yet. Availability will depend on when your carrier approves and releases the update. See more details above for the Android entry under Moto G.
  • Audio. The sound of the Moto X is quite good. However, it lacks the front facing speakers of the Moto G. Even so, audio quality while talking on the phone (top speaker) or listening to music and video is quite clear and loud.
  • Case. Any phone costing several hundred dollars or more should probably have a case, or bumper guard (rubber protection for edges). Fancier phones tend to have metal edges and fancier finishes that one would want to protect. So, with the Moto X, various cases are available. As with any phone, the use of a case will change the phone size and feel.
  • Custom Design. For anyone wanting a phone made partially of bamboo or wood, a customized Moto X is your only choice. Other phones on the market are made of metal and plastic. Having the natural feel of wood in your hand is very nice. Also, knowing that your phone is made partly from renewable, organic, compostable materials is kind of cool. The Motorola Moto Maker let’s you completely customize the colors and materials of your phone.
  • Feel. The Moto X has a nice feel to it, and depending on the material you choose for the back of the phone case, it can be customized to have a touch you’d like most including choices of bamboo, wood, leather, and more.
  • Handling. The Moto X is heavier than the Moto G, but otherwise feels good in the hand and easily slips into a pocket.
  • Size. The Moto X is almost identical to the Moto G in size and appearance. So, it has the optimal size for single handed operation.
  • Storage. The Moto X lacks the removable microSD option found on the Moto G, but it is possible to order it with storage capacity of 16 GB or 32 GB ($50 more). Any additional storage would need to be connected via the USB port.

Drawbacks. There are a few drawbacks to the Moto X.

  • Camera. The camera quality in the Moto X is adequate, but not exceptional, and some people have reported difficulty getting the camera to focus precisely on what they want to be taking a photo of. If you swap out your camera app with the Google Camera rather than the build-in camera software, you may get better results. Keep in mind that these are not for award winning professional competition photos that can be enlarged. These cameras are primarily for quick snapshots of average quality.
  • Battery. The battery isn’t removable. For people who travel a lot, it’s nice to have a few extra fully charged batteries with you to swap out when the battery gets low. Or, if a battery becomes defective, removable batteries ensure that you only need to replace a battery instead of the entire phone.
  • MicroSD. Most smartphones have a removable MicroSD. The Moto X does not. This means you’re limited to the internal memory, unless you connect an external USB storage device.

Other Considerations

  • 4G LTE. The latest cellular data service is 4G LTE and it is capable of delivering Internet speeds that are likely faster than what you have at home. In cities where the market is saturated with 4G LTE devices, there can be connectivity issues and slowness. This also happens at football games and other situations when the 4G LTE network is overloaded. When traveling, it’s likely that there won’t be 4G LTE service, so your phone will adjust to use slower networks, or no data at all for areas where only phone service is available. The Moto G doesn’t have 4G LTE capability. It has H+ capability which can deliver about 21 Mbps. Click here to learn more about various speeds and services.
  • Audio. Many people use headphones with their smart phones. So, the audio quality when playing videos and music on a smart phone is really only important for those who don’t plan to use headphones.
  • Battery. Most smart phones state that they can provide 8 hours or more of continuous use. However, getting to the end of the day typically requires a recharge, especially if you are using features like video viewing, GPS mapping, and hotspot wireless sharing. You could try to carry around an extra battery if your phone accommodates that. Otherwise, you may want to consider a charging pack (a small portable charging station). Also look for phones that have turbo (fast) charging features.
  • Camera Quality. Most mobile phones can take fairly good photos. At least, they look okay on the phone display. If photos get enlarged, or if you zoom in on a desktop computer, the quality diminishes. This is true even for the 41 megapixel phones. While the images look nice on screen, when uploaded to social media like Facebook or Pinterest, the quality can sometimes be degraded if images get compressed. So, ultimately, smartphones have a very difficult time competing with point and shoot cameras of almost the same size.The quality of point and shoot cameras has increased dramatically, size has decreased, and prices have come down. Any serious photographer will want to consider carrying a small point and shoot camera in addition to their phone. There are other more important considerations besides camera quality to have as a priority when choosing a phone.
  • Display Quality. In the same way mobile phones have been competing with higher megapixel cameras, displays are also increasing in their resolution and pixels per inch. With high-end DSLR cameras, we know that just adding more megapixels doesn’t necessarily result in higher quality photos. So, with displays the same is true. A lower resolution display might actually be brighter, more colorful, and easier to look at than a higher resolution display. The Moto G is an excellent example of this. Walk into an AT&T store, and compare all the phones, including those costing $800 or more. You’ll likely decide that the Moto G has the best display quality.
  • Processor Power. The processing power of smart phones, like computer, is dependent upon the computing CPU and available cache memory (a small amount of very fast memory close to the processor). The Moto G and Moto X are fast enough for most tasks. If you plan to do intensive gaming or other tasks, you may want to consider an even faster phone.
  • Storage. With data increasingly being stored in the cloud, it’s less important to have huge amounts of storage in your mobile device. In fact, if you do accumulate 32 GB or more of data stored up in your phone, it will take a long time to copy it off. Most phones have microSD expansion storage. Or, even if microSD storage isn’t available, you can get an OTG (on the go) cable and connect a USB flash drive or hard drive. Given these considerations, the actual built-in storage is less relevant.

Moto G as a WiFi Accessory Device

Given it’s low cost ($180), a person might consider purchasing a Moto G as an accessory for their existing phone. If you use hotspot (tethering) with your primary phone, you can have the Moto G connected to the Internet wherever you go. If your primary phone is an iOS (Apple) device, then it will give you the ability to use Android apps as well. It will give you an additional screen — like having side-by-side dual displays with a desktop computer. It will also give you a device to use for Internet access and other uses, thereby distributing your battery usage across two devices — extending your usable time.

Other Phones to Consider

There are hundreds of phones out there, and each person’s needs and use will dictate the best choice for them. There isn’t a specific phone that’s ‘the best phone’ for everyone. However, that said, you generally get what you pay for, and if you’re willing to pay a bit more here are some good choices:

Further Reading

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How to Find Your Lost iPhone, iPod, iPad, or Apple Computer

Summary

Most mobile devices these days have built-in tracking features that are very convenient for a variety of reasons. For example, health and wellness apps that monitor your activity require location tracking to be turned on. Location tracking can help find lost or stolen devices.

Because of privacy concerns, location tracking is typically an ‘opt-in’ service. Those who decide to not permit location tracking for their devices will not be able to have them easily located and recovered.

For users of Apple mobile devices, you’ll need to enable location tracking prior to attempting to find a lost device.

Instructions

These are the steps you can follow to find a device:

  1. Go to http://www.iCloud.com
  2. Login using your Apple ID.
  3. Click on the Find My Phone icon as shown below.
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  4. The Find My Phone service will display a map with your device or devices indicated on the map with dots. in the example below there are no devices displayed, but when you use the service hopefully your device will show up. Under the All Devices drop-down menu, your available devices
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