Mobile Phones

Should I buy my next phone before moving to Italy?

Michael from Sacramento, CA

Episode 1198

Michael is retiring to Italy. Leo says that's exciting! He has a Samsung Galaxy Note III. Will it work in Europe? Leo says probably, but he'll have to have it unlocked. If he wants to get a new one, should he get it where he is now in the US or in Italy? Leo says that if he buys it here, again, he'll need to unlock it. He'd also have to buy it outright, and not subsidized through a carrier. The key is to be sure it has all the frequencies he needs. But he should get ready for some sticker shock because there is no subsidizing in Europe, plus there's VAT taxes, exchange rates, etc.

Should I wait for the Ubuntu phone?

Rusty from Mobile, AL

Episode 1196

Rusty is an open source fan and has heard about the Ubuntu phone. Should he wait for it? Leo says that he's a fan of Ubuntu but it's very unfinished and he imagines that a phone OS is probably going to be the same. It's primarily aimed at emerging markets where price is a consideration. If you like Ubuntu, it's probably very usable. But there won't be a lot of apps for it and that's going to be a frustration,.

Dick DeBartolo, The Giz Wiz

Episode 1195

If you have an older car that doesn't allow you to connect your stereo to your phone, then Dickie D has a great gadget for you. It's called the Kinivo Bluetooth Car Kit with Multipoint. (Model BTC-455) and it allows you to plug in via the cigarette lighter and have a powered audio jack that plugs into your car stereo, which then connects to your phone via bluetooth. Under $50 on Amazon. (If you're positive you’ll only be using one Bluetooth device, you can buy the older model 450 which is about $10 to $15 cheaper.)

What mobile phones have swappable batteries?

Mark from WGMD

Episode 1195

Mark is on his third HTC One phone. It keeps breaking and has lousy battery life. Leo says that is the most annoying thing about smartphones is battery life. It's awful. There are two ways that Android phone manufacturers have addressed it ... the first is Quick Charge, which will recharge your phone in about an hour. The other options is to choose an Android model that allows you to swap out a secondary battery. LG has the G4 and it's easy to open and replace the battery. In fact, LG offers a second battery in a kit with a mini sd card. The Samsung Galaxy Note IV is another.

What phone should I buy my mom?

Episode 1189

Alex from Sacramento, CA
Apple iPhone 6

Alex is trying to decide that smartphone to get his mother. He'd like to be able to video chat with her. Leo says that while he likes Android, the iPhone is really good because of FaceTime. What about battery life? Leo says he gets through the entire day with ease. But it really comes down to how good the signal is. If the phone is constantly looking for a signal, that can kill the phone in a half a day. But if he's in a good area, then the phone doesn't have to work as hard and that translates to hours more battery life.

What's a good small screen smart phone?

Episode 1186

Eric from Ann Arbor, MI
BlackBerry Classic

Eric's mom uses an old phone that has a physical keyboard. She needs a new phone now and he can't seem to find one small enough for her. Leo says that Samsung does make smaller versions of their Galaxy Phones, like the Alpha, which is 4.7 inches. The smaller the screen, though, the harder it will be to type. He can go with the older iPhone, like the iPhone 5 or even the iPhone 4S, which is available for free now. It's a great smartphone for a first choice.

Should I buy the Samsung Galaxy Note IV Edge?

Episode 1185

Robert from Greensboro, NC
Samsung Galaxy Note Edge

Dave loves his Samsung Galaxy Note II, but he's looking to upgrade. Leo says that he should get the Galaxy Note IV. It has a great camera and nice screen. Should he get the Galaxy Note Edge? Leo says the Edge is kind of gimmicky. Some people like it and he likes the look of the S6 Edge, but the Note IV Edge is completely different with a separate screen. Leo says it's not worth the extra $100 for it, that's for sure.