Mobile Phones

How can I charge my phone while hiking?

Episode 1372

Sheri from Pomona, CA
American Red Cross Clipray the crank-powered, clip-on flashlight and smartphone charger

Sheri wants a good battery backup that will last a long time and will enable her to recharge via solar. Leo says the problem with solar is that to be portable, it'll take days to charge because it would be so small. That's why Leo recommends crank chargers. They also have emergency radios built in. Campers also have camp stoves that will charge the phone by converting heat to electricity.

How can I open my phone without losing data from a password lock?

Vic from Glendale CA

Episode 1372

Vic recently lost his son and he is trying to get into his computer and accounts, but only he had the passwords. Leo says that LastPass has a feature that will enable survivors to gain access to the data. The cellphone may be a more difficult proposal, though. The dangerous thing is that there is a setting in both Android and iOS that could erase the phone if he fails 10 times to open it up.

What's an affordable wireless plan?

Episode 1370

Darryl from Costa Mesa, CA
Apple iPhone SE

Darryl needs a good, affordable smartphone and wireless carrier. He's thinking of the Apple iPhone SE. Leo says that the SE is a great option when trying to save some money. As for the carrier, none of the carriers provide great customer service, but it will come down to who has the best signal in his area. AT&T and Verizon will be the leaders, but Sprint and T-Mobile are very aggressive in giving out deals. Smaller carriers like MetroPCS may also be a good option, but the devil is in the details for data. So he should read the fine print on overages and base it on how much he uses.

Is my mobile phone secure?

Episode 1370

Scott from Orange County, CA
Apple iPhones

Scott is worried about Vault 7 and the CIA's hacking. He's heard from Edward Snowden's tweets that the CIA has left a huge vulnerability in our mobile devices. Leo says that was the problem with the Feds wanting to crack Apple's iOS since once cracked, it's available to anyone. But the reality is, the hack is 3 years old and Apple has worked to close those vulnerabilities. So it's likely that unless Scott's phone hasn't been updated for three years, he's safe.

Is my Android phone secure?

Episode 1370

John from Menifee, CA
Android

John recently switched to the Android platform. He's liking it, but there are a lot of differences. Is it secure? Leo says that it is, but it is open source. He doesn't need an antivirus for his phone, but it's important to keep the phone updated. John should make sure his manufacturer and carrier is consistently making updates every month. Apple doesn't have that issue because Apple users always get the latest updates pushed to their phones with no middlemen. Android isn't that way, so some updates will be delayed by the manufacturer and some by the carrier.

Should I wait for the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus?

Richard from Poway, CA

Episode 1369

Richard has Verizon and his wife is looking at the new Samsung Galaxy S7 edge. Should they wait for the S8 edge/plus? Leo says it'll be announced March 29th and be available for a few weeks after that. But the reality is, it's probably not going to be worth waiting for. The benefit is that it'll drop the price of the S7 considerably. The edge is pretty on those phones but with a lot of glass, you'll need a good case for it.

Is there a portable video projector?

Karen from Pomona, CA

Episode 1369

Karen is a teacher who travels from school to school and wants to know if there's a portable projector? Leo says what she's looking for a pico projector. The wireless connection solution may vary depending on support. They're usually DLNA format. Go to ProjectorCentral.com. Search for pico projectors. Motorola's Moto Z has an add on mod for a projector that attaches to the back of the phone.

Do I need to buy a smartphone?

Veronica from Palmer, Alaska

Episode 1369

Veronica says that being in Alaska, mobile service is limited to Verizon or AT&T. Her contract is up and she's trying to decide if she should get a smartphone. Leo says it depends on LTE coverage where she is. Ask your friends and neighbors what they use and if they like it. Paying for data would be an additional monthly cost. There's no need to succumb to the pressure of getting a smart phone if she doesn't need it.