Rick's wife wants a new phone with a larger screen. What should she get? It doesn't have to be the latest model. Leo says that the best budget Android phone is the Motorola Moto G5 Plus. The screens are better and the cameras are really good. She should make sure he gets a US GSM model that is compatible with her carrier (Verizon in this case). She shouldn't have to pay more than $200, especially on Amazon.
Mary heard that Yahoo's new owner, Verizon, can read her email. Is that true? Leo says yes. It can read your email, photos, files, etc. in order to do facial recognition, offer targeted ads, etc. Leo says that Verizon's never been big on privacy. So it's not a surprise. Worse, they'll also be looking into other personal information. So you have to think about whether you want to agree to that or go with an alternative. Leo recommends Google.
Marla wants to know which free government phone has the best reception. The idea behind the so-called "Obama phone" is that everyone needs a mobile phone and the government subsidizes phones for those who can't afford it. But unfortunately, nobody really tests for reception anymore because there's so much congestion out there.
Verizon is the ideal choice for cell coverage in Los Angeles. It will give Marla the best coverage. And Verizon offers Universal LifeLine service here.
Mark's son is about to be stationed in Japan and wants to know if he can bring his phone along. Leo says that he can, but he'll need to get the phone unlocked so he can use a local carrier. There may be issues with radio frequencies, though. He should check out the website prepaidwithdata.wikia.com to learn about what carriers and phones are best.
Rick switched to Google Fi and now the other carriers are offering unlimited. Should he go back? Leo says that Fi wasn't designed to be competitive, just transparent. So if he has a family plan and needs unlimited, then Fi isn't really practical. If he's getting a better deal with Verizon, Leo says that is likely a good move then. But he should remember that Google Fi is riding on three different carriers, so it offers him a wider reach in terms of signal and connectivity.
Bernie wants to know about his data. He's worried that he's going over his data caps. Leo says that cell phone companies are moving towards Voice over LTE, which will use data to do phone calls because the quality is better. Can he get a data only device and do that? Leo says he can use apps like Tango and Skype to do that, but he's still paying for data. No cell company offers a mobile phone with just data only.
Mark ordered an iPhone X from Apple and he's worried about the order. He ordered an AT&T model, but his wife moving to Verizon. Can he swap it through the Apple store? Leo says that's probable. He'll definitely want to do that since the phones are locked to the carrier. The Verizon model would work with AT&T, but not the other way around. That's because Verizon's phone is unlocked, but have different radios in each. Leo suggests not even opening the box. He should just take the phone to the Apple Store and swap it out.
Mark's wife got a mobile phone through Verizon and he had it unlocked to use with an MVNO carrier, but it doesn't work. Leo says that it could be due to radio frequency issues. Leo says that unlocking doesn't guarantee that he'll be able to use the phone anywhere. But it's the first step. That's why everyone is going to LTE. That will smooth out the system and make it easier to transfer from one carrier to another.
Richard really likes his phone, but the battery is starting to run out and Verizon says that since the battery is built-in, it can't be replaced. He'll have to replace the whole phone. Leo says that drives him nuts. Richard has a perfectly good phone that he likes, but he has to go to the extra expense of upgrading a phone and throw his old one away. What phone should he get now? Leo says that Google's Pixel 2 XL is exclusive to Verizon and it's a great phone. It runs pure Android. The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is another great option, with a great screen.
Lucas does a lot of video streaming and gaming, but he's moving to a rural area and will have to find new high speed internet. What can he do? Leo says that rural internet access is a real issue here and Leo doesn't believe the FCC cares enough to make it happen. Satellite isn't the answer because it's got terrible latency and bandwidth caps. That being said, the best satellite provider is WildBlue's Exede. It's that or dialup.