iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry, or feature phones.
Joe wants to know more about the Irulu Smart phone. Leo says it's a cheap, $169 phone and he's wary on cheaper gadgets because you get what you pay for and it's usually underpowered, easy to break, and limited in the apps you can use. And chances are, they won't be regularly updated. If you need a good budget phone, Leo recommends the Motorola Moto G 5 plus.
But it's true that smartphones are too expensive these days.
Sam was looking at the ASUS ZenPhone AR because of Tango and Daydream from Google, but Leo says it's terrible, and he should not get it. Tango is Google's imaging capability that they have since stopped supporting. It's kind of like Apple's face recognition technology, but it pointed outward instead of inward and it had 3D mapping. It turned out that no one wanted to make a phone with the Tango hardware because it was too expensive, added too much complexity, and required too much battery.
Tom got rid of his landline in favor of a TracFone. Now he wants to use Google Voice and port his number over, but it won't work. Leo says Google voice can't port a landline, and that's what it originally was. It's better to let Google Voice generate a phone number for him and then have Google Voice forward the calls to his TracFone number. It will continue to work, and he'll avoid the hassle.
Cynthia has an iPhone and loves the visual voicemail feature. But her deaf friend doesn't have it and could use it. Leo says to check with her carrier and see if they offer visual voice mail as an extra charge. The other option is to sign her up for Google Voice. It's free and it gives you transcriptions of voicemail. It won't be perfect, but it will be close enough to get the point.
Sam is trying to decide on a phone for his wife. He was thinking of getting a phone that runs Tango. Leo says that Tango is awful. Took expensive. Lousy battery life. And Google doesn't support it anymore. THey're going with AR Kit. But AR really isn't the reason to buy a mobile device. It's just a gimmick. But having said that, Samsung's S9 does it, and it's a great price with some great features. And it does have AR emoji, though Leo thinks they're a bit weird.
This week, Leo got the Samsung Galaxy S9. Not only does it have one of the best cameras ever, DxOMark says the screen is practically perfect in every way. Leo also says he's pleased that the fingerprint reader was finally put in the right place. But what's strange for him is that there's not much difference between the Galaxy S9 and the Note 8. It may have a faster processor and is slightly smaller, but they're practically the same.
George FaceTimes a friend in Australia and lately he can't see his video stream. Leo suspects it's a bandwidth issue on the Australian end. That's a long way, and there's latency issues and more. He should have him check with his ISP to see what his bandwidth is. He may need more for HD video.
Pete is looking for an MP3 player because he doesn't know how to copy music to his Android phone. Leo says not many mp3 players are made these days. He can copy files on an Android phone by simply dragging and dropping when his phone is in transfer mode. It's called MTP mode. The phone will show up as a drive on his desktop and then he can drag and drop into the music folder of the phone.
Gary has kept a really old Android phone because it had a slide down keyboard. He hates virtual keyboards. Is there any physical phone out there with an actual keyboard? Leo says that ironically, BlackBerry is making them with a clean version of Android installed. BlackBerry is the last phone company to make a phone with a physical keyboard, but they're really tiny. One option is to get a better phone and then use a Bluetooth external keyboard when he needs it.