Mobile Phones

iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry, or feature phones.

What's a good phone for traveling to Mexico?

Episode 1446

Ernesto from Pismo Beach, CA
Alcatel Go Flip

Ernesto needs a new cell phone for his father. He doesn't do any smart things like apps or texting. He just talks. He wants one that will work between the US and Mexico. Leo says that a "feature phone" is an easy and inexpensive purchase. Alcatel is one brand that works in both places. He should go to T-Mobile and he can probably get one for free on a pay as you go plan. They also offer free international data and cheap international calls. It'll also work in 190 other countries as well. The chatroom says that AT&T is best in Mexico.

How can I make Google Voice my default text messaging app?

Episode 1445

Nathan from Grand Rapids, MI
Google Hangouts

Nathan made "the switch" from the iPhone to the Google Pixel 2. He couldn't be happier. Leo says it's a great phone. Nathan ported his number to Google Voice, and it works great on his old number. But can he make Google Voice the default messaging app? Leo says no. He can make Google Hangouts his default messenger, and it'll show up in Google Voice. It'll even work on iOS.

How can I get notified audibly that I got a call?

Episode 1445

Lee from Big Bear, CA
Phone notification

Lee wants to know how he can be notified of a call on his iPhone 7. Leo says that if he looks at his phone icon, he'll see a red dot with the number of calls. Then he can tap it and see what calls he missed. What about an audio notification? Leo says that If This Then That may be able to give him what he needs. He should try the iPhone app, but Apple is pretty restrictive on opening up the iOS architecture. So that could be something it just won't let him do.

Is there an alternative to HTML based mail in the iPhone?

Episode 1444

Marco from Portugal
Apple iPhone X

Marco wants a better email client for his iPhone. He's not a fan of HTML based email. Leo says it's dangerous, but most mail clients including Apple Mail panders to users who want to see pretty pictures. But it's just not as secure. They do prevent loading of images unless you request them, but plain text will always be more secure.

How about a good antivirus for his iPhone? Leo says he doesn't have to worry about viruses in an iPhone or macOS. There haven't been any successful malware attempts on iOS.

Why is my mobile phone camera so pixelated?

Episode 1444

John from Long Beach, CA
Samsung Galaxy S7

John bought a Samsung Galaxy S7 to capture video and share it online. But when he records, he sees a lot of pixelation in it. Leo says it sounds like an odd compression issue. Leo advises trying different settings and using a different video camera app. He should also try a lower resolution or he should change the frame rate. If the issue persists, then it could be something called "macro-blocking" where a solid color like a sky ends up looking banded as a result of video compression. Cinema FV-5 could solve it also.

The Best Phone of the Year

Episode 1444

Apple iPhone X

The holidays are a time where product releases and tech news slow down. This gives technology reporters a chance to look back over the year and come up with winners and losers. This is also when reviews really get into the nitty-gritty of what works and what doesn't. Looking at candidates for Phone of the Year, Leo says that there's plenty of contenders.

Can I use my iPhone to control a Sous-vide cooker?

Episode 1443

Olga from Arizona
Mellow app

Olga and her husband are blind, and she wants to know how the accessibility is for the Mellow Cooker with her iPhone. Will it tell her what to do when she links the two together? Leo says the Mellow has no controls, so it would be controlled with an app. The app will walk them through it. They can just flash the Wi-Fi info from the phone, and then they'll be able to control it from the app.

Should I return my iPhone 8 for an iPhone X?

Episode 1442

Neil from Phoenix, AZ
Apple iPhone X

Devin bought an iPhone 8 Plus, but now he wants the iPhone X. Leo says that's what we call "iPhone envy." And it's what Apple wants him to have. The iPhone X is the best iPhone made, but the differences are minimal. The camera will give him equally good pictures. It has the same processor, same memory, and same storage. All he would get is a taller screen and no Touch ID (Face ID instead). He also would get an OLED screen, rather than an LCD. But if he's only had that iPhone 8 Plus for a week or two, there's a good chance that he could return it to get the iPhone X if he wants.

Can I sync Outlook with my new Android phone?

Episode 1441

David from Anaheim, CA
Samsung Galaxy Note 8

David has finally made the "switch" from iPhone to a Samsung Galaxy Note 8. It seems easier to sync, but how does he sync up his Outlook? He should sync using Google Contacts first. That's' a good way to have it everywhere. He can then sync to any phone, computer, or tablet. Leo says Outlook on Android is very good as an app. So rather than try to sync it, David should try using the Outlook app. It's very good. Then Outlook on Android will pull from it. Is Android secure?