Mobile Phones

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

Is Spectrum wireless service slow by design?

Spectrum

Episode 1601

Steve from Nashville, TN

Steve signed up with Spectrum, using Verizon and the best he could get for his iPhone 7 is 3G. Leo says that's terrible. Verizon is much better than that, and it sounds like Comcast is going cheap on buying wholesale data and then reselling it.  Also, while you're using Verizon's network, Verizon is giving priority to their own customers. So you get a slower experience. Spectrum is hoping you'll be close enough to an Xfinity Access point via WiFi. But half the time, there's nothing there!

Do smaller cell carriers use their own networks?

Spectrum

Episode 1601

Gary from Southern California

Gary got an offer to sign up with Spectrum for mobile service, but he just learned that they use AT&T. Do smaller carriers use the big carriers lines all the time? Leo says that the big four is AT&T, Verizon, TMobile, and Sprint. The smaller cell companies, called MVNOs, interconnect and ride piggyback on multiple lines. It's pretty complicated. But if you sign up with a smaller carrier, you're actually running your traffic on the largest carrier.

What do I need for my technology for a trip to Vietnam?

Travel Adapter

Episode 1601

Sarah from Los Angeles, California

Sarah is traveling to Vietnam and Cambodia later in the year and doens't know what to bring with her for her technology. Leo says that most electronics are now rated for 110w-240w, so they can handle any circuit all over the world. But that plugs will be different. There are travel adapters for sale that you can pick up to plug in your power plugs. They should be the same as China, but you may want to be sure it's not a french adapter since Vietnam was once a French colony. As for your data and international roaming, it depends on your carrier.

What's a good dual sim mobile phone?

Pixel 3

Episode 1601

Manny from Vero Beach, Florida

Manny's wife is going to need a new phone, as her Huawei Mate 9 will be denied service soon since the US Gov't believes Huawei is a security concern due to ties to the Chinese PRC Army, there won't be a new model for sale here in the US. So what are her options? Leo says that she should be able to continue using it for a few more months, but she should definitely consider a replacement soon. And she needs dual sims, which means there aren't a lot of choices, especially since she wants a great camera with it. That really lowers the options. 

Can I Text Using VOIP?

VOIP

Episode 1600

Terry from St. Paul, MN

Terry gets a lot of phone calls from local numbers he doesn't recognize. Leo says that's called "Neighbor Spoofing" and it's designed to get him to answer the phone because the caller ID shows a local number. If it's important, they'll leave a message.

Can he respond to text messages with VOIP? Leo says he can partially. If he's using an app like WhatsApp, he can as long as the other side uses it. But if it's a "text subscribe to [enter number here]." It won't. VOIP doesn't support that.

How can I be sure I'm getting my Android updates?

Fido Solutions

Episode 1599

Nathan from New Brunswick, Canada

Nathan wants to switch from cellphone providers. He gets his Android updates from one, will he lose them? Leo says that FIDO is a ROGERS MVNO, and Android updates come in three stages. 1) google releases it 2) the cellphone maker certifies it 3) the carrier has to agree to push it out. All three have to happen to get the update. Leo's opinion is that since Roger's owns FIDO as an MVNO, it's likely you'll keep getting them. But it's worth following them on XDA Developers or Reddit to see when they come out.

Reminder: Our Photo Assignment is CLOSE UP

Episode 1599

Chris isn't with us today, he's traveling. But he wanted us to remind everyone about the latest photo assignment -CLOSEUP. Take a photo of, about or otherwise concerning the concept of "CLOSEUP" and then post it to the Tech Guy Group on Flickr. Make sure to tag it with the word "CLOSEUP" as well! And if Chris likes it, it could end up on next month's photo contest review segment!

What should be my next Android phone?

Samsung Galaxy S10

Episode 1599

Richard from Sonoma, CA

Richard recently came across his old Google G1, the first Android mobile device. Now he's at the Google Pixl2 XL and he wants a phone with an SD card for storage. Leo says that SD card slots are on a lot of phones, but they are notoriously difficult. The operating system doens't trust them to install apps. But Samsung seems to have gotten a handle on it. Leo recommends the Samsung Galaxy S10. But understand that Samsung does modify the Android OS a bit to make everything work the way they want. Some things are great, some aren't. Which is why Leo roots his and uses a custom launcher.

Which Mobile Service is Best for Travelling Abroad?

Fi

Episode 1598

Sherman from Tustin, California

Sherman is going to be going hiking around the world and wants to know which service to go with? Leo says that Google Fi is great because it uses three separate mobile carriers. He could also go with TMobile, they offer 2G around the world for no extra cost. But it's slow. He's also getting a Chromebook, is an i5 processor fine? Leo says it'll be expensive, but he can. Does he need a VPN? Leo says not really.  Especially in a country like China, where using a VPN will get him arrested.