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Galaxy S7 email won’t sync when connected to Comcast Wi-Fi network, other issues

Welcome to another article that covers some #GalaxyS7 problems and solutions.

s7

Below are the specific topics we discuss in this material today:

  1. Water-damaged Galaxy S7 keeps rebooting on its own
  2. Galaxy S7 email won’t sync when connected to Comcast Wi-Fi network
  3. Galaxy S7 won’t turn back on
  4. Unable to configure Hotmail account on Galaxy S7 email app
  5. Galaxy S7 not showing Outlook notes
  6. Galaxy S7 from US Cellular won’t work with other carriers

If you are looking for solutions to your own #Android issue, you can contact us by using the link provided at the bottom of this page, or you can install our free app from Google Play Store.

When describing your issue, please be as detailed as possible so we can easily pinpoint a relevant solution. If you can, kindly include the exact error messages you are getting to give us an idea where to start. If you have already tried some troubleshooting steps before emailing us, make sure to mention them so we can skip them in our answers.


Problem #1: Water-damaged Galaxy S7 keeps rebooting on its own

Hi. Running an SM-G935FD. Had water damage that caused reboots, had to shut down. pulled apart, used ultrasonic + 99% isopropyl to clean. Installed new battery. I am now able to power up phone, but get flickering screen [screen since stopped flickering – could have been some alcohol still not evaporated?] and won’t boot in safe or standard mode – sticks on SAMSUNG – GALAXY S7 EDGE – POWERED BY ANDROID screen. Blue light pulses (assume this is power?). I CAN reboot into recovery. I can see with ADB but can’t execute any commands other than side load [can use add fully once TWRP installed]. I’ve wiped cache and done factory reset. I can enter ODIN mode, and have installed CF Autoroot for the 935F, and then TWRP, but still stuck in same mode unable to complete a boot. I can access logs from recovery mode but not sure what to make of them. I installed TWRP Recovery and can use TWRP, access the file system, etc. I then flashed factory ROM successfully using 4-file and PIT, did a NAND ERASE ALL, EFS Clear and Bootloader Update, all successfully. After the 4-file flash/PIT/reset, in ODIN mode I get Current Binary: Samsung Official and System Status: Custom Warranty Void: 1AP SWREV: B:1 K:0 S:0 I then reinstalled CF Autoroot, then TWRP. Using TWRP, wiped data, repaired file system, and fixed contexts. Binary is now also showing “custom.” I still can’t complete a system boot, safe mode or otherwise. TWRP recovery seems to be working fine, and I can browse file system using TWRP or adb. The “System Status of “custom” after a full flash seems fishy to me… I’m at a loss as to what I should do next. Seems like the hardware is working given TWRP and ODIN functionality, so I would have thought one of these system flashes would have solved the problem. I have not yet wiped the system partition using TWRP, as I assume the flash with PIT and system repair (TWRP) would have effectively done this as part of their processes. That may be where I go next, and then reflash the firmware.  — Mike

Solution: Hi Mike. If water damage is a medical emergency for a phone, pulling the phone apart and cleaning it with alcohol are the first aids tips that you can do. They are necessary tricks an average user can do to mitigate the damage but hardly the solution. Sometimes, quickly opening the phone and cleaning the water-exposed parts may save the device from permanent damage but most of the time they need luck to work effectively. The rule in dealing with a wet electronics is: if problems continue well after you’ve done the basics (like the things that you mention in your problem description above), then the hardware is suffering from severe malfunction and you need to have it checked for potential repair or replacement. That even system flashing procedures did not change anything is a strong indication something’s not right with the hardware. That should tell you that no amount of software tinkering will help you resolve the situation. Since you’ve already tampered with the hardware, Samsung won’t definitely touch your phone. Find a good technician that can help you diagnose all critical hardware components including the buttons.

Problem #2: Galaxy S7 email won’t sync when connected to Comcast Wi-Fi network

Hello. I just purchased a Galaxy S7 (replacing an S3). I set up the default email up with my Comcast email addresses but when I am connected to my home network (xfinity/comcast) emails will not sync. I receive a message that “imap.comcast.com server cannot be reached.” I’ve tried all the various security and port settings (at least I think I’ve tried them all, including even switching to POP3) and it still won’t sync. BUT, if I connect to the nearby xfinity hotspot, or am connected to the wifi network in my office, email sync works fine. (Haven’t tried other networks yet as phone is so new.) is there some setting different in my home network as opposed to other network that prevents connecting to the Comcast email server? Thanks in advance for any suggestions. —  Tom

Solution: Hi Tom. If email sync works fine in other Wi-Fi networks or in mobile data connection, then you must focus your troubleshooting on your Comcast Wi-Fi network settings. Sometimes, setting the router’s firewall to low can fix problems with syncing. If you don’t know how to access your router’s graphic user interface (GUI), contact Comcast and ask for step-by-step instructions. Another good thing to check is to ensure that your phone’s MAC address in not blocked by some router functions. Since you’ll be dealing with Comcast equipment throughout your troubleshooting, it’s better if you get hold of Comcast representative during the entire process.

Problem #3: Galaxy S7 won’t turn back on

Hello. I was charging my phone overnight. Next morning my phone was dead. Since we were on holiday and I had to drive the car, the first time I got to investigate in my dead phone was the afternoon. The phone was dead: No LEDs were glowing and the screen resisted black. However, the phone was pretty warm. It seemed still to be running in the background. I tried to soft reset, hard reset, force reboot, boot into download mode/recovery mode. -> nothing worked out. The only life signal I can recognize is the phone getting warm when charging (even right now). No orange LED is glowing when charging! Finally I have to say: The phone was barely 5 days old. Pretty sloppy, Samsung. Thanks for the help (: (I know my English sucks, I didn’t focus too much on it though). — Alexander

Solution: Hi Alexander. Potential solutions for an average user in this case are limited to basic things you’ve already tried — soft reset, hard reset, recovery mode and/or download mode attempts. That doing them did not improve the situation is a sign that something is preventing the phone from booting up normally. The causes can range from a bad battery, broken button/s, other hardware malfunction, or even a bootloader/firmware glitch. If you never dropped the phone or got it wet prior to noticing the problem, then Samsung can definitely replace the device free of charge.

Problem #4: Unable to configure Hotmail account on Galaxy S7 email app

I have a new Galaxy S7, which I managed to add a Hotmail account to as well as a Gmail account ( which I barely use). My Hotmail account is the one where emails come through onto my device, but they kept getting deleted every day when I wanted them to stay… unless I manually deleted them. I couldn’t find where to configure this so that they stayed on my device so I deleted my Hotmail account from my device and tried to re-add it since I’d read I could fix this problem by manually setting it up through a POP server (or something to that effect). I’ve since tried to add it and it says authentication failed. I’ve tried to do a manual set up and one where you just put your email address and password in, to no avail. I’m not sure why it would work before and now it doesn’t. Please can you advise me how to fix this. Many thanks. — Rachel

Solution: Hi Rachel. Most of the time, authentication failed error is triggered by entering an incorrect username and/or password. If you’re 110% positive that correct username and password are provided, then the error may be caused by something else, like a Microsoft-side restriction. We can’t see any reason why setting up your Hotmail account using POP will be blocked by Microsoft but it’s possible. To make sure that you have the right username and password though, try signing in to your Hotmail account on another device like a computer. Once, you’re signed in, go under your account settings (by clicking on: the name of your account (at the upper right hand side)>Account settings>Security and privacy>More security settings, and turn off any security feature you may have enabled (don’t forget to set them back in place afterwards). If the issue remains, try using Microsoft’s own email app. Otherwise contact Microsoft and ask direct assistance on why you can’t configure your Hotmail account in an Android device.

Problem #5: Galaxy S7 not showing Outlook notes

I switched from Samsung S4 to S7. Glad with everything but there are 2 features that I enjoyed with Galaxy S4 that I have not been able to set up again in my new phone. Here they are: 1) I want to be able to manage both my Hotmail and Gmail account under one comprehensive account, how can do this in my new phone? 2) I could synchronized all my contacts perfectly but I have noticed the phone does not display the Notes coming from the Outlook contacts, it only display if the contact is Samsung. How can I solve this? I want to be able to see the Notes that I had in all my contacts. I hope you can help. — Mrumbos

Solution: Hi Mrumbos. The answer to both of your questions depend on the app you’re using. Depending on the firmware version running on your phone, the native email app may or may not support both Hotmail and Gmail functionalities. To know, simply configure your accounts and see if your desired features are present (although it’s highly unlikely that the native Samsung app will show your Outlook Notes). If you really need your Outlook Notes, we suggest that you install the Outlook app and add both your Hotmail and Gmail accounts in it. This will allow your Outlook notes to work. You can also try Google’s own Gmail app but again, your Outlook notes may not be available in this app.

Problem #6: Galaxy S7 from US Cellular won’t work with other carriers

Okay, long story short i picked up a US Cellular S7 for my 61-year old mother who wants an upgrade from her aging broke-ass Evo LTE and ex-Sprint phone from my brother. I checked with US Cellular before purchasing the phone and even had the guy at the store make sure it was unlocked and clear but not a single prepaid will activate the thing. StraightTalk, Boost, Net10. 

I’m assuming it’s the phone specifically since it runs an LTE 4G SIM. My brother in the meantime dropped Sprint after his contract was fulfilled and went to activate his S5 which is a SM-G900P on StraightTalk. They will not accept it. He also has a 14-digit ESN.

I have used websites as well as called. I have even used the recalculated ESN from the luhn “i know i am spelling it wrong” calculator. So I’m sitting on a $125 brick at the moment. simply wanting to get it activated. For her 3G only is fine. If it comes to it i have her EVO LTE and my old S3 with a broken port for ESNs. I’m not getting into the legality of it since we own them all completely legally. I know it’s a bad idea. I’ve been told but i just need to know where i stand. I’ve already soft bricked her S7 and had to recover it hoping i could somehow flash a stock rom and since it’s pretty much a US Cellular dead zone where she lives, i thought maybe flash the PRL since i believe the frequency is the same one 3G, that at least she would have a working usable phone.

we can even use my brothers old 900p for her if we were able to get it activated. Any help would be amazing. I’ve been working on this every day for almost 2 weeks posting on howardforums and gsm forums. trying to locate cdma software that’s more than a demo. i just need some advice from someone who has much more in-depth knowledge of what I’m attempting to do.. thank you. Thank you again. — Jeremy

Solution: Hi Jeremy. We doubt there’s anything that we can do to help you with this issue. First of all, not all carriers have the same policy towards accepting unlocked phones. If they say they can’t accept your phone, that it. Period. There’s nothing that you can do about it. No amount of software modification or flashing will help you connect to the network you want. Your phone must be permitted to connect to a carrier’s network first before you can use their services. If the only available network in your mom’s place won’t accept your unlocked US Cellular, you’re out of luck.

Another thing to consider is about ESN, since you mentioned it. CDMA phones like the ones from US Cellular uses an electronic serial number (ESN) to identify a network on their device instead of a SIM card (which is the one used by GSM networks). If the ESN of your US Cellular S7 is bad because it was previously reported stolen, previous owner still has an outstanding account balance, or the device is still active in US Cellular network, then you cannot use the phone in another carrier’s network. Keep in mind that carriers have a way of knowing if an ESN is bad or not and that can be one reason why they refuse to accept it in this network.

Thirdly, unless this specific US Cellular phone is a global phone, that is, it’s both capable of connecting to CDMA and GSM networks (which is highly unlikely), there’s no way you can use just insert a SIM card of a GSM network and use it. CDMA phones won’t work on GSM networks most of the time so make sure you know the specifics about your phone before attempting to use it on a GSM network. Also, even if you have a global phone, you may still have to unlock its GSM capability by calling US Cellular. If the phone is no longer in contract with US Cellular, you can call them and ask for a GSM unlock code (if the phone is GSM capable in the first place only!).

Regarding your main point about possible tweaks that might help you “unlock” this CDMA phone to allow you to use it on another network, the answer may lie not in our blog but in others. We don’t provide the type of software hacks that you’re looking for. And yes it’s about the legality of it. Kindly look for them in other forums if you have the time.

 


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The Galaxy Note 3 On US Cellular Is Getting Android 5.0 Lollipop

Galaxy Note 3

 

After the update has been rolled out to us consumers on the Big Four carriers, US Cellular is now at bat. Starting today on US Cellular, you can download Android 5.0 Lollipop to your Galaxy Note 3.

This is Android 5.0 standard, not even 5.0.1, so take that as you will relating to possible bugs. Hopefully they have been ironed out before the release of this update.

The update is available either OTA or through Samsung’s Kies software on a Mac or PC. So if you aren’t seeing the OTA update, then you probably will with Kies. There’s no word on when, or even if, the Note 3 will get Android 5.1 on US Cellular, but at least Lollipop is finally available.

Source: US Cellular via Android Police

The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy Note Edge on US Cellular Are Getting Lollipop

Galaxy-Note-4-Troubleshooting

If you have a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 or a Samsung Galaxy Note Edge on US Cellular, you’re in luck. Starting today, you can download Android 5.0 Lollipop on both devices.

Both devices will be getting Android 5.0.1. The update either can be done OTA on the phone or through Samsung’s Kies software on a computer. You of course get all of Lollipop’s improvements including Material Design and improved lock screen notifications.

Go ahead and check in your settings to update your phone or in Kies. For more details, see US Cellular’s website.

Source: US Cellular via Android Central

Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge – Ultimate US availability and pricing guide

You’ve seen them pitted against HTC’s new hero device, a handy comparison highlighted the huge gap and copious upgrades operated on the disappointing Galaxy S5, and albeit it was an apple to orange correlation for the most part, we tried our best to match them up to the Note 4 and Note Edge for your convenience.

Samsung-Galaxy-S6-White

 

Meanwhile, although the embargo is probably not entirely lifted, a number of reputable tech publications broadcasted their near-comprehensive Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge reviews already, concluding these are hands down the best Androids in the world.

Only one thing left to do now, our power user friends and readers. Cash in on your aging flagships, and embrace the metal revolution. With or without curves, that’s completely up to you. Also wholly up to you – the carriers and retailers you want to do business with. The good news? The selection is plentiful, and incredibly enough, the premium phones are far from prohibitively priced.

Galaxy S6 Edge

The bad? Online pre-orders are live at the moment, with actual deliveries and physical store sales slated to begin April 10 nationwide. But it’s clearly wise to be prepared, especially when demand reportedly exceeds production capacity. So, here are all your on and off-contract purchase possibilities stateside:

Amazon

Standard Galaxy S6 32 GB – $199.99 with Sprint pacts; $699.99 free of contractual obligations in black sapphire

Galaxy S6 32 GB, white pearl – $199.99 and $684.99 with or without AT&T agreements respectively

Galaxy S6 black

Just to be clear, no one can promise pre-April 10 shipments. So, Amazon is doing the very best possible with the only two S6 configurations operators are able to spare for the time being. Yes, interest is that high. But worry not, Verizon SKUs should show up as well after April 1, and factory unlocked models, including of the S6 Edge, will likely be easiest to find here, as always. Remember, patience is a virtue.

Best Buy

Well, well, well, what have we here? Basically every single AT&T and Sprint variant ready for primetime, with or without seductive edges, coated in black or white, hoisting 32 to 128 GB native storage. Check that, 128 GB-ers are still listed as “coming soon”, as are gold platinum S6s and powerhouse phones meant for the number one network in the US.

Galaxy S6 wireless

If you’re okay settling for the silver or bronze medalists, it’s good to know BB throws in a free wireless charging pad ($59.99 value) to further incentivize prospective buyers. 32 GB S6s cost $199.99 with carrier agreements on both AT&T and Sprint, whereas S6 Edges offering the somewhat skimpy depository yield $299.99 expenses.

It’s almost needless to say therefore 64 GB versions are $299.99 and $399.99 respectively.

T-Mobile

Did your Netflix subscription run out before the new House of Cards season went live? Is it about to expire, and all you can think of is Piper Chapman and her orange-clad cronies? Don’t be so quick to renew the service, as Magenta offers one free year of full Netflix access for all GS6/S6 Edge shoppers.

Galaxy S6 Netflix

No tricky fine print, no strings attached, just a $100+ worth gift from the nation’s leading “Uncarrier.”

And no, their pricing isn’t artificially inflated either. It’s around $680 (full retail) for the “entry-level” S6, and $780 and up for the Edge. Split in monthly payments, that’s a sensible $28.33 and $32.49. Alas, 64 and 128 GB configs come with mandatory upfront fees of $100 and $200, and regular installments ranging from $27.50 to $31.66.

AT&T

Two storage options for each device, two colors, three Next purchase choices, plus on-contract and outright possibilities. There’s something for everyone here, unless you feel “gold is best”, or your digital hoarding illness is a little out of control.

Galaxy S6 back

32 GB Galaxy S6 – $685 on full retail; $200 with pacts; $22.84 on Next 24 with 30 monthly installments; $28.55 on Next 18 (24 months); $34.25 on Next 12 for 20 months

64 GB S6 – $785; $300; $26.17; $32.71; $39.25

32 GB S6 Edge – $815; $300; $27.17; $33.96; $40.75

64 GB Galaxy S6 Edge – $915; $400; $30.50; $38.13; $45.75

Sprint

The Now Network is fairly aggressively promoting its unique 12 and 24-month leases, the latter of which lets you have the 32 GB S6 for “free” with $80 monthly payments that include unlimited high-speed data, talk and text.

Samsung_Galaxy_S6_Edge

Not bad, but if you want to go for a more traditional purchase, you can always cough up $648 and choose your service plan separate. The 64 GB SKU is $768 outright or $300 on-contract. Of course, the 32 GB S6 is $200 with two-year Sprint pledges, and the S6 Edge starts at $300 and $768.

Easy Pay drops everything to $27 for the lesser GS6 config, or $32 if you’re into curvy gear.

Verizon

Just because they’re (un) fashionably late to the flagship pair’s US launch party (what’s new?), it doesn’t mean they’re not worth waiting for. Au contraire, given Big Red will cut you arguably the best no-contract deal before Amazon receives unlocked inventory.

Verizon Galaxy S6

Ready? $600, $700 and $800 for the 32, 64 and 128 GB Galaxy S6, and $700, $800 and $900 for the S6 Edge. That’s almost affordable. Which isn’t quite what we can say about Verizon’s 24-month-tied-to-the-network “special offer.”

Technically, they want $200 and up and $300 and up, just like everyone else. But you’ll have to pay them $250 and $350, and remember to ask them for rebates. Forget it!

US Cellular

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge-2

With all these popular, mainstream choices, we can’t imagine you’d ever go for a service provider covering a measly 23 states and less than 5 million people. But if you’re eccentric like that, USC has your back – $200 and $300 for S6 and S6 Edges with contracts, or $34 and $39.50 monthly fees, with no down payment.

Target

Again, why would anyone go to Target to buy an AT&T or Sprint-locked handheld is beyond us. Particularly as brick and mortar stock is unlikely to arrive before the two carriers themselves get the phones out in physical outlets.

Samsung Galaxy S6

Once again, purely for informative purposes, an S6 starts at $200 and an S6 Edge at $300 with Target. You can pre-order them in black or white, ready to hold 32 or 64 GB data.

That’s all she wrote… for now, but stay tuned for updates, more promotions, discounts and, first and foremost, elated deliveries and “exotic” variant spreads. We’re looking at you, golden S6s, and also gargantuan 128 GB-ers.

US Cellular Has Lowered Prices On Select Shared Connect Plans

US Cellular Logo

The big four carriers have been cutting the prices of their plans lately, so now the 5th-largest carriers is doing the same. US Cellular is lowering the prices on their Shared Connect plans.

The prices of the 1, 3, 6, 8, and 20GB plans have been cut and now customers on the 2 GB plan will now get 3 GB of high-speed data at the same price:

  • 1 GB – $30 per month
  • 3 GB – $50 per month
  • 6 GB – $60 per month
  • 8 GB – $80 per month
  • 20 GB – $140 per month

If you are on the 8 GB shared plan, US Cellular will cut monthly connection charges by $30. Smartphones accessing the data plan will now only be $10 per month (on this plan), meaning a family of four could have a cell phone bill of just $120 per month.

Also in line with other carriers, US Cellular will also give customers who are switching up to $350 per line to cut their contracts. To get this deal however, you will need to be on an installment plan. When you port your existing number and send the final bill to US Cellular, the credit will be given in the form of a prepaid debit card.

Source: US Cellular

Via: Droid-Life

On February 11, All Four Major Carriers Will Allow Phones To Be Unlocked

major us carriers

Typically when you purchase a smartphone or tablet from a specific carrier, it is locked to that network for the lifetime of your contract, or possibly for the life of the device. Certain carriers had policies, but there was no one standard. Last year Congress and the President made it illegal for carriers to lock devices to their network. In the wake of that decision, the CTIA (the interest group for the carriers) called for a meeting of the carriers to discuss unlocking and starting February 11th, unlocking will be far easier. The FCC has outlined every single change in their own document, but this is a condensed version of that document to make it easier to understand.

What does this version of “unlocked” truly mean.

  • The CTIA is implying that the type of unlock is a true SIM card unlocking, so you will be able to take your unlocked device and stick any SIM card into it and it should work on the other networks. While Verizon sold devices unlocked and AT&T and T-Mobile let you unlock your device and the end of your 2-year contract or payment plan, Sprint only was able to unlock devices for overseas use. Now they are required to also fully unlock devices domestically, albeit with one catch. If a phone was launched on Sprint before February 11th, it will still only be able to be unlocked for international use. No domestic lock will be available for phones from before February 11th onto any carrier.

Where are the individual carriers’ unlocking policies?

Will I be able to unlock my phone immediately on February 11th?

  • In a short answer, no. For a long answer, your contract term will have to be completed or your installment plan (this includes AT&T Next, Verizon Edge, T-Mobile JUMP, Sprint Easy Pay) will have to be paid off. If the phone was bought for a subsidized price, your 2-year agreement will either have to be completed or you terminate the contract and pay an early termination fee (ETF). If you are eligible, you will have to wait 48 hours for the carriers to complete your request.

When will I know when I can unlock my phone?

  • The new policy states that carriers will have to provide notice to consumer when a phone is eligible to be unlocked in a “clear” way. The language is unclear and some carriers dislike having to provide notice to their customers that they do not have to be with them anymore, but once this policy is in effect we should start seeing what that means from customers either emerging from their contract or paying it off. If you are a prepaid subscriber, a carrier only is required to tell you when the phone can be unlocked when you purchase it, with no further notices required. So if you are a prepaid customer, maybe mark it in your calendar with a reminder at the time of sale.

Can I unlock my phone before the required commitment without paying an ETF?

  • It depends on the situation, but a carrier might unlock your device if you are in good standing, are a business customer, or any other reason, such as being a veteran. But if the carrier will not unlock your device, there are numerous services online that will do that for you, for GSM (AT&T and T-Mobile) carrier-branded phones. Costs can range anywhere from $10 to north of $100 per the device and carrier. Sprint and Verizon services are available, but they are much harder to find. And before you purchase an unlock from one of these vendors, make sure they are reliable first.

If I do nothing until my phone is eligible, will it unlock automatically?

  • So far, only Sprint has said that they will automatically unlock phones once the contract or installment plan has been fulfilled (if the phone was sold after February 2015). All other major carriers require customers to request their device being unlocked. Some Verizon devices are SIM unlocked when purchased, but those that aren’t will need to be unlocked by the carrier. All AT&T, T-Mobile, and US Cellular devices require a request from the carrier to be unlocked, but T-Mobile ships an app on their newer phones to request an unlock. This is by far the easiest method, as it requires just the push of a button, instead of AT&T, who requires a form to be submitted.

If I unlock my phone, will I be charged?

  • If you are not a customer of the carrier that the phone is unlocked to, then yes. A carrier may charge a “reasonable” fee to unlock the device. The carriers haven’t revealed prices for that yet, nor have they confirmed that they will charge at all, so we’ll have to wait and see. But no matter if you are charged or not charged, all eligible devices are required to be unlocked. So if you purchased an AT&T phone for use on T-Mobile, as long as the payments were fulfilled and the device has a good IMEI, it will be unlocked.

What is the policy for prepaid customers?

  • All of the major prepaid carriers are part of this policy as well. This includes AT&T GoPhone, T-Mobile Prepaid, MetroPCS, Verizon Prepaid,  Mobile, Boost Mobile, and Sprint Prepaid. The requirements are different however. Phones bought on prepaid must be unlockable after 1 year from purchase date, but carriers can add requirements that the phone was used with a paid account during the duration. The requirements must be “reasonable,” but that’s as detailed as they get.

What carrier should I go with if I want the best unlocking policy?

  • Verizon, actually. Almost all of the modern smartphones are unlocked out of the box and work with various GSM carriers around the world, even with AT&T and T-Mobile (though due to any band differences, the phone might not work as well on other networks).

What carrier has the worst unlocking policy?

  • The offender here is AT&T. You must submit an online request to unlock your device with a phone number, IMEI number, the account holder’s first and last name, the last 4 digits of your social security number, your AT&T account password, your email, home address, and fill out a captcha.

Can I use [A phone] on [B network]?

  • For 3G and possibly HSPA+, yes. With LTE it gets trickier. With 3G, almost every phone sold on the carriers is interoperable with each other, even with Sprint. If you are taking an off-network phone from one carrier to another, the highest likely answer is “no”, except for the recent iPhones and the Nexus 6. Though those still won’t work on Sprint however. For LTE, very little of the carriers share the same LTE bands, so cross-compatibility might not be possible. All four of the big carriers share 1900MHz PCS (Band 2), but this all depends on your geographic area. T-Mobile and Verizon share the 1700f Band 4 network, so that should work too, if it’s in your area. Another issue is that AT&T and T-Mobile phones don’t generally work on Verizon or Sprint (aside from the Nexus 6 and recent iPhones) because those carriers still require CDMA support on their devices.

What is the best phone for switching between carriers domestically or internationally?

  • If you are switching domestically, the Nexus 6 is by far the best device. It will work on all of the carriers’ different networks out of the box, which the iPhone 6 still can’t do. For international travelers, there isn’t a great selection if you’re using a domestic device internationally. There are almost no LTE roaming agreements on any carriers except AT&T. However, most Android smartphones have the capability of using the most popular frequencies around the world. But if you want the best LTE, you’re going to have to use AT&T. So once again, the Nexus 6 is still your best bet.

That is the majority of the changes that are coming with this new unlocking policy. If you have any questions, feel free to comment below and ask. Again, the new rules for unlocking go into effect starting February 11th.

Source: FCC via Android Police

Best ultra-affordable prepaid smartphones for 2015

Seeing as how the race to the bottom is heating up by the day as far as Android smartphone retail costs are concerned, a refresh of our best sub-$100 prepaid device list from April 2014 was probably long overdue.

Verizon SIM card

To make that abundantly clear, just one member of last year’s magnificent low-cost seven made the cut this time around, and that’s despite us feeling generous and adding two extra spots to the rankings. We’ve also decided to stop comparing apples and oranges, so we’ll be listing your nine best prepaid phones out and about in no particular order.

The fact of the matter is they’re all incredibly enticing and bang-for-bucktastic, so the verdict comes down to your personal preference of one carrier or another, a certain design, brand or footprint. Not to mention the effect of price fluctuations on a gadget’s appeal.

100-Dollar-Bills

Currently, all these nine Android soldiers can be purchased for less than $100 off-contract, but many are discounted and set to up the ask soon enough.

Motorola Moto G

An instant classic and living legend, the first-generation, non-microSD-supporting G is as popular today as it was when it topped our previous prepaid charts, nine months ago. It still doesn’t allow for external storage expansion, and the mediocre 5 MP rear-facing camera hasn’t got any better with time.

Moto G

On the bright side, it’s cheaper than ever before, likely to get even cheaper, and it runs Android 5.0 Lollipop nearly free of manufacturer “optimization” or carrier bloatware.

Motorola Luge – $80 via Verizon

A mostly overlooked and underrated Big Red exclusive, this 4.3 incher is more easily pocketable and slimmer, but slightly less powerful, with a dual-core 1.5 GHz Snapdragon S4 Plus processor inside. Truth be told, its flaws are G’s fortes and vice versa, as the Luge features microSD support and a superior 8 MP LED flash cam, yet settles for an underwhelming 960 x 540 pix res screen.

Motorola Luge

Moto E – $20 at US Cellular

Oh, come on, another Motorola? Indeed, and it’s not just because this writer loves, loves, loves the direction the company’s moving in for a couple of years now. It’s also thanks to USC’s unbelievable generosity, and the handheld’s Android 5.0 compatibility.

Moto E

For only 20 bucks (if you hurry, and grab the E online), you score a Gorilla Glass 3-covered 4.3-inch 960 x 540 panel, 1 GB RAM, 5 MP camera, microSD card slot, and 1,980 mAh battery. If only other no-contract specialists would follow US Cellular’s suit.

HTC Desire 510 – $72 with Boost; $78 at Virgin; $84 on Sprint

Though HTC is keen to eat at Samsung, Microsoft or Motorola’s budget sales, their one and only prepaid heavyweight title contender is this mixed bag of 854 x 480 pixels resolution mediocrity and 2,100 mAh cell quality.

HTC-Desire-510

Larger than all its rivals so far, and arguably the most stylish of the pack, the Desire 510 stands out with snazzy white and blue coats of paint, plus software that works and looks great, despite there being no sign of Lollipop goodies. So nice to have you, BlinkFeed!

LG Tribute – $65 Sprint; $65 Virgin

We’ve wrapped up Motorola’s triad, now onto LG’s own affordable no-contract trinity. First up, a 4.5 incher that more or less squeezes Desire 510’s internals into a slightly more compact body. Good or bad thing?

lg-tribute

Well, extra screen real estate is always nice to have, so LG loses a point, but the pixel-per-inch count is virtually identical, and the $20 less asked by Sprint and Virgin Mobile for the Tribute may tip the balance in LG’s favor.

LG Optimus F60 – $59 through MetroPCS

The confusing branding suggests this F-series family member is a lot older than it really is, having only been released in October of… 2014. Slashed from $159 to $59 for a limited time, the F60 is Lollipop-ready, with a quad-core 64-bit 1.2 GHz Snapdragon 410 CPU under the hood.

LG Optimus F60

If you’re the pessimistic type, you’ll of course retain the F60 doesn’t run Android 5.0 yet, and sports a forgettable 4.5-inch 800 x 480 IPS screen. No matter how you look at it though, the 2,100 mAh battery is quite large.

LG Volt – $60 Sprint; $80 Boost

Another triumvirate finished, and sadly for LG, no Moto G-like standout here. Not even a Luge, albeit the Volt electrocutes the F60 and Tribute with a 3,000 mAh (!!!) cell, 8 MP LED Flash rear-facing camera, and 70.1 percent screen-to-body ratio.

LG Volt

Too bad the actual screen resolution is nothing to write home about, at 960 x 540 pixels, and the 32-bit-capable quad-core Snapdragon 400 chip limits certain upcoming functions of Android 4.4 KitKat’s follow-up.

Samsung Galaxy Avant – $69 via MetroPCS

The Korean mobile kings had a piss-poor year in the high-end segment, where the Galaxy S5 failed to outsell its predecessor, but their low to mid-end box-office accomplishments are probably a far cry from their days of glory past as well.

Samsung Galaxy Avant

Unless you’re willing to cough up north of $150, the Avant on MetroPCS is your only option to go low-cost Samsung. A stellar option, don’t get us wrong, as long as you hurry, with a 4.5-inch 960 x 540 TFT screen, quad-core 1.2 GHz Snapdragon 400 SoC, 16 GB internal storage (!!!), 1.5 GB RAM, 5 MP camera with LED Flash, and 2,100 mAh battery.

Last but not least, pre-installed Android 4.4 KitKat and, presumably, 5.0 Lollipop on the way.

ZTE ZMax – $99 at MetroPCS

If this was a competition like last year, the ZMax would have taken the trophy home so breezily you’d have wondered why there was even a contest in the first place. Granted, you’re unlikely to see the $99 price tag stick. In fact, it could go up as I’m typing this. No, not yet. But soon…

ZTE ZMax

Before it does, let’s remember and cherish this moment. The moment determined, prompt folks were able to nab for $100 a gigantic, handsome and robust 5.7-inch Android with KitKat on-board, 720p display resolution, 2, yes, 2 GB RAM, 16 GB internal storage space, microSD support, 8 MP main snapper, 1.6 MP front camera, and 3,400 mAh battery.

And yes, we know some of you aren’t comfortable with holding a beastly 5.7 incher in your hands, or tucking it in your trou pockets. But you’ll just have to make the “sacrifice” if you want the very best a Benjamin can buy free of contractual obligations.

New Moto X Now Available From US Cellular Starting at $99

moto-x-us-cellular

Now that the new Moto X has launched on AT&T and Verizon, it’s time for it to spread to the smaller carriers. T-Mobile and Sprint have still passed on the device, but you can now get one from US Cellular if you want to.

The Moto X is currently available in one color. The plastic Black Moto X is available now for $99, but the Black Leather and Bamboo models will be available later this month for $150.

While it’s a shame to see some carriers pass on this device, it’s great to see it come to others. Are you going to get this device from US Cellular or a different carrier, if you’re planning to buy one at all?

Source: US Cellular via Android Police

ZTE Grand S Pro Lands At US Cellular For $100 With Contract

Are you looking for a low cost Android smartphone that has LTE functionality? If you don’t mind being tied with a two year contract with US Cellular then you might want to check out the ZTE Grand S Pro which is exclusively offered by the carrier as of the moment. This device is reportedly the most affordable smartphone with 4G LTE which is priced at $99.99 on contract. The carrier is also making this device available at $249.99 without any contract.

ZTE Grand S Pro

Technical Specifications

  • Battery: Lithium Ion 2300mAh battery with up to 10 hours of talk time (approx.)
  • Camera: Rear-facing 13 MP with auto focus and 2 MP front-facing
  • Dimensions: 5.6″x2.8″x0.4″
  • Display: 5.0″ 720×1280 HD capacitive touch screen with Dragontail glass
  • Memory: 2GB RAM / 8GB ROM; Supports MicroSD cards up to 32GB
  • Network: CDMA 1xDoRa Cell, 4G LTE B2/B4/B5/B12/B17
  • OS: Android 4.3 Jelly Bean
  • Processor: 2.3GHz Quad Core Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8974AB
  • Video: 1080p HD
  • Weight: 5.48oz
  • Wi-Fi: 2.4G/5G dual-band 802.111 a/b/g/n/ac

Lixin Cheng, Chairman and CEO of ZTE USA, said that “The Grand S Pro proves that it is possible to deliver a high-performing device, without the high price tag. This smartphone showcases ZTE’s definition of value which goes far beyond cost to deliver smart, affordable, quality choices.”

The ZTE Grand S Pro is a solid choice having a respectable spec sheet. It’s got a large 5-inch display that has a 720p resolution and is protected by Dragontail glass. This type of glass is six times stronger than conventional glass and competes against Corning’s Gorilla Glass.

In terms of performance this device should be able to provide a smooth user experience owing to its use of a Qualcomm Snapdragon quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM. For those who tend to store huge amounts of data this device comes with 8GB of internal storage which should be sufficient however if this isn’t enough then it can be expanded using a microSD card (up to 32GB).

What’s probably the main feature of this device is that it can connect to a 4G LTE network. US Cellular has coverage over most areas in the United States so consumers will be able to enjoy blazingly fast Internet speeds.

There are various plans available with this device with the lowest monthly plan starting at $15 which already comes with unlimited talk, text, and 300MB of data.

via us cellular

US Cellular Galaxy SIII Gets Android 4.4 KitKat Update

Customers of US Cellular who own the Galaxy SIII should be pleased to know that the KitKat update for their device is now rolling out. The OTA update bumps the device to Android 4.4.2 with baseband version R530UVXCND4. This latest update brings several new features to the device such as a more user friendly interface, faster multitasking, new messaging experience, and wireless printing capabilities.

us cellular galaxy siii

The Android 4.4.2 KitKat update includes the following key features

  • Phone Dialer: The new phone app automatically prioritizes your contacts based on the people you talk to the most. You can also search for nearby places and businesses, your contacts, or people in your Google Apps domain.
  • Camera: Enhanced the “touch to focus” option with a new circular, on screen control that can be dragged by your finger around the viewfinder to adjust a photo’s focus and exposure.
  • Hangouts: With the new Hangouts app, all of your SMS and MMS messages are together in the same app, alongside your other conversations and video calls.
  • Emoji everywhere: Sometimes words can’t express how you feel. For that, there’s Emoji, the colorful Japanese characters, now available on Google Keyboard.

There are two ways of upgrading the US Cellular Galaxy SIII. Customers can either choose an OTA upgrade or they can connect their smartphone to a computer.

OTA Upgrade Procedure

The following requirements must be met before the device can be upgraded using his procedure

  • The device must have a registered Google account
  • The device must be connected to a Wi-Fi network to download the update

Upgrade Process

  • Go to settings & select About Device
  • From About Device select Software Update
  • Select OK and follow the on screen prompts

PC Upgrade Procedure

These requirements must be met before the upgrade can be accomplished

  • Desktop/Laptop computer running either Microsoft Windows 7, Vista, or XP
  • All firewall & anti-virus programs should be disabled
  • Administrative privileges required to download & install software including drivers
  • An available USB port on the PC that supports 2.0 USB
  • Fully charged battery on the SIII

This upgrade procedure leaves most of the user data intact such as photos, music, contacts, documents, and others. There are instances though that data may be deleted so it is important to back up everything first before continuing with this procedure.

Upgrade Process

  • Download Simple Upgrade Tool
  • Install Simple Upgrade Tool
  • Click on the Samsung Simple Upgrade Tool icon on your Desktop.
  • Remove the battery from your device, then replace the battery in the device.
  • Plug your USB data cable into your PC. Press and hold the Volume down key on your device. While holding the Volume down key, plug the USB data cable into your device. Hold the Volume down key until the following screen appears. Select Next.
  • Press the Volume up key. The downloading screen will appear. Select Next.
  • Device drivers will be installed. Do not unplug the USB data cable from the device. Once drivers are installed select Next.
  • Press Start Software Download button to start the upgrade process which usually takes around 15 minutes.
  • A popup message will show that the software upgrade is complete. Select OK, then select Exit to exit the Simple Upgrade Tool.

via uscellular

Gold Galaxy S5 arriving on AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon on May 30th

s5-gold-back

Golden smartphones aren’t exactly the most sought-after in the market today, but manufacturers believe that launching every flagship in a gold color variant will do something to change that trend. If you’re one of the few who craves a smartphone in a gold shade, well, then you might want to hang on till May 30th before making a purchase, as the gold Galaxy S5 will be making its debut on all major US carriers on that day.  (more…)

US Cellular To Launch 1200 LTE Sites In 2014

us-cellular-moto-x

 

The fifth-largest carrier in the US is making some very good improvements. Today, US Cellular announced that they want to add 1200 LTE sites to their network, dramatically increasing its range.

LTE will be launching in a total of 13 new states and plan by the end of the year to have LTE access available to 93% of their customers. Here are some of the new areas where you can expect to see LTE:

  • Iowa
  • Illinois
  • Maine
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Oklahoma City
  • Emporia, Kan
  • Areas Of Door County, Wis.

As you can see, US Cellular is definitely looking for improvements, especially in light of what the other carriers have been offering lately. If you’re a US Cellular customer, are you looking forward to this?

Source: US Cellular via Android Central

Samsung Adds Two Anti-Theft Features To The Galaxy S5

Samsung announced recently that it has added two anti-theft features to the Galaxy S5 smartphone which will be sold by Verizon Wireless and US Cellular. One feature called “Reactivation Lock” disables the device if someone tries to turn off the program that locates the device. The other feature called “Find My Mobile” tracks the location of the lost device.

reactivation lock

While some groups aimed at combating smartphone theft are pleased with the addition of these anti-theft features this still falls short of what law enforcement have demanded to curb the sharp increase in smartphone theft. San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said that this is a step forward however were “concerned that consumers will need to opt-in to the system, thereby limiting the ubiquity and effectiveness of the solution.”

Gascon and Schneiderman said that a “kill switch” feature is what is needed so that victims can easily disable their stolen devices and render it unusable. “More work needs to be done to ensure these solutions come standard on every device, but these companies have done the right thing by responding to our call for action.”

Samsung said that “Samsung takes the issue of smartphone theft very seriously, and we are continuing to enhance our security and anti-theft solutions.”

Last July the company said that networks were against the idea of placing a kill switch in smartphones. CTIA, a group for wireless providers, said that a kill switch can work for or against a consumer. While a user can deactivate a lost device a hacker can also do the same which poses a risk for individuals.

Reactivation Lock

This feature is similar to the “Activation Lock” feature of the iPhone. It locks the device once an unauthorized attempt to reset it has been made. It’s going to be available on several Samsung models sold by Verizon and US Cellular.

Find My Mobile

This feature allows a user to track their device, lock it, and make it ring for 1 minute at the highest volume level regardless of the sound setting.

via huffingtonpost

Best prepaid sub-$100 Android smartphones – April 2014

So you’re in the market for some Android-powered goodies, but don’t care coughing up a fortune to score the best of the best. In fact, you only got one little Benjamin to spend. Of course, 100 clams is 100 too much for a host of wickedly fast high-end smartphones, including LG’s G2 or HTC’s 2013 One, as long as signing up to a 24-month carrier agreement is an option.

Top-Cheap-Prepaid-Phones

But what if it isn’t? Well, you could always grab one of the dirt-cheap tablets we recommended a while back. Or, better yet, why compromise when most major carriers stateside have either made the move to prepaid, or are working on it?

The advantages of prepaid plans? Need I even say it? Fine, you’re not bound to a network you may grow tired of, there’s no mandatory contract and, well, no early termination fees. Bottom line, prepaid equals freedom. And affordability.

100 Dollar Bill

Sure, that hundred bucks won’t get you cutting edge performance, quad-core processors or Full HD displays, yet our picks of the best low-cost prepaid smartphones around are poised to come in handy as backup devices for power users or primary handhelds for casual mobile enjoyers. Here they all are, in reverse order of pizazz:

7. Kyocera Hydro Edge – available for $79.99 at Boost Mobile

Why it’s one of the best:

  • Water and dust resistant thanks to IP57 certification
  • It’s surprisingly light for a water-shielded device, tipping the scales at 128 grams
  • Also fairly thin, at 10 mm
  • Packs 1 GB RAM
  • 5 MP rear-facing camera with LED Flash, burst mode, HDR and Panorama

Kyocera Hydro Edge

Why it’s not the best:

  • It might be light and thin, but the overall design doesn’t work in its favor, with massive front bezels and a funky, weird back cover
  • Dated, laggy dual-core 1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon chip
  • Only 4 GB built-in storage
  • No front cam
  • Tiny 1,600 mAh battery
  • No 4G LTE support

Kyocera_Hydro_Edge_2

Neutral points:

  • 4-inch 800 x 480 pixels resolution display
  • Android 4.1 Jelly Bean with no KitKat update in sight

6. ZTE Awe – $63.99 with Virgin Mobile

Strong suits:

  • It’s the cheapest of the bunch
  • Offers a lot of RAM for its price range: 1 gig
  • 5 MP rear-facing camera with LED flash and 1.2 MP front snapper
  • Dual-core 1.2 GHz Snapdragon S4 Plus (not the zippiest around, but again, considering the price range, it’s quite enthralling)
  • Incredibly light and comfortable to hold (125 grams)

Virgin Mobile Awe

Flaws:

  • No 4G LTE speeds
  • 4 GB storage
  • It’s currently on sale at $64, so it could become pricier any minute
  • Main camera lacks autofocus
  • Skinny 1,650 mAh battery, yet chunky 10 mm thick figure

Virgin_Mobile_Awe_2

Neutral points:

  • 4-inch 480 x 800 display
  • Android 4.1 Jelly Bean with no KitKat in sight

5. ZTE Radiant – $80 with AT&T GoPhone

Strong points:

  • Dual-core 1.4 GHz processor
  • 5 MP rear-facing camera with LED Flash and digital zoom
  • 1 GB RAM

AT&T Radiant

Downsides:

  • Lackluster design, a lot of wasted space on the front between the logos, bezels and capacitive buttons
  • Chunky and bulky, at 147 grams weight and 11 mm waist
  • Modest 1,735 mAh battery
  • No 4G LTE
  • No front-facing camera, rear-facing snapper lacks autofocus

Neutral points:

  • 4-inch 480 x 800 screen
  • Android 4.1 Jelly Bean

4. ZTE Source – $99.98 with Cricket Wireless

Why it’s one of the best:

  • It offers plenty of screen real estate, courtesy of a 4.5-inch TFT panel
  • Supports 4G LTE connectivity
  • It’s handsome in a retro way, despite also wasting a lot of precious space with pointless screen borders
  • 5 MP primary camera with LED Flash, BSI sensor, autofocus and digital zoom
  • 1.2 MP secondary shooter
  • 1 GB RAM
  • Spacious 2,070 mAh battery

ZTE Source

Why it’s not the all-around best:

  • Like Virgin’s Awe, it’s $100 as part of a limited-time promotion, and thus will probably be more expensive soon
  • The display may be large, but it’s very low-quality, as it sports 854 x 480 pixels resolution for a cringe worthy 218 ppi
  • Coverage could be an issue, as Cricket isn’t exactly a leading mobile operator
  • 4 GB on-board storage

ZTE Source-2

Neutral points:

  • 1.2 GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 Plus processor
  • Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean

3. Samsung Galaxy Legend, aka Stellar – $99.99 with Verizon prepaid

Strong suits:

  • Rounded corners and glossy rears may not be upsides for high-enders, but for a low-ender, they’re okay
  • 4G LTE support
  • 1 GB RAM
  • Fantastic battery life, thanks to a 2,100 mAh juicer
  • It is a Samsung and might prove more reliable on the long haul than, say, a ZTE
  • 1.3 MP front-facing cam

Samsung Galaxy Legend

Flaws:

  • 12 mm profile? You’re lucky you carry that gigantic battery around!
  • 3.2 MP rear-facing camera sans Flash
  • 4 GB storage

Galaxy Legend

Neutral points:

  • Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and run-of-the-mill 800 x 480 pixels resolution display

2. Kyocera Hydro XTRM – available for $99.99 at US Cellular

Why it’s the second best:

  • The design of rugged devices isn’t quite everyone’s cup of tea, but who can’t appreciate the benefits of a water and dust-resilient handheld with, wait for it, MIL-STD-810G military certification for resistance to humidity, rain, solar radiation, transport and thermal shock?
  • 4G LTE data capability
  • 5 MP rear camera with LED flash, autofocus and geo-tagging
  • 1.3 MP front snapper
  • Massive 2,000 mAh battery supposedly capable of holding a charge for up to 12 hours in talk time

Hydro XTRM

Why it’s the second best (get it?):

  • Not exactly a looker, due mostly to rugged reinforcements
  • 4 GB storage

Kyocera Hydro XTRM

Neutral points:

  • Same old Android build and 4-inch display
  • Dual-core 1.2 GHz CPU

1. Motorola Moto G – $80 with US Cellular, $99.99 on Verizon and Sprint

Why it’s the best of the best:

  • It’s got by far the highest resolution display of the “magnificent seven” – 1,280 x 720 – plus, it’s huge: 4.5 inches
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection
  • Remember when I told you $100 can’t possibly buy quad-core power? I lied, the G comes with a quad 1.2 GHz Snapdragon 400 in tow
  • Android 4.4 KitKat
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 8 GB storage (16 GB versions also available for some extra dough)
  • 2,070 mAh battery
  • 5 MP/1.3 MP cams
  • Bluetooth 4.0

Moto_G

How it could have been better (read downright epic):

  • 4G LTE
  • microSD support
  • A couple of mm shaved off its profile

Moto G-2

Aaand that’s a wrap. We’d love to hear your thoughts on our list, including how we messed it up and who we unjustly snubbed. Let your voices be heard.