Device update: GSM phones in the Ting shop plus Galaxy S6 for CDMA
Andrew Moore-Crispin • June 3, 2015if( has_post_thumbnail( $post_id ) ): ?>
A lot has happened since last we spoke. Not least of which, we added a GSM network to what we’ve got on offer. Aside from the whole more coverage in more places, thing, that means a whole new world of device options.
GSM offers access to the wider world of phone choice and we’re pretty excited about it. If you’re looking for information on what to look for in a GSM phone to bring to Ting, we have a blog post covering that topic. Given that this is the Ting device update, though, and we typically talk about devices in our own Ting shop, that’s quite enough bring your own talk for now.
Buying directly from the Ting shop offers some peace of mind that playing the used market just can’t touch. Also, it saves sifting through Amazon new device listings, trying to make 100% sure that the device you’re thinking about will be compatible with Ting. With our recent addition of a nationwide GSM network, about 80% of smartphones made in the last two years are compatible. That remaining 20%, though, can be a stumbling block unless you’re well versed in the world of mobile phones.
Following are a few recent additions to the Ting shop, across both Ting network choices.
Granted, the rounded screen that just kind of melts off the side of the phone is a gimmick… but what a beautiful gimmick it is. The Samsung Galaxy S6 edge really feels like a piece of luxury in the hand. As myriad reviewers have pointed out, the rounded screen edges that give the Edge its name aren’t really being put to good use. On the Galaxy Note edge, this screen technology came with a bunch of curved edge-specific apps, widgets and even a game. Neat, but not all that useful in truth… and showing the classic Samsung MO of cramming a bunch of stuff in to see what sticks.
So, accept the Galaxy S6 edge’s curved sides on their own merits (they really do look and feel amazing, for the record) or opt instead for the standard Galaxy S6, itself an incredibly capable smartphone.
The edge (like its non-edge cousin) sports a 16 MP camera that takes amazing stills and is quicker than ever when starting up, focussing and snapping a shot.
We won’t wade too deeply into the speeds and feeds, but Samsung has packed in its own processor, an eight-core Exynos 7420 with four 2.1 GHz and four 1.5 GHz cores. In short: Power to spare and a differentiating factor from the rest of the flagship market, all pretty much using the same processor architecture.
Take everything you love about the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge except for that whole Edge thing, shave almost $150 off the full, unlocked price and you’ve got the Samsung Galaxy S6.
The tech specs are identical to the Galaxy S6 Edge.
It’s a great progression from the Samsung Galaxy S5 and while it’s lost the waterproofness of its predecessor (hold on tight!) it has added a nice metal frame construction and has a really premium feel in the hand and feels like a big upgrade on the S5.
Budget GSM smartphones
The smartphone market is going through something of a race to the bottom. That’s both a good and a bad thing. (At its simplest: Low prices = Good. A culture where personal tech is even more disposable = Bad.). It’s a discussion for another article, though. Leading the charge of what we’ll euphemistically call the price-oriented market is BLU.
Now (Next batch available for pre-order, shipping on June 23)
For just $30 more than the flip phone we’ll cover in this device update post, the BLU Studio Mini LTE looks pretty good, what with its quad-core 1.2 GHz processor, 4.5-inch display and 5 MP camera. We unboxed it on YouTube – take a closer look!
A trend for these lower cost unlocked phones seems to be including a case and a screen protector in the box. With good reason. The likelihood of finding either in the “after market” are slim. The glass on these devices does seem to be a little prone to picking up scratches, so you’d be advised to use said screen protector.
Where many budget devices we’ve seen wear their low price tags on their sleeves (that is to say, they’re kinda ugly and they feel cheap), BLU pulls ahead of the pack by, you know, not doing that.
The Studio 6.0 LTE might not have the most forward thinking product name of all time. You may forgive it once you dig in. It looks and, in some ways, feels a lot like a flagship the tail end of 2014. It’s well at home in 2015 too, don’t get me wrong. However, we’re not going to try to mislead you to suggest that your ~$500 in savings as compared with the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 or the iPhone 6 comes with no sacrifices.
In short, if you’re looking for something that can pass as a flagship but that doesn’t require freeing a limb or two from your body in payment, it’s definitely worth a look. All the tech specs are in the listing on the Ting shop: BLU Studio 6.0 LTE.
The followup to the Alcatel OneTouch is the Alcatel OneTouch Evolve 2. The official product description says things like “elevate your mobile experience,” “seamlessly run your favorite apps,” “simple and intuitive smartphone experience.”
In truth, it’s a simple and inexpensive smartphone that will do what you need to do and not a ton more. Perhaps its biggest claim to fame, it supports Wi-Fi calling. No need for a cell signal booster at home, in the office or really, anywhere you have access to Wi-Fi.
It’s got a capable dual-core processor and runs Android 4.4 (KitKat). The 4-inch screen is adequate and while the 5 MP rear camera won’t replace your point and shoot, it includes an HDR and a panorama mode. You’ll never be left without a means of catching the action. However, “become your own professional photographer by choosing your own filter” does seem a bit of a stretch.
Flip phones are becoming harder to find. In the face of a dwindling segment of potential buyers, the majors quit making them years ago in favor of the more exciting smartphone. Other manufacturers have stepped in to fill the void. While it’s slim pickings for the flip phone set, the one that we’ve just added to the Ting shop is a good example. It’s simple and easy to use, it does exactly what the flip phone crowd wants (voice calls, Bluetooth wireless for hands-free talk, maybe a little text messaging).
Granted that for the same price, flip phone lovers could step up to the Alcatel OneTouch Evolve 2 smartphone outlined above… but that’s not the point.