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Device update: Spring is in the air

It’s been far too long since we did a device update. Let’s fix that right now! Blame the slow first quarter of the year, when manufacturers take a deep breath after the holiday rush.

First though: A small device sale! The refurbished Nexus S is available for $20 off the regular price and by the same token, the ever-faithful LG Optimus S refurbs are available for $10 off the regular price.

Following are the latest additions to the Ting lineup along with a look into the very near future at some devices that will be landing imminently.

A quick note: While it’s true that just about any Sprint device is technically capable of working on Ting, devices that are less than 1 year old are blocked from moving from Sprint to another carrier.

In short: Sprint release date + 1 year = BYOD availability. If our network partner releases a device in May of 2013, we expect the moratorium to be lifted in May of 2014. We’ve added an approximate BYOD date to each of the devices in this device update.

If you’re not sure if a Sprint device you already own can make the move to Ting, there’s no harm in running its MEID on the Ting BYOD page. This first step of the BYOD process doesn’t make any changes whatsoever to your phone and can tell you if your device is eligible to make the move.

On to the device update!

The top end

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HTC One M8

Available now
Expected availability for BYOD: April 2015

The HTC One M8 hit the Ting devices page for sale very recently. Far from being just another smartphone, it’s a beautifully designed piece of pocket art (?!). That said, we’re not sure how likely you are to buy one in the face of the rolling juggernaut that is Samsung and its Galaxy S5, which we’ll talk about in a sec.

The HTC One M8 is very comparable to the S5 from a technology perspective but sets itself apart in the design department. By all means, please prove us wrong, but all signs point to people at large choosing for the more plasticky Galaxy S5.

The HTC One M8 demonstrates HTC’s trademark eye for design. Its body is milled from a single piece of aluminum. It gets all the simple stuff right, which wouldn’t be big news if it weren’t for the fact that almost no one else does. Case in point: The front-facing stereo speakers send sound at you when you’re watching a movie or playing a game. Compare that with just about every other phone out there where a single, rear-mounted speaker instead shoots sound away from you.

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Samsung Galaxy S5

Available now
Expected availability for BYOD: April 2015

Samsung’s Galaxy S5 is the next-gen smartphone to beat. One of our favorite features has nothing to do with raw tech specs or Samusung’s add-on features. It’s that the S5 is IP67 certified, which means it’s completely dust and waterproof. Provided you put the charging port cover back in place when you’re done charging, the S5 can stand up to a dust storm or hang out in up to 1m (3.33 ft) of water for 30 minutes. If you’ve ever dropped your phone in the drink or gotten caught in a rain storm hard enough to soak your phone, the value of this simple little addition is obvious.

For more detail on this device (and for a chance to win one in our May 19 draw) check out our unboxing of the Samsung Galaxy S5. While you’re there, subscribe to our channel!

Mid-range and entry-level

The mid-range and budget end of the Ting lineup is, apparently, brought to you by the letter V.

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Kyocera Verve

Available: Mid to late May, 2014
Expected availability for BYOD: April 2015

Kyocera’s tagline for the Verve is “Not smart, but still brilliant,” which is uncharacteristically clever.

This is a sub-$100, feature phone device and will hit the Ting device lineup a little later this month.

While the Kyocera Verve microsite makes reference to the 2MP camera, shortcuts for online services like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and others, it’s most comfortable making phone calls and sending text messages.

To the latter point, the Verve features a slide-out landscape QWERTY keyboard and is clearly aimed at the text messaging set.

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Kyocera Hydro Vibe

Available: Mid to late May, 2014
Expected availability for BYOD: May 2015

A follow up to the Kyocera Hydro, the Kyocera Hydro Vibe sticks to the same budget-conscious approach to smartphones and keeps things waterproof (IP-67) and semi-rugged, like its predecessor.

It features what Kyocera calls the “Smart Sonic Receiver” which promises to turn the entire screen into a speaker and to filter out background noise so you can have a speakerphone conversation in a loud environment.

Its 4.5-inch screen is impact resistant, in keeping with that whole semi-rugged thing. Its 8MP rear camera boasts some camera modes that are typically reserved for the higher-end of devices. Most specifically, it has a high dynamic range (HDR) shooting mode that will make your pictures pop.

We’ll take a look at and evaluate the efficacy of the “Smart Sonic Receiver” speakerphone technology and other features of the Kyocera Hydro Vibe in an unboxing as soon as we can get our hands on one.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel if you want to check it out!

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LG Volt

Available: Mid to late May, 2014
Unfortunately, we were unable to get our hands on a shipment of LG Volt’s and therefore will not be selling the device. We apologize for the inconvenience.
Expected availability for BYOD: May 2015

This is the one I’m most excited about personally. We expect the LG Volt to come in around the $260 mark when it hits the Ting lineup in mid to late May. It offers up some great features for the price. Most specifically:

  • Android 4.4, KitKat
  • Tri-band LTE
  • 1.2 GHz quad-core processor
  • A 4.7-inch IPS display protected with Corning’s Gorilla Glass 2
In short, you get a very capable device with some features and specs typically reserved for the higher end at a mid-range price.

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