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3 days ago

AT&T vs. Sprint: Best family plan

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 Best Family Plan

Comparing data, to minutes, to cost, to perks, which carrier is right for your family?

Wireless carriers don't necessarily make it easy for you to compare between their services. They all offer data, and minutes, and messaging, but the small details between them can mean a big difference on your monthly bill.

Choosing a shared plan for your family is a big decision. When you're shopping between AT&T and Sprint it's important to know how much data you need, how many devices will be on your account, and how much data you expect to use.

What sharing plans are available from AT&T and Sprint?

Sharing plans allow you to purchase one big chunk of data and divvy it up between all the phones and devices on your account.

AT&T offers their Mobile Share Value plans. These plans are different sizes and allow you to choose exactly how much data you and your family need to share each month.

Sprint used to offer something called the Family Share Pack, but have now eliminated that program in favor of a more simplified plan for individuals and families called the Better Choice plans, which allow you to share data between multiple devices, just like a familiy plan.

How many devices are allowed on a shared plan?

With both AT&T and Sprint you are charged for each device on your plan. Adding smartphones to your plan costs more than adding tablets or wearables, so knowing how many devices you want to share data with will impact your total bill each month.

AT&T cost per device

AT&T allows up to 10 devices to be on one of their shared plans. The cost of adding a device depends on how many GB of data you are sharing.

  • $25/month/smartphone (on plans with 5 GB or less of data)
  • $15/month/smartphone (on plans with 15 GB of data or more)
  • $10/month/tablet (no data restrictions)
  • $10/month/wearable (no data restrictions)
  • $20/month/laptop or hotspot device

Sprint cost per device

With Sprint, the price per device depends on whether you lease your phone or pay in monthly installments, or if you're on a two-year service agreement.

  • $20/month/smartphone for non-discounted phones
  • $40/month/smartphone on a two-year service agreement
  • $10/month/tablet (at least one activated phone required)
  • $10/month/mobile broadband device (at least one activated phone required)

Remember, if you're not bringing your own phone, your carrier will also charge you a monthly fee to purchase one of their phones. Costs vary, but if you want the most up-to-date phone, you'll be looking at about $25-$30 per month until the device is paid off.

How does data work on a shared plan with AT&T and Sprint?

Both AT&T and Sprint let you choose a set, monthly data amount for your family to share. If you go over your monthly allotment, you will be charged an overage fee with AT&T, but not with Sprint.

AT&T monthly data rates

  • 300 mb, $20
  • 2 GB, $30
  • 5 GB, $50
  • 15 GB, $100
  • 20 GB, $140
  • 25 GB, $175
  • 30 GB, $225
  • 40 GB, $300
  • 50 GB, $375

Overage Charges: If you go over your allotted data on one of these plans you will be charged an additional $20/300 mb on the 300 mb plan, or $15/1 GB on all other plans.

Rollover Data: Unused data is rolled over into the next month and expires one month after rolling over.

Sprint monthly data rates

  • 1 GB $20
  • 3 GB $30
  • 6 GB $45
  • 12 GB $60
  • 24 GB $80
  • 40 GB $100

Sprint also offers an unlimited plan but the pricing structure is a little different than other plans. You pay $75 per month for unlimited data and a decreasing amount for each line you want to add bottoming out after your fifth line at $30 for each additional line added. While your data is unlimited, if you go over 22 GB on a particular device in a billing cycle your data speeds may slow down, or be reduced during peak times.

Overage Charges: All Sprint plans come with unlimited 2G data after you have used up your high speed allotment for the month. This means you will not be charged overage fees, but your data speed will slow way down if you go over your allotment.

Rollover Data: Sprint does not let you rollover your high speed data into the next billing cycle.

How do talk and text work on a shared plan on AT&T and Sprint?

Both AT&T and Sprint include unlimited talk and text with their shared plans.

With AT&T if you purchase a 15 GB or higher plan, you also get free talk and text to for Mexico and Canada.

Sprint offers free calling to Mexico and Canada when you're in the U.S. Additionally, you can add the Open World plan to your account for free. This gives you unlimited calling and text while travelling in Mexico and Canada (as well as a few other countries) plus you get 1 GB of high-speed data while roaming.

What perks come with a shared plan from AT&T and Sprint?

Sometimes it's tough to decide between one carrier or another, so each provider will offer something to sweeten the pot and hopefully make you choose them over someone else.

AT&T offers a popular TV service called DIRECTV, giving you access to local and network shows as well as a DVR. If you subscribe to this TV service, AT&T will give you unlimited data on for your cell phone, which could save you a lot of money each month depending on how much data your family uses. However, AT&T will slow down your connection if you use more than 22 GB of data between your mobile devices.

Sprint doesn't have any perks comparable to AT&T, but if you have family living outside of the U.S. their above-mentioned Open World plan has some advantages.

Which carrier's shared plan is right for your family?

There are a few important factors that will ultimately help you decide which carrier will get your business when it's time to choose a shared plan for your family.

For comparison we'll judge AT&T and Sprint on plans that share two smartphones and two tablets.

If you want the absolute cheapest plan, that can be built with Sprint. This plan would only come with 1 GB of data to share, but if we're talking rock-bottom price for your family, Sprint has got it.

If you want the plan with most high speed data, you can get that with AT&T, but you're going to pay through the nose for it.

If you want the best value for your data Sprint has some really great options whether you only need a little data or a lot.

If you have many devices consider Sprint as their cost/device added to your account is low (though this is dependent on whether you are leasing your phone or paying for it in instalments).

If you are concerned about overage fees then Sprint is the winner since they don't have overage fees, your data just slows down.

If you're primarily concerned with talk and text from your provider, Sprint has an advantage but only if you frequently talk to people outside of Canada and the U.S. and want that service for free. Otherwise their talk and text plans are both unlimited in the U.S.

If you already pay for TV service in your home you might find more value with AT&T since Sprint doesn't offer any kind of bundling services.

Keep calm and carrier on

Ultimately choosing a shared plan for your family comes down to how many people are in your home, what devices they use, and what they use them for. AT&T and Sprint have slight advantages between each other depending on what category you look at.

Overall Sprint's plan is the most straight-forward of the two and has really good value for the amount of data. Their rates and plans are dependent on you being in an area within their coverage map, so make sure to check that first, otherwise you would be charged fees for roaming on other carrier's networks.

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3 days ago

Qualcomm addresses USB Type-C and Quick Charge 3.0 [updated]

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Qualcomm says Quick Charge is connector-independent, and there have been no reports of malfunctions using the technology over USB Type-C.

There's been some discussion about the HTC 10 and LG G5 using Qualcomm's Quick Charge technology through the USB Type-C connector. In particular, Google's Benson Leung — a popular USB Type-C evangelist of sorts — has expressed concern over the USB Type-C specification, and many have expressed safety concerns about mixing the two technologies.

We reached out to Qualcomm for an official statement, and they replied.

Qualcomm Quick Charge is designed to be connector-independent. It can be implemented in a device that supports a variety of connectors, including USB Type-A, USB micro, USB Type-C, and others. When an OEM chooses to implement Quick Charge into their device, they can configure the voltage to fit within the specifications of the USB Type-C standard. We have received no reports of user experience or device malfunction issues with or without USB Type-C connectors. At Qualcomm Technologies, we are continuously working to provide the best solutions for our customers and consumers. Qualcomm Quick Charge is a leading edge fast charging solution with more than 70 devices and 200 accessories supporting one of the two most recent versions of Quick Charge, with even more currently in development.

While this doesn't directly address any violations of the USB Type-C specifications, it certainly sounds like the devices in question are engineered to be safe and charge rapidly via Quick Charge over the USB Type-C connector. It's also worth noting that both the phones and the chargers themselves have been UL listed and CE Mark certified as safe when used as directed.

As always, we recommend that you use the charging components provided by the manufacturer or certified replacement equipment at all times. Some of our phones can draw enough current to be dangerous if not used correctly. Be safe.

Update 11 a.m. ET April 25: HTC has sent out a couple comments on all this:

"HTC has configured our Quick Charge 3.0 implementation to Qualcomm's spec."

"We always recommend that users charge with HTC's first-party chargers (including the USB-C cable). If a user opts for a third-party charger or cable, we strongly advise they purchase only from reputable brands."

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3 days ago

HTC and Under Armour bringing UA HealthBox to Canada in May

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HTC and Under Armour are bringing the UA HealthBox kit to Canada this May.

Available May 23 for $549.99 CAD, the UA HealthBox features three HTC-designed, Under Armour-operated health products: the UA Band, which tracks steps, heart rate, sleep, and calories; the UA Scale, which tracks weight goals; and the Heart Rate, a chest strap that accurately tracks heart rate during runs. All of the data is tracked by the UA Record app, available for Android and iOS.

The bundle also comes with one year of membership to Under Armour's MyFitnessPal and MapMyFitness health social networks.

Earlier this year, our Andrew Martonik had many positive things to say about the bundle in his review:

Each of the products in the HealthBox is executed extremely well. The UA Band is light, comfortable and tracks your activities as well as any simple wearable can. The UA Scale is beautiful, and offers effortless tracking of your (and your family's) weight and body fat percentage. The UA Heart Rate might be a tough sell at first, but once you get over the awkwardness of it it'll become second nature. And of course you can't forget the UA Record app, for without it none of these products would be worth your time — tying everything together into a central place completely makes the experience of the HealthBox.

HTC and Under Armour do plan to sell the products separately. Both the UA Band and Scale will run $229.99 CAD, while the Heart Rate will go for $99.99. Pre-orders go live today.

See UA HealthBox at Under Armour

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3 days ago

MetroPCS offers two lines with unlimited talk, text and 6GB of 4G data for $60 a month

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T-Mobile's no-contract carrier subsidiary MetroPCS has launched a new promotional offer. This one gives customers two lines, each with unlimited talk, text and data and 6GB of 4G speeds, for a total of $60 a month.

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4 days ago

Pick up a pair of Mpow's newest Bluetooth headphones for just $15 at Amazon with coupon

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Update: Mpow has offered another coupon code (DM5PUY7O) which will now work to drop the price down to $15.

Mpow is currently offering its newest Bluetooth sports headphones for just $15 at Amazon with coupon code DM5PUY7O. Designed to be lightweight and long-lasting, these new headphones are great for your sporting adventures and more. They have 8 hours of battery per charge and offer noise cancellation to keep the outside sounds out and help you focus.

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4 days ago

Enpass password manager adds native two-factor authentication support

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Enpass is a popular offline, cross-platform password manager app that you can use to store your login credentials, credit card information, and other sensitive data. The Android app had fingerprint support for a while, and the latest update brings support for Time-based One-time Password (TOTP) authentication as well.

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4 days ago

India's Hotstar offers same-day broadcasts of Game of Thrones and more for ₹199 a month

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India's content streaming service Hotstar is taking on Netflix in the country by launching a premium subscription service that lets you watch same-day broadcasts of popular U.S. TV shows in high-definition. Season six of HBO's Game of Thrones kicked off last night, with the first episode now available for viewing in India through the service.

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4 days ago

Buy the 64GB Nexus 6P at Newegg and bag a $20 battery pack for free

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There's a neat deal on the Nexus 6P over at Newegg if you're still seeking the phone. Should you pick up the Huawei smartphone for $499 as part of the Shell Shocker Deal promotion, you'll also bag a $20 Fremo C510 11000 mAh battery pack for free.

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4 days ago

Moto 360 Sport is making its way to India on April 27

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Motorola has announced that the Moto 360 Sport will be launching in India on April 27. The waterproof smartwatch made its debut last September, offering an AnyLight display that lets you view the screen under bright conditions, along with a built-in GPS that can measure speed, distance, and pace, as well as a heart rate sensor.

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4 days ago

EE plans to have 95% of the UK covered with 4G by 2020

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EE has announced the UK mobile operator is set to increase 4G coverage to 95% and bring back customer support to within country borders. The company will introduce 600 new positions across the UK and Ireland, which should please customers who both expect and appreciate customer support based in the UK.

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4 days ago

Honor V8 with dual camera setup breaks cover at TENAA

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Honor's getting into the spirit of naming phones after automobile engines, with the vendor's upcoming V8 passing certification at TENAA. Based on the certification, it looks like Honor will offer two variants of the V8: a KNT-AL10 model with a 5.7-inch Full HD display, 2.3GHz octa-core CPU, and 32GB storage; and a KNT-AL20 version with a QHD display, 2.5GHz octa-core CPU, and 64GB storage.

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4 days ago

Xiaomi CEO shows off Mi Band 2 with LCD display, physical buttons

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It looks like Xiaomi's getting ready to unveil the Mi Band 2. CEO Lei Jun teased the wearable at a conference in China, revealing an LCD display and physical buttons.

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4 days ago

Understanding 4G in the UK: Everything you need to know

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LTE

Cutting through the technobabble.

Everyone knows 4G comes after 3G. It's faster, better, not to mention more expensive. But "4G" can refer to a bunch of different things, and the various UK operators use 4G in different ways to offer different features to customers.

It can all be a bit confusing, but we've brought together all the major details of how 4G works in the United Kingdom to help you understand how it all works — and how it affects you and your phone.

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4 days ago

Xiaomi's massive Mi Max will make its debut on May 10

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After teasing the Mi Max phablet yesterday, Xiaomi has announced on Weibo that the phone will be officially unveiled on May 10. The phone is expected to feature a 6.4-inch display, and benchmarks suggest that it will sport a Snapdragon 650.

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4 days ago

Google Play Store may be coming to Chrome OS

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As Google I/O draws near, it looks like big things are in the works for Chrome OS.

Google has been working on getting Android apps on Chrome for a while. We saw the release of the ARC Welder tool in April 2015, helping developers port Android apps to Chrome OS. More recently, a new find by a user at Reddit might mean the entire Google Play Store is headed for your Chromebook.

After mentioning he briefly saw a mention of Allowing Android apps on the developer channel of Chrome in the settings page, another user provided a screen shot of a new dialog all about Google Play. A look into the Chrome source found more than one reference about both the setting and the new dialog, so something is in the works.

Many rumors about Chrome and Android merging have been heard, but Google always has maintained that the two will continue to be separate projects.

So what might be happening? That's the big question.

Right now, the Android Runtime for Chrome includes a rudimentary version of Play Services that allows Cloud Messaging, Google sign-in, a contacts provider and OATH2 support, as long as the developer does a few extra steps to set things up through the Google Developer console. For full access to the Google Play Store, this restriction would have to be lifted. This would mean a full version of Play Services either built into Chrome, or a bigger and better ARC module. Either of these two things could happen, but it would take Google building it and distributing it for it to actually work.

With Google I/O a month away, we expect to learn exactly what this means. We're pretty sure the end users would love to have access to a million or so Android apps on their Chromebook, but what will developers and publishers think? Having an app that lives right beside a web browser on a product with a full keyboard and mouse or trackpad means more thought goes into monetization and delivery, which means more work on one or both platforms. Teams working on social media apps, web portals and shopping apps (as well as any app that can also live as a web page) will have their work cut out for them, that's for sure. It's going to be an interesting ride.

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