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3 hours ago

Grab a $50 Google Play Gift Card for just $45 at Amazon

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Your next Android app just got more affordable!

Is this deal for me?

Google Play has millions of great apps, some of which are free and others of which you have to pay to use. Buying apps can be expensive, so it's best to do it when they are on sale, but not every app goes on sale. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to save a little bit on all your app purchases?

Well, right now you can pick up a $50 Google Play Gift Card for $45 at Amazon. It's extremely rare to find a discount on these gift cards at all, so when you do you'll want to be sure to jump on it.

Whether you are looking to save a couple of bucks on your Google Play Music subscription, or have a slew of apps and icon packs that you want to buy, this discounted gift card can help. Buying this now is like giving yourself $5 for free to spend.

There is a limit of one card per customer, and they are only valid in the U.S. You will have to wait for the gift card to be mailed to you, but the shipping is free and you can have it in as little as two days.

TL;DR

  • What makes this deal worth considering? - Google Play Gift Cards very rarely go on sale, so even being able to save $5 is a great deal.
  • Things to know before you buy! - There is a limit of 1 per customer, and you will have to wait for a physical gift card to ship to you. This will only work in the United States.

See at Amazon

More from Thrifter

For more great deals be sure to check out our friends at Thrifter now!

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3 hours ago

What do you consider to be a "premium" smartphone?

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A matter of personal preference.

Earlier this month, a discussion broke out in our forums over the use of metal vs. plastic in regards to smartphone design. Some people were of the mindset that metal was preferable to cheaper plastics, whereas others preferred the function and utilitarian nature of the latter. During this debate, the phrase "premium feel" popped up quite a bit when users were discussing their preferred material of choice.

However, just what does "premium feel" actually mean? Is it a way of describing a phone that feels solid and durable, or one that has a more luxurious construction?

Here's what some of our forum users had to say on the matter.

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I Can Be Your Hero 10-15-2017 07:06 PM “

Just means that it feels like an expensive piece of hardware, because it is an expensive piece of hardware. The materials the exterior of the body is made of, the heft of the device etc. Basically if you're buying a $650-$900 phone, you don't want it to feel like a cheap Fisher Price toy. What feels premium is subjective, but generally, phones with a build of metal or glass generally are...

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Zendroid1 10-16-2017 08:24 AM “

Premium is very subjective so I think that's the issue some people have with calling devices premium and saying so and so phone is more premium than the other guy. If it's subject you can't make statements like this. Yes people will say things like well aluminum and glass IS more premium than cheap plastic, but again, it's all subjective. I have no problem with people saying what they like and...

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sulla1965 10-15-2017 09:54 PM “

Basically metal or glass backs. Off course the downside to "premium feeling" phones is the loss of removable backs and batteries. Do you recall when Samsung made plastic phones and lots of people swore off Samsung if they didn't do like Apple and make a "premium feeling" phone. Well Samsung and HTC saw the writing on the wall and switched to glass and metal. Of course even budget and mid range...

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Jeremy8000 10-15-2017 10:02 PM “

To me, premium feel simply means that it feels exceptionally well constructed. Buttons have good tactile response with no loose 'wiggle,' phone body is solid with no creaking it forcing under moderate pressure, and seams are tight. I've held metal, glass, and plastic body phones that feel premium, and held devices of each that don't, so don't rule out a material based on prejudice.

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dov1978 10-17-2017 07:22 AM “

People think that premium has to mean Metal or Glass. Some of the most premium and robust phones I even owned or held were Nokia Lumia's. Polycarbonate phones were gorgeous, solid and felt indestructible. But then there were Samsung's like the S3 that were plastic with painted sides to look like metal that just felt cheap for their price tag. I really wish a manufacturer would take a risk and try...

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There's no "right" answer to this question, but we're interested in knowing what you think – what do you consider to be a "premium" phone?

Join the conversation in the forums!

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4 hours ago

Deal: Purchase an LG V30+ on Sprint Flex Lease and get a second V30+ free

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New and current Sprint customers who are interested in upgrading their device can purchase the new LG V30+ on the 18-month Sprint Flex lease program and get a second LG V30+ free on Sprint.

The LG V30+ Sprint Flex lease is an 18-month payment program. Those with eligible credit will pay 0% down and $38/month.  With this deal, you would pay $38/month on the Sprint Flex lease for your first LG V30+ handset and receive a monthly bill credit for your second LG V30+ — making the second device free.   

In addition, you'll also get a free new Google Daydream headset and a Top VR Content bundle (a $144.95 value) while supplies last. 

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4 hours ago

Lawnchair comes to Google Play with Pixel-y goodness

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Getting a Pixel-y home screen is as easy as grabbing a lawnchair.

Lawnchair Launcher has been around for a while on XDA Developers, where the app has slowly refined and developed into a more complete and unique launcher rather than just a Pixel Launcher clone. Now, that app has made the jump from forums to the Google Play Store, where it can be exposed to millions of users.

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5 hours ago

Watch our Huawei Mate 10 + Mate 10 Pro video preview!

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If you look at the heritage of the Huawei Mate series over the years, one thing stands out: These are big, beastly tank-like phones — and with enormous screens and huge batteries inside, they needed to be.

The latest Mate phones have pivoted slightly, though. Along with all the generational improvements that come in any new flagship, the Mate 10 packs all the technology we'd expect from the series into two of Huawei's sleekest and most beautiful devices to date.

The Huawei Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro — the latter being the only model to be sold in the U.S. and UK, for now — features new AI-equipped hardware, backed up by a new, powerful and efficient CPU, up to 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, and new software based upon Android Oreo. And that's before we get to the impressive camera setup that Huawei and Leica have built out, featuring dual optically stabilized rear cameras behind f/1.6 lenses.

As you'll see in our video preview, getting all the power of a Huawei Mate phone no longer means carrying around a giant brick of a phone in your pocket. And the Mate 10 Pro, in particular, might be enough to give Samsung and Google a run for their money.

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5 hours ago

Garmin Speak updates the GPS for 2017 with Alexa, and good design

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Alexa's next frontier – the automobile.

Amazon's Alexa has come a long way since its debut on the original Echo back in 2014, both from a software perspective and hardware availability. Amazon has steadily been increasing its own first-party gadgets with Alexa built-in, and we've seen a host of third-party devices with the famous assistant as well. The latest of these is the Garmin Speak, and it finally brings Alexa right into your car.

The Garmin Speak is a circular GPS unit that attaches to your vehicle's windshield, and it measures in at just an inch and a half long. On the front of the Speak is a circular OLED display that shows lane guidance arrows and how much further you have to go until your next turn, and surrounding this is a blue LED light similar to what you'll see on Amazon's Echo devices. The Speak can connect to your car's speaker system via a wired auxiliary connection or wirelessly with Bluetooth, and this will allow it to announce audio-guided navigation.

However, since Alexa is built into the Speak, you can do much more than get directions to work in the morning. Want to pick up a pumpkin spice latte on the way to the office but you're running short on time? Just say "Alexa, tell Starbucks to start my order", and you can have your morning coffee ordered without having to ever touch your phone.

The Speak is finally making GPSs cool again.

You have the entirety of Alexa in your car with the Speak, meaning you can check the weather, control smart home devices, play interactive games, and even accept or reject incoming phone calls thanks to the integration of Sensory's TrulyHandsfree technology.

Garmin says that the Speak will use your phone's data connection for powering all of its functionality, and you'll be able to add skills and new features to Alexa on the Speak by downloading the Garmin Speak and Amazon Alexa apps on your phone and linking the two with one another.

The Garmin Speak costs $149.99 USD, and it's available for purchase now at Amazon and Best Buy.

See at Garmin

Amazon Alexa

See more at Amazon

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15 hours ago

Qualcomm just made it way easier for phone makers to support T-Mobile's 600Mhz network

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Your next phone will probably support a T-Mobile's push for better coverage in the U.S.

A lot of T-Mobile customers were upset that Samsung's Galaxy Note 8 didn't support T-Mobile's burgeoning low-band 600MHz network; many of those same people wondered why Apple's iPhone 8 and upcoming iPhone X lack the same capabilities.

In fact, the LG V30 is the only phone to support T-Mobile's new network, which pushes LTE signals further and penetrates walls better than even the widely-used 700MHz spectrum used by three of the big four carriers in the U.S. today.

That's all about to change. Qualcomm is releasing a number of components to phone manufacturers as part of its RF Front-End portfolio that include support for Band 71, which comprises the 600MHz band. These parts, which include a Low-Band Power Amplifier Module, an Adaptive Aperture Tuner, along with Duplexer and Diversity Receive (DRX) Filter, work with the baseband inside any number of Snapdragon chips from the 200, 400, 600, and 800 series to support Band 71.

So how did LG get support for it so early? A Qualcomm rep I spoke to wouldn't speculate, but said that it's likely using a combination of off-the-shelf and custom components to make it happen. Starting in early 2018, most phones released in the U.S. will support Band 71, since manufacturers are more inclined to add something when they don't have to work too hard to achieve it.

While T-Mobile owns nearly half of the 600MHz spectrum in the U.S., Band 71 will also be used in the IoT and enterprise fields to enhance long-range LTE communications.

Earlier this year, T-Mobile CEO John Legere said that two products, one by LG and another from Samsung, would support its 600MHz network by year's end. That Samsung device has yet to materialize. Legere also said that the network would roll out to rural parts of the U.S. not currently served by its existing LTE network.

LG V30

img { width: 100%; height: auto; } .devicebox ul { display: table; margin: 0 0 10px; width: 100%; } .devicebox ul li { background: #f7f7f7; margin: 2px 0; padding: 4px 15px; } .devicebox ul li:hover { background: #fff; } .devicebox ul li:before { display: none; } .devicebox p ~ p { line-height: 1.25; } .devicebox p:first-of-type + p { padding: 15px; } .devicebox a.buy-link { border-radius: 5px; display: inline-block; font: 14px/31px "Proxima Nova Extrabld",Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; text-align: center; } .devicebox a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:link, .devicebox a.buy-link:active, .devicebox a.buy-link:visited { background: #37B5D7; color: #FFF; } .devicebox a.buy-link:hover { background: #2694B2; text-decoration: none; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { content: "\e61e"; font: 40px/0 "ac_iconset" !important; margin: 0 3px 0 -8px; vertical-align: middle; } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { /* div:not(.columns-3) excludes help menu content */ .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p img, .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 660px) { .devicebox h3 { text-align: center; } .devicebox ul, .devicebox p { display: block; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox p img, .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 661px), all and (max-width: 500px) { /* 2x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(even) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:last-of-type:nth-of-type(odd) { width: 100%; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 659px) and (min-width: 501px) { /* 3x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(100%/3 - 10px/3); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(3n):not(:nth-last-of-type(2)) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:only-child { width: 100%; margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(odd) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } } @media all and (max-width: 500px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { display: none; } } .page-admin .devicebox {max-width: 350px;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe {position: relative; height: 0; padding-bottom: 56.9%;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe iframe {width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

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15 hours ago

Qualcomm has managed to fit its once briefcase-sized 5G modem into a phone

12

Qualcomm has a 5G modem that works in an actual phone.

Back at Mobile World Congress in February, I walked through Qualcomm's sprawling show floor exhibit and was struck by the emphasis being paid to a technology that, at least at the time, had little form or concrete narrative.

5G is a term thrown around to denote the next generation of wireless technology, combining the benefits of today's high-speed 4G LTE with something faster, more ubiquitous, and significantly cheaper. While it won't be available to the public until, at the earliest, 2019, companies like Qualcomm are already preparing for the shift.

Almost exactly a year ago, the company announced its first 5G modem, dubbed X50. It was a prototype product, using an unfinished specification of an unproven wireless technology, but it was, in the company's opinion, an important first step towards proving 5G was a thing. At the time, the modem was briefcase-sized, and was shown off in a glass display.

Today, the company has announced that same product, the X50 modem, has not only been shrunk down to phone-appropriate dimensions, but it's working inside Qualcomm's first 5G reference smartphone.

Using the 5G chip, Qualcomm was able to achieve gigabit speeds using "several 100MHz 5G carriers" — carriers being the air channels over which the information flows, not the wireless carriers you pay every month for service — in the 28GHz millimeter wave spectrum. Such high frequencies have enormous capacity advantages to the sub-3GHz ones we use for LTE today, but can only travel fractions of the same distance, and require massive localized antennas to push the signal. It's also really hard for a phone — with such small antennas — to send and receive signals at those high frequencies.

When 5G networks launch in 2019, Qualcomm envisions its X50 chip side the Android phones that lead the transition. It also expects the technology to co-exist with 4G LTE for a number of years, just as we still use 3G signals for fallback today when LTE isn't available. But Qualcomm representative Sherif Hanna says that in the early days of 5G, the technology will act as a sort of "turbo mode" for existing 4G, working side by side to add capacity to existing networks.

Eventually, though, 5G is expected to offer speeds ten times what we can currently achieve with the now-mature LTE standard, and Qualcomm envisions a time in the U.S. where wireless bandwidth is so plentiful that unlimited plans will be truly unlimited, not throttled after a certain amount of usage is hit.

For now, though, Qualcomm, despite its contentious legal situation with Apple, as well as accusations of anti-competitive practices, is forging ahead with its 5G strategy, hoping to continue its dominance in an industry that is slowly clawing its way out of paying it licensing fees for CDMA.

Until then, though, we'll still have fake 5G.

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18 hours ago

The tiny SanDisk Ultra Fit has huge storage options for a low price

1

It's not the size of the flash drive, it's what you store on it.

Is this deal for me?

The SanDisk Ultra Fit USB 3.0 flash drive is on sale at Amazon today only. You can get the 32GB for $10.19, 64GB for $15.19, or the 128GB for $27.99.

Except for a sale in early September, that's the lowest price on every version of this thumb drive since March. This is part of a wider sale on SanDisk products for Amazon's Gold Box deals of the day. That means there's some other accessories you might be interested in, but it also means these prices won't be here tomorrow.

These beautiful little thumb drives are so tiny you won't even notice them resting in your USB ports. This might be a bad thing if you lose small objects, but it also means you can keep it plugged into your laptop without having to worry about taking it out each and every time you move your computer.

Features include:

  • A fast way to move media between your devices
  • Read speeds up to 150MB/s
  • Write up to 15X faster than standard USB 2.0 drives
  • Transfer a full‐length movie in less than 30 seconds
  • Keep private files private with included SanDisk SecureAccess software

TL;DR

  • What makes this deal worth considering? - The price is the lowest it has been since March, and because this is a one-day sale it's not going to last much longer.
  • Things to know before you buy! - Check out the full SanDisk sale, which covers a lot more than just these adorable flash drives!

See at Amazon

More from Thrifter

For more great deals be sure to check out our friends at Thrifter now!

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19 hours ago

Google Photos now recognizes your pets as people, like it should

22

This is a good update, Brent.

Google Photos' growing feature set can be difficult to keep track of at times, but one that continues to impress me even to this day is its ability to recognize people's faces and automatically organize photos that it knows they're in. As if this wasn't already good enough, Google is taking things a step further by identifying your pets in the same exact manner.

With this update, the People section in Google Photos will be updated to "People and Pets" to showcase both your human companions, as well as those that are a bit fluffier. You could previously search for your pets by typing in terms such as "cat" or "dog", but for those that have multiple pets and want to look at pictures of specific ones, this will make doing so a lot easier.

Your pets will show up alongside people in your Google Photos library, and just like you've previously been able to do with humans, you'll be able to set a profile photo and name for your furry friend so finding them is as easy as can be.

This new addition is rolling out to Google Photos now, and it's one h*ck of a good update. 13/10.

Google Photos: Everything you need to know!

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19 hours ago

Google Wifi amps up parental controls with website blocking

5

Adult sites, begone!

Google Wifi might not have gotten any new hardware at Google's October 4 event earlier this month, but that's because it really doesn't need any. Google Wifi is still an excellent option if you're in the market for a mesh router system, and a new feature is now rolling out to the device that should make raising kids in the 21st century a whole lot easier.

That new feature is called "Site Blocking", and it works pretty much how you'd expect. Turning on Site Blocking will allow you to automatically block over eight million website that Google deems to be not appropriate for your kiddos' eyes, and it does this through the SafeSearch technology (initially created back in 2009 as a way for filtering out adult content within Google Search).

You can use the Google Wifi app to choose which Google account you want Site Blocking turned on for, and once you toggle it on for a certain person, it'll be active for all of their connected devices. So, no matter if your son or daughter is getting on the Internet with their phone or tablet, their eyes will be deterred from things they shouldn't be seeing.

Google Wifi already offers a decent selection of parental control settings, and the addition of Site Blocking is one that a lot of parents will likely come to appreciate.

Site Blocking is rolling out now to all Google Wifi devices.

Google Hardware

Google Wifi:

Google Amazon

Google Home:

Google Best Buy

Chromecast Ultra:

Google Best Buy

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20 hours ago

These SanDisk microSD cards are deeply discounted for only a few more hours

4

Storage for phones, drones and more, oh my!

Is this deal for me?

In a world where we stream more media than we consume, one may think that local storage is not as important as it once was. That couldn't be further from the truth, though. With companies like Spotify, Netflix and others allowing you to save your favorite media for offline access, having enough storage space is even more important now than it was.

As part of its Gold Box deals of the day, Amazon is offering big discounts on SanDisk microSD cards, dropping the prices to near historic lows on most of them. Whether you just want a smaller 32GB card to add to your Amazon Fire Tablet, or want 200GB to add to your phone, this deal has you covered.

These microSD cards are just a small part of a larger one-day SanDisk sale that's going on over at Amazon. Be sure to check out the whole sale and stock up on what you need today!

TL;DR

  • What makes this deal worth considering? - These are some of the lowest prices we've seen on these microSD cards. Odds are some holiday gifts you'll buy this year will need a microSD card to make them work properly, so grab one while it's discounted.
  • Things to know before you buy! - This is a daily deal. That means it is here today and gone tomorrow. Be sure to check out all the options, and stock up on the ones that you need.

See at Amazon

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22 hours ago

These are the cheapest data plans you can buy in the U.S.

Have a carrier in mind or just looking for a cheap plan? Here are the cheapest plans you can get from every one.

All prices valid as of October 16, 2017

If you're hellbent on saving money on your wireless plan, then you have to get away from the Big Four carriers (T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint, Verizon). Smaller carriers, called mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) or alternative carriers, lease coverage from the larger networks and resell it for less.

That being said, depending on your usage and needs, a plan from one of the Big Four might actually be your least expensive option. Here we go.

Before choosing a plan

Before you choose a carrier and/or a wireless plan, it's best to first determine your needs and usage habits. If this is your first smartphone, I'd like to first welcome you to the 21st Century and secondly encourage you to try out your options without getting yourself into any yearly or multi-year contracts.

If this ain't your first rodeo, then reflect on your phone habits from the past. How much data have you actually used in an average month? Do you really need an unlimited plan or are you actually on Wi-Fi more than you realize? Could you benefit from an international plan of sorts?

Take time to analyze your usage and then choose the plan that best fits those needs. Most carriers are more concerned with making you overbuy by convincing you that you need unlimited everything, when the fact is that 90% of Americans don't.

Don't let carriers dictate what they think you need, because it will almost always be much more than what's necessary. Figure out what you need and make carriers work for you.

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Plans

You could opt for the cheapest data plan there is, but if you end up using more than what's allotted, you could pay far more in overages when you could've just picked the right plan for you. See if these options fit your usage habits.

You use less than 2GB of data per month

Many, many Americans use significantly less data than they think. If you've realized that you're using less than 2GB of data per month, then these are the best cheap plans for you:

Mint SIM: Mint SIM is an MVNO that leases coverage from T-Mobile. You don't sign up for a contract, but you pay in advance for 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, or 12 months, saving you more money the longer the term.

  • Cheapest plans: $15/month for 3 months ($45 up front)
  • What's included: 2GB 4G LTE, unlimited talk, text, and 2G data, tethering


Republic Wireless: Republic operates on the Sprint and T-Mobile networks. No fixed contract required. It encourages users to spend time on Wi-Fi by making it easy to automatically connect to many hotspots around the country.

  • Cheapest plan: $20/month
  • What's included: 1GB 4G LTE, unlimited talk and text, tethering


Project Fi: Project Fi is owned by Google and operates on the T-Mobile, Sprint, and U.S. Cellular networks. Project Fi's most interesting feature is the refund you get for data you pay for but don't use.

  • Cheapest plan: $30/month
  • What's included: 1GB 4G LTE and "The Basics" — unlimited talk and text, unlimited international texting, tethering, data-only SIM, international roaming

MetroPCS: MetroPCS is owned by T-Mobile and operates on the T-Mobile network. Its cheapest monthly plan includes all taxes and regulatory fees and requires no contract.

  • Cheapest plan: $30/month
  • What's included: 1GB 4G LTE, unlimited talk, text, and 2G data, tethering, voicemail, visual voicemail, Wi-Fi calling

Boost Mobile: Boost is owned by Sprint and therefore uses its network. You just pay month to month, with no contract necessary.

  • Cheapest plan: $35/month (must sign up for Auto Re-Boost, $35/month without)
  • What's included: 3GB 4G LTE, unlimited talk, text, and 2G data, unlimited music streaming from select services (may require monthly subscription)

Cricket Wireless: Cricket is owned by AT&T and operates on the AT&T network. You pay monthly for Cricket, with no fixed contract.

  • Cheapest plan: $30/month
  • What's included: 1GB 4G LTE, unlimited talk, text, and 2G data (incompatible with tethering)


You use an average amount of data

The average American uses around 4GB of data per month. If you've noticed this trend for yourself, then consider these your cheapest options:

Mint SIM: Mint SIM is owned by Ultra Mobile and operates on the T-Mobile network. You pay upfront for 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, or 12 months. The longer your term, the more money you save.

  • Cheapest 4GB+ plan: $20/month ($60 up front for a 3-month term)
  • What's included: 5GB 4G LTE, unlimited talk, text, and 2G data, tethering


Simple Mobile: Simple Mobile is owned by TracFone Wireless and operates on the T-Mobile network. No fixed contract required.

  • Cheapest 4GB+ plan: $37.50/month
  • What's included: 4GB 4G LTE, unlimited talk, text, and 2G data, unlimited international calling to mobile lines 20 countries, unlimited international calling to landlines in 65 countries, unlimited international text, data roaming in Mexico

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You're a data hog!

If you're one of the few people who uses more than 10GB of data per month, then you'll probably want to go with an "unlimited" plan from one carrier or another. These plans will usually give you 4G LTE up to around 20GB per month, and if you're going over that, then you deserve a medal.

Keep in mind that no "unlimited" plan is truly unlimited. Every carrier has a certain cap, and after you reach said cap, your speeds will likely be slowed to 128Kbps (2G speeds).

T-Mobile: T-Mobile's single-line unlimited plan isn't cheap, but if you have 4 lines, you end up saving $35/month per line.

  • Cheapest unlimited plan: $40/month/line for 4 lines ($75 for 1 line, $50/line for 2 lines, $47/line for 3 lines)
  • What's included: 50GB 4G LTE, unlimited talk and text, Music Unlimited, tethering (at 3G speeds), unlimited video streaming, free in-flight texting and 1 hour of data on Gogo-enabled flights

Boost Mobile: Boost is owned by Sprint and uses the Sprint network. No fixed contract required.

  • Cheapest unlimited plan: $50/month
  • What's included: 23GB 4G LTE, unlimited talk, text, and 2G data, unlimited music streaming from select services (may require monthly subscription)

MetroPCS: MetroPCS is owned by T-Mobile and operates on its network. No fixed contract required.

  • Cheapest unlimited plan: $50/month
  • What's included: 30GB 4G LTE, unlimited talk, text, and 2G data, unlimited music streaming (may require monthly subscription), voicemail, visual voicemail, Wi-Fi calling

Cricket Wireless: Cricket is owned by and operates on AT&T's network. No fixed contract required.

  • Cheapest unlimited plan: $55/month (with Auto Pay)
  • What's included: 22GB 4G LTE, unlimited talk, text, and 2G data, unlimited international texting, roaming in U.S., Canada, and Mexico (50% of usage must be in the U.S.)


Family matters

You can often save money on your monthly phone plan by entering into family plans with various carriers. You'll usually pay full price for the first line but receive a discount on subsequent lines. Not every carrier offers family/multi-line plans. Here are the cheapest around:

Cricket Wireless: Cricket is owned by AT&T and operates on the AT&T network. No fixed contract required.

  • Cheapest family plan: 5 lines for $100/month (with Auto Pay)
  • How it works: The initial line must be a Basic $40/month plan. You get a $10 discount for the second line, an additional $20 discount for the third line, an additional $30 off for the fourth line, and an additional $40 for the fifth line, for a total discount of $100.
  • What's included: 3GB 4G LTE (per line, per month), unlimited talk, text, and 2G data

MetroPCS: MetroPCS is owned by T-Mobile and operates on its network. No fixed contract required.

  • Cheapest family plan: $40/month for the first line and $25/month/line for up to 4 more lines
  • What's included: 6GB 4G LTE data/line/month, unlimited talk, text, 2G data, music streaming from select partners (may require monthly subscription), voicemail, visual voicemail, Wi-Fi calling

Boost Mobile: Boost is owned by Sprint and operates on the Sprint network. No fixed contract required.

  • Cheapest family plan: $30/month/line for up to 5 lines (with Auto Re-Boost)
  • What's included: 3GB 4G LTE, unlimited talk, text, 2G data, unlimited music streaming from select services (may require monthly subscription)

Sprint:

  • Cheapest family plan: $60/month for the first line, $40/month for the second line, $30/month for the rest.
  • Whats included: 10GB 4G LTE/line/month, unlimited talk, text, and 2G data, unlimited HD video streaming, unlimited music streaming, unlimited streaming gaming, tethering (up to 10GB/line/month)

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For the globetrotter and those with family overseas

If you often travel internationally or you have family abroad, then you'll want a carrier with a good international calling plan for cheap.

Project Fi: Owned by Google and operates on the T-Mobile, Sprint, and U.S. Cellular networks. You can use your Project Fi data in 135 countries just like you would at home. Unlimited texting is also included, but international calling is subject to various fees.

  • Cheapest international plan: $30/month
  • What's included: 1GB 4G LTE, unlimited talk, text, unlimited international texting

Boost Mobile: Boost is owned by and operates on Sprint's network. No fixed contract required.

  • Cheapest international plan: $35/month plus $5 for Todo Mexico or $10 for International Connect Plus
  • What's included: Todo Mexico plus gets you unlimited calling to all of Mexico, unlimited calls to Canada, Unlimited international SMS (text) messaging. International Connect Plus gets you all of the above plus MMS messaging, unlimited calls to landlines in over 70 countries, 200 minutes to select mobiles lines in over 50 countries, and reduced per-minute rates to over 200 destinations.

Virgin Mobile USA: Owned by Sprint, operating on the Sprint network. No fixed contract required. Virgin's international add-ons are essentially the same as Boost's because they're both owned and operated by Sprint.

  • Cheapest international plan: $50month plus $5 for International and $10 for International +
  • What's included: International includes unlimited calls to Mexico, unlimited calls to Canada, unlimited international text messaging. International + includes all of the above plus unlimited calling to landlines in over 70 countries, 200 minutes to select mobile lines in over 50 countries, and reduced per-minute rates to over 200 destinations.

What motivates you?

Are you on a super cheap data plan? Let us know in the comments below and tell us about your experience!

Alternative carriers (MVNOS)

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22 hours ago

The best tech deals that you don't want to miss out on

Our friends at Thrifter post some great deals every day, and here are the best ones available right now!

From mobile phones to general tech, home goods and much more, the team at Thrifter is scouring the web every single day to find the best deals. Whether something hits a new all-time low, gets discounted for just a limited time, or has a new coupon code available for it, you won't want to miss out any of them. If you want to know about the deals as soon as they are happening, you'll want to follow Thrifter on Twitter, and sign up for the newsletter, because missing out on a great deal stinks!

So, what are the best deals that you should be looking at right now? Well, let's take a look at them so you can see which ones are best for you!

One-day SanDisk Storage Sale - Up to 25% off

SanDisk is one of the most popular brands when it comes to storage accessories like microSD cards and flash drives, and today you can pick up a bunch of these at huge discounts. Amazon's Gold Box deal of the day includes tons of SanDisk options at pretty large discounts.

Whether you need a new memory card for your phone, tablet, or action camera, or want to be able to carry around more files and media with you on the go, you won't want to miss out on these discounts. On several products, we are seeing new all-time lows, and others have dropped in price for the first time in quite a while.

See at Amazon

Aukey 20000mAh 6-port portable power bank - $29.99 (Normally $39.99)

Portable power banks are extremely popular these days, and there are so many different options available. From tiny pocket-sized ones to large ones that can recharge your phone like 10 times, they all offer something a little different to make them stand out.

This 20000mAh option from Aukey may be one of the most versatile ones that we've seen so far, and right now you can pick one up for $31.99 at Amazon when you use the coupon code AUKEYPY4.

The power bank has 3 USB-A ports, one Micro-USB, one USB-C, and one Lightning port. You can recharge the battery using the USB-C, Lightning or Micro-USB input, and charge your phone, tablet, and other gadgets using the USB-C and USB-A ports.

See at Amazon

Anker Wall Chargers & More - Starting at $19

The Anker PowerPort 4 4-port USB wall charger is down to $18.99 with code BEST2242 on Amazon. That price is $6 off its usual street price and matches previous low prices we've seen through other coupon codes.

Turns out, there are quite a few Anker things on sale right now. If you need to equip your wall charger with some charging cables, this 10-foot lightning cable is down to $14.99, which is its first drop from its standard $18 price since May.

See at Amazon

More great deals!

For even more great deals, and to see these discounts as they become available, be sure to check out our friends at Thrifter now!

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23 hours ago

Amazon says a patch for WPA2 exploit KRACK is in the works

2

Amazon is evaluating their products to determine how to go forward and patch KRACK.

Phones and computers aren't the only devices affected by the KRACK WPA2 exploit. In a connected world, everything from your toothbrush to your doorbell to your stereo uses Wi-Fi, and every one of them also needs a patch. Good luck with that.

One manufacturer with untold millions of things in homes around the world is Amazon, and we hit them up for any news on what they're doing about KRACK.

An Amazon spokesperson tells us "We are in the process of reviewing which of our devices may contain this vulnerability and will be issuing patches where needed."

The language here is important. Every device that uses WPA2 for Wi-Fi encryption is vulnerable. All of them. And they all should be patched. But some devices need to be patched first, because of what they are able to do and what an attacker would be able to do with them.

Everything needs to be updated but some things need to be updated right away.

At the "extreme" end of the scale is Android. Devices running versions 6.0 and higher need to be patched ASAP because a preexisting security feature was attacked and the result is an encryption token that's useless because it's all zeros. An attacker can then decrypt every packet over the network as well as forge packets to inject nasty stuff.

At the other end is something like a smart sprinkler head. It's out in your garden waiting to get a signal to cycle its power. That's all it can do: turn on and off. It needs to be patched, but the controller that can do so much more is a higher priority.

Amazon has several devices using Android 6.0 or higher as the base for FireOS. Those devices need prompt attention. The Echo family is also a priority. Dash buttons, apps for Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows may all need to be updated because they initiate a connection, and they also fit somewhere on the priority slider. Amazon's generic answer is the right answer.

We'll let you know more as soon as we know more!

Amazon Echo

See at Amazon

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