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Brenda has been writing since grade school. She attended journalism school where she majored in professional writing. She loves to decorate, garden, read and spend time with her Yorkies.

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Brenda Pruitt. Powered by Blogger.

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Cell/Smart Phone Survey...

I'm contemplating finally getting a smart phone (I know, another one of my "said I never would" statements that is coming back to bite me in the butt.)

But as a blogger, I'd love to be on Instagram. Most of the make money angles for bloggers out there now want you on Instagram, I'm finding.

And as a woman with a disability, I'm tired of being lost out in the boonies or in possible gang territory because I just plain tend to get lost most of the time!

So I start researching cell phones and plans. Geez Louise, I need a translator. 

Locked versus unlocked...what does that mean? I must have been living under a rock. I've never heard of so much of their lingo.

All these terms that I can't understand. It's maddening to attempt to decipher what the plans and actual phone costs mean.

Is it better to buy from a store or buy from the cell phone company carrier?

Could you just jot down your current phone and carrier in the comments and tell me why you like/don't like them? And any other information that might help me with this?

Please help to educate me on this so, going forward, I don't manage to get lost in cell phone rhetoric. 

I truly get lost when there are so many choices!

Brenda Pruitt
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  1. I'm a senior who loves my smartphone after swearing for years that I didn't need one. I have an iPhone5 (so not the newest model but all I need ). I signed up with Consumer Cellular a few months ago, switching from AT&T. CC's service and price are awesome, they have an AARP discount and they use AT&T and Sprint network lines so I have noticed no difference in call quality. I really recommend them! They have a nice variety of phones or you can bring your own iPhone if it is unlocked and can accept a new SIM card. Their customer service reps can help answer any questions. Highly recommended! I don't have any connection with the company other than as a satisfied customer. My bill is about $30 a month.

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  3. Hi Brenda, I use a Samsung S6 mainly because of the camera and I'm happy with the results on Instagram. I am in Britain and use 02 as my provider and don't have complaints here. My dilema was which was the better camera and I don't think there is much between my phone and my son's iPhone. A good website to log onto when you start on Instagram is Emily Quinton's Makelight blog... She also goes into mobile photography specifically for Instagrame. Looking forward to following along :) xx

  4. Hi Brenda, I don't know if you have a mac book or iPad but the iPhone is just so wonderful (and integrates really easily with both)! I have used the iPhone for over 6 years now and just love it! I have the iPhone 6s and it is just so easy to use. I think you would really love it. I auto pay my bill so I really don't know what the charges are but I have always used Verizon. They seem fair and do have great service here in NYC. Good luck with your search!

  5. I know exactly what you mean about feeling overwhelmed when there are too many choices and the choices themselves are complicated. I get to the point where I just want to give up! I have a Samsung Galaxy S6 and I love it. It's my second Samsung Galaxy phone - I prefer these over the iPhones for several reasons...size, camera, certain functions. When I was first contemplating an Android phone (which the Samsung Galaxy phone is) vs an iPhone, I looked at youtube videos so I could see "live" comparisons. That helps with the choices.

    Personally, I wouldn't buy a used phone that's an older model, as then you run into the problems with it being slow and outdated, just like a computer. After all, a smartphone is nothing more than a handheld computer! You would find that certain apps won't work on it, cause the phone to crash, etc. I don't have any experience with buying a phone from a store (Best Buy, Target)...we've always gotten our phones direct from the AT&T store. I just felt like buying one direct from the store offered more personal protection and customer service...for example, the few times I've had questions about my phone, I've walked right into the AT&T store and asked them for help. They've always helped me, no questions asked, no charge. I don't know if you'd get that same kind of service if you bought from a second party seller.

    As far as finding a plan that works for you, the most important thing is coverage in your area. You don't travel, so that part isn't a problem (coverage in the areas you travel to). We chose AT&T because of their coverage in the parts of the US we frequent.

    Good luck, Brenda!

  6. I love my Samsung Galaxy. Love the options for plans people have written about. Data is what will be expensive so make sure you have plenty. I love IG so much! I hope you enjoy your phone when you get it. Get the biggest possible screen you can, it makes such a difference.

  7. I have a Samsung phone. There are many models . Mine has 8 gigs(of storage ) the future I would get a 16 gig model to be able to run more apps. Love Samsung. Have a Samsung tablet also. My carrier is Cricket coverage is good . I love in an area of Florida where there is a lot of rural areas where cell phone signal can be poor. As another reader mentioned ....the coverage in your area should impact what Carrier you choose. Samsung phones are available on many carriers plans. Google maps on your smartphone is wonderful for getting you where you need to be . With elderly family members it is very nice to be available when they need help. I can also keep track of my meds and my mom's meds etc when she suddenly becomes ill or falls. Very glad I have this smartphone.

  8. I started with a tracfone which served me well many years. However when my mom was diagnosed with ALS and my dad was diagnosed with leukemia and congestive heart failure, my kids upgraded me without my consent to a basic phone from Verizon on their plan so I had more minutes and could text from various hospitals.

    When my husband bit the bullet and got a flip phone (he loves it) we got our own plan through Verizon. Our 5 kids have Verizon and we use no minutes when calling/texting them. My phone died after 5 years and I got what I thought was the same phone It isn't. It is difficult to use and downloading photos is a nightmare (sometimes I am caught without my camera.

    My youngest daughter recently upgraded to the Samsung 7. The photo quality is unbelievable. It is so much better than my pricey digital camera. I researched and the reviews say that it may not be the best phone, but it definitely has the best camera. She uses the internet and instagram regularly from her phone with no problems.

    I decided in May to upgrade to the Samsung 7 from Verizon. There have been no specials since I decided. I keep waiting for a promotion, but I think I will be going over to the company store in another town next week. I am going to the company store because I went to our local store when I replaced my phone and later found out they are a franchise so they are priced higher and have less of a selection.

    If you don't have Verizon now, you might be eligible for a promotion. Our cost per month with my husband's flip phone, my new Samsung 7 (payments), and a 3.2 data plan (more than I need but what I have to have to get a discount) and my husband's work discount will be $95 per month. If I go with no discount and 1.8 data, it will be $89. Right now for 2 flip phones, no data and our discount - our cost per month is $58.

    Hope this helps.

  9. Apple iPhone 6s and Verizon. Easy, easy, easy.

  10. When I got my first smart phone, I cried every time I went to use it., I thought it was so complicated and it took me forever to learn how to use it. I personally think that even though my phone has lots of links, (gmail, facebook, etc, ) I think often of going back to a regular cell phone. I don't really need all those apps. I think it is alarming how everyone walks around with their faces glued to their phones, texting all the time, talking on their phones in the stores and even while driving. It is very sad to see. And most of the time they are talking about nothing really important. How did we ever live our lives and get business taken care of before cell phones?

  11. I have had a Tracfone phone for 15 years, very satisfied with it. You have no monthly bill, no limit on when you can get a new phone and can be used for all things computer plus calls. I got my latest on HSN, came with triple minutes[always triples what you buy] 1200 minutes and a year card. So I have had the phone for almost a year and have only the price of the phone deal with HSN and 1 $20. card as expenses.. For a whole year !! The $20. card gives me 90 days and 180 minutes and 180 text time and 180 minutes of data.And Tracfone has coverage everywhere,even overseas calls.

  12. Forgot to say my phone is an Alcatal ,it has a 5 inch screen I love it

  13. You will like it once you figure it all out. I have an T-Moblie and for the service in my area it works well and is cheaper then Verizon. I have a LG G Stylo and I like it very much. My daughter helped me pick a phone and a service provider. Good luck.

  14. Well, well well! I cannot wait for you to get on instagram!!!!

  15. We fought off having smartphones for YEARS, but with this last monthly increase in cost for a landline, and with my husband needing a smartphone to run his consulting business, we finally broke down and purchased an iPhone 6S and he got the iPhone 6Plus. We are both happy with our choices. Mine is a bit smaller than his, but it fits in my hand better. His hands are large so he opted for the 6Plus.

    If you would be using your Smartphone from your home most of the time, then I suggest finding out who has a strong signal in your area. You can probably Google that information. We chose Verizon as our service carrier because it has a strong signal in our area. (more Verizon cell phone towers here)

    We knew we wanted Apple iPhones because we have Apple computers in our home, so syncing the information (phone number and addresses from the phone to the computer would be easy and convenient.

    We decided to purchase our phones directly from the Apple store online since their delivery was VERY fast. We ordered our phones unlocked so that we could use any Sim card from any phone company. If you order a LOCKED phone, from a Verizon store, then you have to use a Verizon sim card and Verizon phone service. You can read all about locked vs unlocked at this link. Good luck... oh, and we pay $82.54 total per month for the two phones. Good luck!

  16. Good luck with your choices Brenda! I have an iPhone6 and love it (have had a 4 and a 5 through out years). I use Verizon as my carrier. Love my iPhone!

  17. Well finally there you go girl, lol. I like Mac products and have the newest I Phone but I'm sure all are good. Instagram is great. If you end up there I'm melissamiller99. No blog or Facebook for me anymore.

  18. If you are considering. IPhone, the new model is suspected to be launching around September.
    I started with an Apple system so it was a natural progression to the iPhone for me. I find this the most "intuitive " operating system for me. You need to compare iOS and Android to see which is most enjoyable for you. You can read all you want and watch all of the videos comparing them but each has a bias presentation. Hands on is always the best.
    I always get my phone, currently an iPhone 7+, directly from the store for the same reasons as the poster above. I have used Verison in four states across the U.S. and have never had an issue. I got a free iPad from them last year which was nice. I am not using the fastest speed package but I'd never know it.
    I'm glad you're getting a smart phone. I always wondered why you disliked them so since you hate cell phones and their noise and enjoy computers. Turn off the phone ringer when you go out and you don't want to be reached, I do, and you still have access to unlimited information via Internet at your fingertips. Sweet.

    1. I want to clarify where i buy my phones . I get them from a Verison coroprate owned store not just a Verison authorized retailer. I do not buy them from Apple.

  19. Hi Brenda, I currently use Verizon's prepaid service and get unlimited talk and text with 2GB of data for $45. I am trying to look at other options and have been investigating PureTalk, their senior plans start at $5, depending on your needs. I know they also sell smartphones. I will never go into a carrier's store to buy my phone again because you usually end up with more plan/phone than you need. I almost learned that lesson the hard way. Good luck with your search! Gina

  20. I have had an iPhone forever....this is my second or third one. And my carrier is AT&T. I pay about $100 per month for my plan, which includes more minutes than I will EVER use, plus my data plan and unlimited texts. The texts are vital for me - that's how I keep track of my girls' busy schedules. I love my iPhone! It has a great GPS that helps keep me from getting lost (yup, you're not the only one!) also the camera is fantastic. Just remember if you get one, you need to go for one with more storage...not the smallest amount they offer. I go for the mid-level, I don't remember how much it is. My sweetie has Verizon and has their's good, but not as good as the iPhone. My daughter also has an iPhone but she just switched from AT&T to Straight Talk, to save herself some money. I hope this helps, and good luck with your search!

  21. TMI for me. All I would like to know is how much the phone cost, how much its costs per month, how many minutes for that amount of money, does it have GPS, and can I use Facebook on it. Also important, does it scan coupons? JUST THE FACTS PLEASE.

  22. Brenda, since you are a PC user, not Apple, you should stick with Android phones. They sync through Google using your gmail account, and your computers will sync with your phone and everything is seamless. it works like a charm and is very easy. I've known many iphone users who switched to Android because it is easier than the iphone. I'm on my third Samsung and love them, but they are pricey. LG makes some decent ones that are a lot more affordable. Samsung has great phones, though, some of the best out there. The file sizes are large and you can get great clarity and sharpness with it, even get HDR photos. I use Cricket Wireless because it's only $35/month with unlimited features and am very happy with it.

  23. iPhone 6 and AT&T, easy and good customer service if you need it.

  24. I sincerely do not understand why a blogger needs to be on Instagram - so they can post a pic and maybe a comment a day? I, personally would never follow any blogger on Instagram. I come to a blog to read content that means something, that I learn from or connect to....would never find that on Instagram.
    All that being said, Brenda, it would be best for you to have a smart phone that links up with your PC. We have Apple products and AT&T, although had a lot of problems with their customer service screw-ups when we moved.

  25. I second what Nancy said above HSN and trac fone. You can pay for the phone on HSN on 3-4-5 monthly installments then I got my second one last OCT and have paid nothing else since.

  26. Brenda, I have a Samsung Galaxy 6. The new Galaxy 7 is out now. It's water resistant. I use Verizon Wireless. My daughter says that the camera on this phone is the best out there. My son-in-law, who works in IT, says that an android phone is better than an iPhone for a whole variety of reasons, none of which I understood. The one thing I can definitely recommend is getting an Otterbox cell phone case. It really protects the phone when you invariably drop it!

  27. I recently went with a GO phone from Altell. You buy an IPhone 5 S. No contract , unlimited calls and texts and it is $50 a month. I think that's pretty reasonable.

  28. I have a Samsung Galaxy 5 and I use AT&T for my provider. I have had no problems with the phone or the provider. Very satisfied.

  29. I have an IPhone 6, and love it. Super easy to navigate. I have Verizon as my carrier, and have had no problem. My work phone was an android, Samsung, and while it was nice, I found it harder to navigate. My iPhone syncs up with my iPad, which is so convenient. All my pictures automatically are on both. Something you might look into, our local Verizon store has free smart phone classes every Saturday morning for customers. They could answer all of your questions. I look forward to seeing what you post on Instagram!

  30. If you have a pc and not an Apple or a Mac i definitely agree with the commentator that recommended buying an android phone.I have bought my phones from Amazon and have had great results. They have plenty of reviews and detailed comparisons of the various phones. You can plug in your zip code and see what plan options are available in your area.If you have a landline phone, internet and cable tv, many carriers offer a bundle of services.
    I personally buy a one or two year older model usually Samsung (still brand new) unlocked for versatility in finding possible cheaper networks. Right now I'm using an Amazon fire phone which has been heavily discounted and includes a free year of Prime. I love it but you'll have to go to eBay for one. I no longer have a home phone and no regrets.

  31. I love my iphone 6. Takes great photos and I can facetime with my grandchildren. I have Sprint and I am very happy with them. I think most providers lease phones now and then you can trade up after a year or two. Good luck. xo Laura

  32. I have the Samsung Galaxy and love it. When I was looking at phones, I was told by our company's IT guy that the I Phone is easier to use at first, but doesn't have the quality of the Samsung - especially when taking photos. Once I learned the phone, I love it and am so glad I got it. I have it thru AT&T and can't complain at all about the service.

  33. Hi Brenda, we had Verizon for years. Last year we bought two Samsung smart phones from Walmart at $200.00 each. We still have Verizon as our carrier. We pay $60.00 a month. We were paying over $150.00 before. Very pleased!

  34. Sorry Brenda..I can't help you at all with smart phones..I have a Net10..I pay $30 every other month for 2 months service and 300 is all that I need as I mostly receive calls from dr's offices and the drug store..don't have friends or family to chat with for would be as confused as you if looking for a smartphone..Good Luck!

  35. So many options and different opinions! I have an iphone 5s. I love it and it was easy to learn to use. I had my daughter show me how to use it but the people at the store were very helpful also. My service is Verizon and there is hardly any place I go that I don't have coverage. Good luck with your decision!

  36. OH goodness! So much good information. I'm 65 and have an iPhone 6. The phone before that was an android. I much prefer the iPhone. Operation of the phone seems intuitive in most cases. The best advice I can give is to make friends with a person half your age . They can teach you whatever you need to know because they have grown up with electronic devices. I retired a year ago after teaching high school students for 38 years. They taught me how to text, set up Instagram and lots of other things. Good luck!

  37. We have iPhone's through Verizon because my guru/hubby is hooked on Apple stuff. Both Verizon and Apple are good with helping you out. I don't know prices, as hubby pays that bill.

    But if you are on a PC as your home computer, I have heard that the Samsung's are the best for pix and value. (and I heard that from a guy who is the IT wizard for a city in Colorado)

    Best of luck!!

  38. I like Apple products, and have used iPhones for years. The latest model will probably launch in September, but the iPhone 6s will probably meet your needs. I boufht my phone at an Apple Store, but you can buy it anywhere. Wherever you buy it, just make sure that they will help you set it up. I recommend an iPhone for you, as your first smart phone. Super easy to use. I have Verizon as my wireless carrier.

  39. I use republic wireless,android phone. I pay $10/month text/phone/data where there is free WiFi, and text/phone everywhere else. No contract and can change your data plan whenever. Downside is you pay for the phone. I'm frugal so that's why no iphone for us. Been with them for 3 years, no complaints yet!

  40. I have an iPhone 6 which replaced my iPhone 5S which replaced my iPhone 4. We are an Apple family and all of our electronics are Apple - we even use Apple TV.

    We have AT & T and have never had issues with the company.

    When choosing a plan, think about your data usage. Do you have WiFi in your apartment? If so, in your situation almost all of your data usage will be on WiFi and not on your phone.

    You are right about Instagram being the "way to go" now. More and more bloggers are focusing on IG.

    Let me know when you are on Instagram and I will do a "one to follow" post about you to help you gain followers.

  41. I purchased a Moto E from Boost Mobile about 3 months ago and it has turned out to be a great deal. Boost runs on the Sprint network. Every phone now comes with a hotspot so I don't need a separate Internet service to get on the Web using my laptop. An unlimited plan is $55 a month with autopay so I can talk, text and even watch movies online for just the monthly fee.. The Moto E was only $39.99 so getting started was very reasonable.Loving it!


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