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#357343 - 01/02/2013 19:52 Cell phone for teenage daughter
larry818
old hand

Registered: 01/10/2002
Posts: 981
Loc: Fullerton, Calif.
Hi, I need a cell phone for my teenage daughter. Ideally this would look like an iphone but not be a "smartphone", so I don't have to pay $100/month. Is there such a thing? Thanks!

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#357344 - 01/02/2013 19:58 Re: Cell phone for teenage daughter [Re: larry818]
DWallach
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/04/2000
Posts: 3694
If you don't want to play the "family plan" game, then you probably want to have a serious look at Walmart's "Straight Talk" plan, or the T-Mobile pre-paid plans that you can only get online. Perhaps the cheapest option around is Republic Wireless. You have to use their specific Android phone, which is something of a bummer, but they get you a low price ($20/mo) by routing calls over WiFi as much as they can, then falling back to Sprint if that's not available.

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#357345 - 01/02/2013 20:07 Re: Cell phone for teenage daughter [Re: larry818]
robricc
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/10/2000
Posts: 4909
Loc: Orange County, NY USA
You can get an iPhone on Virgin Mobile for $35-55 per month depending on your voice minute needs (probably high). Data is unlimited, but you get what you pay for. Virgin Mobile uses Sprint as their back-end and the 3G speeds are atrocious almost anywhere you go.

If it doesn't have to be an iPhone, you can get a Samsung Galaxy Proclaim for $150 at Walmart. It's $45 per month for the Straight Talk service. For this phone, you're using the Verizon network. However, Straight Talk is also an MVNO for T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint. Be sure to check the map on the side of the box.

For what it's worth, you can also get an iPhone 5 on Straight Talk's Verizon service. Same $45 per month. You're going to pay for the phone upfront, though.
_________________________
-Rob Riccardelli
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#357346 - 01/02/2013 21:47 Re: Cell phone for teenage daughter [Re: larry818]
tanstaafl.
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/07/1999
Posts: 5322
Loc: Ajijic, Mexico
Originally Posted By: larry818
Hi, I need a cell phone for my teenage daughter.
I'd go with this .

Cost starts at $9.99 per month, but if she talks a LOT then you'll be paying more on a fairly high cost-per-minute basis. Last time I had a Tracfone I was getting 60 minutes per month for $6.67.

tanstaafl.
_________________________
"There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch"

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#357347 - 01/02/2013 22:16 Re: Cell phone for teenage daughter [Re: tanstaafl.]
robricc
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/10/2000
Posts: 4909
Loc: Orange County, NY USA
Originally Posted By: tanstaafl.
Originally Posted By: larry818
Hi, I need a cell phone for my teenage daughter.
I'd go with this .

Sorry, Doug. Times have changed and whether you think it's right or wrong, a teenage girl will want nothing less than a smartphone.

I think it's a bit crazy that I know multiple parents who give their teens and pre-teens iPhones, but I'm not a parent. Also, when I was a teen in the mid 90s, I had a pager. That was a bit unusual at the time, but you bet your bippy that I would have a smartphone if I was a teen today. Whether I was the one paying for it or not.

If you're an American parent in 2013, I have to guess the pressure you get from your kid to provide them with a smartphone is intense. I imagine the best way to deal with it would be get a relatively cheap Android phone and put it on a prepaid carrier. By far, I think Virgin Mobile is the most competitive. Especially if your kid mostly texts and uses data services.

I've set up multiple people in our factory with Virgin Mobile handsets because they a) don't have credit, and b) don't want to spend a lot on service. The HTC One V is often on sale for $99, and I think it's a great value. The screen is nice, the build quality is high, and it runs Ice Cream Sandwich. Overall, I think that phone on the $35 plan is the best value in wireless (as long as your expectation of high-speed data is low). If you're just using it to check Facebook and similar stuff I imagine teens like to do, it's more than fine.
_________________________
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#357349 - 01/02/2013 23:04 Re: Cell phone for teenage daughter [Re: tanstaafl.]
gbeer
carpal tunnel

Registered: 17/12/2000
Posts: 2656
Loc: Manteca, California
I have tracfone. That LG touch screen is just a phone. It has a web browser but its faster to drive home, look something up, and drive back. Also the screen is pressure sensitive touch. Works for the principle use, voice and text, but little else. Edit: But it's really inexpensive to buy, and to provision.

The SmartTalk plan has me interested. I've hardly been enamored with the idea of never ending $130/mo payments on an iPhone. But I wonder how much more than $45/mo it really costs.


Edited by gbeer (01/02/2013 23:07)
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#357351 - 01/02/2013 23:20 Re: Cell phone for teenage daughter [Re: gbeer]
robricc
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/10/2000
Posts: 4909
Loc: Orange County, NY USA
Originally Posted By: gbeer
But I wonder how much more than $45/mo it really costs.

$45 is the total cost. The only extra fee you pay is state sales tax.
_________________________
-Rob Riccardelli
80GB 16MB MK2 090000736

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#357356 - 02/02/2013 16:17 Re: Cell phone for teenage daughter [Re: robricc]
tanstaafl.
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/07/1999
Posts: 5322
Loc: Ajijic, Mexico
Originally Posted By: robricc
Sorry, Doug. Times have changed and whether you think it's right or wrong, a teenage girl will want nothing less than a smartphone.
Except... in Larry's original post, he said:

Hi, I need a cell phone for my teenage daughter. Ideally this would look like an iphone but not be a "smartphone", [underline mine]

That said, the Tracfone option would be hard to beat. $45 to buy the phone, $10 a month plus pay-per-minute overage to come out of her allowance.

tanstaafl.
_________________________
"There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch"

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#357357 - 02/02/2013 17:06 Re: Cell phone for teenage daughter [Re: tanstaafl.]
robricc
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/10/2000
Posts: 4909
Loc: Orange County, NY USA
Originally Posted By: tanstaafl.
Originally Posted By: robricc
Sorry, Doug. Times have changed and whether you think it's right or wrong, a teenage girl will want nothing less than a smartphone.
Except... in Larry's original post, he said:

Hi, I need a cell phone for my teenage daughter. Ideally this would look like an iphone but not be a "smartphone", [underline mine]

You're missing what I consider to be the most important part of the quote.

Originally Posted By: larry818
Ideally this would look like an iphone but not be a "smartphone", so I don't have to pay $100/month.

It appears to me that Larry's biggest problem with a smartphone isn't that it's a smartphone. It's the monthly plan cost associated with a smartphone. Pointing out that you can get a serviceable plan for $35, far less than half of what's expected, could be a win for everyone.

If Larry wants a featurephone, that's fine. But, the service won't cost less and the phone will be significantly less useful. Do you really think a teenage girl will use less than 60 minutes a month? Each text costs 0.3 minutes of airtime on Tracfone. I have no doubt that a teen can blow through the 60 minutes in texting alone without ever calling a single person.

The cheapest Tracfone plan that has a reasonable amount of minutes is 200 minutes for $39.99. If you go to Virgin Mobile, you get 300 minutes, unlimited text, and unlimited data for $5 less per month.

You might not like what I'm about to say, but Tracfone is for old people that primarily keep their cell phone turned off. They only turn it on when they need to call someone and aren't near a landline. They don't use it for incoming calls and texting is considered useless when you can use your voice.
_________________________
-Rob Riccardelli
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#357358 - 02/02/2013 18:47 Re: Cell phone for teenage daughter [Re: robricc]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 11957
Loc: Sterling, VA
Originally Posted By: robricc
Do you really think a teenage girl will use less than 60 minutes a month? Each text costs 0.3 minutes of airtime on Tracfone. I have no doubt that a teen can blow through the 60 minutes in texting alone without ever calling a single person.

At best, she'll go through that in approximately two days. And note that the study bottoms out at 18. I wouldn't be surprised if the 16 year olds use twice that of the 18-24 group.

Remember when teens were obsessed with the Sidekick? Funny how things change.
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#357359 - 02/02/2013 19:33 Re: Cell phone for teenage daughter [Re: Dignan]
larry818
old hand

Registered: 01/10/2002
Posts: 981
Loc: Fullerton, Calif.
What's Sidekick? I only remember the TSR editor program for DOS...

Actually my daughter never calls anyone, she's not a phone person. But she does want at least some cool games.

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#357360 - 02/02/2013 20:02 Re: Cell phone for teenage daughter [Re: larry818]
robricc
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/10/2000
Posts: 4909
Loc: Orange County, NY USA
Originally Posted By: larry818
What's Sidekick? I only remember the TSR editor program for DOS...

Actually my daughter never calls anyone, she's not a phone person. But she does want at least some cool games.

Sidekick was a phone with full qwerty keyboard marketed to teens by T-Mobile in the US. It had data functions built-in such as AOL Instant Messenger, but didn't require a separate data plan. It was very popular with teens and the deaf community because it was easy to type on and messaging costs were very low.

Since she wants to play games, you want a smartphone. An iPhone will probably be the most satisfying device for this purpose, but there is a high up-front cost if you want to keep the monthly fees low.

You can play games on Android, of course, but the hardware capabilities vary greatly between devices. If you're talking about games like Words with Friends, anything will do. If you're talking about Temple Run or something else with a lot of 3D graphics, you need to make a more careful decision.
_________________________
-Rob Riccardelli
80GB 16MB MK2 090000736

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#357361 - 02/02/2013 20:31 Re: Cell phone for teenage daughter [Re: robricc]
larry818
old hand

Registered: 01/10/2002
Posts: 981
Loc: Fullerton, Calif.
I've given her my old Samsung Rogue, which isn't even activated, and told her if she can not lose nor break it in a month of carrying it about, she can have an activated phone.

She's enjoying playing the few games it has...

As an aside, I sure wish the iphone 5 had the touchscreen of the Rogue. The iphone touchscreen capability is radically crude as compared to the Rogue.

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#357362 - 02/02/2013 20:39 Re: Cell phone for teenage daughter [Re: larry818]
robricc
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/10/2000
Posts: 4909
Loc: Orange County, NY USA
Originally Posted By: larry818
As an aside, I sure wish the iphone 5 had the touchscreen of the Rogue. The iphone touchscreen capability is radically crude as compared to the Rogue.

I think we're living on different planets, so you may want to disregard everything I said previously.

The Rogue has a resistive touchscreen and the iPhone has a capacitive touchscreen. I guess it's possible to prefer the former, but it's something I will never understand in the context of a cellphone.
_________________________
-Rob Riccardelli
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#357364 - 02/02/2013 22:57 Re: Cell phone for teenage daughter [Re: robricc]
larry818
old hand

Registered: 01/10/2002
Posts: 981
Loc: Fullerton, Calif.
The Rogue responded to anything, chop stick, pencil, even a tiny mechanical pencil. I could do meaningful sketches on it and send to my engineer, something that's impossible with the finger sized stylus the iphone uses.

Even for editing, touch where you want the cursor, and it goes there. None of this landing a finger in the general vicinity of where you want, wait for the magnifier, and then wiggle until the cursor is placed.

The Rogue sucked in every conceivable way except for the touchscreen functionality. I'm really happy with the iphone, but miss this.

Maybe I'm missing something here, but why would you prefer something of lesser capability?

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#357365 - 03/02/2013 01:50 Re: Cell phone for teenage daughter [Re: larry818]
robricc
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/10/2000
Posts: 4909
Loc: Orange County, NY USA
Originally Posted By: larry818
Maybe I'm missing something here, but why would you prefer something of lesser capability?

Resistive screens have to be calibrated and they don't work well with a finger touch. You usually have to use a fingernail or stylus to do anything. They also don't support multitouch, or at least I haven't encountered one that does.

I've owned Android devices with resistive screens. It's not a good experience. Multitouch being the biggest thing missing.

If you want pencil-thin accuracy, I guess a resistive screen is better in some ways. But, something like the Galaxy Note 2 with Wacom stylus is probably better and still has a capacitive touchscreen for fingers and multitouch.
_________________________
-Rob Riccardelli
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#357366 - 03/02/2013 02:32 Re: Cell phone for teenage daughter [Re: robricc]
larry818
old hand

Registered: 01/10/2002
Posts: 981
Loc: Fullerton, Calif.
Ok, the Rogue didn't support multitouch (among a lot of other things), so I never noticed that missing. As far as finger touch, it's as responsive as the iphone screen, I never had a problem with that.

My Samsung Series 7 pad is capacitive but supports a pointy stylus. That stylus doesn't work on the iphone. From what I've read about the way the iphone works, it needs a fairly big pad before it'll respond.

Anyway, about my only wish for the iphone is a way to draw on it with something pointy. And that the personal hotspot actually worked.

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#357367 - 03/02/2013 02:35 Re: Cell phone for teenage daughter [Re: larry818]
larry818
old hand

Registered: 01/10/2002
Posts: 981
Loc: Fullerton, Calif.
My daughter is having a blast with the unactivated Rogue. However, after reading what youse guys have to say, I think another iphone is the way to go. Verizon has the 4S for "free", I may do that.

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#357368 - 03/02/2013 02:48 Re: Cell phone for teenage daughter [Re: larry818]
Phoenix42
veteran

Registered: 21/03/2002
Posts: 1371
Loc: MA but Irish born
If her usage is pretty low, then a used iPhone (the 3gs is still getting the current iOS) and an ATT prepaid SIM might be the cheapest option - as long as she doesn't need data.

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#357369 - 03/02/2013 03:09 Re: Cell phone for teenage daughter [Re: Phoenix42]
robricc
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/10/2000
Posts: 4909
Loc: Orange County, NY USA
Originally Posted By: Phoenix42
If her usage is pretty low, then a used iPhone (the 3gs is still getting the current iOS) and an ATT prepaid SIM might be the cheapest option - as long as she doesn't need data.

If you're considering that, maybe a dumbphone and an iPod Touch might be something to think about.
_________________________
-Rob Riccardelli
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#357370 - 03/02/2013 10:54 Re: Cell phone for teenage daughter [Re: robricc]
tanstaafl.
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/07/1999
Posts: 5322
Loc: Ajijic, Mexico
Originally Posted By: robricc
You might not like what I'm about to say, but Tracfone is for old people that primarily keep their cell phone turned off.
Rob, you hit the nail right on the head! That's me in a nutshell. I don't currently have a cell phone, certainly not a smartphone. All I EVER want from any phone is the ability, on rare occasions, to push some buttons (hard buttons, not a screen!) and hold it to my ear and like magic someone will say "Hello?" through the little earpiece. In the year that I had my Tracfone, I probably actually made 10 phone calls, and received two or three. 60 minutes a month? Hah! I'd have been fine with just six minutes. smile

Originally Posted By: robricc
If you're considering that, maybe a dumbphone and an iPod Touch might be something to think about.
Now that is an excellent idea. Nice job of thinking outside the box.

tanstaafl.
_________________________
"There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch"

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#357371 - 03/02/2013 12:27 Re: Cell phone for teenage daughter [Re: tanstaafl.]
Phoenix42
veteran

Registered: 21/03/2002
Posts: 1371
Loc: MA but Irish born
Have you tried texting on a dumb phone?? Plus there is also "status" to think about.

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#357372 - 03/02/2013 13:31 Re: Cell phone for teenage daughter [Re: Phoenix42]
DWallach
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/04/2000
Posts: 3694
There are various VoIP and SMS-over-IP services (notably Google Voice) that can turn an iPod Touch, or unactivated Android device, into a perfectly serviceable phone, so long as you're near a WiFi base station. If you're willing to go with two separate devices, then maybe a MiFi device might fit the bill as a second gizmo.

For what it's worth, my 7.5 year old daughter is quite happy with my old and no longer activated Droid X as her "phone". She can play a variety of games on it, and I've separately got a Samsung Chromebook that she can use for all the Flash-based web sites that her school wants her to use. If/when the day comes that she needs to text back and forth with her friends, I'll initially just get her a Google Voice number and we'll see how that goes. By then, I'll presumably have more hand-me-down stuff that she could use.

Now, here's a different but related conundrum (not exactly a thread hijack, but...):

I've got one year on my Verizon lock-in, started when the Galaxy Nexus came out just over a year ago. At the time, the only thing my wife wanted was a dumb feature phone, so that's what she got. I've got the grandfathered unlimited 4G LTE plan. Together, we're on a family plan that gets 20% off list due to a deal between Verizon and my employer.

What's changed in the past year is that my wife has several friends who live and die by SMS texting. She can do it from her dumb feature phone, but she's getting itchy to give a proper smartphone a try. There's no easy way to add a smartphone to our current plan without restarting the two year clock and shifting to one of these awful new plans which have anything but unlimited data.

For the next year, until the lock-out expires, she's willing to put up with her feature phone. After that, though, it's going to be time to jump. If we were to jump today, the answer would probably be one of the many various ways of getting service from T-Mobile (either directly or through Walmart). I'm just hoping that Google announces something cool between now and then.

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#357373 - 03/02/2013 13:31 Re: Cell phone for teenage daughter [Re: Phoenix42]
julf
veteran

Registered: 01/10/2001
Posts: 1291
Loc: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Originally Posted By: Phoenix42
Have you tried texting on a dumb phone??


That's what we did for the first 15 years of text messages... smile

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#357374 - 03/02/2013 14:27 Re: Cell phone for teenage daughter [Re: DWallach]
robricc
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/10/2000
Posts: 4909
Loc: Orange County, NY USA
Originally Posted By: DWallach
What's changed in the past year is that my wife has several friends who live and die by SMS texting. She can do it from her dumb feature phone, but she's getting itchy to give a proper smartphone a try. There's no easy way to add a smartphone to our current plan without restarting the two year clock and shifting to one of these awful new plans which have anything but unlimited data.

How bad is her featurephone? You can get a Kin ONEm (note the "m") on ebay for pretty cheap. The Kin phones with an "m" at the end were original Kins that were flashed to remove the "smartphone" features of the original version. It still has a (poor) web browser, but all social media features have been disabled.

So, the Kin ONEm has a full qwerty keyboard, it's cheap, and it's recognized by Verizon as a featurephone. If all she wants short-term is a keyboard for easier texting, this may be worth a look. Swapping her current featurephone with another featurephone shouldn't cause any increase in cost or contract extension.

The Kin TWOm is also available if she prefers a more typical smartphone form factor.
_________________________
-Rob Riccardelli
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#357380 - 03/02/2013 21:36 Re: Cell phone for teenage daughter [Re: DWallach]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 13816
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: DWallach
There's no easy way to add a smartphone to our current plan ..

Just buy a smartphone and transfer the SIM card to it?
Or if not GSM, then call the operator and have them activate it in place of her leased phone? They shouldn't mind, so long as you continue with the contract to end of term.

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#357385 - 04/02/2013 03:46 Re: Cell phone for teenage daughter [Re: mlord]
RobotCaleb
pooh-bah

Registered: 15/01/2002
Posts: 1866
Loc: Austin

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#357387 - 04/02/2013 09:59 Re: Cell phone for teenage daughter [Re: julf]
Tim
veteran

Registered: 25/04/2000
Posts: 1461
Loc: Arizona
Originally Posted By: julf
Originally Posted By: Phoenix42
Have you tried texting on a dumb phone??

That's what we did for the first 15 years of text messages... smile

It is what I still use smile

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#357388 - 04/02/2013 12:26 Re: Cell phone for teenage daughter [Re: Tim]
Phoenix42
veteran

Registered: 21/03/2002
Posts: 1371
Loc: MA but Irish born
Another options would be Ting (link to plans). They are another Sprint MVNO. You pay $6/month, plus tiered usage, eg 500 minutes = $9 and 4000 text = $11, but 3gb of data will cost you $60 shocked so disabling data might be a good idea smile
They have a number of smart phones, and let you bring most Sprint phone to their system, excluding the iPhone and I believe the Nexus (though I now see that available for sale on their site, so that may have changed).

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#357389 - 04/02/2013 12:30 Re: Cell phone for teenage daughter [Re: Tim]
Phoenix42
veteran

Registered: 21/03/2002
Posts: 1371
Loc: MA but Irish born
Originally Posted By: Tim
Originally Posted By: julf
Originally Posted By: Phoenix42
Have you tried texting on a dumb phone??

That's what we did for the first 15 years of text messages... smile

It is what I still use smile


It is only recently that I migrated off my Virgin Mobile Nokia candybar phone to a used iPhone with AT&T pre-paid plan. For my usage and needs it works, and it is a lot easier on the thumbs for texting. Unfortunately my 5yr old has figured out how to play Angry Birds Space on it, so I tend to have it stolen from my once I get home in the evenings laugh

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