Monthly Archives: October 2013

Tracfone Android Plan How To

tracphone_logotracfone-android
Today, we will learn all of the ins and outs of the all new Tracfone Android phones. Currently available Tracfone Androids.

Phone Selection

The Tracfone Android phone selection will be limited to entry to mid level devices. New phones will come with the Triple minutes for life that will triple your calling, texting and data time. Don’t expect to find the Samsung Galaxy S4 here or anything because Tracfone is for the cost conscious customer. Compare Tracfone Androids

One thing to be aware is that you will need to purchase a phone directly from Tracfone. You cannot use Straight Talk or Net10 phones, again, you must purchase them directly from Tracfone or they will not work. Be careful when buying used phones because the Straight Talk and Net10 variants look identical to the Tracfone Androids but they will not work.

Which Tracfone Airtime Card to Use?

Currently Available Tracfone Androids.

The awesome thing about the Tracfone Android plans is that you can use the same Tracfone cards that you would on the older Tracfone phones. This means that you do not need to buy more expensive cards to use the Tracfone Androids. That said, if you are a heavier data user, then the best deal on Tracfone Airtime is the 450 minute card because it retails for $79.99 and will be good for approximately 1.3 gb of data usage. Since Tracfone cards are good for 3 months, this averages out to about $26 a month which is a great deal.

The best feature of the Tracfone Android plan compared to regular Tracfones is that it deducts data, airtime and text usage different than regular Tracfones. Regular Tracfone’s deduct data, text and calls from the same pool of minutes. With Tracfone Android, you get a three buckets if you will. One bucket for airtime, one for texting and one for data. The phone will take away from the appropriate bucket. For example, you can still make calls and text even if you run out of data. The old Tracfone’s did not do that.

How does the data plan work with Tracfone Android?

You do not need to buy a separate data card for your Android phone unless you want or need it for some reason.  You can still buy extra data but I do not recommend it as it can get expensive. The Tracfone Android plan is not a high data usage plan. I would recommend you go to Straight Talk or Net10 unlimited if you want or need a higher data usage plan. The one thing to keep in mind with Tracfone is that you can always use WiFi if you run out of data.

Which Calling Area will I get with Tracfone Androids

The current batch of Tracfone Androids are CDMA phones so you will be activated with either Verizon or TMobile. Tracfone may or may not introduce GSM tech phones that will work with AT&T or TMobile but those are not available yet.

Can I use Straight Talk or Net10 phones if they are the same models?

The answer to that is NO! Be sure to buy phones directly from Tracfone. Even though Straight Talk and Net10 use the same model phones, they will not work with Tracfone.  People buying used phones should be extra careful because there is no real way to tell if it is a Tracfone or not when looking at it from the outside or when turning it on. Only Tracfone can tell for sure if the phone is good for Tracfone service or not. You will need to give Tracfone the imei (serial number) and they can tell you.

What’s the difference between previous Tracfone’s and Tracfone Android?

There is a huge difference between Androids and previous smartphone like phones offered by Tracfone. Androids are true smartphones so can do many things that older Tracfones simply cannot. None of the older Tracfone’s were smartphones. With Android, you can finally download real apps, music, movies, etc. Another difference is that Tracfone Androids will deduct your data according to real usage where the older Tracfone’s data usually deducted from the same Airtime you had on the phone.

Compare Tracfone ZTE Valet and Samsung Centura

Today, we compare the first two phones in the Tracfone Android line up. Namely, the Samsung Centura and the ZTE Valet.  Check Tracfone Android Availability

Though they look somewhat similar, there are some notable differences between these two phones. The Centura retails for $129, while the ZTE Valet retails for $99. With that said, we examine these two phones a little closer so you can make the correct choice for your new Tracfone Android upgrade.

Samsung Centura and ZTE Valet Comparison Table

Check Tracfone Android Availability

Samsung Galaxy Centura

ZTE Valet

Phone Dimensions Height 4 1/2″ x Width 2 1/2″ x Thickness 1/2″ Height 4 1/2″ x Width 2 1/2″ x Thickness 1/2″
Weight 4.40 Ounces 4.50 Ounces
Technology CDMA with 3g Data CDMA with 3g Data
Included SD Card No Yes – 4gb micro sd card included
WiFi Yes Yes
 Screen Material  Plastic  Plastic
Processor Speed 800 mhz 1ghz
Android OS Version 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich 4.1 Jelly Bean
Phone Type Small Candybar Touchscreen Small Candybar Touchscreen
Camera 3.0 mega pixels 3.0 mega pixels with LED Flash
Screen 3.5″ Diagonal 3.5″ Diagonal
Button Types Capacitive touch Capacitive touch with Light sensor
Price $129.99 $99.99

Which Is Best?

As you can see from the table above, there really there are some notable differences between these phones.  First, is the processor with the Valet having a more powerful one in the form of 1ghz vs 800 mhz on the Centura.  Both phones are basically the same size and have the same screen dimensions.  Also, both phones have the same type touch buttons just below the screen but the Valet does have a light sensor which activates the back light only when dark.  Another difference is the  Android version. The Centura comes with a slightly older Android OS by way of Ice Cream Sandwich while the Valet comes with the newer Jelly Bean version.

Aesthetically, both phones are very similar. The ZTE is all black while the Centura has a bit of a dark metallic look trim around the phone. Both phones are all plastic construction with plastic screens so no difference there. I find the Centura to be a bit more eye pleasing because it does have a chrome bezel around the screen but not enough to justify the $30 price difference.

Three items of note. The first being that the Valet comes with a 4gb SD card while the Centura does not. One knock on the Valet is that I found the Wifi reception to be a bit on the weak side with the phone not connecting at all if the wireless device is on the other side of your home.  The Centura connected fine while the Valet did not connect with both phones being at the same distance from the WAP. Lastly, is the digital camera, the Valet has an LED flash while the Centura does not.

Bottom line is if you want a Tracfone Android, the ZTE Valet is the better value because you get better specs, a 4gb sd card and newer Android for $30 cheaper with the only drawback being the Wifi reception not being as good as the Centura.

Tracfone Android Samsung Galaxy Centura Review

The Tracfone Samsung Centura is the second in the all new Tracfone Android line up. The Centura retails for $129.99 and is a compact phone with a 3.5″ touchscreen.  The notable feature on the Centura is the fact that it comes with a newer version of Android in the form of Ice Cream Sandwich.  Despite the entry level specs, the operating system makes this phone perform admirably. To be honest though, I think the price on this one is a bit high because the ZTE Valet can be had for $30 yet comes with same specs. That is of  unless you like paying for something with better name branding in the form of Samsung. Note that you cannot use the Straight Talk Centura with Tracfone service or vice versa. Samsung Galaxy Centura Availability

Be aware that the Centura CDMA technology so you will be activated with either Verizon or Sprint. You will not be able to transfer your sim to this if your current Tracfone has one.

Samsung Centura Specifications

The Samsung Centura has what would be considered entry level specs. If you’ve been using Tracfone phones, however, the specs are light years ahead of what you’ve been used to. For starters as is the case on most of these type Androids, the Centura comes with an 800 mhz processor. Which as mentioned previously, performs very well when paired with the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operation system. This is one area which I am puzzled as to why the Centura is $30 more expensive than the ZTE Valet because that device comes to you with a newer Android version. At any rate, the rest of the specifications are as follows, 3.0 megapixel digital camera with video recording capabilities. This may not sound like much but keep in mind that this is twice the resolution as previous Tracfones.

Downloading apps and data on this phone will also be considerably faster because it comes with 3g speed downloads and you also get WiFi connectivity which lets you use data without using up your data units. Finally are the GPS capabilities which no previous feature Tracfone came with.

All in all, you will be quite impressed with this phone when compared to other feature Tracfones.

Centura Features

The Samsung Centura comes with all Google features fully enabled for you to use. Do keep in mind that features that use data such as Google Play, Facebook, Netflix, etc will be limited by the amount of data minutes you have on your phone.  That said, you can always switch to WiFi and continue using features and/or downloading apps. In case you are new to app downloading, keep in mind that you will need to create a Google account in order to access the Google Play app store. You can do this from either the phone or from your computer. Once that’s created, you can sign in and start downloading away. You will need to give Google your credit card info if you plan on downloading the paid apps.

GPS Navigation and Google maps is another very handy feature on the Centura. Keep in mind that this too uses data so you probably don’t want to use it too much if you plan on keeping your costs down.

There are tons of features that Android will give you over the traditional phone.  Facebook for example will be much faster and easier to use on the Centura. We browsing will also be more like browsing on your computer and will be 1000 times better than on any previous Tracfone you have owned.

To Buy the Centura or Not to Buy

The Centura is a fine phone. The only problem I have with it is that it costs $30 more than the ZTE Valet yet it does not really offer anything better than that model. Actually, all of the specs are basically the same. That said, if you rather have a brand you are familiar with then the Samsung Centura will make for a great Tracfone Android and will bring you much more joy than your current Tracfone feature device.

Tracfone Samsung Centura Images

Samsung Galaxy Centura Availability

Tracfone Samsung Centura Specs at a Glance

Tracfone Samsung Centura

Dimensions Height 4 1/2″ x Width 2 1/4″ x Thickness 1/2″
Weight 4.41 oz
Style Compact Candybar Touchscreen with 3 1/2″ screen
Network & Technology CDMA cellular data network and WiFi – Activated with Verizon or Sprint
Processor Speed 800 mhz
SD Card/Internal Memory 4gb Included – Up to 32gb compatible
Android OS 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
Digital Camera/Video Rec 3 mp
Screen Size 3 1/2″
Battery 11 days stand by & up to 8.5hrs talk
Below Screen Button Types Capacitive touch buttons
USB microUSB v2.0
Audio Jack & Charging Standard 3.5mm iPod type / micro usb charge/data
Tracfone Price $129.99

Tracfone ZTE Valet Model Z665C Review

About the ZTE Valet

The ZTE Valet is an exciting new phone for Tracfone because it finally brings a true smartphone to the Tracfone customer at a low price! That’s right folks, this is one the first Androids to be available for Tracfone ever!  What’s cool about this phone is the fact that it comes with the newer Android operating system (Android 4.1 aka Jelly Bean) out of the box. If you aren’t familiar with Android, then rest assured that this is an excellent starter Operating system because phones like the ZTE Valet perform much faster than with previous versions of Android. Please note that you cannot use the Straight Talk Valet with the Tracfone service or vice versa. You must buy the Tracfone version to use the service.

Check ZTE Valet Availability

ZTE Valet Specifications

If you are concerned about specs, this phone is an excellent fit for the Tracfone line up because it low cost (retails for $99.99). First item of note is the CDMA technology, all you really need to know about this is the fact that Tracfone will activate you with either Verizon or Sprint coverage. If you are not sure what this means, then simply go to the Tracfone site, enter your zip code and if the ZTE Valet shows up, then you are good to go!

Next important item on the specs list is the 800 mhz processor. Again, if you are new to Android, then be aware that this is not the fastest phone out there but the newer Android operating system makes this phone perform much faster than would be possible with older Android phones. Other notable features are WiFi , a 3 megapixel camera and approximately 2gb of built in memory.

One thing to note is that this phone is quite compact, the screen measures 3 1/2″ diagonally which boils down to about 2″ wide and 3″ tall. The phone body measures 4 1/2″ tall, 2 1/2″ wide and about 1/2″ thick. Weight wise, this one comes in at 4 1/2 ounces or so. These are all pretty typical for an entry level phone such as this.

ZTE Valet Features

If you’ve been stuck in feature phone land, then you will be amazed by the features the ZTE Valet will bring you. The first item here is the Google Play store. This will allow you to download a myriad of apps, both free and paid. Now these are full fledged apps not the Mickey Mouse Java apps some of the current Tracfone feature phones have. Apps include Facebook, Netflix, Angry Birds just to name a few. Apps like Netflix can be used using wifi as your data will be somewhat limited on the Tracfone plan.

Next on the feature list, is Google Maps and Navigation. This again is full fledged gps navigation which is nothing like you’ve ever had before on a Tracfone!

Should You Buy the ZTE Valet?

The answer is YES! If you are tired of your featureless “feature phone”, then the ZTE Valet will be the perfect upgrade. The phone performance and features are great. The price is $99.99 which is very good for this type of phone and cheaper than some of the Tracfone feature phones of yesteryear. If you’ve been itching to upgrade and come into the smartphone world, then the ZTE Valet is the perfect starter Android!