Category Archives: Tracfone CDMA Android

Tracfone LG Ultimate 2 Review

ultimate-0The LG Ultimate 2 brings another sequel to a popular old school Tracfone Android. Don’t let the name fool you because this revised version is far and away better than the original. If this is the first you’ve heard of the Ultimate name, then simply disregard the part “deux” name because this is an all new device for the Tracfone Android calling plan. The Ultimate 2 is a CDMA phone with 3g data speeds so it will be activated with either Verizon or Sprint. Check Tracfone LG Ultimate 2 Availability

The Good: Great features at an entry level price. This phone comes to us with a perfectly sized 4.5″ screen and a powerful processor with a new Android Operating system in the way of Android 4.4.  An excellent priced phone which is probably the best price to specs ratio available directly from Tracfone.

The Bad: I couldn’t find much wrong with this phone other than the rather poor sound quality delivered by the tiny rear speaker. Does not come with a pre-installed SD card so you will need to run out and purchase one on your own dime.

Tracfone LG Ultimate 2 Specs at a Glance

ultimate-0-sm

Tracfone LG Ultimate 2

Dimensions Height 5.00″ x Width 2.52″ x Thickness .38″
Weight 4.25 oz
Style Medium Candybar Touchscreen with 4.5″ screen
Network & Technology CDMA with 3g data network and WiFi – Activated with Verizon or Sprint
Processor Speed 1.2 ghz Quad Core
SD Card/Internal Memory None included- Supports Up to 32gb compatible
Android OS 4.4 KitKat
Digital Camera/Video Rec 5.0mp main with LED flash/1.3 mp front
Screen Size 4.5″
Battery 10 days stand by & up to 7.5hrs talk
Below Screen Button Types Center physical push with LED mood lighting flanked by 2 capacitive touch buttons
USB microUSB v2.0
Audio Jack & Charging Standard 3.5mm iPod type / micro usb charge/data
Tracfone Price $129.99

Design Notes

The first thing I will mention about the LG Ultimate 2 is that it is handsome device. While it is all plastic construction, no surprise there, it features a nice aluminum look silver trim in between the screen bezel and the battery cover. Speaking of the battery cover, the Ultimate 2 features a cool blue/black pixilated look battery cover that kind of shimmers as you move it. I found that to be pretty cool and unexpected!

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Moving on to the Android buttons, we find the typical 3 button layout. What’s cool here is the physical push center button that is surrounded by an LED “mood” light of sorts.  Now don’t get excited because the phone can’t detect your mood or anything. Instead, it flashes different color patterns depending on what the phone is doing. So for example, when you get a phone call it turns green. The alarm makes it turn multicolors and so on.  A nice touch indeed to the dated push button.  Said button is flanked by 2 capacitive touch buttons.

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As I mentioned before, the phone is all plastic construction and the layout is pretty straight forward. All buttons and ancillaries are found in typical Android locations. On the left hand side you find the volume buttons, the iPod type headphone jack is top left, the power/lock button is on the upper right hand side and the charge port is bottom center. Both the volume and power buttons are also finished in an aluminum look finish.

Performance

Performance is the highlight of this particular model. The Ultimate 2 just felt much faster than any previous Tracfone Android. This includes the all new Alcatel OneTouch Pop Icon which happens to be $20 more expensive.  Navigation is seamless and smooth without the slightest hesitation.

The one thing that really impressed me was the responsiveness of the keyboard. I found that there was not the slightest hesitation on letter taps as can be the case on some of the older lower end Tracfones Androids. The keys were also quite accurate so when you tap a letter, you get the letter you expect.

ultimate-1 ultimate-2

Now for about the only negative I found on the phone, the poor sound quality. This phone has a tiny speaker on the back which is rather weak and has that tin can sound. You will definitely have to use headphones with this phone.

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Operating System and Interfaces

The LG Ultimate 2 comes with one of the latest Android versions available in the form of 4.4 aka KitKat. While not ultimate latest, it is fairly new. One cool item is something called a “Tap knock code”.  This is an easy way to have a lock code without actually having a lock code. The way it works is that it displays a square section that is divided into 4 blocks. To unlock, you tap these 4 sections in whatever sequence you programmed it.  You can have as little as 4 taps or as many as 8. As a back up, it still has the usual 4 pin code. This feature can be enabled or disabled.

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The Ultimate 2 has 3 home screens that are navigated from left to right and vice versa. These screens have a nice animation when switching from one to the other and switch very seamlessly. These can also be customized in various ways.

The apps and remaining navigation is pretty standard as you find all the usual suspects such as Youtube, GMail, Google Play store, Google Maps, etc. This device does not have anything by way of extras such as built in Radio. Speaking of Google Play store.

Overall, navigation is best described as seamless , smooth and intuitive. There is nothing new or tricky here as it is all standard Android fare.

Conclusion

The LG Ultimate 2 brings a much needed medium sized device by way of a perfectly sized 4.5″ screen. I found this device to be in the Goldie Locks range in sizing. That is to say, not too big but not too small, just perfect. The phone is more than powerful enough to run any app out there and navigation between screens is very smooth. I would say this is my favorite Tracfone Android to date because it does everything well and is priced at an attractive $129.99.

Tracfone Motorola XT830C AKA Moto E

tracfone-moto-eThe Tracfone Moto E represents one of the more premium Androids available through Tracfone for use on their Android prepaid plan. The Moto E brings the much needed classic Motorola brand and quality to the Tracfone to the line up. This phone features solid specs and excellent usability. Additionally, you get an upgrade to the much faster Android 4.4 OS that’s coupled with a fast 1.2ghz processor.

Check Tracfone Moto E Availability

The Good: The Moto E comes with a large 4.3″ Gorilla Glass screen which is a vast improvement in screen size to the initial Tracfone Android line up. Additionally, you get a fast 1.2 ghz dual-core processor that is a vast improvement particularly since it’s coupled with one of the newer Android operating systems available. As with all Motorolas, this phone has an excellent build quality. One last item to mention here is the superb battery life of up to 30 days standby and 16.5hrs of talk time, a vast improvement over the entry level Tracfone Androids.

The Bad: At $129.99, some may find the Moto E to be a bit pricey particularly when compared to the most of the original Tracfone line up, but then again it is the same price as the ZTE Valet. Some may be turned off by the fact it is CDMA which means the coverage is not quite as large as the GSM devices. Then again, so are all of the other Tracfone Direct Androids at this time. One item of contention for some might be the so called “floating” Android buttons. This means there are no physical Android buttons as they are part of the actual screen on this device.

Tracfone Moto E Specs at a Glance

tracfone-moto-eTracfone Moto E
Dimensions Height 4.91″ x Width 2.55″ x Thickness .48″
Weight 5.00 oz
Style Large Candybar Touchscreen with 4.5″ screen
Network & Technology CDMA cellular data network and WiFi – Activated with Verizon or Sprint
Processor Speed 1.2 ghz Dual core
SD Card/Internal Memory 4gb Included – Up to 32gb compatible
Android OS 4.4 Kit Kat
Digital Camera/Video Rec 5 mp
Screen Size Gorilla Glass 4.3″
Battery 30 days stand by & up to 16.5hrs talk
Below Screen Button Types None, buttons are “floating” within the screen itself
USB microUSB v2.0
Audio Jack & Charging Standard 3.5mm iPod type / micro usb charge/data
Tracfone Price $129.99

 Design Notes

The most impressive thing about the Moto E is the fact that it comes with some fairly high end features despite the entry level price tag. What I am most impressed with is the fact that you get a super durable Gorilla Glass screen, that’s right, NO plastic screen on this baby! Additionally, it has Motorola’s water repellent splash guard which is not to say the phone is totally waterproof but it does make for quite a durable phone.

One item that some may find cool on this phone are the interchangeable color battery covers which are available in 9 different colors (black which is included, white, violet, spearmint, raspberry, blue, turquoise, yellow and red ). Of course these are sold separately through Motorola for $14.99 each.

The phone itself has a simple and easy to use design which I think is always a good thing. One item to note here though are the so called “floating” Android buttons which are a departure from most run of the mill Androids. What this means is that the buttons are part of the Operating System so appear on screen. While they are pretty cool, you do need to unlock the phone to see them and they also take away a tad bit of screen real estate.

Performance

In the performance department, we once again find some impressive goodness which is quite unbelievable at this price range! For example, it comes with a 1.2 dual-core processor which is difficult to find on phones in the low $100 dollar range. This is usually reserved for phones closer to $200. Additionally, you get a fairly new Android OS by way of Android 4.4 aka Kit Kat. These two items alone place this phone in a class by itself within the Tracfone direct Android line up.

If that wasn’t enough, i found the screen to be quite impressive. It was amazingly clear and bright! Additionally, the screen has an anti smudge feature so it stays fairly clean. Keep in mind it is by no means smudge proof, it’s just that it does not smudge as easily as the plastic screened units.

Lastly, is the excellent 5mp digital camera which I found to be quite good at taking regular and low light pictures.

Conclusion

At $129, you simply cannot go wrong with this Tracfone Android! It has features that are simply not found on phones costing much more. I think the Moto E represents an excellent value for the money which makes it a great Tracfone Android!

Tracfone LG Optimus Dynamic 2 Full Review

tracfone-dynamic-2The LG Optimus Dynamic 2 adds the best Tracfone Android model yet to it’s entry level Android line up. Don’t mistake the Dynamic 2 for the other inexpensive Dynamic because the two phones could not be any more different. In fact, I am not really sure why they are calling this model the Dynamic 2, perhaps it’s because of the original’s popularity. The Dynamic 2 is CDMA so would be activated with either Verizon or Sprint. Check Tracfone Dynamic 2 Availability

The Good: In any case, the LG Optimus Dynamic 2 gives you significant upgrades to the original for just $30 more. While this may sound like quite a bit, the original Dynamic was bare bones, old Android OS with not a whole lot of CPU power. Now the Dynamic 2, gives you a 1.0ghz processor along with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Additionally, you get an attractive little package with a 3.8″ nicely sized screen.

The Bad: The biggest problem I have with the LG Dynamic 2 is the fact that the price is a tad high when compared to say the Huawei Glory or the ZTE Valet both of which can be had for $99.99 at similar specs albeit a slightly smaller 3.5″ screen. Another minor problem for me was that the Android buttons are not backlit when touched.

Tracfone LG Dynamic 2 Specs at a Glance

Tracfone LG Dynamic 2

Dimensions Height 4.45″ x Width 2.47″ x Thickness .48″
Weight 4.45 oz
Style Compact Candybar Touchscreen with 3.8″ screen
Network & Technology CDMA cellular data network and WiFi – Activated with Verizon or Sprint
Processor Speed 1.0 ghz
SD Card/Internal Memory 4gb Included – Up to 32gb compatible
Android OS 4.1 Jelly Bean
Digital Camera/Video Rec 3 mp
Screen Size 3.8″
Battery 11 days stand by & up to 8.5hrs talk
Below Screen Button Types 4 Capacitive touch buttons/no led backlight
USB microUSB v2.0
Audio Jack & Charging Standard 3.5mm iPod type / micro usb charge/data
Tracfone Price $129.99

Design Notes

I really like the design of this phone when compared to the other Tracfone Androids. The back battery cover is a gloss piano black which makes this phone look a bit more sophisticated than you would expect. Around the phone, you find a band of  silver trim in between the battery cover and front face. What’s nice about this phone is that the screen is about as edge to edge as you can get on a small phone like this. you have maybe a 1/4″ on each side of the screen, while you have about 1/2″ above and below the screen. Basically, the entire front of the phone is the screen, this is a huge difference over the original Dynamic. Another interesting item here is the 4 capacitive button Android layout below the screen. This is the only one in the Tracfone lineup with this option if it means anything to you.

dynamic-frontdynamic-2

As you would expect, the entire phone body and screen is plastic. The layout is quite simple, other than the 4 Android buttons below the screen, you will find a volume button on the upper left hand side. On the top you have the 3.5mm headphone jack,  on the top right you have the power/lock button , on the bottom the charge port and that’s it. Moving on the back, you find the 3 mp camera but surprisingly, no LED flash. One last note on the buttons, they do not light up when touched like most other Android devices of this type.

Performance

Performance on this phone is great considering the entry level nature of it. Keep in mind that this is a 1ghz phone coupled with Android 4.1 so the phone performs quite well. You can play all your favorite games with ease. Games like Angry Birds and Candy Crush perform flawlessly on this phone. Keep in mind that this phone is 3g speed data so it is not super fast in that regard but is plenty fast for watching videos, getting on Facebook, sharing photos, etc. That said, you do get WiFi which performs plenty fast. As with any other Android, you do get the screen rotation/motion sensing.

dynamic-4 dynamic-5

The sound quality on this thing is great. Phone calls sound clear and crisp. When watching videos, putting it on speaker gives you plenty of volume so you don’t necessarily need head phones to hear anything.

About the only downside, performance wise, is the display. I found it to be a bit grainy and not quite as sharp as some of the larger screened devices.  This is just something you have to deal with on phones with small screens. This lack of resolution is more evident in some app than others. For example, regular resolution Youtube videos aren’t very crisp. However, watching Netflix gives a good resolution experience. Small fonts can be a challenge to read but you can alleviate this somewhat by increasing the font size from the settings.

Operating System and Interfaces

As mentioned previously, the Dynamic 2 comes with a stock version of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean so the user interface is pretty quick and easy to navigate. Now don’t worry that this is a Tracfone because you get access to all of the things Android has to offer.  On the Dynamic 2, we get access to the Google Play store for downloading any app you desire (both free and pad), Google Maps, Navigation, Youtube, Gmail, Chrome, etc.  Items like Facebook, Twitter, etc do not come preinstalled but can be easily downloaded from the App store free of charge. You will need a Google account to do so.

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The Dynamic 2 comes with a  somewhat different interface than some of the other Tracfone Android phones. For example, when you switch home screens you get a neat little effect vs the standard toggling on the other Tracfone Androids. Then when going into you apps icon view screen you get a nice cloudy background vs the standard black background found on other phones. Overall, the interface is smooth and works well. The screen is quite responsive and accurate to where you touch.

Moving on to the texting interface, we find a clean and smooth design with everything we need to select the recipient, add attachments and send. The texting screen rotates according to the phones orientation but I find it a bit harder to use when in the landscape mode as you need to hit “Next” on the keyboard to go from the To field to typing your message. Whereas everything is visible when in portrait mode.  As far as the keyboard goes, the keys are a bit small when in landscape mode but increase to a more usable size when in landscape.

The phone interface is pretty basic and easy to use as in all other Android phones.

Conclusion

The LG Optimus Dynamic 2 is a great little phone. It does everything well and comes with robust specs.  About the only concern is the price as it costs $30 more than the other similarly spec’d Tracfones.

Tracfone LG Dynamic Review

tracfone-lg-optimus-dynamicToday we look at the Tracfone Android LG Dynamic. The Dynamic is a 3g CDMA phone which would be activated with either Verizon or Sprint. This will be a short review because to put it bluntly, this phone is not worth the $99.

Compare the ZTE Valet

I am very excited by the Tracfone prepaid plan but unfortunately, the Dynamic is not the phone to spend your hard earned cash on. Particularly, when there is another phone that is vastly superior at the same price point.

Don’t get me wrong, the Dynamic is a fine phone. It’s just not quite up to par in 2013. Continue reading to learn why the Dynamic is not the phone for you.

Reasons Not to Buy the Tracfone LG Dynamic

To start, this phone is a 3 year old model. That in and of itself is not that big a deal, but the Dynamic comes with the old Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS. 3 years ago, this would have  made a fine upgrade to your Tracfone feature device but today, not so much. You see, Tracfone is also selling the ZTE Valet for the same exact price, yet the ZTE Valet is a vastly superior phone. For starters, the Valet comes with the newer Jellybean Android which is much faster.

Then we have the processor, the Dynamic comes with an 800 mhz processor which when paired with the Gingerbread OS, makes it quite a dog. You can forget using Netflix even on WiFi because the Dynamic performs quite poorly there.

Next on the list is the screen, the Dynamic has a very small 3.2″ screen which on paper does not seem like much of a difference to the Valet’s 3.5″ screen, but in practice, the screen is quite cramped because you have so much wasted space just below it with the rather large button area. While on the buttons, the Dynamic has a center push button which works fine but is kind of dated by today’s standards. The two buttons to the side of it are both capacitive touch but still, for the money you rather have all capacitive.

Conclusion

If you’d like to take advantage of the Tracfone prepaid plan, then I highly suggest you skip the Dynamic and go Straight to the ZTE Valet. It’s got vastly superior specs and performs much faster. Additionally, the ZTE uses the same calling area so all in all, the Valet is a superior phone.

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!