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Retailers are beginning now to show their Cyber Monday deals for smartphones, so we can’t just leave you in the dust! We cover the four major US carriers: AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile. (UPDATE: Sprint’s shopping section of their site is down. If we can we will still do a guide tomorrow, even though it doesn’t give you much time)
If you’re an AT&T customer, you pretty much have every single option available to you. Whether you’re looking for Android devices, Apple phones, Windows Phones, or even a Blackberry, they’ve got you covered in every regard. We won’t go into details about actual service, as we’ve covered that before (Read: Transformation of the Carrier – A Competitive Service to a Greedy Monster), but here are your best options.
Apple iPhone 5
If you are looking for an iPhone, well, obviously this is the latest and greatest iPhone. With a speedy dual-core A6 processor and a larger screen, it’s a step up from its predecessors. It also includes 4G LTE connectivity via AT&T’s fast 4G network. Really cannot go wrong with this phone.
Samsung Galaxy S3
The S3 is one of the two Samsung flagship phones on AT&T’s network this year, and it’s designed to fight the very likes of Apple. It is significantly larger than the iPhone with a screen of 4.7 inches, but smaller than the Galaxy Note 2. With a fast dual-core processor, 2 gigabytes of RAM, 4G LTE, and of course a 720p screen, it is sure to amaze.
Samsung Galaxy Note 2
The Galaxy Note 2 is quite obviously a huge phone, and quite simply, a huge S3. It’s the best phone in it’s class even though it is not for everyone, therefore it deserve a spot on our top pics. With a speedy quad core processor humming along at 1.6GHz, 2 gigs of RAM, 4G LTE, and a huge 720p HD 5.5 inch display (non-pentile), it’s a winning tablet in a hybrid body.
HTC One X
Another one of our favorites of the year, the HTC One X impressed us with its fantastic build quality and beautiful 4.7 inch Super LCD 2 720p display. Somewhat riddled with software bugs, it didn’t quite compare in our minds to the S3. However, for 50 dollars on AT&T’s website and as little as one cent elsewhere, you really can’t beat it. Performance is spectacular and you will be amazed by the display quality.
(We almost chose the Google Nexus 4 for both this and one of our top pics, and we would have…if it offered LTE)
The Absolutely Don’t Buy No Matter What They’re Offering Pick:
Samsung Focus S
Yes, you can get it for 1 cent. No, you still don’t want it. Almost two years old, it’s seriously underpowered and won’t ever see an update to the Windows Phone 8 operating system. For the same price you can probably find an HTC One X amazingly elsewhere, or even by a Focus 2 (which we still don’t recommend).
The Nokia Lumia 920 already has a pretty great processor, the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus CPU – running at 1.5GHz, dual-core, and coupled with an Adreno 225 GPU. It has proven to be incredibly fast already powering 2012’s flagship Android phones like the Samsung Galaxy S3 and the HTC One X. Basically, the upgrade could include a speed bump to 1.7GHz, but what we do know for sure is the upgraded GPU. Instead of using the Adreno 225, it’s making the full jump to the 320.
This is great news because it is such a graphics powerhouse, but the problem is that the Windows Phone 8 ecosystem doesn’t yet offer any titles to really support that to its full potential, or anything really even close to that of the 225. Hopefully we’ll see developers take advantage of this, but don’t expect it to be any time soon.
The wait is finally over – you can now purchase or order on online the latest and greatest phablet! Orders online should ship very quickly and the device should be available in most stores nationally.
Some may be quick to brush the Note 2 off as a niche device with little hope, but keep in mind that the original sold over 10 million units, with the successor now already at the 3 million part without the help of the United States.
For those wondering, the Note 2 packs quite a punch in its ginormous frame. Coming with a 5.5 inch Super AMOLED HD Display (of the non-pentile variety!), 2 gigs of RAM, a 1.6GHz Quad-Core Exynos processor, and Android 4.1 Jellybean, this is going to handle everything you throw at it and more for a while.
Most importantly – the Note 2 is going for $299 on contract for two years, a bit expensive, but reasonable considering all the power and screen real estate you’re receiving.
The carrier is more than just a service you pay for – it’s an essential part of your life. It controls who you talk to, how you share your media, what you can access, and best of all, you’ve built up an addiction to it. How can you not when you rely on it to send a childhood photo to a friend or whenever you want to upload a picture of your filtered food to Instagram? How can you call your mother when on the road to assure her of your good health? Every single packet of information that you send or receive while not connected to WiFi is channeled through your carrier’s airwaves. They’re all around you, engulfing absolutely everything, that is of course, unless you have Sprint which effectively covers nothing…
It is this very reliance that we’ve built up on the carrier’s networks that has succumbed us to our current state as consumers. We’ve allowed for loose regulations to be passed and for the huge telecommunications companies to lobby for everything they wish for. They tend to win, too. It’s hard to imagine, but we let ourselves be brought here with empty promises. Sure, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and even Sprint have drastically improved their networks in terms of speed and coverage, but the truth of the matter is that as our coverage has grown, our personal coverage has been decreasing behind our backs.
The massive split of Bell long ago was a sign of improvement in this industy. We were seeing competition boom and smaller companies had a chance to attract themselves to consumers. They had to do right to get customers. And best of all – it was actually working. Consumers were winning as carriers fought to provide the best and the most service. As network capabilities improved with such innovations as Edge and 3G, we saw the entrance of smartphones that were actually smart. To go along with these revolutionary devices, carriers started offering things such as unlimited data as a promotion to join them. Nearly everyone offered it, and boy did people love it.
Unfortunately, a few networks became far stronger than the others, such as Verizon and AT&T. As they gained more power, they were able to improve their network and data speeds, but there was a catch. At the announcement of 4G LTE Development (Fourth Generation Network – Essentially it provides for much quicker download and upload speeds), things went very, very wrong. AT&T had offered unlimited data with the iPhone at launch, and soon enough, this gave the company an excuse that would soon be adopted by the greater portion of the industry. Carriers now became the victim, complaining of completely hogged up networks and the price that they paid for our unlimited data – and these complaints were filled with lies. Though it was true that the network was hogging itself up due to the massive sales of the iPhone, they adopted a different business strategy.
As I previously mentioned, the carriers used to compete by improving the capacity of the networks. Suddenly it appeared as if that was no longer a valid option. Instead of adding more towers, AT&T, for example, abandoned that project to pursue 4G. Sounds great, right? Unfortunately it didn’t turn out so great.
The network improved in that data speeds rised, so in esence, this somewhat contradicts what I previously said about them not improving their network. Well, they improved the technical specifications, sure, but they decreased their level of competition and customer satisfaction, the very things that got them this far in the first place. Suddenly there were ridiculous limits on data, and with the faster speeds, people can power through them in just a few more days. Even better – unlimited data was no longer offered. Those who already had it could keep it, but you could no longer actually purchase it if you were a new customer.
This meant that people became forced to pay for higher plans which cost a lot more money, which is truly unfortunate. It now seems as if companies are battling to see who can piss off the consumer the most. Carriers are starting to push people off their grandfathered unlimited data plans too in a sneaky manner. For example: AT&T only offers Facetime over your data network so long as you’re not on the unlimited plan. They want you to pay more and switch over to the shared data plans which offer considerably less data. It’s truly a shame how low they have dipped.
It’s amazing that we’ve allowed company’s that are supposed to serve us well and are such an essential part of our lives become so evil. There’s no doubt that something needs to be done, just no one knows exactly what to do. We’ve got ourselves in a tricky situation, and the greedy monster could only get stronger.
Aaaaaand the competition starts again between Barnes and Noble and Amazon! The battle for the tablet e-reader is just getting hotter!
The smaller tablet of the two, the Nook HD 7-inch, certainly has the specs of a winner. It has the highest display resolution of any 7-inch tablet, clocking in at 1440×900, which translates to 243ppi. Also on-board is a TI-OMAP 4470 dual-core processor running at 1.3GHz and a full (1)gig of RAM. Barnes and Noble has added their own skin over Android as expected, and despite the version of Android being Ice Cream Sandwich, performance still appeared rather choppy. B&N has stated the reason for that being its unfinished software. We’ll wait and see, I guess. It’s now up for pre-order as well, starting at $199 for 8 gigs and $229 for 16 gigs.
The bigger of the two, the Nook HD+, has a 9-inch display. This time, they’re setting their sights farther than the Kindle HD; they’re taking on the new iPad and the Asus Transformer Infinity. We’re looking at a 1920×1080 resolution display, clocking in at a very respective 253ppi. That’s pretty exciting. The company is also claiming to have really improved the display covering, hence removing the kind of glare that is present on the Kindle and the Nexus 7. Again, we’ll see. We’ve got the same processor here, only it’s clocked a bit higher. It’s the same TI OMAP 4470, just at 1.5GHz. The performance STILL seemed sluggish, and B&N is giving the same excuse. There’s the standard 1GB of RAM included as well. More excitingly, there’s a 6000mAh battery that is stated to give one 10 hours of reading of 9 hours of video. If the device can hold its own to those claims, we’ve got a battery winner. It’s up for pre-order through B&N for $269 for 16GB and $299 for 32GB.
Whether you’re into technology or not, it’s almost a sure thing that you’ve heard of the biggest tech trial of history between Apple and Samsung over Patents. Apple won and has been attempting for ways to reduce its reliance on its competitor, Samsung.
That doesn’t mean that they’re done working together yet, though. Samsung will be pumping out a ton of these chips due to the record-breaking sales of Apple’s new iPhone 5. It will sure be interesting to see what the next iDevice will offer in terms of processing chips considering the two companies’ ongoing disputes.
Depending on your local Apple Store’s stock, you can now order a new iPhone 5 through their website and skip the 3-4 week shipping delay. Hopefully they won’t be using Apple’s own Maps to ship yours to you if you’ve already ordered.
The whole ordering process for this is rather strange. You have to order the phone from 10PM – 4AM and if there is stock, then you can pick it up the very next day! Try not to get your hopes up, though. Some stores have a ton of stock, and more often than not, none do. Sounds like it’s certainly worth a try, though!
Stacksocial.com is hosting a Name Your Own Price sale on some popular applications for OSX, and this was too good to not report on! There are a few preset prices, but you can go as low as you choose. 10% of the money you use also goes to the charity of your choice. Feels a bit better than just buying through Apple themselves, right?
5. Jaksta Music Converter
9. Forklift 2
The total amount would usually be $340 USD, but you can go as low as you choose. Just go ahead and visit Stacksocial here: https://stacksocial.com/sales/the-name-your-own-price-mac-bundle?rid=159154
Thanks to all your support, our readers, we’ve been continuing to work our hardest to bring the best content to you. We’re reaching higher than ever to do so with our new design launching straight alongside our new Android Application!
Each one will have a post very soon showcasing the new features and things that we think make them cool! In the mean time, here’s a video showing off a bit of both of them!