$20 CELL PHONE

We were happy with the Tracfone we bought for $10 at a grocery store, but then a reader wrote to tell us about something better. (Readers: What are you gonna do?) He said we could have double the minutes with a much nicer LG 420G TracFone, which was just $20 at Walmart.com.

So we took his advice and spent the $20. The phone dutifully arrived and it took only five minutes with TracFone customer support to have our old number and minutes transferred over. Unlike the $10 version, the new phone has most of the latest features: a camera, polyphonic ringtones, changeable wallpaper, games, web browser, speakerphone, auto redial, etc.

“Best of all,” said our reader, “it has Bluetooth. So if you’re cheap like me and don’t feel like paying for TracFone’s downloads, you can create your own graphics and ringtones on the PC, or download free ones from the Net. You can then upload them via a Bluetooth PC dongle, such as HP’s BT500 Bluetooth USB adapter.”

This is a very savvy reader. He continues: “The only fly in the ointment is that games and apps downloaded from the Net, other than the ones TracFone sells (and they have no apps yet), don’t work. Tried a workaround someone posted, but with no success.”

Unlike some other plans, phone minutes on the Tracfone are cumulative: The minutes and service days you add to your new TracFone are added to the ones you had left over. All your phone data is on the SIM card, which gives you the option to move your contacts to a new phone simply by transferring the card. (You can normally find a phone’s SIM card under or next to the battery). You can also use a Bluetooth receiver (they’re really tiny now) to transfer your contacts to a computer.

To find this cheap phone, go to Walmart.com and type “tracfone” into the search box. We also found this phone for sale at our local drugstore; so this is not going to be a rare item.

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