MARRIED TO YOUR PHONE

One of the things we like best about our Samsung smart phone is not having a contract. We have a T-Mobile prepaid phone plan and can walk away any time. But what if you signed up for one of those multi-year contracts? You are married to your phone.

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ADDING PHONE SERVICE FROM A MENU

We won’t forget the time Joy racked up a $264 hotel phone bill for three hours of casual conversation with a girl friend. She’d run out of minutes on her smart phone, so she decided to switch to the hotel phone. A new phone plan from Virgin Mobile would have skipped that.

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UPGRADING AN IPAD OR IPHONE

Bob has a kind of loose rule about high tech products: never buy anything with a low serial number. This would apply to the new iPhones and anything else that is guaranteed, they say, to improve your life.

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IPHONE CASE

The Mophie “Space Pack” is an unusual case for the iPhone 5 and 5s. It charges the phone and provides 32 gigabytes of extra storage space for 16,000 more photos, 9000 more songs or14 hours of movies. A free app lets you organize all that stuff on the phone and your computer. It’s coming in March, but you can pre-order it at www.Mophie.com for $150.

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PROTECTING YOUR CELL PHONE

We’re leery of those thin screen protectors, because the ones we’ve tried always seem to leave bubbles. A new one from Seidio is made of tempered glass. Result: No bubbles. The Seidio “Screen Protector” comes in sizes for the Galaxy S3, S4 and iPhone for $40. Seidio also sells the “Ledger,” a phone case with a front and back cover to prevent people from peering at your work. It opens like a book and has a slot for business cards. The phone goes into sleep mode to save on battery life when the cover is closed. More info at Seidio.com.

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THE READER’S DILEMMA

A reader presented us the following dilemma: He is retiring soon and will need a phone and a computer, or maybe just a tablet. What should he get? We suggested he get all three, which if bought at current discounted prices, cost no more than just getting an iPad. Buying older versions of each of these, the total cost could come in as low as $400 and $530 at the maximum. Getting a new iPad by itself would cost $500. Here’s how it works: The iPhone Most people say that the iPhone is easier to use than an Android phone. We have to agree. We got an Android phone because we wanted to be able to test Android apps for […]

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PHONES FOR THE PHONE-LESS

Some of our readers have never owned a cell phone. To be talked into one, they want a super long battery life, no contract, caller ID, and a reasonable monthly cost. For all that, we think TracFones are probably the way to go.

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A GOOD PHONE

We had two phones, a Jitterbug and a Galaxy S3, both made by Samsung. We lost the Jitterbug and relied for months on our smart phone alone. We bought a replacement Jitterbug, the Jitterbug Plus, and are glad to have it back. Here’s why: We like the big buttons and having a friendly, live-person operator. This last is a biggie. She will give you directions if you’re lost and put any new numbers you want into your phone list. Like a lonely librarian, they almost beg you to ask another question. The phone’s battery stand-by life is 25 days, whereas the Galaxy S3 needs charging nearly every day, even when we don’t use it. Of course, there’s always a big […]

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ANSWER THE PHONE

Speaking of the coming decline of cell phones (as they quietly morph into the power of Google Glass), our cell phone is sometimes set on vibrate instead of ring and we miss calls. There’s a $130 fix for that. That may seem a little high, but these days there seems to be no limit in the cell phone category.

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WHOLE LOT OF SHAKING COMING UP

A new product still a bit down the road is a cell phone case that charges your phone by shaking or just walking around. This will be one of those cases where every little movement has a meaning all its own.

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