Review by tkdslr
Good "5GB data, unlimited text.. 100 minutes of airtime, extra airtime $0.10min"
- Location: Pompano Beach,Broward,FL
- Cost: $30 per month
- Install: about 1 days
Overall "Best Purchase I've made in a decade.."
|Pre Sales Information:|
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)
It's been 10 months since purchasing my Samsung Exhibit II 4G ($200+sales tax from Walmart) and things are getting better.. Voice service always solid and clear..
4G data service seams to hangs up, (in upload mode), a couple of times a day. Jumping into airplane mode and back out again restores 4G service. Average usage 4 to 5GB of data a month.
Initially I had to call t-mobile to change phone settings in order to get data service working. (Check mark Packet data & Roaming under Settings->Wireless and Networks->Mobile networks"). That call lasted 15 minutes or so.
Took several months to figure out how to purchase additional airtime while still on the $30 Walmart plan. (T-mobile doesn't document this very well, neither do CS reps know about it.) Solution, just keep extra money in prepaid account, each minute you go over deducts $0.10min from the account.
Speeds up to 9Mb(D)/2Mbit(U) so far.. I've gotten higher speeds on my TM ZTE hotspot, but that has a better radio(21Mbps verses 14Mbps).
But, I just forced my II 4G (hidden menu setting) to use T-mobiles new HSPDA+ 1900Mhz WCDMA service.. wow.. instead of 2, maybe 3 bars.. I now get a full 4 bars.. Very nice..
I'll update this review with the outcome of that experiment..
Note: That particular experiment failed a couple of months ago..I.E. no data, but that was then, and this is now.. Yeah..
Rooted, removed or disabled a couple of t-mobile's apps & spyware.
One thing I've learned is to disable all updates. Very selectively do I allow any update. Allowed Andriod OS to update to 2.3.5.. but not 2.3.6(yet)..
It seams that app vendors have a propensity to ruin a once useful app with an update. So no more updates. if an app works, it going stay working, just like I found it.
Favorite FREE apps so far..
older "My tracks" v1.1.16 in widget mode, Very handy for Bicyclists.
"Titanium backup" v5.5.1
"Flashlight" v4.9.2 in widget mode..
"Anti sms spam" v1.42
RF hazard like all cell phones, I rarely put my Andriod phone in my pocket. Instead it goes in a nap stack pocket with at least a few inches of separation from my body.. (also better view of the sky for the GPS app "my tracks")..
At home, I use a Siemens Gigaset one bluetooth gateway to route all TM calls to my cordless phones(with talking caller id). Bluetooth connection seams to fail to sync up a couple of times a month. But, forcing a bluetooth unpairing then reconnect on TM phone fixes this.
That's all for now.. This is one of the best deals I've gotten in long time..
=== updated 12/30/2013 ===
T-mobile's data network has fallen over.. and died..(~12/28..12/29) everything is like 2G speeds or slower in my neck of south Florida. It's like the republican convention all over again..
My tests indicate routing loop activity, periodic timeouts/long ping responses, but there is no way to communicate this info to the appropriate people.. (Spent an hour on tech support.. with no results.. )
All the final tech support did was give me a new APN(fast.tmobile.com), which had no effect..
Web pages that normally load in less than a second, now take minutes.
Followup.. My idea, by forcing my Samsung exhibit II 4g phone to use only the 1900mhz band(Iphone band).. data access is wayy better.. almost normal.. I just hope I can keep on using it.
===updated 2/18/2015 ===
Just updated Exhibit II 4G to Galaxy Avant.
(Walmart online purchase $149+tax, ship to store) .
Instead of using included mini sim, I cut up my old standard sized sim(from exhibit II 4G) and converted it into mini, then plugged it into the Avant. It activated with my old phone #, airtime, everything without calling or asking anybody. Still using $30/mo 5GB/100 minute Walmart prepaid plan.
Using the old sim was real handy, since it took me several back and forth attempts to get everything backed up (google sync'd) and then restored into my new phone.
15mhz band 4 LTE access is much faster(3 of 5 bars).. so far up to 20Mb/5Mb.
Google voice calling is much smoother and more consistent.
Rooted phone almost immediately, (Once I knew it was working..)
Tried using new 700mhz LTE band 12, so far Avant just stayed in HSPA mode. (no go)
Notes: Avant Diag/config mode is *#0011#
Most of the network hangs I was experiencing on my old Exhibit II 4G seamed to disappear after I walked into a T-mobile and had them pull up my account #.
T-mobile store wouldn't honor advertised online pricing($149) for prepaid account, they wanted ~$230+$15sim+airtime, so I walked out. Surfed the net, and found $149 Walmart online deal was up again(back in stock).
Hands down, the $30 Walmart/T-mobile deal is still the best thing in town.
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updated 11 days ago