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My New 4G Android-Powered LG Esteem with MetroPCS

January 7, 2012 | My Ramblings | Services | Videos | 10 Comments

My wife and I recently upgraded our cell phones.  For about 7.5 years my wife and I had Sprint paying about $62/month total.  Over the years I looked into upgrading to a smartphone but just couldn’t justify going from $62/month to at least $130/month for 2 phones.  I figured we’d just wait until prices dropped a bit.  Additionally, if I ever switched to a smartphone I wanted everything to be unlimited.  I didn’t want to monitor my data, minutes and text messaging fearing additional charges.

After much research I found the best deal with MetroPCS.  For $80/month total (includes tax and fees), my wife and I get unlimited everything (minutes, data and text).  However, I got a smartphone, the LG Esteem and my wife got a regular phone, the LG Beacon.  My plan is $50/month and my wife’s plan is $40/month, however, since we are on a family plan, we each get a $5 discount which drops the price to $80/month.  The LG Esteem costs $249 after a $100 rebate and the LG Beacon costs $39 after a $30 rebate.

The Phone

I must admit that I’m extremely satisfied with the LG Esteem.  I absolutely love the phone and it has exceeded my expectations.  The screen is big at 4.3”, crisp and bright.  If you are looking for a small phone, this phone isn’t it.  I considered a smaller phone, but couldn’t resist the screen size.

The menus are well thought out and extremely easy to navigate.  I like the GPS navigation which is big improvement to our old Garmin GPS.  Voice recognition used in various software and features such as text messaging is very good.  The camera takes very good pictures and video quality is excellent.

The LG Esteem features 4G LTE connectivity, Android Platform 2.3 Ginerbread, 4.3” touch screen with damage resistant Gorilla Glass, 1.3 MP front-facing camera, 5 MP camera with 720p HD Video, HDMI Output and Dolby Audio.

The one disadvantage to the LG Esteem is battery life isn’t that great.  If you use the phone a lot you may have to recharge after about 5 to 7 hours.  If or when I have to change the battery I may consider purchasing an extended battery, however, it will make the phone bulkier.

Service

Fortunately, 4G service is available in my city so streaming video is flawless and browsing the web is fast.  MetroPCS 4G is only available in 14 cities which include Atlanta, Boston, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Detroit, North Florida, Central Florida, South Florida, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, LA/Bakersfield, New York, Philadelphia, Sacramento and San Francisco.  If you don’t live in one of these cities or travel a lot, getting 4G service will be an issue, however, I’m certain over time additional cities will be added.

MetroPCS claims their phone service covers 90% of the U.S.  We recently drove from Atlanta to Chicago and never witnessed any loss of signal or dropped call.  Sound quality was always good anytime we made a phone call.  Although there was no 4G service outside Atlanta checking email and sending text messages was never slow.

Conclusion

So far I’m very happy with the LG Esteem and with MetroPCS’s service.  For $45/month, I get unlimited minutes, text, data, picture messaging, international text messaging, GPS navigation, 4G (if available) and much more.  You sure can’t beat the price.  The larger carriers (AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless and Sprint) charges much more for these services but have better 3G/4G coverage than MetroPCS.   However to me, the savings more than offset this fact.

The downside to the LG Esteem is battery life and the availability of 4G in limited markets.  However, if you are fortunate to live in a city where 4G is offered and don’t travel too much, this is a non-issue.  If 4G isn’t available, you can always connect to Wi-Fi to get similar 4G speeds.

Overall, I highly recommend MetroPCS and the LG Esteem.  You won’t be disappointed.

One last thing, overall, my wife is very pleased with the LG Beacon and her service as well.  

Update (Added 2-5-2012):  Due to some of the comments below about MetroPCS’s 4G Service, I made the quick video below  highlighting the 4G Service in the Atlanta area.  (Sorry about the audio!)

Free Online Bookkeeping Software for Small Businesses

November 18, 2011 | Videos | No Comments

If you have a small business and want bookkeeping software to automate your accounting activities, you should consider an online service at Outright.com. With Outright there is not need to have a pile of paper laying around your office because everything will be digitally in one location online where you can access it at anytime, anywhere in the world as long as you have Internet access.  

Outright will help you organize your credit cards, bank, eBay, PayPal Etsy and ecommerce accounts in one single place.  You can also use Outright to track your sales, expenses and see exactly how your business is performing.  At tax time you will be prepared to quickly and easily complete your taxes with detailed reports using this service.  

There is no software to setup because everything is done online. You can import data from your existing accounts into Outright.   The service offers a free account that never expires and a paid account that is $9.95 per month.

See video below of Outright Product Review

What is Daylight Saving Time?

November 5, 2011 | Education | Videos | No Comments

Twice per year most people in the U.S. have to change their clocks.  But most people have no idea why.   Below is a very good video explanation of daylight savings time.

Ordinary Men Can Do Extra Ordinary Things! Meet Sal Khan

August 27, 2010 | My Ramblings | Videos | No Comments

The Internet has enabled people to create thousands of websites that we can’t live without today.  From Google, YouTube, Yahoo to your local bank’s website, it’s hard to imagine living without the Internet.  However, there are many successful websites ran by one person that are making a big difference in many people daily lives.  One such site is Khanacademy.org operated solely by Sal Khan.

Khanacademy.org has over 1,600 free 10 to 15 minutes long mini-lectures/tutorials (primarily math, science and finance) all narrated by Khan. His videos are viewed about 70,000 times per day on YouTube and  his website, which is nearly double the student body of Stanford and Harvard combined.  (See video below.)

Khan is a 33 year old Harvard MBA who was a former hedge fund manager.  

Khan started out 4 years ago by helping his cousin in math by recording tutorials and storing them on YouTube.  His videos became popular and started receiving testimonials from students who found his videos helpful. He then decided to quit his job and converted a walk-in closet in his home with a few hundred dollars of video equipment to start filming his tutorials.   Khan receives zero pay, however, he does make some money from advertising via his YouTube videos.

Recently Bill Gates became an admirer of Khan and stated that “This guy is amazing…It is awesome how much he has done with very little in the way of resources.”  Gates stated that his 11 year old son, Rory, began soaking up Kahn’s videos from biology to algebra.

For more information visit khanacademy.org and youtube.com/user/khanacademy

Save Money with Groupon Daily Deals

July 29, 2010 | Save Money | Videos | No Comments

Groupon is a service that provides daily deals that save customers money. Every day they feature a new deal at deeply discounted prices.  However, you will only get the deal if enough people take the offer.  See the video below for a detailed description of how the service works.

Betterment.com Wants to Replace Your Saving Account

June 5, 2010 | Investing | Videos | 1 Comment

Betterment.com (a new startup) wants to replace your bank’s saving account, which pays almost nothing; to an investment account that promises to pays more.  (See video below).

Savings accounts are simple and low risk with low interest rates.  Investment account may promise higher returns, however, they can often be complex and confusing.  Betterment has created a new category that offers the returns of investing with less complexity or hassle.

When customers deposit money in their Betterment account, the money is invested in their chosen blend of diverse stocks or a portfolio of US Treasury bonds.   Customers can allocate funds between these two investment options, setting the level of risk they’re comfortable with. Opening an account takes about 5 minutes, there’s no minimum balance, and transfers are free.

When customers deposit money with Betterment, their money is transferred to Betterment Securities (their broker-dealer), with instructions to buy ETFs (exchange-traded funds, similar to mutual funds) based on their desired allocation between stocks and bonds. Customers own shares in the ETFs, while Betterment recommends and manages buying and selling.

Betterment charges an annual fee of 0.9%, based on a customer’s average balance which is a quarter percent lower than the average mutual fund fee and much less than the average amount banks make off of customer deposits.

Betterment is a Registered Investment Advisor and Betterment Securities is a broker-dealer regulated by FINRA and the SEC. Betterment’s SIPC coverage means that the securities in user accounts are protected up to $500,000 (for more information, visit www.sipc.org).

Since Betterment invests customer’s money in the stock market, they can lose money if the market goes down.  Balances will fluctuate based on market conditions.  Over the long term customers should get a much better return that their savings account.

Betterment currently only operates in the United States.

Betterment.com is currently offering $25 when you open a new account. For more information visit Betterment.com

Use Google Ads to Find a Job!

May 18, 2010 | My Ramblings | Videos | No Comments

If you are in the job market and want to differentiate yourself from everyone else, you may want to consider trying Alec Brownstein’s method for landing a job.  Brownstein identified influential individuals in his field who could hire him.  He then created ads on Google Search by bidding on the names of the people he wanted to notice him.  When they Googled their names, Brownstein ad would appear.  As a result he was able to land his job.  See video below.  Read more here.