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Frugal phones....

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

To Miss ButterflyChaser or anyone else with Tracfone experience or opinions...

I have had a Tracfone for a while. We use it very little and minutes have accumulated.

The other day at work, our landline phones were down and I turned to the cell for various business calls.

When DH used it, he muttered about how he hated that blessed' thing. Couldn't hit the right numbers, the buttons were too small, the touch pad too compact, etc.

It is a cheap Motorola and I've have no complaint for our limited use.

But I decided to shop for a phone that he would consider more usable.

None that they show on their site appear to be any larger and yet, still manage to keep it simple enough for him to function with.

I am shopping for suggestions please!?!!

If you have seen a phone (preferably staying with Tracfone) that has a good sized keypad as well as a highly visible screen, PLMK.

Also, will any different phones get better reception? Ours is limited in these woods.

Northeast, AR(Zone 7a)

Your reception depends on who you use and how close to their towers you are as well as how much interference is in the way. With my tracfone, I get great reception at my sister's house in TN, but she doesn't with the company she's with. However, in the flea market where I have a booth, if I get too far into the building, I lose reception. As they build more towers, we'll get better reception over time.

To be with Tracfone, you have to buy a phone that is set up for tracfone, so that limits you to buying primarily from their site. But you can go Dollar General, Kmart, Walmart, etc and look at their phones on the shelves and see if any have bigger keys. That's my brother's main complaints too--small keys and small screen. Guys with big fingers and old eyes just weren't made for technology. LOL

Their website may tell what size the screens are. If not, you should be able to google the models and get their specs. I have an LG something, a flip phone with a camera. The keypad is fairly small. I also have a Samsung something and the screen and keypad are about the same.

Maybe you could get a stylus for your husband to use to punch in the numbers on the phone. He could use an ink pen as well if he needs to.

My sister is trying to get me to get a phone with a qwerty keypad so we can text. Good grief!! Who wants to try to type on a tiny keyboard??? NO thank you. I'll stick with my big ergonomic computer keyboard--just send me an email! Wouldn't you love to see your husband try to text? LOL

Northeast, AR(Zone 7a)

The Motorola EX124G looks promising. It's a touchscreen model with a 3.2" screen. It has a qwerty keypad too if you ever wanna text and double minutes and a camera and other nice things. For $80. EX124G#

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Thanks, as always you are a big help. I had actually looked at their website and considered the one you linked but that would confuse even more. Got to operate under the KISS theory with cell phones here. lol
Right now I can say: The phone is on. Dial the number. Press green to send. Press red to end. (how hard can it be???)

You are right, I do need to go look at their phones in person to get a better idea of size and features. Part of me is suspicious of eyesight as well as small keypad.

Once again, you are appreciated, thanks!

Northeast, AR(Zone 7a)

You're welcome. Let me know what you end up getting. I'm not sure what kind of selection they have in stores. I've seen two or three different models at Dollar General, but I'm sure Walmart has a bigger selection.

Compare prices too. I've found better deals on the website. For instance, I've seen some phones for $20 at $ Gen, but on the website you can get the phone AND 120 minutes for $20, along with free shipping.

And don't forget you can transfer your phone number to your new phone. They'll have to send you a new sim card after you get the phone. But they'll ship it free.

I like simple too. I don't use most of the bells and whistles on mine. I do like the camera. I can do some comparison shopping that way if I'm looking for a particular item to go with something I have at home. I still haven't figured out how to send people pictures from my phone. Since I'm a bargain shopper, people always say, "See if you can find me one of these for this price." So it would be nice if I could email them the picture from the phone and ask, "Do you want me to pick this up while I'm here?" Everytime I've tried to send the pic, it always tells me the pic didn't go thru. Oh well.


Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Phone cameras and sending photos would be way overkill for us. I'd feel differently if the service would be improved and it may someday.

I believe both local dollar stores handle Tracfones so will look there and also Walmart should I get there anytime soon. And I will take your advise to at least check prices and programs by ordering online. Thanks.

Durhamville, NY(Zone 5b)

I use Verizon Prepaid. I just moved from a Samsung to an LG. It feels like the keys are much bigger even though when I lay them next to each other they really aren't much bigger. I think it has to do with the keys being more straight across as opposed to being laid out in a curve. I see that Tracfone has a LG420G which looks like my phone.

As far a how well a phone works some of it depends on the phone but some depends on which carrier. Tracfone buys time from the big companies. For example the first TF number a friend had was Cingular now ATT. Her current TF is Verizon. If you put an area code into this site it will give you a listing of all the exchanges and who they are assigned to.

This message was edited Aug 30, 2011 2:47 PM

Rosamond, CA(Zone 8b)

Tracefone is not here, I don't believe it is anyways.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Cool site for information Doug9345 ~ thanks. And I will look at the similar phone model also. Thanks twice!

I know we had a young man working for us that could not get cell reception at our house (not a bad thing when we are paying him) but he got a different phone, same server and could receive and call out. Was glad when he broke it. lol

Dover AFB, DE(Zone 7a)

I keep a pencil with my phone as I have fat-finger-syndrome and the pencil eraser is just the perfect size and roughness to hit all of those tiny buttons without slipping.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Ahh... a pencil ~ modern technology.

I love it JuneyBug! 8 )

Dover AFB, DE(Zone 7a)

☺ Low tech, but it is such a handy little thing!

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

podster, I've used tracfone for two years now. I love the low-cost system they have. I have had two phones from them, my first one was a flip-open model (LG) and worked just fine. I could get a signal nearly every where I went. Turns out t-fone uses several of the major carriers towers. This past summer my DD took her mom's t-fone to an island off the coast of Maine and even got a signal there; her other phones in past years never did.

Presently I have the one mentioned above, the LG-420G. It's okay but could use some fine-tuning. Sometimes it doesn't get a signal inside my shoffice whereas the other LG I had always did. I also tend to text my DD (kids would rather text than talk it seems!) and the text doesn't always go through so I end up sending it twice, being charged both times whether it goes thru or not. However, the t-fone rates are very cheap.

I'd buy a phone that comes with "double minutes"...meaning, when you buy X minutes for it they automatically double to XX so your calls are cheaper. Just recently though I've seen t-fone now sells phones that come with triple minutes for life.

As for the bells and whistles, I use the alarm feature quite often but there is a glitch with LG-420G in that it won't turn off the back light after the alarm goes off. I had to look this up online and everyone seems to have the same problem. No fun because it runs your battery down pretty fast. Only way around it is to turn off the phone then turn it back on, resetting it.

Hope this helps!

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

You bet that helps! The one we currently have is Tracfone and the minutes accumulate far faster then I will ever use it. When we have gone on a road trip I will turn it on and watch the signal. From TX to MN, I must say I am not impressed. The signal is poor but I'll stay with Tracfone, the price is right.

I appreciate knowing the LG-420G glitch experience you have had also. And do you think the double texting problem is in the phone or the service?

After having been to the site Doug9345 posted above, I find that my cell is in the NEW CINGULAR WIRELESS PCS, LLC - IL whatever that is... perhaps that is why the tower access is marginal.

Living in east TX, I will never develop a cell addiction. lol

Shoffice ~ I like! Thanks ~ pod

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

"Shoffice"...a term my daughter coined when I told her our shop was going to be an office. She grew up in there with me during the days, having her own work bench, free reign, even a mini-bed under one of my work benches (complete with crib mattress pad, curtains, and little light, and plenty of coloring books.) When she heard I was moving the computer and all my reference books, paperwork, etc to that building, making it an office, she looked up at me with those big blue eyes and said, "then we'll call it the shoffice". She got her way. Me, too! :>)

As for the phone double-texting...I think it is the phone. I've heard that changing out the SIM card may help it but have yet to deal with T-fone Customer Service because I can't stand today's Customer "service". No fun at all.

I do know this. When I've ordered phones from T-fone they always have you type in the zip code and they give you a choice of phones that work in that area, or will be grounded in that area. In other words, if I bought a T-fone from a Walmart in Oregon it may not be configured to properly work in my NC area. I'll check into it more; perhaps their website is pushing certain phones in certain areas though. It's hard to believe my NC purchased phone wouldn't work if I went to Oregon since they brag about being able to get signals everywhere, eh?


Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Yes... the map showed service throughout the area we travel but it is definitely spotty.
Now at home, I don't care if it doesn't work. Nice to get away from work and not have phone rings demanding my attention at home.

Most definitely in agreement with customer service in general.

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

I think I'm like you, I much prefer land lines, they're bigger and they go from ear to mouth. Your hubby will agree with me. (I recently posted on my blog about "tiny phones". Ugh. Oh yeh, and local mail service.)


Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Soup cans are more like it. Soup cans and a string. That is more DHs' style.
I shouldn't tease him because he answers the phone at work. Takes lots off of me.

He refers to our vintage phone system as Possum Bell. The workers have told us it is antiquated.
Installed in 1949 and never upgraded. And these days with the advent of cells, it won't be.

Now, mail service I dare not discuss. 8
I'll have to go find your blog.

Northeast, AR(Zone 7a)

I'm looking at buying the Samsung phone with Triple Minutes. I'll have to tell my brother about it when he gets back from his 3 day weekend trip. He goes thru minutes pretty fast since he's uses his phone for his new business. He'd love triple minutes instead of double minutes. I have about 4000 minutes which will last me a couple of years. But if I don't have to worry about cost, I might use the phone more.

My sis insists that I need to text. I don't have a phone with QWERTY keypad, so texting can take forever. The Samsung has the qwerty keypad, so I could text with it...if I wanted to. I wonder how long I could hide the text feature from my sis. She LOVES to text. I prefer just emailing or calling. Texting takes too long. I can see where it might be beneficial to a business person. If you're in a meeting but waiting on some important information for the meeting, texting could be non-intrusive. But I see people TRYING to drive down the road and text at the same time. HONESTLY folks, you CAN"T do both--you THINK you can, but you CANNOT! One lady almost ran me off the road. And then she almost sideswiped me. She was just weaving all over the road!

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Texting would be feasible for business purposes. One could receive or send a succinct message. Far less time consuming that the niceties of a phone conversation.

OTOH, were I interviewing to hire and the person kept peeking at their phone, they would NOT get the job. Texting has become a major obsession and a real problem for the compulsive.

It annoys me to try to hold a conversation, particularly with a person from teens thru the thirties and they are unable to leave their cell in the pocket. Am I showing my age? Heaven forbid!!!

Three recent major wrecks with fatalities and texting involved in at least two. I asked a friend that is a state trooper if they document cell use in accidents. He said they ask but should the involved parties say no, they would have no way of proving it unless they had a court order proving otherwise.

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

Actually they can find out if a phone was in use during a traffic accident. In NC it is against the law to text (finally!). Also, people under age 18 aren't even allowed to use a phone (talk or text) while in a car. There are exceptions like if you need to call 911 or parents though. As for me, my DD knows if she gets caught driving and texting I'll take her license or her phone. I'm very serious along those lines and she understands's all about education.

podster, it annoys me,too...anywhere..people with a glued phone to their ear. Wish people would choose to interact with their surroundings instead of hiding behind their phone.


Northeast, AR(Zone 7a)

Phones have become toys. They used to be tools, used as needed. I remember when I was growing up, we were not allowed to talk on the phone very often. We talked to the neighborhood kids by going outside and talking to them face to face. We talked to friends at school...AT school. We were rarely allowed to use the phone unless it was something important. Then we were to say what was necessary and get off the phone. We were never allowed to talk for an hour or hours.

And we were never allowed to call mom at work unless it was an emergency. An emergency was the house being on fire, one of us being so sick or so hurt we had to go to the hospital, or someone dying. We NEVER called mom to see if we could go to some other kid's house or to tell her some insignificant something that happened that day. She was at work, paid to be at work, and she shouldn't be interrupted. How different it is today, where kids call their parents at work several times in an hour to talk about nothing. And people stay on the phone, in one form or another, for several hours a day, talking about nothing important. What do they actually have to say to each other in person? And who needs that much noise in their ears constantly?? Talking on the phone annoys me. My conversations are very brief: "You home? OK, then, I'm coming over. See ya in a few minutes." Anything I want to say will be said in person.

And it IS annoying when you're trying to talk to someone and they're on the phone. I used to run around with a friend who would get on her phone as soon as we got in her car. So the whole time she's supposed to be hanging out with me, she's chitchatting on her phone. So I might as well just stay at home.

I've hired guys to work for me and they can't put their phones down. I only used one for one day. Between his phone and his MP3 Player, he couldn't hear any instructions from me. I had to tell him over and over how to do some things. Drove me crazy. I did tell another guy that while he was working for me, being paid by me, he'd put his phone down and work; I'm not paying him to talk to his girlfriend. And he actually got a little huffy about that. What happened to "work ethics"? I really don't find phones very frugal if I'm paying someone by the hour to talk to their friends.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

While we were on the road I got to looking at all the cell towers and at my trac phone signal as it drifted in and out.

Doug ~ I appreciated this information that you posted and now my inquiring mind wants to know...

Quote from Doug9345 :

As far a how well a phone works some of it depends on the phone but some depends on which carrier. Tracfone buys time from the big companies. For example the first TF number a friend had was Cingular now ATT. Her current TF is Verizon. If you put an area code into this site it will give you a listing of all the exchanges and who they are assigned to.

This message was edited Aug 30, 2011 2:47 PM

I understand these towers belong to certain carriers and some have agreements to use others' towers.

Do you (or anyone else) know of a similar site that shows whose cell towers are located where?

My mind is thinking that if one cellular service has the majority of the towers or access to them, their service in a rural area should be better.

Maybe warped logic but we are in an area that is struggling to get out of the 19th century. Bear in mind, I like it that way but our landline phones were put in in 1949 and not upgraded.

I had a phone service man say they will not ever improve the equipment as cell phones are the future. I said, everywhere but here and he agreed. lol

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