Suzi, if you're still there ...I just noticed that Walmart is selling the BLU Studio 5.0 II for $129.47.
It is an unlocked GSM phone so you can use it with Straight Talk on the AT&T network. You'd have to buy a $7 SIM card from Straight Talk, however.
This particular phone has received some positive reviews on this and other websites. It has very good features and specs for the price and may be worth taking a chance at that price.
It has a 5.0MP rear camera with an LED flash in addition to the VGA front camera. It has Android 4.2 JellyBean and a 1.3 GHz dual-core processor (both impressive at this price).
Although it does not have LTE, it does have HSPA+ which is very fast 3G (some considering it 4G but not true 4G).
I'd almost recommend taking the chance on this one as it's featured packed at a reasonable price with some good reviews from others.
You can see it here (copy-and-paste):
answered 2 months, 3 weeks ago
Suzi, I'm just an armchair enthusiast of Straight Talk and by no means am an expert at cell phone technology or the ins-and-outs and details of cellular networks. I believe I understand the basics but that's about it.
I also do not want to sway you one way and then have it not turn out for you. I'd feel terrible if you made a decision based on my advice and it didn't turn out. I guess I'm just going on my own experience and the experiences of my acquaintances. We are retired and travel in an RV. We frequently talk to others who travel around the country about the best cell phones and networks to use while traveling in an RV.
Like you, most believe that Verizon has the best coverage nationwide and most RVers and truckers tend to use Verizon because of this. I think that is generally correct. It seems they definitely have the best 4G LTE coverage footprint than the other carriers ...but we both (you and me) do not use 4G LTE on our smartphones. Like I say, I have a 4G LTE hotspot and it's so much faster than the 3G on our smartphones ...I use the 4g from the hotspot on my smartphone by wi-fi as much as possible because it IS so much faster. However, inexpensive smartphones generally do not have access to 4G LTE so let's leave this subject out of our conversation. The phones both of us are using are 3G and that's that.
As far as which carrier is better on the east coast, my belief is that it is not going to make that much of a difference. The east coast is so densely populated that both Verizon and AT&T are pretty much going have all areas covered. If I was living or traveling on the east coast, I don't think I would pay much attention to Verizon vs AT&T ...again, this is only my opinion. On the west coast, however, there are areas where the population is sparse and places where only one carrier has coverage. There was a small town we went through in eastern Oregon that only had AT&T coverage and it was spotty even at that. In western Arizona, there's a rather large geographical area where there is no Verizon coverage at all. And like I mentioned before, in Alaska, there is no native Verizon coverage anywhere in the state. So in the west, it's much more important to pay attention to the carrier being used than it is on the east coast ...again, my opinion only.
Here's on old Straight Talk map that will give a very general idea of what I'm talking about ...GSM-A is AT&T and is on the top right and CDMA-V is Verizon and is below AT&T in the bottom right (copy-and-paste):
These are older maps so they will probably be a bit better now for both (all) carriers but at least it will give you an idea of what I was talking about pertaining to east coast verses west coast.
Now, you can actually pinpoint coverage by going to each carrier's street-level maps. Here's the AT&T coverage map ...put your address or the addresses of where you plan to use your phone and then choose the "GoPhone" button (GoPhone is AT&T's prepaid and will give "native" coverage):
For comparison, here's Verizon's ...after putting in your address, chose the "Prepaid" button which will give you "native" coverage --everything in the purple-shaded areas will be native coverage where you will have both voice and 3G data coverage:
Now, pertaining to that BLU phone, I'm hesitant to recommend it to you as there have been quite a few negative reviews. Like I said, I would feel terrible if you bought it on my recommendation and you received a lemon. However, I have talked to several who have purchased a BLU phone and are very happy with them and haven't have a bit of trouble. BLU is located in Florida and has very good customer support ...much better than the big companies like Samsung and LG where you often will get the run-around when calling. BLU actually invites you to visit them in Florida.
So, to sum it up, and again, this is from a personal standpoint, if I was on the east coast, having AT&T coverage would be just fine as their coverage is everywhere. The comparison to Verizon coverage, to me, wouldn't be a major factor in my decision. And personally, I'm willing to take the chance on buying that BLU Studio 5.0. and putting it on Straight Talk. Like I mentioned, it really seems like you are getting a lot for the money.
I do agree that Samsung and LG are the big companies and have good reputations; they are both South Korea-based. I like Samsung phones and that would be my first choice. I buy Samsung TVs so I like them too. South Korean companies are putting out very good products now. They are like the Japanese companies many decades ago ...when first starting to sell products in the U.S., whether it be cars, tires, or electronics, their products were pretty bad but then quickly became very, very good.
ZTE and Huawei are both Chinese-based companies. But keep in mind that just about all cell phones (or all electronics) are made in China. From what I hear, some Samsung and LG products are made in China from Chinese parts even though they may be tagged "made in Korea." Our LG phones were probably assembled in China and definitely from Chinese parts.
Personally, because just about everything is made in China, I don't really think that it makes a lot of difference what "label" the phone has whether it be Samsung, LG, ZTE, Huawei, or BLU. They all have corporate divisions located in the U.S., BTW. They all specify similar manufacturing techniques and want to put out a good product as they realize if they don't, they won't be able to sell products in the future. Who knows, some Samsung or LG phones may come out of the same factories in China as the ZTE or BLU phones. And just like with cars, if you buy a Lexus, chances are that you will have a reliable product. Could you get a lemon with a Lexus? Sure. Could you get a trouble-free Hyundai? Sure ...but chances are better that you could get a lemon Hyundai than a lemon Lexus.
So those are my thoughts ...if you're still reading this. lol