Last year I wrote a post explaining why I do not have a smartphone. In a nutshell, I work in front of a computer all day (am constantly near wifi) and think spending $100/month is insane for something I truly only need for a few specific occasions.
Well, fast forward a year, and I finally made the decision to get a smartphone. It came with quite a bit of consideration around when I would use the device, and whether or not I found value in being constantly connected.
Fortunately, I don’t have to sacrifice a great device for an expensive contract. I just purchased the Moto X with Republic Wireless
Moto X Review
First, the device is awesome. There’s a pretty extensive review below. There’s also Google Now, which is pretty cool. It’s essentially a Siri competitor, just not as smart. The phone is $300 dollars through Republic Wireless, which is quite a bit cheaper than trying to buy it elsewhere. I’m very price conscious, but this phone will pay itself back very quickly.
The setup process with Republic Wireless is very easy, I was making phone calls and checking my email within minutes. The camera isn’t that amazing, but I’m happy (especially since I didn’t have a camera on my old phone.)
Why Republic Wireless?
First, for those unfamiliar with Republic Wireless, it’s a low-cost service that uses a combination of wifi and cell signal (from Sprint) to make and receive calls. For example, if I’m home, the device will be connect to the wifi, which makes the cost of calls/texts next to nothing for Republic Wireless.
If you’re away from the home/office, it then automatically switches over to the cell signal – it’s a hybrid phone of sorts. Here’s a quick video to show it off:
The best part about this approach is that Republic Wireless can offer “smartphone” plans for a very low cost to you. They currently have 4 packages to choose from:
- $5/mo (unlimited talk/text/data from a wifi signal, but* no cell access from Sprint*)
- $10/mo (unlimited talk/text/data from wifi and unlimited talking/texting from Sprint, but no mobile data plan)
- $25/mo (unlimited talk/text/data from wifi and unlimited talk/text/3G data from Sprint)
- $40/mo (unlimited everything, including 4G data from Sprint)
I chose the $25/mo plan. I need to periodically use Google maps, Uber, and check my email while traveling for work, so it’s a perfect fit. Considering I also work from home, nearly 95% of my time using this device is connected to wifi.
Something else that’s really cool about Republic Wireless is that you can switch plans (up to 2x/mo.) For me, I may consider downgrading to $10/mo unless I make trips for work and really need the data, which I will then simply upgrade.
Put simply, I have an amazing phone and spend $25/mo, while the rest of the population pays over $80/mo per phone. I truly feel like I’m hacking the system!
Downsides of Republic Wireless?
When I first received my phone, there was an error when booting up the phone for the first time. I didn’t see it again, and proceeded to use the phone.
I did notice after talking on the phone with someone, about 5 minutes into the conversation I could not hear them. I also noticed that there was a small “blinking” of the background, so I shot Republic Wireless support an email. Within hours, I had a replacement on the way – I received a shipping confirmation in the evening, and it was on my front steps at 8am in the morning.
I setup the new phone, and haven’t had any problems since. If I would change one thing about Republic Wireless, I would consider adding a few more “onboarding” videos, since the process may be confusing for less tech savvy individuals. Overall, their documentation is very good, but I think a few tweaks would be nice.
I’m going to purchase the same phone for my wife shortly – which will bring our total for 2 lines to about $50/mo. This is amazing! I was spending $25/mo through AT&T for a flip phone with 100 minutes of call time. I will NEVER go back.
Lastly, there’s very little risk to try it because there’s a 30 day money-back guarantee. That was the nail in the coffin for me.
If you’re looking to purchase a smartphone and don’t want to break the bank, you need this phone!