TING MOBILE REVIEW: the wireless provider of my dreams PLUS a $25 Ting Credit for YOU!
Recently I realized I was no longer feeling the love from my wireless provider. I had been with Virgin Mobile for over 15 years. They were great at first, in particular their Life Without a Plan shtick for their pay-as-you-go option. Just $20 every three months was all that was needed to keep my service active and I got to keep what I didn’t use, that is, any money left in my account at the end of each month rolled over to the next, and so on, and so on. Plus, they had a decent website where I could keep track of my usage. And they even allowed me to transfer funds between accounts and devices, to friends, to my hot spot, what have you. Sadly, all the perks that kept me as a loyal Virgin customer in the first place got yanked, one by one, until nothing of value remained. Message received: Shecky, get the jet! We’re outta here.
I began doing my research for a new wireless provider by consulting my go-to resource: Consumer Reports. I have attached a PDF of CR’s Cellphone Service Ratings for your perusal. According to the chart: Consumer Cellular is CR’s top pick for Traditional Service: Billed at Month’s End, Often Under Contract. Now, upfront, I will admit, coming from the pay-as-you-go model sets a pretty high standard in terms of low month-to-month expenditure for wireless service, which makes me a true challenge to satisfy. But I actually wanted to like Consumer Cellular. All the commercials with the chirpy spokes-folks talking about the apparent ease of doing business and reportedly great rates. What’s not to love? A lot apparently. When I attempted to get answers to get down to the nitty-gritty of Consumer Cellular’s monthly plans, I found no matter how many times I asked my simple questions, I received nothing but nonsensical responses. Done begging I moved on…
On to number two on the CR list: Ting. Never heard of them, right? But if CR was willing to give Ting the same 89 point score in its line-up as they gave Consumer Cellular, it had to be worth a look. I turned to Ting’s website for enlightenment: ALL GOOD! Trolled the Internet for reviews: ALL GOOD AGAIN! I contacted Ting by submitting a request on their website and went through my laundry list of burning questions: PHENOMENALLY RESPONSIVE AND INFORMATIVE! Still, can’t just go with the second on the list I surmised. So, I continued down CR’s wireless service ratings, researching every one, each with some issue or pricing policy that just wasn’t a good fit. Once I got to the bottom of CR’s list of providers, I decided to revisit Ting.
To make it easier to give them a try, Ting has allowed me to offer a discount to my readers when they sign up. Take $25 off a new device from the Ting shop or bring your own (BYOD) and get $25 as service credit! Click here for your $25 discount!
Ting was a serious contender for my business once I discovered they had a Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) option, which appealed to my sense of transportability. If I didn't like Ting, after signing up, I could simply swap out the SIM card for another carrier’s SIM, no questions asked. As for monthly charges, they provide a pricing calculator to determine your estimated monthly bill for the services you anticipate using, all in very clear, easy to understand usage buckets starting from XS up to XL+. I have included a graphic of Ting’s calculator to show how simple it is to determine how their charges would apply to your own anticipated usage.
Every Ting customer pays $6 a month for each device linked to their account, for example XS for lines = (1 for $6). Then, each set of buckets (minutes, messages, megabytes) are measured independently, so you could be in XS for minutes = (no usage/$0), S for text messages = (100 for $3) and L for data (1GB for $16). In any given month your usage will determine which buckets you fall in, and that’s the price you pay. This variable pricing can really add up to significant savings. And there are no hidden charges (like recovery fees), no contracts (meaning no early termination fees), plus tethering (using your phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot to connect your laptop or tablet to the internet) is free.
I have been with Ting six months now and my average bill is under $20 including taxes. (FYI: They only collect the taxes and regulatory fees they’re legally required to collect and remit on their customers’ behalf). Data use is the hardest bucket for me to manage, which has led me to set usage alerts and hard caps on my data to keep me at or below 100MB. I really appreciate this usage cap feature which can be easily applied via the Ting dashboard — it simply disables data once I reach my chosen cap. Usage alerts and caps allow me to keep my monthly bill right where I want it. Since data sent/received over Wi-Fi networks does not count toward your monthly usage, it’s good practice to use Wi-Fi wherever available. Using Wi-Fi at home is an obvious example, but many offices and public spaces also offer Wi-Fi networks that can be used too. This really makes mobile data less of a necessity for me. With Ting I turn data on only when I need it and it stops me from unintended overuse when I do. Ting offers a lot of helpful advice on their site on how to save, for example, I also learned to use ONLY Wi-Fi for all app and software updates. And I followed their recommendation to use Wi-Fi for the initial activation of my BYOD device and to set-up my Ting account.
Ting is probably not a good choice for super heavy data users who are used to unlimited plans. You should also keep in mind that to use Ting you either have to buy a phone/device from their shop at the full unsubsidized price or bring your own (BYOD). For myself I went BYOD and purchased a new SIM-Free iPhone directly from Apple, making my initial out-of-pocket steeper than if I had decided to go with another wireless carrier to which I’d be paying off the phone monthly over the term of their contract.
Ting’s customer support is the best I have ever encountered. I have had quite a few questions, particularly in my first month as a new Ting customer and could not be more impressed with their patience and just how pleasant and satisfying the interactions have been. Ting is so vastly different from other phone companies in every way imaginable. Frankly it is the wireless provider of my dreams. I hope this review helps you in your search to find yours.
To make it easier to give them a try, Ting has allowed me to offer a discount to my readers when they sign up. Take $25 off a new device from the Ting shop or bring your own (BYOD) and get $25 as service credit! Click here for your FREE $25 OFF at Ting.com! If you aren't ready to sign-up now, just keep this link for later when you are.
TrickyPix Rating: Neato – QUADRUPLE Awesome – Swell !!!
DESIGN PERFECTION: flawless function!
If Apple had designed an external expansion USB flash drive for iPhone, I think it may have turned out VERY close to the RAVPower iPlugmate. This is a beautifully crafted, solidly built piece of metalwork delivered in a lovely silver foil stamped gift box. Upon opening it, I was simply awe struck by the beauty of this thing, a true work of art to behold. It is made of high quality stainless steel; feels very sturdy in hand; and the rotating spindle reveals each of two connectors, USB 3.0 and a lengthened lightning connector that easily inserts into my bulkier iPhone and iPad protective covers. With SD card support, via an inch long memory slot on the sidewall, it also allows me to transfer stored photos from my camera with ease.
I knew when I got my iPhone that it would be followed by a purchase of a compatible flash drive. Because when I bought the iPhone, I chose to purchase it outright and go with an unlocked version, without a carrier contract (see above Ting review). This required a big chunk of change upfront, so to keep my initial out-of-pocket as low as possible, I opted for the smallest memory option Apple had available. My reason being that I already had an iPad with a LOT of memory and decided it should be the end repository for all of my digital images. Not being the sort to subject friends and family with shots of meals I've prepared, cute picts of my rescue pooch or selfies (not a chance) on the rare chances we find the time to get together, I simply have no interest in carrying around my life story in pictures on my iPhone. Shoot 'em; admire 'em; off-load 'em to the iPad; file 'em; repeat!
In my search for an iPhone compatible flash drive, I found a number of different options, but this one stood out due to its ease of use and the many file types (see below) it was capable of storing and transferring. As a graphics professional this feature was a huge selling point. I can transfer files on-the-fly from my desktop Mac, MacBook Pro laptop, digital camera, iPad and iPhone, all interchangeably. It works with PCs too, but that isn't something I need regularly, however, I know I am covered if a customer wishes to pass me a MSWord doc in a meeting or a PDF of their current catalog for quoting purposes.
- Image Formats: gif, jpg, png, jpeg
- Music: m4a, aiff, caf, mp3, wav
- Video Formats: avi, flv, m4v, mkv, mov, mp4, rmvb
- Document Formats: doc, ppt, xls, xlsx, pdf, html, txt
Before using the iPlugmate USB drive on your iOS device, you need to download the iPlugmate app. Just search for iPlugmate on the Apple App Store and from there installation is a breeze. The app comes with a simple user guide, but I found the iPlugmate to be quite intuitive and never felt a need to reference it.
The RAVPower iPlugmate does what it's supposed to do: clears up space on my iPhone, it's simple and easy to use and works flawlessly among my devices. Perfection in a sleek and beautifully designed package.
TrickyPix Rating: QUITE Neato – TRIPLE Awesome – SIMPLY TOO DARN Swell !!!
CUTTING CORNERS: Sometimes ya gotta do it!
A job came in for a small batch of membership cards for one of our regular clients. Printing was the easy part, we do it ALL the time. Round corners was the hurdle. Cuz upta-now, they could have any corner they wanted, as long as it was square.
How difficult could it be to find a decent corner rounder, right?! Harder than I guessed, after purchasing my first: We R Memory Keepers Corner Mounter Tool. The company's pitch: “We R Memory Keepers manufactures the most beautiful, functional, quality-made products…” It has to be good, doesn’t it?
To say this thing was a dismal piece of garbage would be a high compliment. The blades were so dull, no matter what weight paper I tried cornering, it just tore, shred or mashed an arc shaped imprint, never once cutting cleanly through. And after at most six tries, the cutting blade we needed broke clean off its handle rendering it unusable. @#!*%!!!! Freakin’ cruelest of jokes, this thing!
Enter the Sunstar Kadomaru Pro, Corner Cutter. [SPECIAL EFFECTS: clouds part, sun shines, angels sing ♫ﾐ(*￣o￣*)彡♩♫♪]. This thing is MAGIC! When I first got it I couldn’t stop finding excuses to round cut everything.
You get three corner size options and there are guides on either side of each size slot to help insert the paper properly. It cuts smooth EVERY time and saves the trimmed-off bits in a compartment underneath so you don’t end up with a mess all over the work table. I've used it on over 300 cards (that’s more than 1,200 cuts!) and never once have I had a corner that didn't live up to expectations. This puts the Fiskars, Martha Stewarts, and the We R Memory Keepers of the world to shame. Why oh why can’t every thing I purchase turn out this way???
Full Disclosure: I receive absolutely nothing, zero, zilch, a donut for posting this review. Even if you decide to buy it for yourself, I walk away empty-handed because they don’t know I posted this. That’s how much I love this groovy little piece of impeccable design!
TrickyPix Rating: TRIPLE Neato – DOUBLE Awesome – WAY Swell !!!
WA-SIS-HERE-WIDGET: It's a key-per!
I simply loath trying to duke it out on the small keys of my iPad or phone when trying to respond to important emails while away from the office. Which is why, when I saw Logitech’s Keys-to-Go, I knew I had to have it.
When the box arrived, I just charged it up (so FAST!), turned it on and flipped a switch. It immediately paired and started working. I love the feel of the keys – soft and tactile – and the push of each is sure but without the usual keystroke clatter. Just silent, smooth sailing. And it is a sealed surface so if I spill my coffee or dribble a bit of secret sauce I can just wipe it right off.
Logitech’s Keys-to-Go is quite simply portable keyboard nirvana. Nuff said!
TrickyPix Rating: Neato KEENO – Awesome – DOUBLE Swell !!!