Econet limits ‘unlimited’ bundles! ‘UPADATED’

Econet shocking change in policy

 

‘READ UPDATE BELOW’

Hello there, we are always raving and ranting that Econet is a crap company bent on suiting their own needs.

They make wide changing policy shifts without communicating with us their customers!

We purchased a Facebook Bundle and to our surprise, we only connected for 2 days! The bundle then stopped connecting and we were taken aback!

We got in touch with them and we got hundreds of silly responses! From maybe your phone is dead to we are resetting your line.

To our shock, we received the message above! What it means in simple terms is that your Facebook bundle is no longer ‘unlimited’ but is now throttled!

It means that Econet will switch you off when they feel you have used enough data! Now it means those are no longer weekly or monthly bundles but are now usage based bundles!

UPDATE

Shockingly Econet has introduced ‘Lite’ and ‘Extra’ Bundles

Extra Bundles cost $2 a week and $6 a month and these will allow downloading!

Lite bundles will cost the normal fees and will not allow downloading!

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Why you should not buy a samsung Galaxy S3 or S4. Part Two

In part one of this article, we looked at some of the reasons why you should not buy a Samsung Galaxy S4. Today we are looking at some of the alternative phone you can buy that are cheaper but almost feature packed as the Galaxies of this world.

Number 1. G-Tel 717 Explorer

gt

Yes, this may come as a shock but the G-Tel 717 Infinity is a feature packed phone that will blow you out of water. I used the demo version at the ZITF 2013 and I must say G-Tel has improved a lot from the days of yore when it was G-Tide.

Why you should buy it?

G-Tel was actually trying to compete with Samsung Galaxy S4 here and they made the most of it. The screen feels premium and it looks real bright. One thing that will hold your breath is the 3D carousel/ launcher. You can get one for any phone here of course!

This phone might not be at par with Galaxy S4 but at $395, you are really getting a value for money.

One drawback is that the phone looks smaller, it has a 4.7 inch screen and with phones going as huge as possible, I think the screen could have benefited from an extra inch.

Well, you can check the phone specifications here and know that I highly recommend this phone.

Number 2. Astro Virtual

virtuals

This phone is manufactured by a company that seems to be emphasising on christian values but will their phones match? Yes, I think the Astro Virtual, the companies flagship phone will do as a replacer of the Galaxies of this world.

I also used the demo version of this phone at the ZITF 2013 and I must say I was wowed by the huge screen. The screen is bigger that the G-Tel above at 5.1 inch.

However, the G-Tel above beat the Astro in resolution in my limited demo unit look see at the trade fair.

One thing that will chain this one down is that it comes with an oldish version of Android, version 4.0.2. Well the G-Tel above I believe is spotting version 4.2.2. The Latest version of Android is 4.3 but that does not matter, I have seen thousands of people content with Android 2.3 GingerBread!!!!

Number 3. Karbonn A9

A9 Karbonn

Well, I just saw a limited version of this phone because the salemen where I went thought I was a poor guy who couldnt afford such a phone!!! What Cheek, really!

But let me not let my bad brush with the salesman taint this story. The A9 from what I saw is a capable phone but is easily beaten by the two brands above.

If you are a whatsapp and opera mini type of a person, I guess this phone, (which I believe is Indian made, never mind the made in Zimbabwe tags) is a capable phone for most basic tasks.

Now Look forward to Bonus part 3, where we talk about support and customer care of these 3 firms. Believe me I have contacted them, I have met guys who have had troubles or jubilations with these guys and I will write about the support structures of these phones.

Why you should try Africom?

africom

Africom has been offering voice telephony for quite some time now, but it’s only recently that the company seems to be taking off, albeit slowly.

One set-back to Afrcoms success is the CDMA technology it runs on. Well, your Telecel, Econet and NetOne use GSM!

So in plain language that means you can’t plug an Africom SIM card into your phone and expect it to work! It won’t. It’s like pouring petrol into a diesel car!!

However, Africom has the cheapest call costs all round. We are not looking at dirt cheap promotion deals which can be pulled away any minute here.

At 12cents per minute for calls to Econet and Telecel, you really can’t go wrong. Even if you use the Mega Reloaded Promo from Telecel were you are effectively calling at 12cents a minute, you can’t beat the 6cents Africom to Africom rate.

The biggest set back to mass adoption of Africom is the “buy a new phone” thing since yours won’t work on our network.

Besides, Africom sells some very basic and embarrassing phones at a very expensive price!

I was shocked when I went to the Africom shop in Bulawayo and asked to see the type of handsets they have. I was shown some blackberry like phone.

When I asked if there were Android CDMA phones in stock, the lady told me with a straight face that “Android phones do not run CDMA”! Duh Africom we are not all dumb…. PLEASE! Just tell us the truth, you don’t have them in stock.

Then with my research I bumped onto this website http://www.redmobile.co.zw and they sell CDMA phones at exhobitant prices. At least you can get a CDMA phone.

The crazy thing was some ZTE Android phone which costs $285 whilsts it was running Android 2.1.

A ZTE Racer II costs $75 from Econet and  a Huawei cost $90, what is so different from a phone that runs an ancient version af Android to cost so musc? A plain rippof!

Well, besides all these hurdles, I think Africom is a good network to look out for.

Africom vs Powertel

One reader of this blog requested that I do a Powertel vs Africom article. Here i goes reader.

First some background.

I never bought a Powertel Dongle neither did I buy an Africom dongle. However I used both extensively. I used Powertel’s Dongle for close to a whole month. The Africom dongle I used it for close to six weeks.

We will start by focusing our eyes on Powertel.

powertel-logo

When my brother borrowed me his dongle, I was happy. I thought this is the opportunity to do all sorts of things. I plugged the dongle onto my laptop and I saw magick.

I opened facebook, searched some ex-Japanese cars and the experience was smooth.

All hell broke loose on day number three. The good speeds dropped to tortoise slow speeds.

I could hardly open my email, even if I choose the faster HTML version only of Gmail.

I asked my brother what it was and he told me it happens a lot.

Well, the $50 dollars per month all you can eat deal is really great, untill you heat slow territory. I enquired with the Powertel guys and they said “Our engineers are looking into it”!

Infact so bad was the customer care that the fellow didnt have a clue about what I was talking about really.

When I pressed him for more info he told me to wait for the engineer to explain. I tried every trick in the book, using a long extension cable, putting my dongle on a raised place outside my window and nothing faster than a snail was experienced.

Then I checked online and I saw that this was a perennial and universal Powertel issue…

I then borrowed my friends Africom dongle..

africom

This was better than the Powertel thing by miles… In fact it was so good. The network has a huge uptime and very rare cases were you have 0.2kbps speeds that I experienced with Powertel.

However, comparing these two Africom is way ahead. It beats Powertel and leaves it clutching the dust.  It shamelessly outdid the Powertel thing on countless occasions. (The only time I got decent speeds on Powertel was midnight to 4am)

Powertel has a $25 per Gigabyte fee. For heavy internet usage that is really a paltry amount.

The Winner

Africom wins hands down. If only they could make their data plans cheaper. If you look at it, at $50 you get 2.5 gigs from Econet Wireless and you get only 2 gig from Africom!! Hey Africom Econet is supposed to be expensive than most.

Besides, honestly Econet has better speeds than Africom. Since this is an Powertel vs Africom post, lets leave Econet out of this..

KingSoft Office On Adroid

My friend borrowed me his G-Tel 707 android smartphone and as a phone fanatic I tinkered a bit with the apps in his phone.

What caught my eye was the KingSoft Office Suite. Well, I played around with it and I was so impressed.

The OfFice suit has a Word Proccessor, a Presentation and SpreadSheet function only.

Kingsoft-Office-2012-Professional

What impressed me was that the application was free and not only that, it was fast and minimal. You could do all the things you do on a MicroSost Word but without all those confusing icons that come with word.

The presentation preparationm was snappy and good. Well, honestly I have never used spread sheets and I don’t know how they work but I bet you they are really good.

Doing my little research I found out that you could also use the Office suit on Windows 7 and 8 and it costs you a mere $69.

Well, I have pirated copies of Windows but this application I am buying as it is so good.

It turns your Android phone from a mere whatsapp tool to a full fledged productivity machine that it is meant to be.

Huawei Unveils The Worlds Thinnest Smartphone: The Huawei Ascend P6

huawei-ascend-p6-photos-4_610x407

Huawei, that Chinese company that unleashes cool phones has unveiled the worlds thinnest smartphone. Powered by the worlds top mobile OS, Android the phone weighs a mere 120 grammes, just about the same weight as six table spoons of sugar!

Measuring only 6.18 mm, this phone is razor sharp as compared to say the Samsung Galaxy S4 which has a width of 7.9 mm and a weight of 130 grammes.

Powered by a 1.5 Ghz quad-core processor, 2GBytes of RAM, this phone has got enough oomph to power most applications effortlessly.

The screen is super huge but handleable at 4.7 Inches.

The back shooter camera is a 8Mega Pixel affair and the front facing camera is 5Mega Pixel, giving you clearer images when on Skype or Viber.

Astro Phones, should you buy these “Made in Zimbabwe” phones?

At the ZITF 2013 I stumbled upon the Astro Brand of phones and it was my first time to come across this brand. Their flagship phone was the Astro Virtual which is a Phablet! Well a huge phone that is.
In fact this phone is 5.1 inch screen size, running Android 4.2 which is the latest Android version the world over mind you. From my temporary usage at the ZITF 2013 I found the large screen refreshing than the 2.8 inch phone that I had that was stolen at the same ZITF 2013 trade fair.
With 1 gig ram you really can’t complain unless if you want to play 3D games and all. If you the usual whatsapp, Opera Mini + a few games and music player then with such specs you can’t go wrong.
However one thing got me raising my eyebrows, the guy who showed me the phone at the ZITF told me that the phones were ‘Made in Zimbabwe’ with a straight face!
Really you expect us to believe that! Designed in Zimbabwe I may believe but ‘Made”!!! Hey even Apple Phones are not made in USA but they are assembled in Asian countries.
Well, I hope to get my hands on this phone and see how it fares against the G-Tel Infinity 707 as these two companies are “Proudly Zimbabwe”.

G-Tel Infinity 707

G-tel had the Infinity 707 during ZITF 2013 and I must say I was impressed. I liked the 3D home page view. I must say it was quiet impressive. I haven’t used the phone fully to write a full review but their website say:

Specifications

  • Screen Size – 4.3 inch
  • 1Ghz Processor
  • 1600 Mhz battery

However to my horror, I trooped to the G-Tel shop near Magnet House only to find the shop empty. No phones were on the shelves. That was just the beginning. I asked the lady manning the empty counters if they had “Android phones I could view?”
With a straight face she said “NO!”

She then perskily shoved a piece of torn paper that had all the phones that they had, to my amusement, the paper had Android phones. Now for a company that is trying to beat Samsung in Zimbabwe I think the customer care you get from the shop attendants is a factor that may drive away clients.
I then trooped to Tinny Communications and what a cool service I got there. I was given the phone I requested, tested it, asked for another one, tested it and bought one phone, shown how to operate it and I was thanked for making the purchase.
To those who are waiting for a full review of the Infinity 707 you may have to wait until I get my hands on it, hoping I don’t come across pesky sales people.

However with the above specifications, you expect normal performance, not mind blowing performance! By the way, I have seen really a few people who “NEED” mind blowing performance in Zimbabwe

You can also read a review about the Astro Virtual Phablet here as it is also a “Made in Zimbabwe” product.

Browsers that wil help you save that dollar….

 

Smartphones were made with the internet in mind and a smartphone without an internet connection is like a fish outside water. All those apps that you use access the internet in one way or the other, an internet connection is like oxygen to a smartphone.

Cash Saving? How?

Well the browsers below, preprocess a web page that you request at their servers and they serve you a compressed, smaller file to you. Well, its more like serving you an image of the webpage to you. And since the processing of the page is done at the server computer and not by your phone, these browsers are more faster.

Today we are reviewing phone browsers that you can use on your smartphone, from a Zimbabwean perspective

  • Opera Mini

That is no mistake; Opera Mini takes number one spot! I know some of you are starting to say Dolphin. Geez in Zimbabwe we don’t have data plans and we can’t afford to use “full browser capabilities” can we?

Opera Mini takes the top spot because it renders pages nicely and I like its single column view. You can also check how much data you have used or saved.

Currently, the latest version for Android is version 7.5

  • UC Browser

If you thought all things Chinese were of cheap quality, then think again. Here is one browser that competes with Opera Mini. In fact this browser compresses data as good as Opera. I also love the Voice search feature, which is lacking in Opera Mini. This browser also has a download manager!

In fact this browser has got some really cooler features than Opera Mini, Like QR Code scanner and download manager!

However, I find this browser to be slower than Opera Mini and the fact that they do the spoofing thing at this day and age is rather counterproductive.  Spoofing is where a browser pretends to be another browser and in this case UC Browser pretends to be Mozilla Firefox.

  •  BOLT Browser

This is another browser that you may install on your amartphone, but it disappoints to say the least. However it saves cash.

Binu Review

 

There are thousands of communication apps that are at our disposable these days. Today we are reviewing Binu a sms and now turned social network app.

Some time ago, I lost my phone and I started using my brothers Motorola phone. All I know is it was an old flip phone. Astonishingly it could go on facebook! Or rather it could connect to the internet. Then my girl friend suggested that I install Binu for easier communication. I did, and boy did I love this app. It ran okay on the old phone.  I mean, since my phone was old I knew that I couldn’t expect more speeds from the poor old phone.

I then bought an Android phone and one of the first apps to find its way into my phone was Binu.

To my horror and shock! Dismay and utter dislike, Binu was dead slow. The navigation was horrible to say the least. The app was just not what I expected to be. My reasoning was since the smartphone was way faster than my Motorola, then Binu was going to run like lightning. Too bad, I was disappointed.

However here are the advantages of Binu

  • Cheap, as it sends sms messages over the data network
  • You can send sms to people without Binu application on their phones
  • Other applications within Binu, like the dictionary which I used a lot
  • Games and stuff, soccer results e.t.c
  • Facebook app within Binu which is a cheaper way of visiting facebook though the experience is not as nice as going via Opera Mini or your phone browser

Disadvantages

  • We are talking about Binu for Android, this application is dead slow and very slow
  • Not so cute experience, the user interface could do with some nicer icons

Verdict

If you are using an old phone, you may install this but on Android there are some better sms applications than this slow app.