Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Review of Republic Wireless's Motorola Moto X

Moto X (Republic Wireless)

I first heard of Republic Wireless a couple of years ago while listening to podcasts of Clark Howard's radio show. Back then, they offered an inferior Android phone – the LG Optimus S. Their business model was set up to charge only $19 per month for unlimited talk/text/web, as long as you were using the phone mostly on a WI-FI network. If you needed to use the cell network, then the phone would use Sprint towers in your area. In 2012, they added a new phone – the Motorola Defy XT, which we purchased earlier this year. My wife has been fairly happy with it, though there have been issues with dropped calls while using the Sprint towers.

We had rid ourselves of a contract-based phone through AT&T back in 2011, when we purchased a no-contract Samsung Galaxy Prevail from Boost Mobile. They use the same Sprint towers just like Republic Wireless. Their Shrinking Payments plan was a great deal – $50 per month for unlimited talk/text/web to start, then every six months of on-time payments, the price would go down $5 per month. 18 months after we purchased the phone, we were paying $35 per month for unlimited everything.

A couple of months ago, I began shopping around for a replacement for the Galaxy Prevail. My options were:
1) Stay with Boost Mobile and purchase a Samsung Galaxy S III for $399.99. It's a very nice phone, with a 4.8-inch Super AMOLED HD screen and an 8 MP camera. The downside was that not only would I be buying an older model (the Galaxy S4 was released in April 2013), Boost Mobile would raise our plan's cost to $40 per month to match their new rates.
2) Switch to Virgin Mobile and purchase an Apple iPhone 4S for $380 (now $319.99) or an iPhone 5S for $549.99. They are both great phones that hold their value very well over time. Virgin Mobile operates on the same Sprint towers as Boost Mobile and Republic Wireless. Their Beyond Talk plan is $40 per month for 1200 minutes of talk/unlimited text/unlimited web.

Before I made the decision to go with one of those options, I got an email from Republic Wireless which said that they had a new phone coming – the Motorola Moto X. After doing a little research, the Moto X looked like it would match up well with the Galaxy SIII or either of the iPhones. Republic Wireless also announced that the Moto X would be $299 (no-contract price) with 4 options for monthly service plans. The lowest plan is $5 per month, but it is a WI-FI only plan. The next one is $10 per month, and it is unlimited talk/text on the cell network, but you can only access the web on a WI-FI connection. The one we chose, at $25 per month, offers unlimited talk/text/web on either the 3G cell network or WI-FI. The most expensive plan is $40 per month, which offers unlimited 4G LTE. You are able to switch between any plan two times per month.

View Republic Wireless's coverage map

When I purchased the Moto X, they assigned me a random phone number. Since they offer a 30-day guarantee, I had planned to keep my Boost Mobile phone until the end of the month to make sure I liked the phone and coverage. After a couple of days of use, I was hooked and ready to make the switch. To keep my cell phone number, I had to call up Boost Mobile and get my account number to give to Republic Wireless. I assume they keep the number a secret to keep you from easily switching to another provider. I spoke with two customer retention reps at Boost Mobile, and they tried a little to keep me by offering $20 off my next month of service. While I appreciated the attempt, I thought it was a little low of an offer, since only the next month would be knocked down to $20. That meant that the following month, I would be back to $40 per month, when I could have been paying $25 to Republic Wireless. No one would agree to that kind of offer, but I guess when they are operating on low margins already, that was the best that Boost could do. Porting the number from Boost Mobile to Republic was fairly easy, once I had the account number, and was completely transferred within 24 hours.

After using the Moto X for the past three weeks, it is an incredible deal. Its performance completely blows away the Galaxy Prevail that I had been using. Though they use the same Sprint towers, there are locations that I would completely lose a signal with Boost – and the Moto X has three or more bars of service. Since I work from home, I'm able to use my home WI-FI most of the time. My experience with WI-FI calling and web has been almost flawless. It operates at incredible speed while on our AT&T U-Verse home network. While out using the Sprint network, the coverage has been good, not great. Calling and texts have worked fine, with no issues. Calls have transitioned from WI-FI to the cell network just fine. Web browsing, however, is a little slow on the Sprint network. That's the price you will pay for using Republic Wireless – the network is simply not close to the level of Verizon or AT&T. If you have to have coverage as much as possible, with blazing fast internet speeds, then you will be unhappy with Republic Wireless.

Battery life has been fine so far. It easily holds a charge for an entire day, and re-charges pretty quickly. I really like the Active Notifications feature, which displays any notifications on the screen when the phone is locked. It saves from having to click any buttons to see the time, read a text message, or view a Facebook notification. You can easily manage the apps that are displayed.

CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 MSM8960 Dual-Core
Processor Speed:1.7 GHz
Operating System: Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean)
Dimensions: 5.09 x 2.57 x 0.42 inches
Weight: 4.76 oz
Screen Size: 4.7 inches
Screen Type: Super AMOLED HD
Screen Resolution:1280 x 720
Camera: 10 MP Rear; 2 MP Front
Video: 1080p
Storage: 16 GB
Available Storage: 10.99 GB

If you live in location where the Sprint network is strong, or you are near WI-FI most of the time, Republic Wireless's plans offer the most compelling price points of any carrier. Here's a breakdown of what you'll pay for a Moto X over a 2-year period from various carriers.

Moto X Contract Per Month Talk & Text Data 2-year Cost
Verizon $99.99 2 years $80.00 Unlimited 500 MB $2,019.99
Sprint Free 2 years $70.00 Unlimited 1 GB $1,680.00
AT&T $99.99 2 years $60.00 Unlimited 300 MB $1,539.99
Republic $299.00 None $25.00 Unlimited Unlimited $899.00

By signing up with this link, you can get $19 off your first month's service. So, if you choose the $25 per month plan, you'll only pay $6 for the first month.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Friday, December 6, 2013

Missionary Prayer Card - The Starin Family

This prayer card design was for the Starin family, who are missionaries to Okinawa, Japan.

You can contact me here to order missionary prayer cards. Prices start at $150 for 1,000 4x6 cards.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Gospel Tract - Growing in Grace

This 3.5'' by 5.5'' gospel tract is printed on high-gloss card stock. It includes service times, contact info, gospel plan, and a map.

Pricing for this gospel tract starts at $150 for 1,000. You can view more information here.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Missionary Prayer Card - The Cooke Family

This prayer card design was for the Cooke family, who are missionaries to Papua New Guinea, sent through New Tribes Mission.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Brochure Design

This brochure design was for a conference at Ambassador Baptist College. Prices start at $350 for 1,000 brochures like this one. You can view more information here.