Carriers vs. Consumers May 03, 2017 | Kimberly Henning

In the early years of mobile contracts, carriers possessed the power. Back then, buyers were bound by the shackles of the fine print; committing to contracts that long outlived their actual phones.

But buyers, rejoice! Gone are the days of lengthy contracts and limited service options. Today, selecting a mobile service provider is a lot like searching for a car, and consumers are taking ownership of their mobile plans by exercising their right to shop around.

History Not Repeating

Since the beginning of business, lengthy contracts have been more or less the bane of the customer’s existence. Sure, they serve to protect, but two-year contracts provided more headaches than they did protection. Contracts were typically permeated with messy, unclear jargon that carried on for multiple pages - leaving the customer more often than not confused or in the dark. What’s more, due to the rapidity of technology advancing, many of the agreed-upon contracts became invalid at some point within the two years. But because cancelling or changing contracts was a major costly hassle, customers were often left to just ride it out. Today, however, consumers are finding more and more ways to outsmart contractual obligations, and carriers have no choice but to loosen the reins.

Options Galore

Nowadays, mobile call and data plans aren’t nearly as black and white. If you’ve got a problem, there’s undoubtedly a solution that won’t break the bank or negate agreements. For starters, the carrier options have expanded well beyond just AT&T -- today, you can choose traditional carriers like Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint - or pay-as-you-go with month-to-month services like Cricket Wireless. The are now also “wifi first” service providers like Republic Wireless, that enable your calls and data to go over, as the name implies, wifi first, and only transitions to a cellular network when wifi is not available. Talk about being able to keep your bill low and in check!

But wait, there’s more: service providers aren’t the only companies selling phones or devices straight from their store anymore. There are many other places to shop that allow consumers to purchase direct, at wholesale or refurbished prices. And service-providing brands are getting smarter about their mobile offerings. You’ll find phones being sold at partnering spots where customers already are: Best Buy, Target, Walmart, Amazon, allowing the consumer to buy a phone outright -- no contract necessary. Soon, you will be able to do the same at Stay tuned for more details on that!

Perhaps the most cringy thing about antiquated mobile contracts was the inability to upgrade until you were “due”. Two years would go by before manufacturers would access a major chunk of the market, as well as a two-year stretch before consumers would be introduced to new technologies. Now, consumers are able to trade-in their devices or signup for flexible phone programs, like our trade-in program, or T-Mobile’s JUMP program. These options are not only enabling customers to trade-in their unwanted devices for cash, but are maximizing the value of the service plans in the long haul.

Predicting the Future

Mobile phone features will continue to expand, as will mobile phone freedom. Unlocked devices are becoming more popular due to the flexible nature -- making mobile users capable of pairing any service with an unlocked device.

In fact, FastCompany even predicts that soon everyone with unlocked phones will receive service through an app, letting people change their service/carrier based on their location each day. For example, maybe one day you have to take a work trip through a certain city; you know Verizon works better in this area than your typical, everyday AT&T service -- so you choose a day-pass or a monthly program that allows for the best service in that particular location. Europe is already ahead of the United States on this front.

While the idea that phone service plans will be accessible with the swipe of an app may be a long way off, it goes to show that the demand for a multitude of mobile phone options and flexible carrier plans isn’t going away. To mobile phone freedom, and beyond!

Word to Your Mother Earth Apr 21, 2017 | Kimberly Henning

We're looking at you!

Who has two thumbs and a junk drawer full of dusty gadgets and miscellaneous electrical items?


You have those things.

Earth Day is Saturday, and while we are not the first brand to post a blog about how to responsibly recycle old electronics, it doesn’t make the matter any less important! Over the last handful of years, we’ve seen countless new consumer electronics emerge into market -- bluetooth speakers, earphones, new generations of tablets, phones, computers, and the many wearables that have since been deserted out of disinterest.

And as new generations hit shelves, the existing products tend to have short life cycles -- which leads to a massive spike in solid waste generation around the globe. So how can you responsibly rid your junk drawer of those once-useful gadgets and miscellaneous electrical items that are just collecting dust? We’ve got some ideas:

1. If you have old phones swimming around your junk drawer: Trade them in! Nowadays, mobile devices are fairly easy to find new homes for. If you wanted to score some cash while you clean out your drawer, we take a whole heap of devices. Here’s where you can determine if your devices are eligible for trade-in. Or, if you’re better off recycling, the EPA also has has a full list of places you can go to recycle a device.

Or! If your device is in working condition and you want to flex your humanitarian muscles, consider upcycling. Cell Phones for Soldiers and NCADV, are two great organizations that give donated mobile phones to soldiers and battered women and children who cannot afford such devices. To check other organizations that accept donated phones and devices, click here.

2. If you’ve got working laptops, tablets, or iPads laying around: Well, you can still trade them in, or you can donate them to Goodwill. Dell and Goodwill have partnered together to form Dell Reconnect, a recycling system that accepts almost any brand of computer or anything that can be connected to a computer. And with a Goodwill on every corner plus tax write-offs - what are you waiting for?

3. If you are letting your toddler pretend that iPod is a cell phone: Apple wants it back. Thanks to the likes of Spotify and Pandora, music streaming services have made music-playing devices like iPods, CD players, and auxiliary/headphone cords seem prehistoric. Fortunately, Apple’s among some of the brands who wants their products back - even if they’re obsolete. According to Apple, they were able to collect 2,200 pounds ($40 million) of resourced gold from recycled devices last year!

Happy Earth Day!

Tech We Love Feb 10, 2017 | Kimberly Henning

Can you feel the love this month? In the spirit of naked winged babies armed with heart-shaped arrows at you, we’ve put together a list of the top tech we’re loving right now. From backpacks to laptops to iPods (you read that right) - use this list as your Valentine’s Day buying guide, or just treat yourself to some new gear because, well, you’re an adult.

Check it out:

  1. Dell XPS 13: Dell has won the laptop race once again and made the top of our list with the release of the Dell XPS 13. We are loving this super thin, 11- inch screen laptop. It weighs a measly 2.7 pounds and can last up to 14 hours on a single charge -- plus! With a 7th generation Intel processor, this thing will never be running behind you. Did we mention that it comes in the color rose gold? Sleek and on-trend. We like it.
  2. HP Powerup Backpack: Heck. Yes. HP Powerup backpack has revolutionized the backpack and portable charger game. With a 22,400mAh battery, this backpack will fully charge your phone 10 times and your laptop 3 times before it itself needs to recharge. This bag looks super slick, with a grey exterior and black leather trimming. It also has the capabilities to control the temperature of the backpack (!!) - providing ventilation and making sure that your devices stay as cool as you are (sorry). The Powerup bag starts at $160 on Amazon, which is a little steep, but well worth the price.
  3. Samsung Galaxy Tablet S2: Don’t you hate it when you arrive at your favorite trendy coffee shop, ready to get some freelance work done, but can’t find a table that’ll fit your dinosaur laptop, mouse pad, and nearby outlet for inevitable charging? Same. Thankfully, the Samsung tablet family continues to blaze the powerful portability trails. The Samsung Galaxy S2 tablet has proven to be top of the line with an octa-core processor, expandable memory, and a Super AMOLED display. Not only is multi-tasking on this device a breeze, it has the capabilities to edit the big Microsoft Office apps -- Excel, Word, and PowerPoint. This tablet starts at $350, about half the price of an average laptop.
  4. Resident Evil 7: What’s more romantic than your significant other traveling to an abandoned plantation to revive your mutant body? Nothing, probably. For Ethan Winters, saving his wife, Mia, from the hands of a T-virus is the objective. Resident Evil 7 made its debut to gamers on January 24th of this year and it has proven to be one of the best games yet. Not only can you play this game on a PC, Xbox 1, and PlayStation 4 - but this game has a virtual reality component too. RE7 is one of the only survival horror games playable on PlayStation VR. We are thoroughly impressed with the realistic graphics, challenging objectives, and detailed storyline. For a cool $59.99, you can help Ethan save Mia before the clock strikes Valentine’s Day.
  5. iPod Nano 7th Generation: That’s right. An iPod. Tired of having to delete files on your phone to make available space? Simplify your life by revisiting your old pal the iPod. With Apple Music, the 7th generation iPod Nano is a great, cheap alternative for listening to and storing music. This 2.5 inch, touchscreen device reminds us of an iPod touch because of its incorporation of the home button and support for Bluetooth headphones. With the 16GB costing just under $150, there is nothing more compact and convenient. Plus, the iPod comes with a free side of nostalgia.

Happy shopping!

Where Are All The Wearables? Feb 02, 2017 | Kimberly Henning

Baby, Baby, where did our love go?

As with most things in life, there’s a honeymoon phase.

You know, that fluttery fleeting feeling you get when something is new and different; leaving you feeling excited and motivated for what’s to come. This feeling can apply to nearly anything in life: from a budding relationship to a career switch to a New Year’s resolution to - dare we say it - wearable devices.

Upon purchasing, new wearables owners are highly engaged with their devices; wearing them, checking them, syncing them with apps, comparing their progress from the day before. All telltale signs of someone elbow deep in the honeymoon. In fact, according to a new, national survey performed by our market research partners, studies showed that almost 90% of people wore their wearable smartwatch daily when they first bought them. Rightfully so, these watches were an investment, and designed to streamline a person’s life - making the mundane mission possible. And over 50% of those surveyed agreed that their wearable device helped simplify their daily life, so it’s no wonder there was a spike in usage. Because of this high level of engagement, people felt that their lifestyles’ were healthier than ever before. These smartwatches motivated owners to adjust their lifestyles a bit; exercising more frequently, taking the stairs, standing rather than sitting, and opting for the leafy greens at lunch.

But some good things do come to a screeching halt. All too often, wearables go from one of the most productive tools in your life, to professional junk drawer inhabitants. After only a few months of usage, many people confessed their wearable engagement dropped significantly. Only 45% of smartwatch owners reported continued daily use of their wearable devices after just three months! For the remaining 55%, reasons for discontinued daily wear varied. Many smartwatch owners reported that they were less engaged with their device after 90 days due to short battery life, difficulty to charge, not enough fitness apps, and general disinterest.

Looking objectively, there seems to be a significant disconnect between what consumers say will motivate them to use their wearables long term, and what manufactures are putting into the market.  54% of respondents said they are likely to purchase a smartwatch in the future, but are looking for makers of these devices to provide new, better features. These features include a more stylish design, more seamless integration with other devices and apps, a longer battery life, voice commands, and Wi-Fi capabilities.

If you’re among those who let their wearables die a slow, dust-collecting death, it’s time to reassess. Let us take your unused wearable devices off your wrist and we’ll fork over cold, hard cash in return. Curious what we accept? We’ll take your dust-collecting Apple Watches, Samsung Galaxy Gear Smartwatch, Samsung Gear (2) Neo Smartwatch, and Fitbits.

Happy Trading!

Tech The Halls with Boughs of Gadgets Dec 14, 2016 | Kimberly Henning

2016 was a major year for tech. Google’s Pixel and Home roll out, Apple’s gaggle of new gadgets, and tons more. And as the holiday season continues barrelling along, parents and Cool Uncles alike are no doubt on the prowl for the best deal for the tech-lover in their lives. The good news is, the internet is bursting with blogs listing the top tech gifts this season. And we are no exception! But below is not just a list of perfect items for the tech enthusiast, but these are items eligible to trade in, and trade up for the latest and greatest version. Check it out!

  1. Snag the iPhone 7 Plus (You know you want to).

    The iPhone 7 Plus iOS camera software yields stunning portrait shots and an insane optical zoom that you’ll forget it’s a phone. Beyond the killer camera function, the newest phones from Apple are faster, better, and water resistant. Thinking about gifting one? Old iPhones command the best resale value, so trade up!
  2. Get a Google Pixel.

    Don’t want to take the Apple plunge? Scared that your Samsung is going to explode? Get a Google Pixel. Google’s foray into wireless is an undisputed hit. Give us your old iPhone or Samsung phone and she’s yours.
  3. GoPro or go home.

    GoPro released two new Hero5 models this year, packed with features that’ll turn any novice cameraperson into, well, a pro. Trade-in your old models and start capturing those “oh sh*t!” moments.
  4. Countdown to Santa with the Apple Watch Series 1 &&& 2.

    New processors, design, and features. Same perfect gift. Plus, the backlog/order wait times have been reduced. Win!
  5. Boogie down with Beats.

    Bluetooth speakers, especially Beats Pill, are crazy popular gifts this season. Whether your giftee is young or old - they’re easy to use and sound so smooth. Trade in your older bluetooth speakers and get that upgrade!  
  6. On that note, wireless earbuds are all the rage.

    While we don’t *technically* take any headphones or earbuds (yet!), the Apple Pods (finally available as of this week!) Beats Solo 3 and Powerbeats 3 are a tech-lover’s dream when it comes to in-ear music experiences.
  7. Let’s get virtual, virtual.

    If you’re on the hunt for a VR-compatible phone, trade in your previously owned device and upgrade to a new one that works with Google and Samsung’s VR initiatives.
  8. The Drones are coming.

    Drone tech has come a long way in such a short time. New models have a longer battery life, sleeker body design, and fun functionalities! Prices coming down all the time, making it easier for hobbyist and hardcore diddlers to indulge. Trade in that , smartphone, tablet, action camera and laptop you no longer use, and score cash to grab one.

Happy Upgrading!