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Unlocked vs. Locked Smartphones

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Smartphones (Unlocked vs. locked)

When it comes to buying a new smartphone, one of the decisions you’ll need to make is whether to buy an unlocked or locked device.  Both options have their pros and cons, and the best choice depends on your specific needs and circumstances.  Let’s dive into the differences between unlocked and locked smartphones, the pros and cons of each, and provide guidance on which one you should buy.

Understanding Unlocked and Locked Smartphones

Before we dive into the pros and cons, let’s first understand what we mean by unlocked and locked smartphones.

  • Locked Smartphones:  These are phones that are tied to a specific carrier or service provider.  For instance, if you buy a locked Galaxy S21 Ultra from T-Mobile, you can only use the device on T-Mobile’s network.  Your Galaxy S21 Ultra will not work on Verizon or other wireless carriers.
  • Unlocked Smartphones:  These are phones that have no network restrictions.  You can virtually use whatever service provider and switch whenever you want.  You have all the control.  Just swap one carrier’s SIM card for another, and you’re good to go.

Pros and Cons of Locked Smartphones


  • Lower Upfront Cost:  Locked phones are often subsidized by the carrier, which means you can get a high-end phone for a lower upfront cost or even free.
  • Payment Plans:  Many carriers offer installment plans that allow you to pay off your phone over time, which can make even the most expensive phones more affordable.
  • Carrier Support:  If you have issues with your phone, you can get support directly from your carrier.  This can include technical support, repairs, and replacements.
  • Carrier-Specific Features:  Some carriers add their own features to their phones, which can include apps, settings, and services that are not available on unlocked phones.
  • Ease of Setup:  When you buy a locked phone, it’s already set up to work with your carrier’s network.  You don’t have to worry about compatibility issues or setting up network settings.
  • Insurance Options:  Carriers often offer insurance plans that can protect your phone from damage, loss, or theft.
  • Trade-In Programs:  Many carriers have trade-in programs that let you upgrade to a new phone and get credit for your old one.
  • Network Optimization:  Locked phones are optimized for the carrier’s network, which can result in better performance in terms of speed and connectivity.
  • Bundled Deals:  Carriers often offer deals where you can get a discounted phone if you sign up for a certain plan or add additional lines to your account.
  • No Compatibility Issues:  With a locked phone, you don’t have to worry about whether your phone will work with your carrier’s network.


  • Limited Carrier Mobility:  Locked phones are tied to a specific carrier, limiting your ability to switch carriers if you find a better plan or service elsewhere.
  • Travel Inconvenience:  If you travel internationally, you may face high roaming charges with a locked phone.  Unlocked phones allow you to use local SIM cards, which can be more cost-effective.
  • Delayed Updates:  Sometimes, updates to the phone’s operating system have to be approved by the carrier before they can be installed, which can result in delays.
  • Bloatware:  Locked phones often come with pre-installed apps from the carrier, also known as bloatware, which can take up storage space and cannot be easily removed.
  • Resale Value:  Locked phones may have a lower resale value compared to unlocked phones, as they can only be used on one carrier.
  • Early Termination Fees:  If you want to switch carriers before your contract is up, you may have to pay an early termination fee.
  • Limited Phone Selection:  With locked phones, your choice of phone models is limited to what the carrier offers.
  • Long-Term Cost:  While locked phones might be cheaper upfront, the long-term cost can be higher due to expensive carrier plans.

Pros and Cons of Unlocked Smartphones


  • Carrier Freedom:  Unlocked phones can be used with any carrier, giving you the freedom to switch providers as you wish.
  • No Contract:  With an unlocked phone, you’re not tied to a long-term contract with a carrier.
  • International Use:  Unlocked phones are ideal for international travel as they allow you to use local SIM cards, avoiding expensive roaming charges.
  • Wide Selection:  You have a wider selection of phone models to choose from, as you’re not limited to the phones offered by a specific carrier.
  • No Bloatware:  Unlocked phones typically don’t come with pre-installed carrier apps, freeing up storage space on your device.
  • Resale Value:  Unlocked phones often have a higher resale value as they can be used with any carrier.
  • Flexibility with Plans:  You have the flexibility to choose and change your phone plan as needed, and can take advantage of competitive offers from different carriers.
  • Faster Updates:  Unlocked phones often receive system and software updates more quickly, as they don’t have to go through carrier approval.


  • Higher Upfront Cost:  Unlocked phones are typically more expensive upfront than locked phones because they’re not subsidized by a carrier.
  • Compatibility Issues:  Not all unlocked phones work with all carriers. You’ll need to check whether the phone supports the network bands used by your carrier.
  • No Carrier Support:  If you buy an unlocked phone, you won’t get the same level of support from your carrier.  For example, if you have technical issues, you’ll need to contact the phone’s manufacturer instead.
  • No Payment Plans:  Carriers often offer payment plans that let you pay off a locked phone over time.  With an unlocked phone, you usually have to pay the full price upfront.
  • No Carrier-Specific Features:  Some carriers add features to their phones, such as Wi-Fi calling or VoLTE.  These may not work on an unlocked phone.
  • Warranty Considerations:  Some manufacturers may not honor the warranty for unlocked phones.
  • Potential for Higher Repair Costs:  Since unlocked phones aren’t tied to a specific carrier, you might have to pay out-of-pocket for repairs if the manufacturer doesn’t offer a robust warranty.

Which One Should You Buy?

The decision between buying an unlocked or locked smartphone ultimately boils down to your specific needs and circumstances.

If you’re tech-savvy, have the money to buy the phone you want upfront, often travel internationally, and want the freedom of switching carriers as and when you want, then an unlocked phone might be the best choice for you.

On the other hand, if you don’t have the money to pay for a device upfront or are reluctant to splurge, then a locked device might be a better fit.  Locked phones also offer the convenience of having your device payment and carrier plan in one place.

Remember, the most important thing is to choose a phone and a plan that best fits your needs and budget.

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Which is better, OLED or QLED?

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When it comes to buying a new TV, there are many factors to consider.  One of the most important is the type of display technology used in the TV.  Two of the most popular display technologies on the market today are QLED and OLED.  QLED and OLED are two types of display technologies that are used in modern TVs.  Let’s take a closer look at the differences between these two technologies, their pros and cons, and which one is better for your needs.

What is QLED?

QLED stands for Quantum Dot Light Emitting Diode.  It is a type of display technology that uses quantum dots to produce light.  Quantum dots are tiny particles that emit light when they are exposed to electricity.  In a QLED TV, the quantum dots are arranged in a layer behind the LCD panel.  When light passes through the LCD panel, it is filtered by the quantum dots, which produce the colors that you see on the screen.

What is OLED?

OLED stands for Organic Light Emitting Diode.  It is a type of display technology that uses organic compounds to produce light.  In an OLED TV, each pixel is made up of organic compounds that emit light when they are exposed to electricity.  Because each pixel emits its own light, OLED TVs do not require a backlight like LCD TVs do.  This allows for deeper blacks and more vibrant colors.

Main Difference

The main difference between QLED and OLED is how they produce light and colors.  QLED TVs use a backlight of LED lights and a layer of quantum dots that emit different colors when hit by the light.  OLED TVs use individual pixels that can emit their own light and colors, without the need for a backlight.

QLED vs OLED: Pros and Cons


  • Brightness:  QLED TVs can get much brighter than OLED TVs.  This makes them a good choice for bright rooms or rooms with a lot of windows.
  • No Burn-In:  QLED TVs do not suffer from burn-in like OLED TVs do.  Burn-in occurs when a static image is displayed on the screen for an extended period of time, causing a ghost image to be permanently burned into the screen.
  • Longer lifespan:  Lower risk of burn-in can prevent permanent damage to the screen from displaying static images for a long time.
  • Price:  QLED TVs are generally less expensive than OLED TVs, making them more affordable to consumers.
  • More Size Options:  QLED TVs have more size options, making them more accessible to consumers.


  • Viewing Angles:  QLED TVs have limited viewing angles.  This means that the picture quality can degrade if you are not sitting directly in front of the TV.
  • Contrast:  QLED TVs have a harder time producing deep blacks than OLED TVs.  This can result in less contrast and a less immersive viewing experience.
  • Color Accuracy:  QLED TVs can have trouble producing accurate colors, especially in darker scenes.


  • Contrast:  OLED TVs have excellent contrast, thanks to their ability to produce deep blacks.  This results in a more immersive cinematic viewing experience.
  • Viewing Angles:  OLED TVs have wide viewing angles.  This means that the picture quality remains consistent from different perspectives and distances, even if you are not sitting directly in front of the TV.
  • Color Accuracy:  OLED TVs are capable of producing accurate colors, even in darker scenes.
  • Thinner and Lighter Designs:  OLED TVs have thinner and lighter design, which can make them more elegant and easy to mount on the wall.
  • Faster Response Time and Refresh Rate:  OLED TVs have faster response times and refresh rates, which can reduce motion blur and improve the smoothness of fast-moving scenes.


  • Burn-In:  OLED TVs are susceptible to burn-in.  This means that if a static image is displayed on the screen for an extended period of time, a ghost image can be permanently burned into the screen.
  • Price:  OLED TVs are generally more expensive than QLED TVs.
  • Brightness:  OLED TVs are not as bright as QLED TVs.  This can make them a poor choice for bright rooms or rooms with a lot of windows.

Which is Better: QLED or OLED?

The answer to this question depends on your needs.  If you are looking for a TV that is bright and has no risk of burn-in, then a QLED TV is the way to go.  However, if you are looking for a TV with excellent contrast and color accuracy, then an OLED TV is the better choice.  It is also dependent upon personal preference, budget, room size, lighting conditions, and viewing habits.  There is no definitive answer to which one is better, as both technologies have their strengths and weaknesses.

It’s worth noting that both QLED and OLED TVs have their pros and cons.  Ultimately, the best choice for you will depend on your specific needs and preferences.


In conclusion, QLED and OLED are two of the most popular display technologies on the market today.  While they both have their pros and cons, the best choice for you will depend on your specific needs and preferences.  If you are looking for a TV that is bright and has no risk of burn-in, then a QLED TV is the way to go.  However, if you are looking for a TV with excellent contrast and color accuracy, then an OLED TV is the better choice.

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iPhones vs. Androids – Pros and Cons

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iPhone vs. Android

If you are deciding between an iPhone or an Android phone and want to know the pros and cons of each, then read on!  It’s not a question of which one is better, but which one is best for you.

iPhone Pros and Android Cons

Here are the advantages iPhones have over Android smartphones.

  • iOS is a simpler operating system than Android, therefore, iPhones run smoother than Android phones. They run commands faster and have less hiccups with software.
  • They are more intuitive to use. A child can easily figure out how to use one.
  • You can count on iOS annual updates. Android updates are unpredictable because when Google updates the Android operating system, Google forwards the update notification to Android phone manufacturers who must customize the updates for their phones.  This takes time and doesn’t always reach the Android phone owner in a timely manner.  The only exception are Google’s own phones which receive immediate updates.
  • The iPhone’s home page is consistent with other Apple products like MacBooks and iPads.
  • Apple App store contains more vetted apps. Android phones use more 3rd party apps which are riskier due to lower vetting standards and may not work with some models.  Some Android core applications are not pre-installed and need to be found on Google Play Store.
  • iPhones have enhanced privacy controls. You can deny apps tracking, while Android phones cannot.
  • Unnecessary apps are not preinstalled on iPhones. Android phones may come with bloatware.  This is especially the case with budget Android phones because it is a source of subsidized revenue for budget phones.
  • Third party apps can be used on iPhones. Apple apps cannot be used on Android phones.
  • iOS is encrypted end-to-end. Android OS is only encrypted in transit.
  • Apple stores offer easy access to customer support. For Android phones, only certain manufacturers like Samsung have stores.  Otherwise, the phone needs to be shipped back to the manufacturer.
  • iPhones have higher resale values.
  • Apple Pay is preinstalled and widely accepted. Google Pay is losing internal tech support.
  • iPhones are simply more aesthetically pleasing, although Samsung and some other Android phones can hold their own, even if they are styling themselves toward the iPhone’s mold. There are other Android phones where you wonder if the designer has any creativity whatsoever. But in their defense, these models are typically low budget phones.  They are marketed for a different target segment than higher end phones.
  • There is high quality control. Quality control with Android phones varies.  But again, it is because of the breadth of offerings targeted to different consumer segments.  High-end manufacturers such as Samsung rival Apple in quality control.  Low-end budget models from different manufacturers will vary in quality.
  • With Apple’s Quick Start feature, transferring data from an old iPhone to a new one can be done simply by holding the old one next to the new one.
  • There are more accessories for iPhones.

Android Pros and iPhone Cons

Here are the advantages Android smartphones have over iPhones.

  • Android phones allow more customization for those who are more technically savvy.
  • They are less expensive than iPhones. iPhones are targeted towards the high-end consumer.  There are Android phones for all segments of customers.
  • When updates to the Android operating system are finally received, they are vetted out and often work without glitches. Significantly older iPhones may not be supported by the latest updates.  Although you can count on the annual frequency of iOS updates, they sometimes need patchwork.
  • Android phones use a more open and flexible ecosystem fostering more creativity from app developers, but at the risk of being less secure.
  • They use standard USB ports for peripherals. Apple prefers to sell overpriced proprietary peripherals which hinders convenience.
  • They have better integration to the cloud.
  • There are more options with Android phones, while iPhones are high-end across the board.
  • They have more apps available than iPhones.
  • Some models have upgradable storage, while iPhones cannot upgrade storage.
  • On some models, you can replace batteries yourself, while iPhones cannot.
  • If you are a do-it-yourself person, Android phones are better suited for you. iPhones require service from their Apple stores.
  • Guest accounts are available for other users on your phone.
  • Files can be transferred with PCs and easily managed on PCs via USB. You don’t have go through the cloud.  On iPhones, only pictures can be directly transferred, not other types of files.
  • Some models have split screen capability.
  • Higher end Android phones usually have more advanced features than their comparable iPhones, like a better camera and more storage capacity, for same or less cost.

Parting Words

It really isn’t fair to compare iPhones to Android phones because iPhones are made as high-end products.  They are made by only one manufacturer, Apple, marketed as a high-end item.  Android phones are made by many manufacturers who do not have proprietary operating systems.  Depending on the manufacturer and the model, they are marketed to many different segments of consumers from high-end to low budget.  The fairest comparison would be between iPhones and other high-end Android phones like Samsung, for example.  But again, it is not a question of which operating system is better, but which one suits your needs best.

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