CompareCellular's Fantabulous 2018 Holiday Gift Guide

December 5, 2018  by Chenchen Wang



Holidays are coming up, and with the heaping gifts also comes the infinite stress. What are the latest and greatest "hip" and cool gifts nowadays to get your friends and family? Here are some ideas that can get your brain juices flowing in the midst of the frosty air.


Apple Watch Series 4



The newest generation of Apple Watch brings a lot more to the table than ever. This smartwatch comes with a lighter shell and some tempting features, ranging from enhanced battery life to a crisp screen that shows health benefits, a GPS map, and all of your notifications on the go. Perfect if your loved one frequently ventures to the vile depths of the outdoors, or if they like to stay up-to-date on things while looking like a robot.


Get the details of the Apple Watch here.

iPhone XR




The iPhone XR is a cheaper alternative to the XS and XS Max, allowing for a full experience of Apple's fantastic A12 Bionic Chip and a plethora of other functions. It comes in a range of vibrant colors and a smooth, aluminum case as opposed to the XS' steel one, but this doesn't stop the phone from overperforming. It also has the same rear-camera as the XS yet lacks its dual-camera functionality. Nevertheless, this jolly-colored phone is much trendier for your wallet and still provides the full iOS experience.


Learn more about the iPhone XR's specifications here.

AirPods





If you're a frequent commuter, no doubt you've seen these little earbuds tucked away in the ears of strangers and even elderly grandmas on the subway. Its lightweight and convenient design allows for all of your music, Bluetooth, and calling needs to be met. Yup, their built-in microphone lets you make calls too. Just be sure to slip them into their snoozy box after you're done, or you'll risk losing these tiny guys for the foreseeable future.


The AirPods are the perfect stocking stuffer. Get yours here.

iPad Pro




The iPad continues to refine itself in more ways than one; in this iteration, its sleek and thin design squeezes its slimtastic proportions, this time nearly 25% thinner than its predecessor. Got a long road trip ahead of you? The iPad Pro makes the perfect frisbee to toss with your friends and family, allowing everyone to cash in on the fun. Its thinner speakers also allow for a wider and deeper sound, and its redesigned 12 MP camera will create all of those picture-perfect moments for the holidays.


Click here to learn more about the new iPad Pro.

Portable Speakers




Mini portable speakers are perfect way to share your delicious taste in music with the rest of your family. These tiny little things really boom and create a dance floor anywhere, from your living room to the subway during your daily commute. Got something to say? Play it loud and clear for everyone to hear! There are tons of different brands and designs, but keep an eye out on Amazon. These little gadgets frequently go on sale, and even without you can expect to spend under $100.


Scope out some of the portable Bluetooth speakers that might tickle your fancy here.

USB to USB-C Adapter




If you're an Apple fan, you probably know that the newest MacBooks only have USB-C slots—tiny little slots that have replaced the old USB, meaning you'll need a "dongle" adapter for your older USB devices. If that isn't the worst of it, Apple's factory dongle will cost you a whopping $25.00 for just one, running a giant hole in your wallet faster than you can blink. Its lackluster, string-blocky design also leaves more to be desired. Luckily, there are some other options thanks to our friends overseas, who prove time and time again that they're somehow impervious to copyright laws. These third party adapters, many of which are made in China, run much cheaper on Amazon (not to mention they ship much faster too with Amazon Prime). Many are less than a dollar! Their tiny size also makes for easy storage or for you to carry on the go.


Check out the variety of adapters for yourself here.

USB Adapter Dock



Need something for the home studio? There are also thicker adapters that come with multiple converters, ranging from USB to HDMI and even SD card. Amazon has lots of options at affordable prices. Keep an eye out on their Lightning Sales and holiday bargains, as these products and other electronics are frequently on sale for the low-low.


There's tons of different docks you can buy on Amazon. Click here to find out more.


Burt's Bees Lipbalm




With the advent of winter creeping up your toes, keeping your lips refreshed and moisturized is extra important (you never know who you'll encounter beneath the mistletoe!). Burt's Bees offers some of the highest quality lip balm albeit frequently at exuberant prices. Luckily, Amazon offers a 4-pack for $12.49, meaning that anyone can enjoy its cool, wax texture on their lips in time for the New Year. We recommend the original flavor, since it contains wax and provides a cool, refreshing hint of peppermint that will leave you feeling fresh throughout the day.


Grab a bundle off of Amazon or check them out at your local convenience store.

Charger Cables




What about some charger cables? You can get never get enough of them. These things always seem to find a way to disappear or break, so buying a pack of them might be a good idea as a stocking stuffer. They come in packs of 4 or more on Amazon, and the best part is that you can get chargers of different lengths! How 'bout a 6 foot long charger for your living room, so you can laze around the couch while charging? Or a tiny 3 footer for your bedside table or the office? The possibilities are endless, and it's always good to have extras whenever you might need them.


Get a pack of charger cables now so you don't forget later.



Kent Comb




Winter got your hair follicles in a knot? Kent Combs are some of the finest combs, sliding comfortably through your hair and offering a gentle styling experience. These combs are surprisingly all crafted by hand and made with polished wood, meaning there aren't any bumps or knicks in the teeth like plastic combs that might tear and damage your hairs. They're also light and easy, but a little on the heftier side when it comes to price. Expect to pay around $20 CAD for one, but trust us... you get what you pay for.


Get that perfect shine in your hairline with these fantastic combs.



The fun never stops when it comes to holiday shopping. There are endless gadgets out there for you to choose from, but be sure to choose wisely—so keep those eyes peeled!

Cheap Cellphone Plans of the Month

November 30, 2018  by Chenchen Wang

With Christmas and New Year's around the corner, let's take a quick look at some of the best individual rate plans.


Koodo, Fido and Virgin Mobile have their regular plans with a bit of promotional data. Their 2 GB plans with unlimited Canada-wide calling at $50—bear in mind that these carriers use the same towers as TELUS, Rogers and Bell, meaning you'll get some great service at a much cheaper price. You can also expect good coverage around the country with the same service intact if you plan on going home for the holidays.


British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Atlantic Province Plans

Koodo, Fido & Virgin Mobile - BYOD
Unlimited Canada Calling
Cost
2 GB $50
4 GB $55
6 GB $65
8 GB $75


Manitoba & Saskatchewan

Koodo, Fido & Virgin Mobile - BYOD Cost
500 MB with 500 minutes Canada-wide calling $40
5 GB with unlimited Canada-wide calling $48

Quebec

Koodo, Fido & Virgin Mobile - BYOD
Unlimited Canada Calling
Cost
2 GB $35
4 GB $45
8 GB $49
10 GB $56



Chatr and Lucky Mobile offer much cheaper plans with bigger data, but with a catch... only 3G data. 3G data is a slower version of data that is good for browsing the internet, using text-based apps like email or sending messages, but you might run into some issues if you're a frequent music streamer or Youtube user. You also lose the ability to use your data if you leave their "zones," areas that are usually restricted to bigger cities.


Canada-wide

Chatr & Lucky Mobile
Unlimited Canada Calling
Cost
8.5 GB at 3G speeds $50
6.5 GB at 3G speeds $50
4.5 GB at 3G speeds $40
1.5 GB at 3G speeds $30




Freedom Mobile is another alternative with huge buckets of data for cheap, yet also with a catch: it's only available in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa and Toronto, and as soon as you leave these cities, you'll lose basically all of your data (you'll retain a tiny bit of data and can still use your calling and texting on most plans). The service also frequently cuts out, so expect to lose service in busy subways or buildings with thick walls. If you aren't much of a traveler, then Freedom Mobile could fit your bill. Otherwise, it's definitely a hit or miss.


Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto and Ottawa

Freedom Mobile (Data + Talk Plans)
Unlimited Canada Calling
Cost
Home 4.5 GB $40
Big Gig 6 GB $60
Big Gig 15 GB $80

Huawei's Latest Phone: the Mate 20 Pro

November 9, 2018  by Chenchen Wang

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro is checking in as Huawei’s latest flagship phone. Like the P20 Pro from last year, the Mate 20 Pro expands on the decadent features ranging from a long-lasting battery to a quick processor and an intricate camera. It comes in a sleek metallic design with a curved screen that blends your focus right in, so expect your Youtube videos to be a little more personal than before.




It’s Kirin 980 processor is also a step above the P20 Pro’s 970, and the phone’s display increased from 6.1 inches to a 6.39-inch OLED display with 3120 x 1440 pixels as opposed to the P20 Pro’s 1080 x 2240; this means much crisper icons and a phone that's perfect for your Netflix-ing needs. Fun fact: it's got the highest pixel density of any phone on the market, beating out even the iPhone XS.

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro still has 128 GB of storage and 6 GB of RAM like the P20, so no changes here—but expect a tiny bit more on-time with its slightly stronger battery. The camera also remains largely the same. Huawei phones have been frequently lauded for their camera, and the Mate 20 Pro returns with its signature 40 MP rear camera and a 24 MP front-facing camera. The rear camera is a triple-camera setup that comes in a small square, which features a detective camera system that will recognize and focus on people, plants, and even some buildings.




Some other perks include a super-fast fingerprint scanner that’ll let you unlock your phone in an instant, and a nighttime camera mode that enhances your photos taken in the dark. The phone starts at a hefty $1199 CAD, but this was expected, considering the phone rivals that of the iPhone XS and Samsung Galaxy S9 series.

Check out its specs and details here.

What's New with the Google Pixel 3 and 3 XL?

October 30, 2018  by Chenchen Wang

The Google Pixel 3 and the Google Pixel 3 XL were released earlier this month, just in time to rival the new iPhones and the back-to-school scramble. The newest line of phones include a standard 5.5 inch display with the Pixel 3, or 6.3 inches with the XL, both of which come in either 64 GB or 128 GB of capacity and 4 GB of RAM.

The phone’s camera comes with some built-in perks, including a “Top Shot” function that takes multiple photos on each button press, automatically providing you with some options so you have a better chance of capturing that perfect shot. Unfortunately, this seems to save the other photos at a much lower resolution (likely to save space), for example, exporting at only 3 MP instead of the usual 12 MP. They clock in file size at only a single MB, while your original photo saves at a whopping 13 MB. There’s currently no option to change this, but at the end of the day it is just an added benefit anyways. Needless to say, you’d also run out of space on your phone pretty quickly, especially if you’re an avid photo taker.




On the brighter side, Google Pixel 3’s speakers are also much louder than their predecessors, up to 1.4x louder at max volume. Bear in mind that like most newer phones, there isn’t an audio jack, so be prepared to adapt to modern times and use either Bluetooth or USB-C instead. The screen is quite commendable at a 1080 x 2160 resolution, yet it’s still outmatched by the likes of even the best phones from the previous generation—namely the iPhone X or Galaxy S9 when it comes to brightness and contrast (but this is often indistinguishable to the naked eye). The phone also comes with a fingerprint scanner on the back of the phone, and in a variety of colors spanning Just Black, Clearly White and Not Pink, the latter of which is ironically pink.




Last but not least, difference between the Pixel 3 and 3 XL starts at its size, with the latter’s screen being almost an inch larger. The rest of the phone its largely the same, save for the battery, which is a bit worse in the Pixel 3, meaning you'll probably want to carry around a charger or portable battery pack. The XL also has a notable notch at the top of its screen, which might be annoying for those of you anti-notchers. At the end of the day, both the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are sleek phones that offer great design for Android, reminiscent of the iPhone's design. The Google Pixel 3 starts at $999 CAD while the larger Pixel 3 XL variant retails for $1,129.

A Quick Look at the iPhone XS, XS Max and the XR

September 19, 2018  by Chenchen Wang



Both the iPhone XS, XS Max and the XR are available for preorder! The iPhone XS and XS Max ship on the 21st of September, while the XR arrives nearly a month later. These phones have replaced the iPhone X as Apple's newest line of luxury phones, but at what cost? Let's delve a little deeper into their specifications to decide which phone is best suited for you.

In terms of pricing, the iPhone XS Max starts from $1519 CAD, while the XS follows at $1379 and the XR at $1079, setting a landmark for the most expensive iPhones ever made. All three phones are equipped with Apple's new A12 Bionic chip, which features a 15% increase in speed and a power usage of 50% less than its predecessor—kind of relevant given the iPhone's short battery life. Aside from the chip, the XR differs vastly from the XS and the XS Max, who only differentiate in terms of their size.




The iPhone XS features a 5.8" Super Retina HD display, as opposed to the XS Max's larger 6.5". If you have deep pockets, the XS Max will suit your needs, pun-intended. Each phone has a rear camera of 12MP and 2x optical zoom, along with a front camera of 7MP which will provide pristine-looking selfies. The pixel size has increased in comparison to the iPhone X, and their HDR algorithm has been optimized so your pictures will always look bright and crisp.

Battery life has also increased, but only ever so slightly. With the XS, it'll last you 30 minutes more than the iPhone X, and 90 minutes with the XS Max. They're also the first iPhones with the option of 512 GB of storage, matching the storage size of laptops and even Macbooks! That's a lot of photos and random junk you could store on a little device. Remember when 8 GB was a thing? Or when 64 GB was the max?




On the contrary, the iPhone XR is much more affordable, albeit with some drawbacks. For starters the 6.1" display is only Liquid Retina HD, meaning image quality will be less sharp (326 ppi as opposed to the XS' 458). It also only has a singular 12MP camera as opposed to the XS' dual wide-angle camera, but luckily it's front camera is the same as the XS, so you can still snap some of those fabulous selfies. There's also a lack of 3D touch functionality, so don't expect to get anything from pressing icons a little harder on your screen. The XR does have some of its own pros, including better battery life, and a pallet of flashy colors ranging from yellow to red to blue and even coral; it also has a 128 GB model that fits the bill for the average user who might desire the sweet spot between the XS' 64 GB and 256 GB.


Now that you know the quick details, which phone do you think you'll get? Remember, Samsung's newest phones are around the corner as well. Choose wisely!


It's easy to get overwhelmed with all of the different phone plans and providers as a Canadian. There are tons to choose from! Different provinces have different plans and providers, but British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and the Atlantic Provinces share the same Bring Your Own Device plans. Rate plan providers are unique, each with their own perks, but often offer similar plans because of their competition with each other. Like gas stations and fast food restaurants, they're constantly in battle—when one provider changes a plan or pricing, others quickly follow.

Yet not all rate plan providers compete against each other, in fact, they're broken up into different tiers, aimed towards different audiences. For example, Rogers, Telus and Bell are the premium tier providers and appeal to larger families or businesses, so you might have noticed that their plans are a lot more expensive than Fido, Koodo, or Virgin Mobile. The latter three are cheaper, provide less benefits and are aimed towards individuals or students. When Rogers changes their prices, Koodo doesn't necessarily follow, and vice-versa. They only compete with other providers in their own tier. A good analogy is like shopping for clothes at Wal-Mart as opposed to Lulu Lemon or Aritzia, a shirt is a lot cheaper at Wal-Mart but of lesser quality, because it's targeted at a different customer.

When people think of service providers, the first three that jump to mind are likely Rogers, Telus and Bell. These three companies rule the Canadian wireless industry and set caps on things like pricing and data bonuses. They offer the largest variety of plans with the best coverage, customer service, and flexible options like sharing data. But they're also the most expensive out of any rate plan provider for these reasons.

Next, there's Fido, Koodo and Virgin Mobile, who are actually owned by Rogers, Telus and Bell, respectively. These companies are smart and want to cater to the whole spectrum of demographics, so they can gain more customers and maximize profits. It's a lot like how Banana Republic, GAP and Old Navy are owned by the same company. Banana Republic is the most expensive and trendy, GAP in the middle, and Old Navy the cheapest. Likewise, Fido, Koodo and Virgin Mobile are much cheaper, but have less customer service and no options, like shared data plans.




There are also some smaller providers like Freedom Mobile, Chatr and Lucky Mobile, which are even cheaper than Fido, Koodo and Virgin Mobile, but with a catch: they have limited coverage. This means that you'll only get service when you're within their "zones," which often comprise of larger cities, or in Freedom's case, only a few specific major cities. Chatr and Lucky Mobile also only offer 3G data, which is a lesser version of data that is ideal for reading emails or checking text-based websites and social media, but too slow for streaming music or videos.




Let's take a look at the pricing between these providers. We'll examine their ~4 GB plans with unlimited Canada-wide calling and texting, a sizable plan and a good medium to compare.

A plan with unlimited Canada-wide calling, Canada-wide texting and 4 GB of data costs a whopping $90 with Rogers, Telus or Bell. Meanwhile, the same plan with Fido, Koodo, or Virgin Mobile is only $55, and comes with unlimited international texting. That's almost half the price of the former! The trade-off is less customer service, deprioritized coverage, and the lack of some data-sharing flexibilities. Seems worth it, if you aren't in dire need of anything that specific.




Next, there's Freedom Mobile, which provides plans with the largest amount of data for the cheapest cost, but with some serious drawbacks. First and foremost, the coverage; Freedom's coverage is restricted to a few major cities: Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, the Greater Toronto Area, and Ottawa. When you leave the boundaries of the city, your plan instantly becomes a mere shell of its full capabilities; for example, the Big Gig + Talk 8 GB plan will only have 500 MB of data as opposed to the regular 8 GB.

Chatr and Lucky Mobile are two competing brands on the lower end of the spectrum that offer cheaper plans with slower 3G data as opposed to the regular 4G LTE that every other provider has. 3G data is great for text-based apps, reading articles, sending iMessages or checking email; it'll get you by, just so long as you aren't an avid music or video streamer. Their plans are also restricted to zones, albeit on a broader scale than Freedom Mobile (includes smaller cities along the coast). Their plan with 4.5 GB of 3G data, unlimited Canada-wide calling and unlimited international texting is only $40 as opposed to Fido, Koodo and Virgin Mobile's $55. But the trade-off is limited coverage and only 3G speeds. Is it worth saving $15?

There are also some other less conventional options, like Public Mobile and Eastlink, depending on your province. Bonus data and pricing is always changing, so who knows? Maybe this comparison will swing in a different direction in a week or two. Always be sure to do your research!