Relay, A Smartphone Alternative For Children

Relay (Republic Wireless)

What do you do if you have young children who you know aren’t ready for a cell phone (perhaps because you aren’t ready for the inevitable battles about screen time and social media), but you still want to be able to reach them when they’re not with you? Relay may be just what you’re looking for. Relay is essentially a walkie talkie, with a few fun twists. For example, since it works over 4G LTE and Wi-Fi, it has they same (essentially unlimited) range as a cell phone, so friends in different states can communicate with each other. And it has GPS tracking, so if you use the free companion app, you can see where all of your Relays are in real time. Relays also come in a variety of friendly colors and with stickers, so your child can personalize his or her device.
We did have a few issues with Relay. First, they didn’t seem to hold a charge for much more than 4-6 hours. Second, they use a proprietary magnetic charger, which means you’re in real trouble if you lose or misplace yours. That said, we know that Republic Wireless is continually adding features and we’re confident that these issues will be resolved soon.
As you know, we love companies that support their communities, and Relay is doing just that, donating $5 from each of the next 5,000 Relays sold to Common Sense Education, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization dedicated to helping students harness technology for learning and life by providing teachers and schools with free research-based classroom tools. For ages 5 and up. $99 for one, $149 for two, $199 for three, plus about $6.99 per month per device for unlimited use.

Six Upgrades You Might Need Right Now

Technology advances as fast as bullet trains.  You purchase a new device today, only to give a celebratory welcome to another gadget in a span of months.

From gaming consoles, signal boosters, wallpaper TVs, to talking laptop assistants, you just might feel the need to equip almost any gadget or techno toy in your backpack. This list narrows down just the must-haves to help you alleviate the electronic clutter, not to mention money flusher items.

Phone and computer storage

Cellphones have an of average 128 to 126 MB for memory and 128 for RAM, while computers are equipped with 160GB of hard drive and 1 GB of RAM. According to Lifehacker, almost forty-five percent of users responded to requiring more than 1 TB for their data. Not ready to let go of those Euro trip photos yet? Definitely you can’t bring yourself to uninstall the latest apps for service or gaming. Maybe it’s to upgrade that memory pack.

Wireless charging pad

Resembling an intelligent saucer, a wireless charging pad is a sleek, convenient powerhouse for the Android and iPhone. It comes with a micro USB, USB adapter and wall charger with every purchased item. Take it anywheresoft, light and easy at optimal charging speed, it even prevents your phone from slipping while on charge.

Smartphone case

Take a good look at your phone. Do you have a long-standing casing for its preventive wear and tear? Plain plastic is just no good nowadays, especially not for the environment. The best phone cases are leather and more recently, plasma and composite. Durable iPhone cases have especially well-designed armor for their phones to withstand hard falls and accidental slips.

Signal booster

Face it, the internet while fast is not flawless just yet. Dropped calls and disconnected data in poor signal coverage areas are untimely for important calls and meeting when making business transactions. Great how the presence of signal boosters provide a fast-track for these hiccup situations. Wilson cell phone booster is recommended by contented mobile users. Time to get a pick-me-up for up to a couple thousand square feet.


3-in-1 USB port

Especially useful if you own a couple of devices that don’t have similar cable heads, a 3-in-1 USB port works well to charge a tablet, laptop, phone or other devices on anywhere with an outlet. This technology has an internal circuit that prevents overheating and overcharging. Most ports are lightweight, and they  sync and charge quickly.


Noise-canceling headphones

Noise-canceling headphones are state-of-the-art mechanisms designed to diminish unwanted sounds from a semi-noisy to louder environment. Unique from standard headphones, these ensure maximum ear cushion, longer battery life, and are Bluetooth capable. Sennheiser and Bose are well-praised brands. The best kinds ensure less audio infiltration.



With the constant introductions of newly-invented contraptions in this tech-ruled world, consumers can often feel pressured to stay in tune with the latest models.

In order to separate the essentials from the lesser necessity, best to ask yourself if you really need this gadget or if it’s just a feast on the eyes. Always have a thorough review of the specifications prior to buying any device or you may end up regretting spending your hard earned money. Still, technology is a fantastic aid to our modern day and age. Until the next release of your favorite gadget then.

Meizu M3 Note

Disclosure- we have received the below in order to facilitate this review.  All opinions are our own and honest. For more, see ” I Disclose”.

Meizu M3 Note

Pic via Meizu

In the world of smart phones there are basically two choices, apple based phones or android based phones.  But once you get a bit deeper into it, you find the android phone base is quite varied and covers a wide stream of options.  If you want to or need to upgrade, and need something a little less expensive, I suggest taking a look at one of the best selling smart phones to come out of China recently- the Meizu M3 Note.

This phone is based on the YunOS Flyme 5 system, which is very similar to Android but tweaks it a bit, so you will have something a little different, but not un-usable.  The phone itself packs quite the hardware punch as well, with a MT6750 processor and 2/3 GB LPDDR3 Ram using a 64-bit 8-core A53 processor core.  The phone itself works on the VoLTE call network, TD-LTE/Fdd-LTE/TD-SCDMA/WCDMA/CDMA/GSM with 6 modes and 18 frequencies available.

Meizu phone

The phone physically is attractive, with a rounded edge and many color options. It has a nice weight in your hand and is easy to spend a long time using apps, games, texts, phone calls, etc.  What you will notice right off the back is there is only one button on the front of the phone, where usual Android phones feature 3.  This may seem like a difficult learning curve to get around but this is not so, the button simply takes control of both the home function and the back function, this button is called mBack. It did take me a little bit to get used to it, and to figure out how to make all “the things” do what I wanted them do, if you know what I mean.

The phone also has 2 cameras. The outward facing one has a Samsung /OV 13-megapixel sensor, f/ 2.2 aperture.  This camera supports 13 megapixel zero-delay pictures as well as 1080p full-HD video.  The inner camera sports a 5-megapixel OV5670 sensor with FotoNation smart beauty and face AE exposure for selfies.  The photos were OK in quality, a bit slow to take, but not as sharp as some phones on the market.  The price reflects this.


These photos are taken from the same distance, indoors with less then ideal lighting, both on “auto” lighting/flash, with no filters used on either.  They are both first photos taken with each phone, (no “do-overs” or re-trys)  with no alterations made.  The one on the right is the Meizu M3 Note, the one on the left is a Samsung 7.

The M3 Note is great fun to use and comparable to current cell phone models from popular American brands.  The apps can be glitchy, IE “Pokemon Go” has given me lots of issues on this model (slow load, failure to load, “error” messages, etc), and Twitter crashes more often then on other phones I’ve used, but my husband has used several game apps on the phone with no issues and Facebook and Instagram and all of those major ones work fine.  It for sure works better with WiFi in my opinion.

What we particularly like about the M3 Note is its power and battery usage.  The battery sips power and works like a power house zipping through new apps and games.  I can leave it for 3 days with no charge if I’m using it normally, which is pretty amazing. To me, that’s the best feature.  It’s also much less expensive then other brands, so if you are in the market, give it a look.

LG G4 Smartphone

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.  All opinions are my own.


Smart phones are becoming more and more powerful with each new release.  But power is not enough, a new smart phone has to have something special going for it.  Something to really pull you in and say ‘wow’.  Today we are looking at a new smart phone that does just that, the LG G4.  The G4 is the newest in a long line of killer LG phones.

This phone at its core is a speed demon. Some of its specs are below:

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 1.8GHz processor
  • Android 5.1 Lollipop operating system
  • 4G speed
  • Wi-Fi
  • 5.5″ FHD IPS Touch Screen

There are a few stand outs with this phone.  The first is the design, you get a very minimalistic face to the phone because of its back button.  There is a button on the back of the phone near where the camera lens, that is how you turn the phone on and off.  Took me a second.  The phone itself sports leather, metallic, and ceramic back covers to give the phone a more refined finished look.  It also features a curved ergonomic design to fit the palm of your hand perfectly.  Also a big deal is it has upgradable memory up to 2TB with a microSD card and also a replaceable 3,000 mAh battery.

Secondly the display is an impressive Quad HD resolution with 538 PPI.  The display itself is a 5.5inch IPS Quantum Display which sports a 25% brighter display so the screen can be seen in various lighting conditions and well as a 50% improvement in contrast.

Last but not least is the camera. The camera saves images as RAW for the highest quality image.  The camera itself features a  f/1.8 aperture for low light situations.  A manual mode lets photo enthusiasts of any level have a high level of control over their photos.  There are 15 settings with over 135 options to tinker with.  The 16 MP rear facing camera and 8MP front facing camera take wonderful quality pictures.  The Laser Auto Focus and Optical Image Stabilization are both improved and make for easy picture taking and sharp focused images.

The LG G4 is available for pre-order now, and if you act quickly there is a guaranteed $100 Best Buy® Gift Card when you purchase the LG G4.  Offer valid LG G4 Release Date-6/13/15

Sprint Aquos SmartPhone

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Influence Central (#MC) for Sprint. I received a product sample to facilitate my review and to thank me for participating.

pic2I am a Sprint Ambassador and will be sharing my experiences testing various Sprint devices and services for the remainder of the year. I bring you the hottest new Sprint devices on the market, and today we are looking at the new Sharp Aquos on the Sprint network. The Aquos has quite a few interesting characteristics to set it apart from the crowd. The most obvious is the screen. One look and you can see the screen goes all the way to the edge. No longer is there a border around your screen. This is alot more interesting and fun then you would suspect. The only downside being you will want an edgeless phone more often then not now.

pic1In addition to the new edgeless design, this phone also features an emphasis on its camera. The camera sports two 8 MP (3,264×2,448 photo resolution; 1080p@30FPS video resolution) and 1.2MP front-facing cameras (1,280×960 photo resolution; 720p@30FPS video resolution). There is also a new mode of picture taking called night shot which makes both the subject and background brighter, for those difficult nighttime shots.
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Kyocera Hydro Vibe #SprintMom #MC

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for Sprint. I received a product sample to facilitate my review and to thank me for participating.

7 02 14 products 010

I am a Sprint Ambassador and will be sharing my experiences testing various Sprint devices and services for the remainder of the year. Today I will be sharing some experiences I’ve had recently with the new Kyocera Hydro Vibe 4G LTE smartphone.  One of the greatest features is that it is a smartphone which can survive up to a meter below water for up to 30 minutes, making this the ultimate summer phone.

This phone is a feature rich smart phone, which makes summer time a ton of fun.  The great thing about this phone is not having to worry about it.  It’s not this gentle, precious little piece of tech that has to be kept dry and safe at all times.  Instead it can take a bump because of its 4.5 inch qHD impact-resistant touchscreen display as well as not have to worry when your kid drops it into the pool. Again.
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WIN a Sprint Phone- I’m a Sprint Ambassador

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for Sprint. I will receive a product sample to facilitate my review and to thank me for participating.


As you can see from the topic of this post I was recently accepted as a Sprint Ambassador.

In doing so, I get to share some of the awesome Sprint tech and services available with you my wonderful readers.  Today we will be looking at the Sprint Framily Plan and be sure to stick around there’s a contest for an HTC One max smartphone.

The Sprint Framily plan works in a novel way, you and up to 10 friends/family/co-workers, pretty much any cell phone users can sign up together and get a stellar plan at a stellar price. The way the Framily plan works is each user has unlimited talk, unlimited text ad 1GB of data each on the Sprint network.  Other perks are: each member receives a separate bill, AND there are no annual contracts or early termination fees.  As for the cost, the plan can cost as little as $25 a month when you have 7-10 members in your Framily group.  This could lead to some super savings for all involved.  I am sure you know at least 7 people who enjoy saving money and/or pay too much for their current cell phone plan.  As of now in our house we average $40 a month for our plans. I thought this was a great price but as usual with a little research better prices can be found and also on a more reliable network.
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Nokia 1520 Cell Phone

Nokia are one of the few smart phone makers who are specializing in new Windows Mobile OS phones. In the beginning these phones were ok, but underpowered.  This is far from true with the 1520.  The 1520 has an incredibly bight screen, takes stellar pictures, moves quickly an is a breeze to use.

pic4The Nokia 1520 has the same basic shape as the Lumia 800 and 925, except the 1520 is thinner, quicker, more robust processing power and a big 6 inch screen which is border line tablet.  The phone comes in three colors yellow, red and black.  )Yellow being the brightest and most attention grabbing, so the one I had to have.)  The phone itself has some killer specs.

2G Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 – all versions
3G Network HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100 – RM-937, RM-939, RM-940
HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100 – RM-938

4G Network LTE 800 / 900 / 1800 / 2100 / 2600 – RM-937
LTE 700 / 850 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100 / 2600 – RM-938, RM-940


Announced 2013, October

Status Available. Released 2013, November

Body Dimensions 162.8 x 85.4 x 8.7 mm, 120.3 cc (6.41 x 3.36 x 0.34 in)

Weight 209 g (7.37 oz)

Display Type IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors

Size 1080 x 1920 pixels, 6.0 inches (~367 ppi pixel density)

Multitouch- Yes

Protection Corning Gorilla Glass 2

– ClearBlack display

Sound Alert types Vibration; MP3, WAV ringtones

Loudspeaker- Yes


3.5mm jack Yes

– Dolby Headphone sound enhancement

Memory Card slot microSD, up to 64 GB

Internal 16 GB (RM-940 only)/32 GB, 2 GB RAM

Data GPRS Yes

EDGE Up to 236.8 kbps

Speed HSDPA, 42.2 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps; LTE, Cat4, 50 Mbps

UL, 150 Mbps DL

WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi hotspot

Bluetooth Yes, v4.0 with A2DP


USB Yes, microUSB v2.0

Camera Primary 20 MP, 4992 х 3744 pixels, Carl Zeiss optics, opticalimage stabilization, autofocus, dual-LED flash, check qualityFeatures 1/2.5” sensor size, 1.12 µm pixel size, PureView technology, dual capture, geo-tagging, face detection, panorama
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