How to Use Google Hangouts For Free Wi-Fi Calls and Texts

Posted: November 22, 2014

Hangouts and Dialer
Learning how to use Google Hangouts to make and receive calls over Wi-Fi can save you money and make poor mobile signal inside buildings something you won't have to deal with again. There are three main situations where Wi-Fi calling is helpful:
  1. You use a mobile phone provider that charges overage fees for minutes and texts.
  2. You use a mobile service like Ting, that charges based on actual usage.
  3. You experience poor mobile signal quality in certain buildings, like your home or office, that have Wi-Fi available.

In order to use Wi-Fi calling on your phone there are a few steps to complete first that we will be learning about in this article:

  1. Get a Google Voice number and set it up with your mobile phone.
  2. Install Hangouts and set it up on your device.
  3. Use Hangouts to make and receive calls and texts.

For our international readers, please note that Google only provides Google Voice numbers to people in the United States. You must have a U.S. based phone number to get a Google Voice number.

Sharp AQUOS Crystal Review

Posted: November 4, 2014

Sharp AQUOS Crystal

The is a unique new phone offered exclusively on Sprint, Boost, and Virgin Mobile. It can also be activated on Ting. The near bezel-less design is the most striking thing about this device and to accomplish that Sharp has made some bold design choices: it has tiny bezels, no headset speaker, the front-facing camera is at the bottom of the device, and its screen is made of acrylic instead of glass.

For those of us in the United States, we do not often think of Sharp as phone manufacturer because their devices rarely make it here. However, Sharp is a Japanese electronics company that has been selling smartphones that are popular in Japan for quite some time. This new offering by Sprint in the US likely has much to do with Sprint’s new Japanese owner, Softbank, which has close ties with Sharp in Japan.

Before we go any further, we need to talk about the price. Off-contract the Sharp AQUOS Crystal is $240 from Sprint and only $150 from Boost and Virgin Mobile. It can be found at retailers such as Amazon and Best Buy for even less. That very low price will influence the way we look at and talk about this phone - it is not a flagship device and shouldn’t be judged by the same criteria as devices that cost much, much more. This review unit is the Boost Mobile variant, but my observations can be applied to the other variants as the differences are only in the back color and packaging.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Unique nearly bezel-less design
  • Excellent display quality
  • Very compact for a device with a 5” display
  • Expandable storage up to 128 GB with a microSD card
  • Good battery life
  • Low price of just $150 off-contract
Cons
  • Entire phone is made of plastic materials
  • Distortion/refraction from chamfered display edges
  • Backlight visible at certain angles
  • Only available on Sprint networks