T-Mobile Binge-On is a SCAM – YouTube, Twitch, Amazon videos get THROTTLED to 480p Bitrate

If you have Binge On enabled, you cannot watch HD (720p) or Full HD (1080p) videos on Youtube, Twitch, Amazon Videos, etc, because T-Mobile limits ALL your streaming video bandwidth to 1.4 mbps (480p bitrate).

In this video I have 2 phones with T-Mobile UNLIMITED data and LTE connection:

Phone A LG G3 has Binge On ENABLED.
Phone BBLU Pure XL has Binge on DISABLED.

Speed Test produces similar results (about 15 mbps down speed).

PROOF – TEST 1: In the test I play the same youtube video on 1080p Full HD resolution side by side. Test proves that Binge On throttles YouTube HD and Full HD videos!

Phone A has to buffer (load) the video every 5-7 seconds, making it unwatchable.

Phone B plays same video without any buffering or hiccups.

PROOF – TEST 2: Next I play a live steam of a StarCraft 2 game on Twitch TV android app, streaming it in SOURCE quality (1080p)

Phone A – constant buffering.
Phone B – plays continuously without buffering!

RESULTS: T-Mobile knowingly enables Binge On for ALL customers on Simple Coice plans, without letting customers know.

While Binge On should not affect excluded services (YouTube, Twitch, Amazon Videos, Vimeo, etc) it still limits video bandwidth to 480p bitrate (about 1.4 mbps).

Users cannot “fix” this problem UNLESS they call T-Mobile to cancel / disable Binge On.

Why T-Mobile is trying to scam customers this way?

Streaming video consumes more than 50% of all wireless data traffic, so T-mobile came up with clever way to cut down video data by limiting ALL customers with Binge On enabled to 1.4 mbps, effectively cutting video traffic by 4 times.

Since Binge On is ENABLED by default, without asking customers (according to T-Mobile phone customer support rep), most T-mo users are affected by this.

T-Mobile NETWORK OVERLOAD - LOW LTE SPEEDNEXT, i talk about my experience earlier that day in Chelsea MA, near a T-mobile store, where I tried to watch a youtube video while waiting for my wife. The video would not load. So I ran a Speed Test, and got LESS THAN 1 mbps download speed on 4 consecutive tests. This means that network is so OVERLOADED in Chelsea that average user CANNOT use their data for anything other than email or GPS or light web browsing.

Chelsea MA is 10 minutes from downtown Boston, and is primarily populated by “lower” income people. So for most of local residents, budget mobile providers such as T-Mobile is a clear choice over AT&T and Verizon, which cost 2x as much for the same services.

With recent influx of new customers to T-Mobile, networks get overloaded while network capacity is NOT being upgraded. So more people share same bandwidth, making everyone have LESS data.

In this particular case, it got so bad that average speed is about 0.5 mbps.

How I found out that T-mobile Binge On service is to blame for this video bandwidth throttling:

This started 2 weeks ago when I noticed that i could not stream any HD videos without buffering. When I needed to watch a 1080p video sample of GoPro and Polaroid Cube cameras for work related reasons and video would buffer every 5 seconds, making it impossible to watch, i’ve had enough and called T-Mobile Customer Service.

Long story short – I got issues resolved by DISABLING Binge On service on ALL my business phone lines with T-Mobile. I haven’t had problems streaming HD / Full HD videos on my phone since that call. So I made a short video about this:

I also posted this video in T-Mobile Google+ community here: https://plus.google.com/+LeoBoss/posts/7xixPToGYog

That post got nearly 70 comments in the first day, and some were saying that this is not real, while others said they had no problem. But more and more people started to comment that they DO HAVE SAME PROBLEMS. Unfortunately, by the time I made video above, I had disabled Binge On on all my lines, so I could not recreate the problem.

So for the Video Proof of a Binge On SCAM, i had to call T-mobile again and had to ENABLE binge on for one of my lines. Thus I was able to recreate the problem and provide proof that Binge On throttles excluded video streaming services, as well as those included in the package.

NOTE – YouTube and Twitch.tv are excluded from Binge ON package.

CALL ON T-MOBILE:

We the customers DEMAND that T-Mobile maintains adequate LTE 4G speeds for ALL customers, not buy THROTTLING unlimited data plan users, but by increasing its Network Capacity to meet growing subscriber base.

It’s great for you as a company that you are getting more new customers, but you have to provide adequate service to those customers! What good is UNLIMITED data if your speed is limited to almost Dial Up level???

So if in 2013 (before the mass explosion in new subscribers T-mobile had 1 tower / base station per X customers, they should build out their network to maintain same ratio of users / tower as it was in 2013.

5 things I Hate about BLU Pure XL

BLU PURE XL is a great DUAL SIM LTE phone, with Octa Core 2.0 GHz CPU, 6″ Super Amoled display and 64GB + 3GB Storage / Ram – especially at $349

However there are some things that I absolutely hate about it, and there is nothing I can do to change most of them. Watch this:

Here is my list of TOP 5 THINGS I HATE IN BLU PURE XL:

1) Physical Capacitive Touch Buttons. First, these buttons are not back lit, and are hard to see, especially in the dark. Second, the sensor area of each button is VERY small, so they are extremely hard to press, unless you finger is directly on top of the button. Third, with Tempered Glass Screen Protector on the screen, they become even harder to press.

2) Dedicated Camera button does not always work properly! Normally to activate camera from screen off, you need to press and hold Physical Camera button for 3 seconds. But often even after 5 seconds, nothing happens, which you can see in this video.

3) No update to Android 6.0 Marshmallow is expected from BLU. BLU products is notorious for not updating software on their phones or doing only MINOR updates. So far BLU Pure XL needs bug fixing update for its camera app and to fix Screen Cast / Mirroring with Chromecast 2015.

4) No ROOT access available (yet) and BLU is not helping developers. This limits users from using ROOT apps or custom roms, and blu is refusing to provide Kernel source and other files needed for BLU Pure XL Root Access.

5) Phone is TOO HUGE! Although I love the 6″ screen, it is very difficult to use with one hand.

BONUS – #6) No BAND 12 LTE (700 MHz) on T-Mobile, means poor reception in buildings, and in rural areas.

OnePlus Two or OnePlus X

I am planning to review on (or maybe both) of the new ONE PLUS phones – the One Plus Two or One Plus X, and I would like your suggestions one which one you are more interested in.

Both of these phones have US Dual SIM support and according to several sources, One Plus Two will support T-Mobile’s Band 12, as well as AT&T LTE network, while One Plus X will not support T-Mobile Band 12, and will not support AT&T Band 17 (700MHz) which it uses for most LTE connections.

So – are you interested in either of these Dual SIM phones and do you want me to review either of these? Please let me know in the comments below.

Quick specks on both of these phones:

One Plus Two

5.5″ QHD LED Display
Snapdrangon 810 (underclocked to keep temps down)
16 or 64 GB storage
DUAL SIM LTE

One Plus X

5″ FHD LED Screen
Snapdragon 801
16 GB storage
DUAL SIM LTE (partial US coverage – see above)

BLU Studio Energy 2 – 5000 mHa battery + Dual SIM LTE

Need a phone with 2 days of battery life from your smartphone? My wife does, because she always forget to charge her phone… so I got here this:

BLU Studio Energy 2 – it may just be the phone for people who need long battery life. It’s relatively small (5″ screen) and has pretty good specs for its $178 price tag:

  • Quad Core 1.3 GHz cpu
  • Fast LTE Dual SIM (Dual Active – can use data in either sim card)
  • 16 GB storage
  • 1.5 GB ram
  • 5″ HD Amoled screen

But the most important component of this phone and the ont that’s part of its name is a MASSIVE (non-removable) 5000 mHa battery, that will last you 2 days, assuming you don’t watch HD videos non stop. In standby mode this phone discharges only 2-3% per day!

Here is my unboxing and first impressions video:

Soon to follow will be a full review, once I finish my review of the phone that I got for myself – BLU Pure XL

BLU PURE XL – Unboxing and First Impressions

So I finally got my BLU Pure XL (Gold) shipped from Amazon – after paying $350 for it, I’ve been awaiting it like a little kid awaits his birthday 🙂 …

And finally the moment of truth. It is BIG … and HEAVY … and AMAZINGLY good looking, and fast, and awesome …

Next day: Buyer’s remorse sets in … maybe I should have gotten a One Plus Two?
Day Two: Buyer’s remorse gone! This phone is awesome! It has a few things i hate, but overall – awesome!

Watch my unboxing and first impressions video:

BLU PURE XL Specs:

6″ WQHD (2560×1440) Super HD AMOLED
HELIO X10 – Octa Core – 8x at 2.0 GHz CPU + IMG G6200 700 MHz GPU
DUAL SIM LTE (Dual ACTIVE) up-to 150mbps – data in both SIMs, but not simultaneously.
3500 mHa battery will last all day for 99% of people.
24 mp Main Camera with great low light performance and 4K video recording.
8 mp selfie camera.
64GB rom + 3GB ram
Android 5.1 Lollipop
Great 3D gaming performance!
Fingerprint Scanner that works great.

Additional info:

This phone has a pretty decent Camera App, and is very snappy out of the box (unlike BLU Studio 6 LTE, which was super slow, until you install 3rd party launcher).

Stock rom has some customizations that you will have to get used to, but it becomes easy after a day or two.

Battery should last you all day easily, with medium to heavy usage.

Overall, I’m very happy with this – stay tuned for my full review in a few days.

In the meantime, here are some additional videos I’ve made about this phone so far:

BLU Pure XL – DUAL SIM function
Stock Camera app VS HTC Camera App
3D Gaming Performance of Helio X10 (BLU Pure XL)

Hi-end 6″ Super Amoled Dual Sim phablet – BLU Pure XL Preview

Finally there is a true high end phablet with Dual SIM capability for US market, and it will be available end of September! Enter BLU’s new PURE XL

Here is BLU PURE XL preview:

With a 6″ Quad HD Super Amoled screen, 64GB of storage complemented by a 24MP camera you can take and store crapton of hi resolution images and 4K video without needing a MicroSD card.

Fingerprint scanner lets you quickly unlock your phone (big deal for me as I always have a passcode turned on and it’s a pain to enter the key every time).

And with Octa Core MediaTek HELIO X10 CPU you can do all the productivity and gaming you need.

Oh, and did I mention Complete LTE Dual SIM support in US, Canada and Mexico? Remember how BLU Studio 6 LTE did not get LTE on AT&T? That was a bummer, and BLU has learned from their mistakes.

PS – this beauty is actually a rebranded Gionee ELIFE E8

Oh, and it is beautiful!

ASUS ZenFone 2 Review (Dual SIM + US LTE)

ASUS-Zenfone-2-Review

So, I’ve had ASUS ZenFone 2 for a few months now, but it took me a while to make this review for several reasons. First I went on a long vacation, and planning this vacation took a lot of time. Second – half way through my testing, the phone began to die slowly. Now I don’t want you to get get scared right away – this can happen to any device, including big brands like Apple, Samsung, LG and others.

I just got VERY unlucky 🙁 … But as I was researching the problem, I went to my favorite XDA Developer Forum and found that very few people have such issues as I have. Mind you this is a very popular phone and I could only find 2 or 3 threads that relate to my problems.

So here is my extended review video:

Continue reading »

POSH Titan Pro HD (E550a) – 5.5″ Octa Core, Dual SIM phablet for $119

POSH Titan Pro HD (E550a) UNBOXING:

This phone sells online only. You can get it on Amazon for $119

My first impressions:

I like this phone, but they could make it better – here is how:

Why I would give this 3 out of 5 stars: I had original Titan HD E500 (5″ screen), and that phone had Excellent camera.

This one has VERY mediocre camera like they used to be in 2011-2012. Camera is VERY important to me, so this is unacceptable in 2015, especially that previous model had great camera. Also speakerphone gives off very annoying vibrations. And lastly the WHITE color on screen is a bit greenish / blueish, but not a biggie.

THE GOOD:

Phone is fast – no glitches!!!
WIFI is FAST – 5″ Titan HD had 2-3 MBPS on wifi and 4-10 mbps on 3G! This one is full speed WIFI
Double Tap on screen to wake!
Very light for 5’5 inches.
I easily ROOTED this phone!!!

OTHER STUFF:

Wide margins make it hard to hold.
In case it’s easier to hold.
Not much storage / ram (8Gb / 1Gb).
Will not get Android 5 lollipop (most likely).

CONFIRMED: BLU Studio 6 LTE does not get LTE signal on AT&T

Ever since I got my BLU Studio 6 LTE, there have been a lot of discussion and speculation whether this phone will get LTE signal on US largest GSM carrier (AT&T). Since I don’t have AT&T, mainly because they SUCK (based on my 4 years of being with them), and use T-Mobile, I knew that LTE definitely works on T-Mo. To test AT&T and to get a final definite answer, I went to my local AT&T store in Brookline, MA. I asked a sales guy (1st mistake – never talk to sales people – go straight for manager in ANY establishment) to “borrow” a SIM card for 3-5 minutes to conduct my tests, and was blown off with stupid reasons / excuses. I nearly gave up, but then said to myself – this is a lowly sales guy, and I only talk to managers – why did I even waste time – duh???

I came back to him and demanded a manager. To manager, I introduced myself a tech journalist, and said that I’m doing a test review of AT&T network on BLU Studio 6 LTE (which now costs only $202). She explained that she can’t give me a store SIM card, but she actually pulled a SIM out of her own phone and let me use it for testing (big thanks)!

AT&T LTE test on BLU STUDIO 6 LTE Video

Continue reading »

Gorilla Glass 3 FAIL

I’ve had my ASUS ZenFone 2 for a couple of months now. But for the first 3 weeks after I got it, I did not have a case or screen protector on it. If you look at phone specs, it has the much hyped Corning Gorilla Glass 3, supposedly virtually indestructible (I’m exaggerating a bit here).

Well … in my first 3 weeks of gentle use / testing the phone, there were over a 100 of small, and about 10 deep scratches. I did not have my keys in the same pocket as the phone, and I NEVER carry change (because I hate it), so I really do not know where all these scratches came from.

See for yourself in this HD video:

Continue reading »