on February 21, 2013
I purchased my phone through "Open Group Wireless" fulfilled by Amazon. I have an Amazon store card and with that comes interest free payments on certain monetary amounts. I believe (not looking) that for anything over $300.00, there is a one year interest free payment plan on that item, or that particular purchase. If you purchase other items post, that transaction, they will not be included in your previous interest free deal, so keep that in mind if you choose to use the Store card and make sure to double check card conditions with Amazon on purchases over a certain amount.
On big ticket items, I only buy from a vendor that Amazon backs, because returns are less of an issue and I believe the company is safer and more legitimate when fulfilled by Amazon. I once bought a sheet set from a vendor not fulfilled through amazon and everything stated about sheets online was a lie. The actual packaging said "LIKE- 800 count Egyptian cotton" but the vendor neglected to put "like" in the description and when I wrote a "buyer beware" review, I received lots of nasty gram emails demanding that I remove my unflattering review. I believe someone even called me and was nasty to me. I now choose very carefully,who I do business with on Amazon. They cannot police every company or individual who wants to sell, but the ones they do back, I have never had a problem with.
I have read reviews about Galaxy 3 phones (not backed by amazon) having been opened, seal broken, because seller stated they needed to put the unlock code on the phone. This is not true, if the phone is a legitimate International Unlocked cell no one needs to "add the code", and avoid these sellers if you read anything about them needing to "add unlock code". I've purchased 3 unlocked Samsungs and never has there been a seal broken. The phones are unlocked, brand new, never used, from factory and only reason someone would open phone to "add" unlock code, is because it is a used phone that is specific to a particular company. For example, If the phone was an ATT phone and you want to use Tmobile, Tmobile needs the ATT code in order to provide service to that phone. All of the non contracted start ups allow for customers to bring their own phones and in the instructions it states that the unlock code from the previous phone company is needed. That is why a seller is putting the unlock code on the phone.
OPEN GROUP WIRELESS has true, unlocked International, warrantied, phones and when you are paying more than $500.00 for a cell phone, that is exactly what you want.
I read reviews about bad batteries, movie data already loaded on the phone (that means it was someone else's phone before you got it), batteries that were not even factory issue, bad chargers, inability to switch language, advertised as an International unlocked, but was not, and a plethora of other issues. If you receive the phone and seal is broken, taped over, don't do anything to it, except return it, because you will have an issue with that phone, it is NOT brand new, and it is not what it was advertised to be. If you go with the companies that Amazon backs, you will be fine. I paid a little more for that security and I have no regrets.
My phone arrived by the date it was promised, It was not opened, box was completely factory sealed and changing language from German to English was as easy as instructions stated.
I have purchased unlocked International cell phones before, so I knew that they were adaptable to contract and non contracted services and I've used them on both plans. After researching and reading that others went the Straight Talk route with the Galaxy 3, that was my plan.
The cool thing about non contracted services is that you pay around $50.00 for a month of unlimited, everything service, and if one company does not serve well, pay another $50.00 to check out another company, until you find the one that provides best service to your area- it is still cheaper than being stuck in a contract.
In the Straight Talk start up kit, there are 3 sim cards, a larger one, then ATT and Tmobile . ATT (as I was told by rep), has a mini sim for the Galaxy 3, but having already read that others trimmed the card down that came in the kit, I did same and have no problems. I put both ATT and Tmobile sim cards in my phone and should have went with the Tmobile because I get better service in my home, but when I was speaking with the rep, I could not get the sim card to stop popping out. She said it may need trimmed some more. She also said if I was able to get it to stay, all I needed to do was call them back, switch sim serial numbers and then go through the process of APNs, in order to get data. Here is where some aggravation may come in.
There are not enough categories on the Straight Talk APN webpage for the Galaxy 3 to get internet working, so I had to call for help, this could require patience. No matter what time of day I called, or that I tried again the following day, it took me half a day to finally be able to leave a call back. Just about every time I called, the recording said, "there was an unusually large volume of calls" and they could not take mine, then click. When I did get through, the recording said call back was 30 minutes, it was nearly 2 hours, but when I finally got a warm body around 8:30 PM, she stayed on the phone with me until I had internet. It took some trial and error to finally get it. I complained to her, that the website was not well equipped and about the long time in which it took to speak with someone, and she apologized. She said that the company was aware and they were taking steps to improve customer service.
The one thing I wish I had, that didn't come with phone, but which is downloadable, is a users guide. A quick start, manual was included in phone packaging, with details on how to access owners guide and I will take the time to do that, for I am not savvy in the smart phone world to know the full capabilities of this phone.
The phone uses like a tablet, so I am familiar with how to obtain apps etc.. I love the large screen, the options, and the camera takes great pics. The one thing to remember is that if there are apps continuously running in the background, that will suck battery incredibly fast (learned that in one day). As for factory issued battery- I text for a couple of hours in the evenings, post pics, text off and on during the day, access internet, and check my email. At end of an average day I can be anywhere from 67%-40% available battery usage. I charge it every night. The better battery will be a future investment.
The key to a happy phone experience, is to buy from the right vendor first and foremost. What I discovered about the reviews, is that they are all grouped together and it is difficult to know which vendor a review is about, unless author mentions it. One can click on vendor, be directed to their page and then see reviews specific to them. That can take a very long time. There are also vendors who operate under more than one company name. BEWARE of these vendors. Amazon is my favorite place to shop and I do a lot of business with them. I may not be a savvy smart phone user, but I am a savvy, well informed shopper and do not jump for the cheapest price on amazon. Do the research, know what an unlocked International cell is supposed be before you buy. Contact seller to see if they need to add an "unlock code" to the phone you are considering to purchase. I wrote a vendor to ask why they operated under more than one (at least 3) company name. No reply. It is as simple as this, International unlocked under warranty, does exist. I have one, love my galaxy 3, got exactly what I was told I was getting- a brand new, straight from the factory cell phone. I got it from Open group wireless, fulfilled by amazon.