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In this article, I have the pleasure of reviewing both a smartphone, the 2nd generation Moto E and a different type of cellular service company. Since you can’t operate a smartphone without service and you can’t use the service without a cell phone, it is only fitting that we put the two of them together.

GIV Mobile

First, the service. If you hate paying that exorbitant cellular bill and wish you could do something better with your money, cellular service though GIV Mobile may be for you. Not only is it a no contract carrier. but and GIV Mobile donates 8% of your monthly plan amount to the charity of your choice.

Of course, when choosing a cellular carrier there is always a lot to consider. GIV Mobile is a Mobile Virtual Network which means that it is a network operator, but does not own the underlying network. Instead they make arrangements with the major network operators to use their networks. GIV uses the T-Mobile network, so if you are already on T-Mobile and know you get good service, you’re okay. If not, check out the GIV Mobile coverage map. In everyday use, I found the service to be quite good in my area.

You can purchase a phone through GIV Mobile or you can purchase an unlocked phone from another source and buy a SIM card from GIV. I tried their online chat several times and found them to be very responsive and accurate so if you have any questions you can always give the chat a try.

GIV Mobile plans range from $20 to $60 a month and can be seen under plans on their website. The plans are well-priced. The $20 a month plan gives you unlimited text and talk with 250 MB of 3G/4G data. The $60 a month plan gives you unlimited text, talk, and data. You are allowed 10GB of 4G high speed data. If you use more than that, the speed throttles down to 2G, but there are no excess charges. Other plans are similar. They also have plans for Global Text and International dialing.

The Moto E

Now on to the Moto E smartphone. It is an unlocked phone with Android 5.02  Lollipop. The Quad-core 1.2 GHZ processor handles 4G LTE data quite will and comes with 8GB internal memory and a card slot that will support Micro SD cards up to 32 GB. There is also a 3G model. There are a minimal number of buttons and ports with the on/off button and volume control on the side, the charging port on the bottom, and the headphone port on the top.

Moto E GIV Mobile

Measuring 5.11 x 2.63 x 0.48 inches and weighing I at 5.11 ounces, the phone is a nice size. Although very average in looks, the built quality is good and the rounded corners and slightly rounded matt black back make it comfortable in the hand.

Moto E GIV Mobile

At 540 x 960 pixels with a pixel density of ~245 ppi, the 4.5 inch screen is nothing to write home about. It is, however, crisp and clear and will be adequate for the average user. The same holds true of the camera. The 5MP front camera has autofocus, geo-tagging, HDR, and panorama. It captures 720 video@ 30 fps. The front-facing camera is a disappointing VGA resolution. However, I often use the twist your wrist twice option to quickly open the camera.

Moto E GIV Mobile

The Moto E has all the sensors and features that you would expect like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, accelerometer, proximity sensors, and accessibility options. Two surprising features and the Corning Gorilla Glass 3 coating which gives good protection against everyday scratches and the included FM radio. The FM radio can be heard through any headphones. The headphones act as an FM antenna. Radio fans will love the radio feature because it can grab stations from around the world. Also, I was quite pleased to get a full day of average use from the Li-Ion 2390 mAh battery.

Another useful feature is that you can set this phone to have notifications appear even if the screen is off. This display doesn’t appear if you are on a call, the phone is face down, or in your purse or pocket.

The Moto E comes in black or white. At the GIV Mobile website, it sells for $149 with monthly payments available. You may find better prices at other retailers. You can buy somewhere else and purchase a GIV SIM card at their website for approximately $5.  Although the Moto E is not perfect it is well-made and reliable. It also has good battery life and solid basic features. With this phone you get a lot for your money.

Sandy Berger, respected computer authority, journalist, media guest, speaker, and author, has more than three decades of experience as a computer and technology expert. Her eight books include: How to Have a Meaningful Relationship with Your Computer, Your Official Grown-up’s Guide to AOL and the Internet, Cyber Savers –Tips & Tricks for Today’s Drowning Computer Users, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Better Living through Technology, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to the Internet, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Gadgets & Gizmos, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Online Health & Wellness, and Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Online Travel. Sandy’s newspaper column, magazine articles, feature stories, product reviews, and computer tips can be found at her website, Compu-KISS.