AT&T Galaxy S6 update seemed to fix my signal issues

galaxy s6

Shortly after I upgraded from the Galaxy S5 to the S6 I started having severe problems with the phone. I didn’t necessarily want to stay with Android, I wanted to go back to Apple, however I had purchased a Galaxy Gear watch early this year and I didn’t want it to become useless.

With the S6 I started having problems maintaining a data connection, even if my device said I had full bars and LTE. The internet would simply stop working on the phone for no reason. I would try turning airplane mode on and off and occasionally this would work for a few minutes, but the data connection would slow to a crawl and be entirely useless. This would happen at work and all throughout Boise where previously I had a strong signal everywhere. This issue was so frustrating because I had grown to rely on having an internet connection in my pocket wherever I went and now it felt like I went back to having a flip phone. I would also experience dropped calls even when I had full bars.

I talked to AT&T tech support and they couldn’t come up with any solutions, and in the end they referred me to Samsung tech support. I talked to Samsung who also were no help and denied that this issue even existed despite there being forum posts all over the place from users experiencing the exact same issue.

Yesterday my phone took an OTA update, a 146MB update that changes the build number from OE2 to OF3, and now it seems my phone is functioning normally again (knock on wood!). I hope this was the fix because I was seriously about to just go out and pay full price for an iPhone 6. If you were experiencing the same issues go ahead and update your phone and let me know if the update improves anything. Best of luck!

 

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First day with the Samsung Galaxy Gear S

I was browsing Best Buy yesterday and was pondering picking up a Galaxy Gear 2 Neo when I came across the Samsung booth and saw the Galaxy Gear S for the first time. I was immediately in love with the design and screen quality and knew this was the watch I was going to leave the store with.

galaxy gear s

I didn’t know much about the Gear S at all, and was surprised to discover that in a sense it is a completely separate smartphone. What I mean is, the Galaxy Gear S has its own phone number and data connection and can function completely on its own when you’re away from your phone. You can also set up call forwarding, so that if you don’t initially answer a call on your phone it will be redirected to your watch. It may also come in useful in a pinch if your phone dies and you need to send a quick message or make a call.

galaxy gear s menu

There’s a lot I love about the Galaxy Gear S already. I love being able to read my phone’s messages and notifications on my wrist without ever having to reach for my phone. I found this feature appealing while at a casual lunch yesterday. I could just glance down at my watch and read a message without interrupting conversation or looking away for a significant amount of time.

galaxy gear s messages

I also found the on screen keyboard easy enough to use which was surprising. I didn’t expect it to work very well on such a small screen, but it is certainly functional.

galaxy gear s keyboard

I also love how the watch automatically displays the time when you lift your wrist. I know it seems silly, but being able to glance at the time without having to push a button on my phone is quite convenient.

galaxy gear s time

I’ve also enjoyed using some of the apps available for the device.
The weather display:

galaxy gear s weather

 

CNN:
galaxy gear s CNN
galaxy gear s CNN

Calculator:
galaxy gear s calculator

The media control lets you navigate the songs playing on your phone (this will be great while running!):
galaxy gear s media control

The S Health functionality is one of the device’s most appealing features to me. It’ll track your steps, heart rate, calories burned (based off of steps taken / activity), sleep and the UV index when you’re outside.

galaxy gear s health

To use the sleep tracker you have to first tell the device you’re going to sleep and then it’ll begin tracking. It was interesting to see just how restful I was while taking a nap earlier (I was 89% motionless over 4 hours and slept for three and a half hours.
galaxy gear s health sleep

The watch will vibrate and notify you if you’ve been too inactive over an hour long period which can be a nice motivator to get up and move. When this happens it’ll show you how many steps you’ve taken during the day and your progress toward your goal.

The Galaxy Gear S is $199 with a 2 year contract, and does require a data plan. I have AT&T and upon adding the watch to my account I had to switch from the 5GB data pro plan to a 6GB data share plan. As far as I can tell, this actually made my monthly bill cheaper, but I’ll have to wait until I’m billed for the first time to know for sure. I also now qualify for rollover data which is pretty cool!

If you don’t want to be locked in on a contract you can purchase the device for $329.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments!

 

Upgraded to AT&T’s 5gb Data Pro plan w/ tethering

You can find WiFi almost anywhere these days so I’ve never really felt the need to have a tethering plan to turn my iPhone 5 into a mobile hotspot. However, I figured since I was paying $30/month for the 3gb data plan an additional $20 to upgrade to 5gb and tethering seemed like a worthy upgrade. So far it’s working pretty well with an LTE connection. Browsing the web on my MacBook is quite quick and it’s easier to get things done on my Mac compared to my iPhone. Maybe it’s just the nerd in me that felt it was necessary to be able to create a mobile hotspot, however there have been many times where I’ve been somewhere without WiFi and I wished I could connect on a device other than my phone. It’ll also be nice to be able to provide web access for others. I never get close to 3gb on my iPhone, and I’m not often away from WiFi so I can’t imagine I’ll come close to the 5gb limit.

Do you have a tethering plan? Do you use it often enough for it to be worth it? Personally, I think all plans should include tethering, but I suppose the 5gb is better for occasional laptop use.