Tag Archives: cell phone reviews

Cheap AT&T Flip Phone Under $20 With No Camera

samsung a157v cell phone review

If you’re looking for a good deal on a really cheap, basic cell phone for work that doesn’t have a camera and that will work with AT&T — preferably one under $20 — then there aren’t many options out there…unless you sign up for a 2 year contract and all that.

But to just buy a basic flip phone for next to nothing?  Does such a phone exist?


Yes, there are cell phones that cheap out there.  You can find quality new, used, and refurbished phones in that price range.

One of the best cheap mobile phones for sale online today is the Samsung A157v.

Samsung a157v

The Samsung A157v flip phone is as basic as they come.  No wifi capability.  Limited web (Yahoo email and Yahoo search only).  No camera.  No media player.  No Candy Crush.  No Bluetooth.  No voice controls.

It has an alarm and phone book function, speakerphone, stuff like that.  But not much else.  It’s a cheap 3G phone, and that’s about it.

And as mentioned, there is no camera phone built in, so it’s perfect for people whose jobs do not allow camera phones for security reasons.

The A157v is lightweight and compact.  It’s a flip-style phone, so it won’t accidentally dial someone while it’s in your pocket or purse.  The battery life is decent:  300 minutes talk time and 10 hours on standby.

It’s a locked AT&T phone that you can use with your existing AT&T plan.  You just have to put in your old phone’s SIM card (standard size, not micro).  And if you lost your SIM or just don’t have one yet, the folks at AT&T will set you up with one.

This phone is set up as a Go Phone (prepaid), so you can use it that way too if you don’t want a regular cell phone plan.

Can it do texting?


Can you use your ATT iPhone sim card in it?

No, most smartphones use a smaller version of SIM card (micro).  But…you can buy an adapter — like a little sleeve — that your iPhone SIM can slide right into, and then that will work in this phone.

Does it come with a charger, SIM card, and manual?

If you buy it used, it may not have a manual in the box.  If that’s the case, you can actually view/download a PDF version of the manual on Samsung’s site here:


But it does come with a SIM and wall charger, and you can buy other accessories for this phone on Amazon or Samsung.com.  Wherever you buy a cell phone or electronics accessory…be sure to buy from a company that has a return policy…just in case.

UPDATE: I’ve been watching this phone, and it looks like the price on the a157v has been dancing around in the $20 to $30 range lately. I’m not sure if it will drop back down under $20, but I’ll keep an eye on it.   If you look at the link below, it should tell you the current price on Amazon, and if that price is higher than you want, you can actually click it and go straight to Amazon where they will show you other listings for it — perhaps cheaper listings, if available.  Either way, it’s still a great basic phone with cheap accessories avaialable (how about a wall charger for under $1???).

ANOTHER UPDATE: Oh great, now the wall charger is 5 bucks =(

Indestructible: Casio G’zOne Cell Phones For Verizon Wireless

A few years ago the Casio G’zOne flip phones were a huge hit for Verizon customers. These were some of the most rugged, waterproof, dustproof, shockproof, drop-proof, practically indestructible phones money could buy. And they looked pretty cool too.

Many office-bound tech reviewers complained that they traded features for durability, but those criticisms completely missed the point.

Sigh…that’s what happens when you design a cell phone for extreme outdoor adventurers and heavy-duty laborers and then hand it over to office boys and girls to write up the reviews.

Now at the tail end of 2014, Casio doesn’t make them anymore, and Verizon doesn’t sell them anymore. But these phones are definitely still in demand.

In fact, their scarcity is actually driving prices just as high as or even higher than their original sale prices from 3-6 years ago. On one popular cell phone e-commerce site, a brand new, still-in-the-box Casio G’zOne Rock listed for $400! That’s double the msrp from when the phone came out in 2009!

Today, these rugged cell phones are as hot as ever!

Casio G Zone Cell Phones…

Casio G’zOne Boulder

The Casio Boulder was one of the best rugged flip phones ever. Designed to meet military standards for ruggedness against the elements, this phone was basically waterproof, shockproof, dustproof, and drop proof and was impervious to all but the most extreme temperatures.

Reviewers literally threw it against walls, froze it into a dish of ice, then thawed out the phone…and it still worked perfectly.

Casio G’zOne Rock

This was a classic design that previous owners look back to with fondness. The G’zOne Rock looked like a cross between a Corvette and the Batmobile. And it was built tough, but surprisingly, some reviewers found it to be not quite as tough as the Boulder that preceded it. Still, it handled hundreds of drops onto concrete and full submersion in water as advertised.

Mark Anders from Surfline.com took his Rock surfing with him and put it to the test. The Rock performed perfectly, surviving crashing waves, smothering sand, and multiple collisions with various ground surfaces. Not many other phones on the market can boast that, even to this day.

Casio G’zOne Ravine

The Ravine took the G’zOne phones in a new direction, aesthetically. While the first designs were more edgy and sleek – like some kind of weapon from a Star Trek movie – Ravine took on a more conservative yet stylish look that could draw a crowd at party and yet would not seem out of place in a boardroom meeting either.

The Ravine maintained the same rugged functionality that earlier G’zOnes exhibited, but with improved sound quality, media options and web interface. It still wasn’t a smartphone, but it didn’t need to be.

The reviewer at PC Magazine gave it a nearly perfect rating, throwing it against walls, submerging it in water, and even running over it 6 times with her car!

Scratches…nothing more than scratches…

Casio G’zOne Ravine 2

Casio’s Gzone Ravine 2 was an improvement in many ways over its predecessor, but some reviewers just didn’t love it like the original Ravine. Reviewers put it through a lot of abuse, and many were satisfied, while others were not.

In all honesty, as the years went by and more Casio G’zOnes came out, many reviewers simply went to extremes to try to break these phones. It’s almost laughable to see how each model had to jump through more hoops than previous ones to get a thumbs up.

But the Ravine 2 was still a damn tough phone, and most negative criticisms were – not surprisingly – from people who wanted more features and weren’t particularly interested in phones that could survive the elements.

Casio G’zOne Brigade (qwerty keyboard)

casio gzone brigade

While outdoorsy types (the G’zOne’s original target audience) absolutely loved every G’zOne that came out, the desk-bound naysayers continued to whine about the phones’ lack of bells and whistles, and Casio was listening.

The Casio Brigade was the first G’zOne to come with a full QWERTY keyboard for easy text messaging. So…now you could flip it open and send a text while…snorkeling?  While…rock climbing?

The Brigade received mixed reviews and more criticism than its predecessors.


Because it was leaving its target audience (i.e. rugged, outdoor adventure types) and trying to compete against more fragile phones who boasted lots more functions and apps.

That was a fight it could never win.

Casio G’zOne Commando (smartphone)

casio gzone commando
It was inevitable that Casio would hitch the G’zOne line to the smartphone bandwagon eventually.

The G’zOne Commando is Casio’s first smartphone in the series. It has a touchscreen made from nigh-invulnerable “gorilla glass.” And like the other Gzones, it meets military specs for resistance to wind, rain, dust, shock, impact, water submersion, extreme temperatures, etc.

But this is no iPhone, so again, you have to decide how much of a trade off you’re willing to endure to have a nearly indestructible smartphone.

The Commando is a great phone…nothing else on the market in its price range even comes close. But it is still designed to be a rugged phone first and a high tech interactive device second.

Casio has since released an improved version of the Commando, and it’s looking pretty sweet.  If you’re looking for a military quality, yet stylish waterproof smartphone, then you should take a look at the new Commando RIGHT HERE.

Best Cheap Rugged Work Phone Ever?!

If you work in a dirty, dusty, wet, muddy, rough-and-tumble environment, then you’ve probably run into a lot of problems and frustrations with typical cell phones. What you want is a rugged cell phone that’s built specifically for people like you. Pretty, touchscreen smartphones with a million apps are fun to play around with at the office, but out in the field you need something a little beefier…something waterproof…dustproof…shockproof…weatherproof…sunproof…drop-on-the-ground-ten-times-a-day-proof.

You need a tough phone that can get the job done (glass-jawed smart phones need not apply).

There are several such cell phones on the market built for rugged work environments, but many of them will cost you an arm and a leg. And we’re not even talking smart phones here. We’re talking about dumb phones (i.e. basic flip phones, no touchscreens, etc) from brands like Casio and Sonim with price tags well over $100. Those are fine for massive corporations with deep pockets, but small contractors need something this side of the $100 line.

Enter: The Mann Zug S

This hardcore little number was made for big boys and girls with big jobs.

First of all, the Zug S is built to survive Armageddon. When the bomb drops, nothing will be left kicking on this planet except cockroaches and Zug S cell phones. This is one tough phone.

It’s built to military grade specs for durability: IP67. In testing it’s dropped onto concrete several times, submerged in water for half an hour, submitted to extreme heat and freezing temperatures. This phone is a beast.

Oh, and battery life?

How about upwards of 16 hours talk-time and up to 600 hours on standby! Two weeks between charges is not unusual for the Zug S. That’s easily 4-5 times the battery life of your average smartphone.

Additional Specs and Features…

  • Carriers: AT&T, T-Mobile and other GSM 850/900/1800/1900 network service providers
  • 2” LED display
  • Dual SIM card slots
  • 5.04 inches x 0.87 inches x 2.34 inches
  • 5.92 oz.
  • 2 MP camera with LED flash/flashlight (yes, flashlight)
  • Bluetooth 2.1 enabled
  • Plays MP3, MP4, AVI, WAV files

Ideal for construction workers, fisherman, firefighters, emergency workers, soldiers, lumberjacks and anyone who works outdoors.