Consumer expert Clark Howard’s column appears here each Thursday in conjunction with Deal Spotter, a weekly print section in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
With big wireless carriers like AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon all having data caps in place, being a data hog on your smartphone can really affect your wallet. (Sprint is the only one of the bigs still out there doing unlimited data at the moment.)
If data use is a problem for you, you could make the switch to a cheaper no-contract carrier that offers unlimited data. But not everybody wants to make that leap.
So what’s a dedicated smartphone user to do? I recently discovered something I already use helps my smartphone to sip data instead of guzzling it.
A tech writer for The New York Times recently ran a story that says Opera Mini, a popular free European mobile browser, reduces data consumption by 90 percent so you can dramatically stretch your data plan.
Opera Mini is available for Android, Apple, Blackberry, Windows and Symbian S60 smart phones.
Now, I’m not going to pretend to understand how Opera Mini does what it does. Nor does the tech writer seem to understand himself! “You don’t need to know how it works,” he writes. “Just download the browser and use it.” I love that.
Because Opera Mini sips data, you may even be able to stay on a lower data plan when you’re using it. Plus, in my experience using Opera Mini, it’s really fast to boot.
Meanwhile, I recently saw a headline I loved from a MarketWatch story: “Be a better investor, dump your iPhone.”
You have all the various brokerage houses adding apps for iPhones and Androids that allow you to trade on a second’s notice. But the danger is that they put people in a spot where they make decisions divorced of strategy or a sense of timing for your retirement. Don’t use them.
-by Clark Howard, Save More, Spend Less, Avoid Rip-offs
Find more answers to your consumer questions, plus Clark’s new book “Living Large in Lean Times,” at ClarkHoward.com. Listen to his radio show live 1-4 p.m. Monday through Friday on WSB 750 AM and 95.5 FM.