FAQs

The F1 phone was created to simplify our customers’ mobile experience and help them eliminate the digital clutter that smartphones so often add to our lives. Part of that mission is to make sure you have all the information you need about our product. We’ve listed some of the most common inquiries we receive down below. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at support@sunbeamwireless.com.

Can I use the Sunbeam F1 with my current carrier?

Sure! The Sunbeam F1 is unlocked, which means that it will work with any compatible carrier. (Not all carriers are compatible. See below to make sure your carrier is). For example, many users purchase the phone from us but use it with their existing Verizon plan. Which is a great choice, as the Sunbeam F1 works well on the Verizon network.

Which carriers does the Sunbeam F1 work with?

USA

Verizon – The F1 works really well on Verizon. The antenna was finely tuned with Verizon’s network in mind, so the signal/reception is really good and tends to be as good as, or better than, most other flip phones. The F1 also works with Verizon’s Visual Voicemail system, which syncs your voicemail to your phone in a nice list format that is very fast to review. If you have an active Verizon SIM card, just pop it into the Sunbeam F1 and you are ready to go! If you’re just now moving to Verizon, or need a new phone line, you will need to work with Verizon to port-in or set up the new line, but there’s no technical problem as the F1 is certified for the Verizon network.

AT&T – The F1 works well on AT&T. The F1 supports the main AT&T bands. Please note that the F1 does not sync with the AT&T Visual Voicemail server, at least not yet.

T-Mobile – The F1 works well on T-Mobile. It’s missing T-Mobile’s B71, so it’s not a perfect match. However, depending on your area, you might get along with the F1 just fine on T-Mobile, as there are plenty of other T-Mobile bands that the F1 supports. It does work with T-Mobile’s Visual Voicemail system, which is nice.

Bluegrass Wireless – The F1 works on Bluegrass, but you have to request them to enable “VoLTE” on the line.

Cricket – The F1 currently does not activate with Cricket, but should in the near future.

AT&T MVNOs (eg. Consumer Cellular or H2O) – The F1 works well on these, you just need to select their APN in the APN settings list for MMS and Data to work.

Verizon MVNOs (eg. RedPocket or TracFone) – The F1 works well with these, no configuration needed on the phone.

Appalachian Wireless – The F1 currently does not work on Appalachian Wireless.

Sprint – The F1 does not support any of the Sprint bands and will not work with Sprint at all. Sorry!

US Cellular – At this time the F1 does not work with US Cellular.

Canada

Koodoo – The F1 works well on Koodoo.

Bell – The F1 works well on Bell.

Rogers – The F1 works well on Rogers.

Fido – The F1 works well on Fido.

Virgin – The F1 works well on Virgin.

Telus – The F1 works well on Telus.

What is the F1's SAR (Specific Absorption Rate)?

The SAR ratings of the F1 are as follows:

  • Head: 0.872 W/kg
  • Body: 1.366 W/kg
 

Why doesn't the F1 support video?

While there can be good reasons to share video, too many times the commonly-shared videos end up distracting us from the important things in life that really matter. This is the reason why the Sunbeam F1 doesn’t record video or send/receive video messages.

Is it possible to add words to the T9 dictionary?

Yes. The way this is accomplished is to type a new word, typically with the touchscreen. After the new word is created, tap and hold the touchscreen to highlight the word. After the correct word is highlighted, press and hold the star key, then choose “Add to dictionary”.

Does the F1 support group messages?

The F1 supports group messages via MMS. (We’ve spent quite a bit of time working to ensure that group messaging maintains a threaded view). The F1 does not support advanced messaging protocols such as WhatsApp, iMessages, Telegram, Signal, RCS and Verizon’s Message+. If you are part of a group that uses advanced messaging protocols, consider having them use GroupMe because GroupMe has some flexibility around including basic phones in their groups.

How long does the battery last?

The answer is that it depends on the carrier, the signal strength, and the usage. Quite frankly, our 1,400mAh battery is none too large for a VoLTE phone. (The VoLTE signal requires more processing than the older 2G/3G phones did, even for sitting idle on the network). Most users can easily make it through one day without a problem. However, we have some users that spend many hours per day on the phone, and the battery simply is not sufficient in that case. (We’ve also seen some cases where the network itself would cause the F1 to continually re-register, which quickly depletes the battery too). So if you spend 4 to 6 hours per day talking on your phone, you will need to recharge it mid-day.

The battery in my CDMA phone lasted almost a week, and it only had a 980mAh battery. Why can't a new phone with a 1,400mAh battery last even longer?

This is a hard thing to provide a satisfactory answer to. In many ways CDMA was better for voice phones, especially so in regards to power consumption. There are two reasons for why the battery of a Sunbeam phone running on VoLTE will not last as long as a CDMA phone running an older operating system. The first reason is that the BasicOS operating system is based on AOSP. This is like a V12 engine compared to a four cylinder engine in the older phones. Even when idling, it still consumes more power. (The larger engine is required to handle VoLTE). The other reason is because the VoLTE signal is packet switched and requires far more processing than the older circuit switched CDMA signal. Both of these things mean that the good old days of batteries lasting all week are gone forever, unless you have a massive battery.

Is the Sunbeam F1 VoLTE capable?

Yes, it is fully VoLTE capable. On Verizon, it is on VoLTE all the time. On T-Mobile or AT&T, it’s up to the carrier. Sometimes the carrier will choose to route the call over 3G, and other times they will choose to use VoLTE.

Is the Sunbeam F1 a "rugged" phone?

No, this is not a military spec phone and it’s not ruggedized. The body is smooth plastic and slides relatively easily in and out of the pocket.

Is the Sunbeam F1 waterproof?

No it is not.

So if it's not rugged or waterproof, is it poor quality?

No. Just because it’s lighter doesn’t mean it’s poor quality. For example, a common problem with less expensive flip phones is many times the electrical contacts for the keypad buttons are not sealed against dust. And while they work well when new, after 6 months or so the buttons don’t respond properly. The electrical contacts on the Sunbeam F1 keypad buttons are fully sealed, so they should work just as well in a couple of years as they do on day one.

The hinge seems to flex a little. Is this normal?

Yes, this is normal. There is a rubber bumper that compresses, giving the feeling of flexing/bending, but this is a design feature.

Does the F1 support hotspot or tethering?

No. Neither hotspot or tethering is available on the Sunbeam F1.

Do you have the phones in stock?

Yes. We typically ship via UPS Ground from Missouri so it’s usually a 1 day to 3 day transit, depending on your location. You can choose UPS Next Day Air or 2nd Day Air if you need a faster delivery.

What is the warranty on the Sunbeam F1?

All Sunbeam phones are covered by a one year warranty. The warranty covers any failure other than physical damage or water damage.

What are the advantages of a flip phone, other than the obvious?

Good question. There are advantages. One of them is that you can quickly dial a number by flipping the phone open and matching a number stored in Contacts. For example, if I want to call my friend David, I can flip open my phone, press “3”, “2”, “8” (corresponding with “DAV” in David) and this will match present a listing of all the Davids in my Contacts. I scroll down to the correct one and press the green CALL button. (Or press the “Message” button if I want to send a text message). The whole process can be completed in only a few seconds and quickly becomes the preferred method of contacting people, after trying it for a time or two. 

Oh. And there’s something very satisfying about ending a call by flipping the phone closed… 

Does the Sunbeam F1 track me or have spyware on it?

No. We are very conscientious about data privacy. Our phones are a little bit more pricey than some, but we do not collect, share, or sell customer data. Our business model is to pay for the services we use and not use any free services. (Which tend to be the ones that track users). The service provider is outside of our control, however, and would have the tools to track a customer if they wished. But that should not be a problem if you’re using a reputable carrier. Here are the parties that could potentially track you.

  1. Sunbeam. We are opposed this and have intentionally set up our business model to avoid free services. We control the software running on the phone and we do not have any “bloatware” or other unnecessary software installed. We do have an “Update” tool that pings our server to check for an update on a time schedule. (And if an update is available, it will notify you of this). We also have a “Bug Report” tool that can be used, if desired, to report a bug to us. But neither of these functions are used to spy on or track users.
  2. The carrier. The carrier would in theory be able to use tower triangulation to locate a user. However, this should not be a problem if reputable carriers are used. No customer information from our software is given to the carrier.
  3. Our Navigation feature. (On the Orchid model). We’ve built the Navigation function ourselves using the HERE Technologies software development kit. But the connections to HERE are very limited and no customer details are available to them. In fact, if you download the map data in advance (from within Navigation, preferably over WiFi to reduce cellular data), or purchase the SD card from us that has the map data preinstalled on it, you do not need any network connections to navigate. In other words, you can use it completely offline. There is a “Search” function (to find nearby businesses or other POI) that does need a network connection to be used, if you want to use that. This data connection is with HERE Technologies.
  4. Our Weather feature. (On the Orchid model). The data source for our Weather function is The Weather Company, by IBM. Again, this is a paid service and IBM is not provided any customer information.
  5. Our Voice-to-Text Input feature. (On the Orchid and Daisy models). This function is powered by Microsoft. The way the process works is that an audio clip is recorded and then Microsoft analyzes it and converts it to text. (They are shockingly good at it, by the way). They could in theory keep record of those audio clips, but they’re a very reputable company and they are not provided with any associated customer information, so it’s unlikely that the information would be very useful to them.

The updated keyboard is reading my contacts. Is this totally offline?

The newly updated keyboard has a vastly improved T9 predictive text input method. One of the improvements requested was to read contacts for stored names. For example, let’s say that you have a contact stored and he has a weird nickname. (eg “Shmutz”). The normal T9 predictive text will never be able to suggest weird nicknames on it’s own. But with the help of reading contacts, it works beautifully! However, this does bring up a very legitimate privacy concern: What exactly is the keyboard doing with the contacts? The answer is that the T9 predictive text function is 100% offline and there is no sharing of that information with any other devices or computers. The only purpose for it is to populate the dictionary and make spelling all those cool names using T9 predictive text fast and easy! There is no sharing or copying of any contact information. It’s only used locally and completely offline.

Not receiving text messages from Android smartphones?

One of our many helpful customers has informed us that “Chat Features” needed to be disabled on a Pixel device in order to send text messages to a Sunbeam F1. (We haven’t reviewed this ourselves yet, but it seems that when “Chat Features” are enabled the Android smartphone is attempting to send messages via RCS, which is not supported on the F1).

I'm moving a SIM card from an iPhone to the Sunbeam F1. What do I need to do?

About the only thing you need to do is turn off iMessages on your iPhone. (With iMessages still enabled, if someone is sending you a text message from an iPhone to your new Sunbeam phone, their iPhone will likely try to send it via iMessages, which will not be received on the Sunbeam phone. Turning off iMessages on the iPhone before placing the SIM card into the Sunbeam phone will fix this).

What network does the Sunbeam plan run on?

Our Sunbeam plan runs on “America’s largest network”.

Will the Sunbeam plan save me money?

It depends on how much you use it, especially how many minutes of voice calling you use per month. We typically find that if someone uses 2,000 or 3,000 minutes per month of voice calling, or less, our Sunbeam plan can save them money. However, if the usage is higher than this, you will most likely be better off with an unlimited plan from a different provider.

Sunbeam sells phones. Why sell cellular service?

It’s a good question. Making the Sunbeam F1 phone available to our customers fulfills our mission purpose. The reason we offer Sunbeam service plans is because our finance advisor explained that selling phone hardware isn’t all that great of a business model. Specifically, when we sell a phone, we hope that it will last for many years and that you don’t need to purchase another one soon. Whereas with cellular service there is a recurring revenue, which is financially attractive. However, the cellular service space is very competitive, and while we keep the margin on our plans very low, it’s still difficult to compete in the space. So purchasing wireless service from Sunbeam helps us financially. But our preference is to make sure that you find a service plan that works well for you. If you don’t have a lot of voice calling our Sunbeam plan might be a good fit. Otherwise you will likely be happier with a different plan from elsewhere. Finally, in some geographical locations one network will be better than another one. If you live in such an area, go with the carrier that has the best network coverage for you.

If I try the Sunbeam plan, can I keep my number?

Yes, of course. It’s a requirement that service providers allow their users to switch companies while keeping their number. (The technical term for this is “porting” the number from one company to another). All cellular service providers are familiar with porting and can help port your number into their plan.

Is there a contract?

No. We believe that if you’re not happy with our service that you should be allowed to switch to another carrier. (This puts the onus on us to do what we can to provide you with good service).

Does the Navigation feature use a web browser?

No. There is no web browser on any Sunbeam phones. The Navigation feature was custom built by Sunbeam using the HERE Technologies software development kit. There are no back-door web browsers or other methods available to access inappropriate content on Sunbeam phones.

Does the Navigation feature have "Live Traffic" available?

No. Currently we do not have live traffic information available.

Do I need map data?

Yes. The Navigation feature needs map data in order to function.

Do I need to purchase the map data?

No, the map data is free, regardless of the method used to acquire it.

How do I acquire the map data?

There are three choices available, each with pros and cons:

1. Simply use the Navigation feature and let it acquire the map data on an as-needed basis.

The benefit of this is that you don’t need to take any action in advance. The downside is that it uses cellular data (which can cost, depending on your cellular service plan). Another downside is that if you lose cellular service your Navigation will not be able to acquire the map data it needs to function.

2. Download the map data from within Settings of the Navigation feature.

The benefit of this is that you can download and install the map data yourself for free. The data must be installed from within the Navigation feature on the phone. (You cannot download via PC and move it unto the phone). The downside is that it’s a state-by-state and province-by-province process and can take a while to accomplish. Another downside is that if you install the map data for all of North America it takes about 11GB of space. (Only about 3.5GB of free space is available on the phone). If you only need to install several states worth of data, there is enough space available to do that. But if you want to install more than that, you will need to add an SD card to increase the amount of local memory.

3. Purchase an SD card from us with the map data pre-installed.

The benefit of this is that we have collected the map data for you in advance and have installed it on an SD card. This is a quick and easy way to get the map data. Please note that we do not sell map data. What you’re purchasing is the SD card and the service of having us download and install the map data unto the card. You can do the very same thing with your own SD card, it just takes a bit of time to accomplish.

How often is the map data updated?

HERE updates their map data continually but only release the updated map data every 3 months, or so. When new map data is available, you have the option to update the map data for each state or province.

What is the Sunbeam Premium Services plan?

Purchasing a Sunbeam Premium Services plan will enable Voice-to-Text functionality on both the Daisy and Orchid model phones. Our Voice-to-Text service is powered by Microsoft. The Premium Services plan also enables additional features to the standard functions already found on the Orchid phone. The Weather feature (powered by IBM’s The Weather Company) gains hourly weather details and weather mapping. The standard Navigation feature (powered by HERE Technologies) enables the ability to search for points of interest. Sunbeam Wireless purchases these services from their respective providers to create our Sunbeam Premium Services plan.

Am I required to subscribe to the Sunbeam Premium Services plan?

No. The Orchid has very functional Weather and Navigation features without the purchase of a Premium Services plan. You will need to subscribe to the Premium Services plan to continue using the hourly weather and radar map functions in Weather and points-of-interest searching in Navigation beyond the 30-day free trial.

So I need cellular data to make the Premium Services work. How much cellular data can I expect to use each month?

Well, it’s hard to say for sure, because it depends on the usage. I use an Orchid for my personal phone and do a lot of texting with it, almost exclusively using Voice-to-Text input, because it’s fast and accurate. Over the last several months my total data used for the month ranged from 116MB at the lowest to 220MB at the highest.  (The phone is not on WiFi either). The Voice-to-Text function is very frugal and only consumes a few kilobytes ever time it’s used, so that doesn’t add up very quickly at all. The Weather service is also quite frugal with the data consumed if only getting the weather forecast. If the weather radar function is used (which I do a fair bit of) and there is a lot of panning and zooming of the map, as well as running the animated radar function, it can add up to a few MB per session. The Navigation service has the option to download the map data in advance (which I have done). If this is done, it cuts the Navigation data consumption down to almost zero. If this is not done, the Navigation function will download the map data on an as-needed basis and could add up, depending on how much it’s used.

Can I purchase the Sunbeam Premium Services subscription from Sunbeam if my cellular service is from Verizon, or elsewhere, or do I need to use the Sunbeam Cellular plan?

The Sunbeam Premium Services subscription is separate from the cellular service plan. If you purchase the service from a different carrier (e.g. AT&T or Verizon), you may still subscribe to our Sunbeam Premium Services plan. (Please note that you will need “data” enabled on your cellular plan to allow the Sunbeam Premium Services to function).

My Sunbeam phone does not receive incoming text messages.

If you just switched your SIM card from an iPhone, you will need to turn off iMessages.

If you’ve just enabled your phone on the Verizon network, and it hasn’t received incoming text messages since, you will need to contact Verizon and have them enable “CDMA-less” on your phone line. (This is a very unlikely scenario, as Verizon is really good at configuring their system. But it has been seen on rare occasions in the past).

The phone will not make calls and says "Server is unreachable".

This is caused when attempting to use the phone on a CDMA plan instead of VoLTE and there is no connection to the carrier’s VoLTE server. The solution for this is to have the carrier “enable VoLTE” on the line.

The Weather and Voice-to-Text input do not work.

Both of these functions need cellular data to function. (Unless on WiFi). There are typically three things that might cause this to not work.

  1. The cellular plan does not include “data”, or it has reached a limit set by the plan.
  2. An AT&T or T-Mobile based reseller’s SIM card is being used, but the APN is not set correctly in the phone. (Verizon-based plans do not need this, but others need to be manually set correctly under APN Settings).
  3. The data was accidentally turned off on the phone. (To enable, go to Settings > Connectivity > Mobile Data > Enable Mobile Data).

Visual Voicemail isn't working.

Visual Voicemail is provided by your cellular service provider. Contact them and ask them to enable Visual Voicemail on your line. (The Sunbeam F1 works with the Verizon and T-Mobile VVM system, but not with AT&T).

My battery drains way too fast.

We’ve investigated some complaints and have determined that when this happens the root cause is not the battery and is not the phone hardware, but is caused by excessive network activity. (Re-registering on the network, possibly due to switching towers when in a location almost equidistant between two towers). We’re looking into the possibility of compensating/adjusting/fixing this in software, but we’re not sure how feasible this is yet.

Didn't find what you're looking for?

If you weren’t able to find a solution to your problem here, feel free to reach out to us at support@sunbeamwireless.com.