Most helpful positive review
435 of 448 people found the following review helpful
Great value on Virgin Mobile and an excellent phone.
on July 28, 2011
If this phone came out a year ago, it would be among the top performing phones from any carrier on the market. Its very fast Snapdragon processor, vivid 4.1" touch screen, and rock-solid Android 2.2 performance were cutting edge 12 months ago. I don't say that in a disparaging way, but rather want to show where this phone fits into the spectrum of available devices. If you want the newest, best, phone, you'll still have to go to the contract carriers.
That said, this phone does everything I need very well, and at $300 upfront and $25 a month for service, can't be beat. It works even better than the Samsung Intercept that I replaced with it, and is reasonably priced. $25 a month, compared to what plans cost on the contract carriers, and you'll make up the $300 upfront cost in about 6 months. Brand new customers, may have to pay the $35 a month that they are changing their bottom plan to, but that is still a great deal ($35 a month for 300 minutes, unlimited web/text; $45 a month for 1200 minutes unlimited web/text; or $55 a month for unlimited everything).
This is my second phone on Virgin Mobile, and it made me realize that a lot of the problems that I was attributing to the network were actually the fault of my Samsung Intercept. This phone is more stable in every way. Wifi, GPS, 3G, Voice, the touch screen, applications, everything about this phone works better and is more stable than they did on the Samsung.
Beyond this comparison to my previous Virgin Mobile phone, here are a few comments about the phone:
+ very thin and lightweight. I miss the physical keyboard of my Intercept, but only slightly. The thinness makes up for it.
+ durable design. There aren't many cases available yet for this phone, but even without a case it seems durable. I already dropped it once, on concrete, and other than having to replace the back cover, there were no issues. The battery didn't even come out.
+ vibrant screen. The screen looks great on this phone. I almost say that it looks as good as the display on my wife's iPod Touch. The only concern with the screen is that it is 4.1 inches instead of 4.3, which has kind of become the new standard for Android phones, but I don't really think that .2 of an inch makes much difference.
+ very good touch screen. The touch screen on the Intercept had issues, compared to this phone. We are finally able to play games on it, and type quickly on the touch screen. Again, I think it is safe to compare it to the iPod Touch's performance. Very good.
+ fast processor. Cutting edge Android phones are now starting to have dual-core chips. The Snapdragon chip in this phone is single core, but that hasn't stopped it from doing everything that I've asked it to instantaneously. Very snappy.
+ Cameras. The main camera on this phone is awesome. Probably not as good as in an iPhone 4 or a real camera, but every bit as good as the stellar one in the iPod Touch. The pictures and video it takes are amazing. I don't think I'll ever be taking my real camera or my video recorder with me again. Even the flash works well and doubles nicely as a flashlight.
+ battery life. The battery life on this phone is very good. With any Android phone you can expect to have to recharge it daily, but this one at least uses its battery consistently and gradually. That might not seem like a lot to ask for, but even with Android 2.2 many phones have battery management issues. This one does not.
+ GPS. The GPS gets its signal pretty quickly and does a good job. Not perfect in that sometimes you have a wait a few seconds, but none of them are.
+ Vanilla Android. I really like the fact that Virgin Mobile doesn't "Skin" their phones or put a bunch of bloatware on them. This phone is pretty much stock Android 2.2 with a couple extra applications pre-installed. Much better than the experience with other carriers that fill the phone up with their own software and interface.
A few comments on Virgin Mobile:
+ Network. Network performance always depends on your location. In some cities Verizon is great and AT&T is terrible. In others they both work great. Virgin Mobile's phones operate on their parent company, Sprint's network. Sprint and T-Mobile's networks as a whole, are not as good as Verizon's, but that does not mean they are terrible. In my experience, this phone works very well in metropolitan areas, and pretty well in rural areas. If your cell phone is your life-line and you spend time in rural areas, you may want to check the coverage for your area on Sprint's website. Otherwise, I really having had any problems with the network.
+ International. Sprint and therefore Virgin Mobile only have network coverage in the US. That means you can't roam internationally, which is both good and bad. International roaming on any phone is very expensive. When I travel outside the US with this phone, and want to make calls, I connect to Wifi in my hotel or at a shop, and use Skype. It works perfectly and is much cheaper than international roaming, and is often free.
I very strongly recommend that you ditch your contract phone and consider this phone or other Contract Free carriers. AT&T especially, and Verizon to some extent, are trampling all over their customers, and people are letting them. The way to fix this situation is not archaic government regulation or laws, but rather consumers showing that they won't stand for it. Get a contract free phone because it is the best thing for your wallet and works very well, but also know that if enough people do it the big carriers will have to improve the way they do business.
/// Update after 3 months of use. ///
I don't have much new to report on this phone, but wanted to provide an update after 3 months of use. They are still working great. Both my wife and I have had one from the beginning. Neither of us have it in a case, and it is holding up very well both to purse life and hip life. No scratches or anything despite normal drops and use. A few points:
+ Service continues to be great on this phone. Virgin works much better on this than it did on the Intercept.
+ I have had about 5 unexpected restarts in the three months of having the phone. That isn't bad for an Android phone that gets a lot of use. I think that some of those might have been caused by putting the phone 'power button side down' in the case, and inadvertently keeping it pressed. Either way, I don't think that 5 is bad, especially if 3 of them were caused by the case. My wife has never had an unexpected restart on her Triumph, though she doesn't use hers as much as I do.
+ Screen. The screen on this phone is great. You do have to push a little harder on this phone than on some others, but you get used to it very quickly, and in the long-run, it is better.
+ The camera is great (for a phone).
I continue to be very happy with this phone, especially after its first three months of real life use.
//// Updates after well over a year. ////
I haven been using this phone since the day it came out, over a year ago. Although I'm disappointed that they haven't updated the OS to Gingerbread, I am overall still very happy with it. I am especially happy with Virgin Mobile who seems to be improving every day. They have always been acceptable, considering how cheap their plans are, but every aspect of their service just keeps getting better and better. The 3G network is definitely getting faster, although possibly because they implemented a 2.5GB per billing cycle 'soft cap'. Compared to what the contract carriers do when you use a lot of data, I think their soft cap approach is fair and benefits everyone on the network. Their voice quality, network coverage, and availability also have improved dramatically over the past few years. Also, their technical and customer service have gone from mediocre to excellent.
I recommend Virgin Mobile more then ever. I also recommend this phone, until they come out with better 'premium' phone offering to replace it with.
By the way, Amazon's current price of $209 for this phone is a steal.
//// Update as of summer 2012 ////
I still think this is a great phone, especially for those who are grandfathered in to the $25 a month plan, but I have now upgraded to the HTC EVO V 3D 4G. Anyone who is interested in 4G data speeds and carrier endorsed tethering capabilities might want to look into that phone.