Customer Reviews: LG Optimus Elite (Virgin Mobile), Black, VM696 Model
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Price:$59.95+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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on May 24, 2012

1.Bigger screen-More noticeable than I expected, since it's only .3 inch larger on paper. Typing is slightly better, but still difficult in portrait mode. Feels more colorful and vibrant, but that could be just me(maybe I'm under "my phone's new wohoo" hallucination mode). Resolution is same as V.

2.Better processor/OS-200Mhz higher and gingerbread 2.3(OV is 2.2). Lot less lags in apps. Can handle desktop websites better(with some lags) with flash(Wifi recommended). Autoswitching between landscape and portrait is lot faster than V, so I actually turned it on unlike V. Big improvement in video playback. I didn't need to download additional codecs to play unconverted videos.

3.Flash support-Phone's not powerful enough to handle big sites like dailyshow/colbert/etc in high resolutions(frozen video with audios only), but it managed to handle South Park, videogame sites, etc. Recommended on Wifi connection only.

4.Slimmer design-Expected it to be no big deal for me, but once I held it I can definitely feel the slimness of it compare to V.

5.Better camera-5 megapixel vs 3, with LED flash support. Flash is bright enough to take good pictures in dark settings(in-doors anyway), and camera autofocuses during the camera mode(or you can focus manually by touching the screen). V autofocused after pressing the shutter button, so Elite takes pictures 3~ times faster. It's almost instantaneous. Also has micro mirror for self-portrait.

6.Bigger storage for apps- 900mb~ solely for apps. Even more space if you move your apps(apps that support app2SD).

7.Better/louder sound-Sound is coming out of the speaker where you listen in phone conversation(I don't know what it's called. Earspeaker?). It's louder, and more importantly(for me anyway), you can listen to music while the phone is facing up. OV's sound output was on the rear side, so often times, I either put V facedown or leaned it somewhere to hear it in full volume. No more with Elite.

8.GPS-Locates me faster than V. Google Map is way smoother than V.

9.Supports more 3D games-They're on PlayStore. Haven't tested them since I don't care for them, but they're there unlike V.

10.Faster MicroSD speed-Loads up pictures and videos way faster than V.

11.NFC support-Paypass creditcard. It might come in handy if I forget my wallet at home, but not many stores actually have Paypass. I've seen some at Mcdonald and gas stations.


1.Shorter battery life-This may be YMMV, possibly depending on what apps you downloaded. I'm using mostly the same apps I used on V, and battery life seems 1.5/2 times worse on Elite. Without JuiceDefender, Elite sucks up 3-6% per hour during standby. V usually used up 10~% per hour with 3g/wifi, while Elite is using 15-20% per hour. Now I'm using Elite with JD, and everything turned off(even location data and background data).

2.No tethering. Don't download any tethering apps/widgets. There have been reports that phone will give permanent data error, forcing users to reset the phone via Virgin Mobile customer service. V supported apps like Foxfi(which I will miss since I comboed it with my tablet).

3.Volume buttons-Twice smaller than V, and they're on opposite side. Hard to get used to.

4.3G doesn't reconnect as fast as V, making JuiceDefender little annoying to use. Maybe I wasn't getting good reception. YMMV.


1.Speedtest-No noticeable difference. Typical Sprint speed. YMMV.

2.Physical design-Rear battery cover is plastic(V was rubberish), making it bit slippery to hold onto from time to time. This combined with front touch buttons(V was physical buttons), occasionally I end up touching the front buttons by accident. YMMV. Also, no dedicated camera button. Tiny mirror next to camera lense makes it easier for selfportrait picture, but no dedicated camera button found on V kind of cancels the mirror benefit.

3.Haven't found a way to turn off shutter sound while taking pictures. Silent mode/media volume won't do anything, so this is bad for those who want to take pictures without alerting others.

Final thoughts

Feels and performs like higher-end phone compare to V, right down to worse battery life. I honestly can't recommend it to all Virgin Mobile users though because everyone's in different situation. There are those who want to keep $25 grandfathered plan(which this phone doesn't qualify anymore). There will be HTC Evo V/3D shortly, which has twice better specs at twice the cost. Sprint 4G/Wimax doesn't have good coverage for those who are interested in upgrading to HTC Evo/$35 a month plan.

PS-English is my second language so go easy on the grammar please. This review was coming from nonrooter.
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on May 31, 2012
Received product quickly in quality retail packaging. Activation was simple and quick (I did NOT port a number, just got a new one).

Comparing to my previous phone, a Motorola Droid (original) -

The good -

- This phone is MUCH faster, you can tell when it's responding to opening programs, obtaining GPS navigation directions, really in every aspect
- The phone's speaker (speaker phone) offers amazing clarity for what it is.
- Since the speaker/speakerphone is so loud when it's turned all the way up, it makes for a better alarm than the Droid
- The web (at least for me) is really quick to open, load - show search results, overall very pleased with browsing on this
- Voice dictation/recognition works AWESOME - I'd say even a bit better than the Moto Droid, which was really great with this
- The Battery seems to last longer, at least right now. Even after messing with the phone, apps, downloads, etc. for about an hour the battery was still near full.
- The phone's VERY light - would could actually be a bad thing (I could picture myself dropping it a little easier)

Not so good -

- The texting portion is a bit harder on this than on the Moto Droid - there are some minor things, but - it's also noted that most of these inconveniences will be overcome by using the phone more and getting more accustomed to it. (For example on the Droid, exclamation mark, question mark, period, comma, etc - would be offered after every 'space' in case you wanted to end a sentence.. This phone requires me to press and hold on one of the letters to get the same result). Not a huge deal, just slows me down a bit.

ANOTHER IMPORTANT NOTE - When I was activating this phone w/Virgin Mobile, I was offered insurance on the phone for $5 a month. They also mentioned the deductible would be 25 dollars, and I could redeem this twice a year. I am noting this because it's CHEAPER than listed some places regarding Virgin mobile's insurance.

For the price of the phone, and the plan - $50.00 a month for 1200 talk minutes, unlimited data and unlimited text - it's hard to feel 'taken' - it's a great feeling stepping away from the huge corporate "V".
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on May 24, 2012
This so far seems to be a very solid phone. It has several advantages over the Optimus V including Android 2.3 rather than 2.2 on the Optimus V, more memory, a slightly larger screen (3.5" vs. 3.2") and a faster processor.

In terms of memory, the phone comes with roughly 900 MB of main memory that is free (compared to about 150 MB on the Optimus V). Additionally, about 2 GB of memory is in a separate "partition" that can be treated as if it is an SD card, including moving apps to it. While the phone does not come with a microSD card, there is a microSD card slot inside the back cover that can be used for even more storage.

While the specs for the phone report it is an 800 MHz processor, reports on the Internet (which I confirmed with my phone using Quadrant) is that currently the phone is shipping with a processor speed of 1 GHz, a nice upgrade.

In terms of connectivity, the phone seems to compare well with the Optimus V, receiving strong cell and data signals, as well as the GPS finding satellites quickly.

For the price, this phone is tough to beat; though those wanting a high end phone from Virgin Mobile will want the Evo 4G.
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on June 17, 2012
My wife had the Optimus V and constantly complained about running out of space. That phone only has 150mb of user space, this one has about a gig (4 GB total, 1 GB user accessible). One less complaint I will be hearing...

I am very impressed with this handset. As others have noted it actually has a 1 Ghz Snapdragon type processor, not the 800 mhz listed, along with 512mb of RAM. It is very fast and smooth in operation. Running Android 2.3.7 helps enormously (a huge upgrade from the Froyo previous Optimus Vs were running). Not worried about whether ICS is coming to it, Gingerbread does the job just fine.

The wifi receiver seems very fast, and the GPS (a real GPS, BTW) acquired a lock and fix almost immediately.

Screen size is 3.5", which doesn't sound like much of an improvement over the 3.2" of the Optimus V until you put them side by side. The Elite's screen is *much* easier to type on. It's the same size as an Iphone (it actually looks alot like one...)

I have been toting around a Droid X for a year and a half yolked to Verizon. I am starting to think that the wife just got me beat...

I'd highly recommend this one to anyone looking for a decent Android phone and who is trying to avoid the ridiculous costs of a contract with the big carriers. For $150 up front and between $35 and $55 a month you get the full experience.

VM is going to make alot of money off of these, I think.

EDIT: One week later, and the OE has lost a star. I had to return the first unit because some malfunction was killing the battery FAST. It would die in less than 6 hours. I have been using Androids for a couple of years and know all the tricks, couldn't get the first one to settle in. Took it back and exchanged it for another one, and after some fiddling I have the battery sipping juice. The replacement unit has been acting a bit quirky too (one random reboot, some strange stuff involving the Wifi reciever and call/messaging lags, which toggling Airplane mode seems to fix fine) but I *think* I have it running fine now... And when it's running fine it's still a 5 star phone for the price.

I docked it a star because the first one was a lemon and the second one has been acting funny, but seems tight as of now. I can't give something with that record 5 stars. Still, this is an impressive phone for the price tag. I'd still upgrade to it from the OV, it is just that much better a phone. I would say that with the issues I have had, though, someone with little knowledge of the Android OS or inclination to play around with the settings (like my wife) might have a hard time with this phone. It is finicky, but when calibrated right it runs like a champ.

Just be ready to send it back or exchange it, because it seems this initial batch obviously has some defective units floating around. Amazon has a great return policy, so I wouldn't worry about it.

EDIT 2: A few weeks later and the OE is running like a champ. It is sipping battery after a couple of changes (Airplane mode resets a couple of times, mostly) and running smooth and fast. Wife is getting home with 40% battery after 12 hrs continuous no charging, not bad for a small, thin phone. Now Otterbox just needs to make a case for it...

The wife is very happy with it compared to the OV. VM is finally starting to get some really good phones out there.
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on June 6, 2012
I wanna start by saying this is a great phone to have. Its affordable plus Virgin's plans are great. I recently just canceled my contract with sprint to save money. I had the HTC evo 3d, which was a great high-end phone. I was afraid to go to this phone from that one, but I made the switch. It definitely wasn't that much of a downgrade at all. Well the main apparent sacrifice was the screen size. The evo 3d's screen size is 4.3, this one is 3.5. However, this phone has a brighter, more vibrant screen, and the colors are also better. I know this. I had the evo 3d for almost a year. This is lightweight and quite thin. I like it alot and I'm happy I got it. The camera is also pretty good too. It shoots fast! Its very good for people who have shaky hands or are taking pics of moving targets. And the flash is another great plus. Overall, I'm very satisfied with it and I'm not sad about coming from the evo 3d to this.
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on July 6, 2012
After scouting numerous smartphones being offered from the big names as well as prepaid, I opted to go for the LG Optimus Elite because of the positive reviews on this site as well as a few others. Admittedly I was a little skeptical about Virgin Mobile's capabilities but after using another provider who was a complete nightmare for 2 years and finding out that Virgin uses the Sprint network, I figured it was worth a leap of faith.

The activation process was extremely simple. From the time I unboxed the phone to making my first call was less than 15 minutes. I did the activation online so I can't make a judgement about the manual setup process.

Initial quality:
This phone looks and feels like other phones I looked at that cost 100-150 more. The quality of the plastic is very good, it feels comfortable in your hand for extended periods and the 3.5" touchscreen is clear, sharp and accurate. Aesthetically, the phone looks simple but well put together.

Having never used the Android OS before, I really didn't know what to expect but within an hour I had the basics down and in a week I was operating the phone to its full capabilities. I had no lockups, no lag, no crashes or stalls. The phone managed to keep pace with everything I threw at it. The phone has Android 2.3.7 Gingerbread which is considered a very stable build and I can see why. The phone isn't considered one of the fastest phones but it kept pace with my needs. Plus there's a small secret with this phone. Officially the CPU is rated at 800Mhz but after looking at a review on YT and testing my own phone, the CPU actually runs at 1GHz. Why LG did this? I don't know but I'll take free upgrades all day.

Bloatware. Virgin has a lot of apps installed that are worthless. They don't even find their own network to do anything when connected to WiFi. After I activated my phone, I uninstalled them with no loss of capability.
I have to question the 5MP camera. The picture is ok but not 5MP. Even at the highest setting, the picture is grainy. The camcorder quality is very good though which is strange.
WiFi is fussy and disconnects from a close hot spot with a good signal to a more distant hot spot with barely any signal strength. I suspect this might be a software glitch though.
Keyboard in portrait mode is barely usable for me with my gorilla hands but surprisingly the speech to text software is amazingly accurate which really helps.

Last thoughts.
I transitioned from being an staunch blackberry supporter to an Android user. I expected a lot of pain but it didn't happen. The learning curve to use the phone wasn't steep courtesy of a good operating system and a phone that is stable and quick. I now understand why this is the future of the smartphone and I have absolutely no idea why anyone would even consider a horrendously overpriced and less capable iPhone. I'm glad I did this and there's no doubt the phone's quality and stability has made my choice a permanent one. I recommend this phone and Virgin mobiles network. 4 stars.
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on May 29, 2012
I owned the Lg Optimus V and loved it for a year and then upgraded to the Motorola Triumph. I liked the Triumph alot but I had some minor problems with it shutting down unexpectedly even though the battery was charged. Needless to say, I returned it and the store did not have another Triumph in stock that day. I went ahead and bought the LG Optimus Elite since I wanted a phone immediately and I had had great experience with LG. As soon as I tried out the LG Optimus Elite I LOVED IT!!!! It was super smooth & fast! It also resembles the iphone alot. My friend saw it on the table and asked if I had switched from Android to Apple! I said nope, it's my new awesome phone!! I am sooooo happy the Triumph gave me problems or else I would have not tried the LG Optimus Elite! I am very happy with this phone!
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VINE VOICEon June 9, 2012
About a year and a half ago I was able to get an Android without a contract. It was the Samsung Intercept, also through Virgin Mobile, and it was not a good experience. I rode it out as long as humanly possible but I could not depend on the phone to get a text or a call, and the last missed call from the school nurse told me it was time for a new phone. (Not literally a missed call, but you can't get a call if the phone won't turn on.) This time I wanted to be sure I got a phone that worked without spending many hundreds of dollars, so I did a lot of research. I looked into different no-contract plans and phones and I finally decided to stay with Virgin Mobile. They aren't great but neither are the options, we've talked to a few, and my daughter has Boost...they are the same, to me, as Virgin Mobile. I decided to give this phone a shot. I am so glad I did.

I have only had this phone a short time but I am very impressed. I charged and activated my phone. Since I already had an Android, I signed in to Google and with that came my contacts, calendar, and the Play store with all my apps. I went down the list, loaded the ones I wanted to keep, picked a few new ones, and the downloading began. They came across so quickly I was sure there were some missing, but there were not. The screen was crystal clear and responded perfectly. I organized my apps on to my pages and played with the phone for days. I tried streaming music with I Heart Radio and my Amazon MP3 music. I tried out a personal assistant app with voice recognition. I went through live wallpapers. I played games. All worked smoothly, no delays, not a peep of complaints about memory. Some things I took off, but the majority stayed. I love some of the widgets. SoundHound is my favorite because I hate not knowing what the new song playing I know!

The Android keyboard is fine, I have big fingers and little frustration. The fun is the Swype keyboard, where you touch the first letter but then don't pick your finger up until you finish tracing the word. It works so much better than I thought it would and I actually prefer it. The voice recognition is better than I thought, though I would like to see it do a little more.

Overall this phone is easy on the wallet, easy to use, a pleasure to own, and a nice example of an Android. If you are in the market for this type of phone, I don't think you'd be disappointed with the Elite.


It is nine months later. I still love this phone. I talk, take pictures, text, play games, use other apps. I use it as my alarm clock plugged in by my bed five days a week. I use the GPS feature. I had a basic case and screen protector on it, dropped it without knowing it, and dragged it under my shopping cart for a bit. It has a small scratch on the edge of the phone, nothing else wrong. It never locks up on me, works quickly even loaded with apps and photos, and has been very dependable. The only complaint I have is the battery life. It will last maybe half the day, depending on how much you use it. Even without using it, just having it with me, it will not last the whole day. This hasn't been a problem and I have enough places to plug it in so that it doesn't die, but for somebody who depends on battery life and does not have the opportunity to plug in, this phone will fall a little short. We are going to Disney soon and I will be getting a portable battery to charge my phone during the day, but I do know my phone will still get me though!
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on June 20, 2012
A little bit about my mobile background. I'm a self-diagnosed mobile A.D.H.D (only when it comes to phones). I've had Voice Stream, T-Mobile, Cingular, AT&T, Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile, SIMPLE Mobile and now I'm back at VIRGIN Mobile. I've used Android, BB, iOS, Windows Phone. I decided to pick this up to save money because I'm planning on moving.

This is the best 3G phone for Virgin Mobile - when it works. I've previously owned the Optimus V and this in comparison to that is the slimmer, faster, cuter version.

Unfortunately, my version's GPS didn't work. No Yelp check-in, no logged in data runs, etc. I am returning this for a new one.

As for the phone itself, it is great, surprisingly zippy, (NO FRONT CAMERA), even has NFC (wow!).

If you're looking for a budget phone, but need apps like checking email, GPS, camera (and you don't need a 8MP picture), this phone works really really well.

Have any questions?! Post it! I'll answer them! =D

UPDATE 7/2/2012:
Received my new replacement phone (LAST WEEK) and I LOVE this phone! Yes, Virgin Data is still slow, but hey everything works!
No problems checking in using YELP, no app crashes, I haven't had to restart my phone! =D
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on October 7, 2012
After two months of light use, my phone will not turn on completely. When I press the power button, it does that little buzzing vibration like it always did when starting up. The LG logo appears, and after a few moments the Virgin mobile screen (with song) pops up, then a moment later it says "Powering Off" and turns off without having loaded/started up at all. Or sometimes the Virgin Mobile screen with song gets cut off and it just turns off immediately.
Since it is after 30 days, I can't return it. It appears I have to use the warranty, pay for shipping, and send it in for repair.

Even when it worked properly, it takes a long time to start up and be ready for use.

My wife has had the same phone for 3 months, and sometimes hers is glitchy. Like when pressing the icon for one app it starts up something different, and can only be fixed by turning the phone off and back on.

I contacted Amazon customer service & they were prompt and helpful in replacing the defective phone.

But I also discovered that the phone battery was completely drained & would not accept a charge when plugged in ...UNTIL removing the battery, waiting 30 seconds, and putting it back in. It must have reset itself because it finally charged up again.

The paper manual has no trouble shooting tips, but you can find tips like this on the Amazon reviews & the Virgin Mobile reviews for this phone.

I also discovered by trial & error, that uninstalling & reinstalling some apps (like Netflix) will fix them...but that's a pain.

Also there is a loud, annoying song that plays everytime you turn the phone on. Virgin Mobile customer service said it can't be removed. So I've had to develop the habit of putting the phone on silent mode before turning it off, to avoid hearing that song again upon start up.

This is my first smartphone, and it's been really handy, but there are some more annoyances. Like when typing, the auto suggest will often replace properly spelled words with other words, making me sound like an idiot on my posts & emails. I have to spend time proof reading everything. It's a pain. And on the keypad, the English/Spanish button is situated in a place where it is always getting brushed by my thumb, so my words end up getting translated to Spanish, and I have to waste time correcting them one by one.

The voice recognition is sometimes nice, but often inserts words that are completely wrong so I again have to waste time correcting mistakes.
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