Top critical review
Android plus a usable keyboard.
on December 24, 2013
I got one of these for three reasons: I wanted to try a phone with Android and a keyboard. I wanted to try Sprint/Virgin Mobile again because they said their coverage was improved. And I found one of these at Amazon for $15.00 plus shipping--under @5.00 in all.
I found the combination of the keyboard and touchscreen very usable. This keyboard is one of the better ones on such a phone. Unfortunately, that still leaves the keyboard inferior to my old Nokia E5, or all the non-smartphones that have QWERTY keyboards. Still it offers faster typing than virtual keyboards on anything smaller than a 3.5" screen
Unfortunately, I still found that where I work is in a near deadzone for Sprint. I considered looking into getting this flashed to Cricket, but since they had a similar phone with a slightly bigger screen, and managed to get it for about $50.00, I didn't. I replaced that phone with a more typical Android phone because the keyboard, though faster in ideal conditions was unusable it the light wasn't perfect. I might have held off longer on changing if I had worked with this one.
The keyboard has drawn a lot of criticism, but it is a very good size for both one and two-finger use, while slide-out ones are generally too wide for one-finger. But the wedge-shaped keys designed for thumb use are actually problematic if you do the one-finger typing that phones often call for, or use fingernails as likely with large fingers. The numbers are near-illegible, but the arrangement is standard, and when you are dialing you use the onscreen keypad anyway.
The other criticism has been battery life, and it is shockingly short compared to my old Nokia or the non-smartphones I have had. But compared to two subsequent Android phones I've used, and comparing notes with friends who have a nice Samsung phone and an iPhone, this isn't that bad--the worst, but not by much. I suspect a cheap phone like this draws people moving from old school smartphones and non-smartphones, used to going days between charging, while people using expensive smartphones for a while have developed strategies for keeping them charged.
Mine has some problems with the headphone jack. It works with headphones, but not with most external speakers I've tried. That is probably why I was able to get the used one so cheap, but it might indicate something likely to break on a new one or perfect used one.
And I find that it has very little internal storage. That isn't really a serious constraint on adding apps, because a lot will fit on even a 2GB micro SD card and the phone will take up to 32GB. But a lot of the factory installed apps will not move off internal storage. I find I can't upgrade one because the new version is about twice the size of the original.
A really good-looking phone, and inexpensive, if you can live with its limitations.