Top positive review
6 people found this helpful
Very nice phone with a few complaints
on October 21, 2013
Oct 23, 2013 WAIT before you read my original review I have new data. I was unable to lock onto an LTE signal using this phone. I went to the T-Mobile store and they said that is correct, that unlocked phones usually won't work on T-Mobile's LTE network. I then contacted the vendor Extra Virgin Tech and they sent email back confirming the weakness. I'm checking now to see if I can return the phone.
I have read, for those brave enough to delve into this world, that you can "jailbreak" the phone and correct this issue. While I am tech savvy and feel I could pull this off I'm not willing to do so because I'm simply evaluating the T-Mobile coverage and am not sure if I will continue down this path.
We are in the process of converting over from Verizon where we've been using simple feature phones for a few years. T-Mobile offers cheaper plans and we are converting to smartphones. This Skyrocket purchase is part of that conversion.
I received my Skyrocket from Extra Virgin Tech the next day as promised by the Amazon Prime next day service. It was packaged like new and proved to be brand new when I opened and examined the contents of the box.
This phone is labeled AT&T at the top but was supposed to be unlocked as I want to use it on T-Mobile. I took it to the local T-Mobile store for them to help me switch my service from a Nokia Lumia 521 running Windows Phone 8 (more on that later) to the Skyrocket. I had to buy a new SIM card because the Nokia has a microSIM while the Skyrocket has a regular (full sized?) SIM. Unfortunately after the store tech switched my account we discovered the phone was locked.
I emailed Extra Virgin Tech for an unlock code and, after waiting for the weekend to pass, they sent me a code which worked. I'm now able to use the phone on T-Mobile and have both sent and received test calls. I have also been able to use the T-Mobile 4G service to use the internet.
This is a lot of phone for the money.
Weighing 4.66 oz. it is only 1/2 oz. heavier than the iPhone 5S which only has a 4" screen. I notice the extra weight in my pocket because I've been carrying an iPod Touch 5th gen in that pocket for about a year and it weighs only 3.04 oz. I'll get used to it. At least I will only have to carry the Skyrocket now rather than a feature phone and the iPod Touch.
The Skyrocket is beautiful with a great AMOLED display, although it is lower resolution than many newer phones. For some reason, perhaps it is AMOLED technology, the display won't turn down as low in brightness as I'd like.
The volume out of the rear speaker is loud enough but distorts at max volume. I found I could get more volume out of the phone by going into the equalizer and turning up all frequency bands.
The camera works great although there is quite a shutter button lag. I swear it must be about 1 second from button push to capture. The LED flash is very bright. I haven't done a full evaluation on the camera quality yet.
The power button is located on the upper right side and the volume rocker is located across from the power button on the left side. I find this not to be ideal. When I want to use either button it is too easy to push the button on the opposite side. If I'm holding the phone in my left hand and trying to change the volume it is too easy to turn the Skyrocket off for example.
I do like the four touch sensitive buttons below the screen. Some like a physical button but I like the touch sensitive button as I think it will be more reliable over time. I've had, as others have had, problems with the start button on my iPod Touch devices.
The phone has a user replaceable battery, the only way I'll buy a smartphone. This proves to be important because one of the biggest weaknesses of the phone is it tends to burn through the battery quick enough that I think it may be challenging to get through a whole day. I am a heavy user but don't make too many phone calls. It's mostly internet usage over the WiFi at home. Just today I left home with the phone 100% charged and one hour later, with no usage, the battery had dropped to 88% - and I had the WiFi turned off at the time.
As I said we have been using feature phones and iPod Touch iOS devices for a few years. So we have quite a bit of experience with iOS. There are things I like about Apples operating system but the lack of user customization really irked me. I would recommend an iPod Touch, iPad, or iPhone to someone who isn't too tech savvy, like my sister. Someone who is more tech savvy though could be frustrated as I was with iOS. iOS 7 was a huge disappointment to me with the new "flat" design. It was time to move away from Apple.
I found T-Mobile has some very interesting plans. For the exact same Verizon $90/month we've been spending for three feature phones with no data, we can now have phone/text/internet service for three smartphones. T-Mobile's cell coverage has been weak but that has changed in 2013. It still doesn't have the coverage of Verizon or AT&T but it may just work for us.
I first purchased the Nokia Lumia 521 from WalMart for $99 to try out the T-Mobile service. It has Windows Phone 8 which I liked, and I liked the phone too. It took only a few minutes to figure out the Windows Phone 8 user interface. I figured out 100% of the phone in about two hours. Unfortunately Windows Phone 8 isn't ready for prime time. Give me a break the brightness can only be set to LOW-MEDIUM-HIGH with no slider. Also there is a single volume control for all functions (radio/mp3/alarms/ringer/etc.) But the killer was there were two or three critical apps that are not available on Windows Phone 8 so I had to make the jump to Android.
I'm blown away by the user customization of the Skyrocket/Android. I've spent many hours with it and I think I've discovered only about 70% of what it can do.
A big issue for me is how easy it is to control the screen brightness. First keeping it low saves battery power but of course I have to make it brighter when using it outside and I like to turn it all the way down when I use it in bed at night. I found an option Settings->Status Bar->Brightness Control that lets you change the brightness by sliding your finger across the Status Bar. For me this is great.
I spent quite a bit of time duplicating the way icons and folders were set up on my iPod Touch. This may or may not be ideal but it is the easiest way for me to transition from iOS to Android. I was mostly able to pull this duplication off. The difference is the apps, from the same organization, don't work the same way on iOS and Android. For example the USA Today news app is quite different on the two platforms while it could be identical. I think the iOS version is better. I don't understand why there would be differences.
As I've only had the Skyrocket for 4 days now I will have more to add after I've had it for a while and will report back here.