Monday, April 04, 2011

Review: Virgin Mobile LG Optimus V

For as long as the Virgin Mobile LG Optimus V was at $149.95, it had been sold out. One lucky evening when I saw it available on the web-site, I bought it for XiaoQin to replace the T-mobile Blackberry she'd been using (with only a voice plan) when her primary phone broke. Target was even running a special for a while when the phone was at $129.95 with a $20 credit.

The phone arrived and it activated smoothly and quickly. I immediately used Square to sell a book at an event, which demonstrated that the dataplan was working. XiaoQin got the number ported within 3 hours, but it took a phone call to figure out how to reconfigure the phone for service. After this, I realized that porting her old T-mobile number to Virgin was a mistake: we should have shelled out $25 to port her T-mobile number to Google voice instead!

The phone is a 600MHz phone, or about as slow as the original Droid. It runs Android 2.2, which meant that voice actions, navigation, and all the other goodies that Apple fanboys are missing come standard and works well. It's a bit too slow to run Angry Birds, but the more optimized Angry Birds Rio runs well. Like the original Droid, it's battery would last a day, so you have to charge it every night. The UI outside of Angry Birds is extremely responsive, more responsive than the original droid, without the occasional pause that cause me to have to reboot my 2.3 Nexus One.

The big feature of the Optimus V is Virgin's Beyond Talk plan: $25/month prepaid for unlimited data and 300 voice minutes. At this rate, the phone pays for itself over a T-mobile voice plan in 10 months. For a geek who hardly ever uses the phone, this is a huge feature. While others report that the Sprint network the phone uses is no good, we haven't found this to be the case. It's had voice and data whenever T-mobile has had it, and unlike an iPhone, does not drop any calls while in use as a phone.

The only thing that might give you pause is that the phone is a CDMA phone, which means it won't run anywhere in Europe, for instance. In any case, this is a phone I will seriously consider paying for when my T-mobile prepaid card runs out. Virgin Mobile has finally raised the price on the phone to $199.95 in order to keep the phone in stock and to build inventory, but if the price were to drop back down to $149.95 or even below, this phone would be highly recommended.
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