Author Topic: Want a cheap Android phone plan? Virgin Mobile!!  (Read 7031 times)

Offline Mordy

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Want a cheap Android phone plan? Virgin Mobile!!
« on: February 15, 2011, 01:33:59 AM »
To anyone looking for the BEST BANG FOR YOUR BUCK in wireless, and was sad to have missed out on Sprint's legendary SERO plan, listen up!

Virgin Mobile is a Sprint MVNO (mobile virtual network operator). That is, they rent unused airtime from Sprint, which essentially means you get to use Sprint service for less than they would normally charge.

Normally I'm not interested in MVNOs because you are locked to the limited selection of phones they offer, none of which appeal to someone who wants a smartphone or data plan (like me).

That is, until recently. Virgin Mobile started carrying the LG Optimus, which is currently the BEST 3G Android phone on Sprint (thanks to that Adreno GPU, this underdog of a device can outperform the original EVO at 3D graphics!).

Unlike Sprint, Virgin doesn't care what kind of phone you have, all their plans are the same... AND all their plans include unlimited data and texting.

I'm currently on Sprint's grandfathered Sero plan which was recently upgraded to Sero Premium to get myself an Android phone. For $40, its still a good plan, but the old $30 SERO plans were the best bang for your buck in wireless, and I'm sad to see them go.
BUT... Virgin's deal may have even the original SERO beat!
Their cheapest plan starts at $25, which includes all the data you can eat. Even with an Optimus S. Also, because they are prepaid, you don't have to pay the same taxes apparently. According to a post on SprintUsers.com, this guy has found coupons for Virgin airtime to bring his monthly bill down to ~$22 a month for his line!
http://www.sprintusers.com/forum/showpost.php?p=2487981&postcount=7

I'm going to stick with Sero-P for now personally because I'm debating jumping to a 4G device. Also, I like being able to roam on other carriers when I don't have Sprint service (something Virgin won't let you do). And, well, darn it, I've held onto it for so long I'm scared to give it up.
Also, Virgin's $25 plan doesn't offer a lot  of minutes. I'd have to move up to the next price level, $40, to have enough minutes to replace my current plan on Sprint. And at that point, even though I'd save money on taxes, its not worth leaving Sprint for that.

But for $22 a month, heck, I might just pick something up to use as a data device only. If you missed out on Sero, or just want a cheap Android device to play around with on the side, this could get really interesting!
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Offline Dan

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Re: Want a cheap Android phone plan? Virgin Mobile!!
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2011, 10:53:28 AM »
Very interesting...
Seems like Target runs 5% off sales fairly often.  And you can buy Target GCs at Plastic Jungle for 3% off.  So a $25 top-up would cost $23.75 during a sale.  And buying the GC from Plastic Jungle makes it $23 flat and then you don't need to signup for a Target credit card (and you'll still earn Starpoints for the purchase ;))

So is this the way to go if I just want an android for data?
Is the Optimus better than the Intercept?  Doesn't look like it has a physical keyboard?
And it's still $150 for the phone...
« Last Edit: February 15, 2011, 12:36:13 PM by Dan »
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Offline whYME

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Re: Want a cheap Android phone plan? Virgin Mobile!!
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2011, 11:20:54 AM »
Very interesting...
Seems like Target runs 5% off sales fairly often.  And you can buy Target GCs at Plastic Jungle for 3% off.  So a $25 top-up would cost $23.75 during a sale.  And buying the GC from Plastic Jungle makes it $23 flat and then you don't need to signup for a Target credit card (and you'll still earn Starpoints for the purchase ;))

So is this the way to go if I just want an android for data?
Is the Optimus better than the Intercept?  Doesn't look like it has a physical keyboard?
And it's still $150 for the phone...
It doesn't have a physical keyboard. it does have swype though.

Edit: That's assuming it's the same as the Optimus on Sprint...

Offline Dan

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Re: Want a cheap Android phone plan? Virgin Mobile!!
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2011, 11:26:40 AM »
It doesn't have a physical keyboard. it does have swype though.

Edit: That's assuming it's the same as the Optimus on Sprint...
How does Swype work?
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Offline whYME

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Re: Want a cheap Android phone plan? Virgin Mobile!!
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2011, 11:41:38 AM »
How does Swype work?
It's really cool.
instead of pressing each individual letter you swipe over the letters you want and it forms the words for you http://swypeinc.com/product.html

Offline Dan

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Re: Want a cheap Android phone plan? Virgin Mobile!!
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2011, 11:48:38 AM »
It's really cool.
instead of pressing each individual letter you swipe over the letters you want and it forms the words for you http://swypeinc.com/product.html
Wow, gotta try that in person!
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Offline elikay

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Re: Want a cheap Android phone plan? Virgin Mobile!!
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2011, 12:12:33 PM »
Not as easy as it looks....

Offline Mordy

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Re: Want a cheap Android phone plan? Virgin Mobile!!
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2011, 12:48:29 PM »
So is this the way to go if I just want an android for data?
It appears to be. Where else can you get unlimited data so cheap that supports smartphones (and doesn't even charge taxes and fees for a plan, apparently!).

The is a possible catch- I've heard a rumor that Virgin's data might be throttled down a bit on busy towers to keep priority for full paying Sprint customers. I haven't seen any data that proves this one way or the other, but it would seem like an acceptable compromise for such a great deal. Probably wouldn't make much of a difference unless you intend this to just be a wireless modem connection.

Quote
Is the Optimus better than the Intercept?  Doesn't look like it has a physical keyboard?

YES- it is ABSOLUTELY BETTER than the Intercept. Do not use the intercept if you don't enjoy pain.
The intercept, transform, zio and Optimus were all part of a new breed of low-budget Android phones. Sort of like netbooks, they cut corners on hardware for a cheaper alternative to a full sized device. While this concept works for netbooks, for a phone it doesn't work so much. Pair a low end laggy GPU with a graphic intensive operating system, and suddenly you user experience slows to a crawl.
The tranform and Zio, for example, were so slow when I tested them out that I felt like I was using a remote desktop connection. It was awful and an embarrassment to Android, IMO.

LG did something right with the Optimus. LG realized that the most important spec for a smooth android experience is the GPU, so they used THE SAME ADRENO 200 GPU found in the EVO while keeping relatively modest specs on everything else (screen size, camera resolution, etc... all are nothing fancy). That means that at least graphics performance is on par with flagship devices, screen scroll smoothly and everything responds quickly. In fact, since the Optimus has half the pixel resolution of the EVO, the chip only has to work half as hard to pump out graphics. That means in my openGL 3D graphics test, the Optimus actually outperformed the flagship EVO by nearly 10fps. 3D games, etc, work great on it.
Its honestly the only budget Android phone worth considering, IMO.

Ok, the keyboard thing really bugs me too- I've been spoiled by some of the BEST keyboards on the mobile market (HTC Touch Pro 2, etc), and I definitely miss having it. But, the device is pretty small and Android offers dozens of text entry alternatives, including... wait for it... DICTATION. More on that below.

Quote
And it's still $150 for the phone...

Yes. $150 for a modern smartphone off-contract brand new is an ABSOLUTE STEAL! Remember, you're not locked into a contract. You can buy the phone just to have as a tiny Android tablet over wifi if you wanted. Considering the Optimus S is $350 without contract on Sprint, and is still closer to $200 used on ebay (http://completed.shop.ebay.com/Cell-Phones-Smartphones-/3312/i.html?MA2ShowItems&_trksid=p3286.c0.m283&_rdc=1&rt=nc&_fln=1&_nkw=optimus+s&_dmpt=Cell_Phones&_catref=1&LH_Complete=1&guest=1 ), I'd say $150 is more than a fair price.

It doesn't have a physical keyboard. it does have swype though.

Edit: That's assuming it's the same as the Optimus on Sprint...

Yes, the Optimus S and the Optimus V differ only in preloaded software.

Now, it does come with Swype, which is interesting, but not my cup of highly caffeinated beverage, personally. There are things I like about Swype, but I really found it faster and easier to type quickly and correct mistakes while typing with the stock android keyboard. If I type a wrong letter, Android's spell checker is pretty smart about suggesting what I meant after the word. Swype assumes I'm trying to type a completely different word, and error correction is frustrating (usually I have to try to re-swype the entire word).

However, the saving grace for me has been Google's voice recognition system.
Froyo introduced the standard mic on the keyboard, which means you can dictate what you want to type anywhere that the keyboard is open, from searching youtube to replying to a text.
I wouldn't type out a whole email via voice as there are bound to be a few mistakes, but for basic text entry situations, it works. I'm not sure why people haven't made a bigger deal about this- it works SURPRISINGLY well, especially if I'm driving and can't exactly type a response to a text. One or two sentence responses are usually pretty accurate.

BTW- this is one of those features that only Google can offer, because they they already have their powerful Goog-411 voice recognition servers to do the heavy lifting. In other words, this feature only works where you have data connection because it actually records your voice and sends it to the server to get decoded. There's no way a wimpy little cell phone processor can decode a spoken sentence with any kind of accuracy, and why HPalm, RIM, and others can't offer this anytime soon.

Bottom line- if you want a top of the line phone, high res camera and display, keyboard, etc, you need to pay a premium with a standard carrier. But if want a cheap phone and plan, with a user experience that doesn't... how do I put this lightly... well, doesn't SUCK, I very highly recommend the Optimus with Virgin. How's that? ;)
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Offline Dan

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Re: Want a cheap Android phone plan? Virgin Mobile!!
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2011, 12:51:59 PM »
Wow am I tempted!!!
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Offline Mordy

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Re: Want a cheap Android phone plan? Virgin Mobile!!
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2011, 12:55:52 PM »
DO IT!

Someone better take advantage of this deal. I can't justify it because I already have an Optimus on SeroP. And it bugs me that this exists and I can't take advantage of it.
If you've ever seen a great deal that didn't apply to you, you know how frustrating this can be...
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Offline Dan

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Re: Want a cheap Android phone plan? Virgin Mobile!!
« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2011, 12:57:23 PM »
Plastic Jungle has 9% off GCs for Radio Shack
Seems like they have Virgin cards as well. 
Also they sell the Optimus V for $149.99 with a $10 GC.  So it will cost $135 via a PJ GC and you'll get another $10 towards a Virgin card.
And this will make the monthly fee $22.75

Any place with a bigger discount on the GCs have Virgin as well?
« Last Edit: February 15, 2011, 01:01:53 PM by Dan »
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Offline muttman

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Re: Want a cheap Android phone plan? Virgin Mobile!!
« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2011, 01:00:07 PM »
I have the optimus S, switched from a blackberry curve. I love the phone!
It really does a lot of cool stuff
The only issue with the phone is that the virtual keyboard is a bit small making it a little tough to type.
Perhaps I just didn't get used to it yet.

Personally I love the phone so much that all its cool features easily trump the small keyboard, I would definitely suggest the phone to anybody 
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Offline whYME

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Re: Want a cheap Android phone plan? Virgin Mobile!!
« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2011, 10:51:17 PM »
Not as easy as it looks....
Now, it does come with Swype, which is interesting, but not my cup of highly caffeinated beverage, personally. There are things I like about Swype, but I really found it faster and easier to type quickly and correct mistakes while typing with the stock android keyboard. If I type a wrong letter, Android's spell checker is pretty smart about suggesting what I meant after the word. Swype assumes I'm trying to type a completely different word, and error correction is frustrating (usually I have to try to re-swype the entire word).
I only played with it for a few minutes (so far) but I did find it easier than typing. I've found it be spot on almost all the time. I wasn't nearly as fast as the guy on their video but I'm sure I'll get better with practice.

Offline arie

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Re: Want a cheap Android phone plan? Virgin Mobile!!
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2011, 07:42:55 PM »
I was recently looking to uprade from my bb curve. I debated between the Blackberry Style and the lg optimus. I first got the style but was sorely disappointed. I exchange it for the lg optimus and I must say that it's worlds apart. I have an ipod touch and I enjoy using the optimus much better than the touch. It has many cool apps including voice recognition that I'm using to type right now from my optimus! ( Only a few mistakes needed to be corrected). Just make sure to get an automatic task killer app to keep the phone running smoothly and quickly

Offline md

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Re: Want a cheap Android phone plan? Virgin Mobile!!
« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2011, 02:21:27 AM »
Does virgin mobile use a sim? I'm looking for a micro sim with a pre-pay data plan that I can use on my ipad 3G.