Thursday, March 17, 2011

To Droid Or Not To Droid

         Reasons why I resisted the urge to go out and buy the Virgin Mobile LG Optimus V Android cell phone: I didn’t really need it is the primary reason. Another was that since I was subscribed to their minute to minute plan I was only required to pay 20 dollars every 3 months as long as I didn’t run out of minutes. Plus I wasn’t sure if I could download Android apps if I didn’t sign up for their beyond talk plan ( I found out later that I would be able to download the apps using a wi-fi connection, so that eliminated the need to switch my subscription.

         The phone was on sale at Best Buy for 20 dollars lesser than the list price, but it was out of stock. I waited until the last day of the sale before I went to the store to get a rain check. Maybe by the time they have it available, my urge to buy it would have cooled. Well I’ll be darned, but the next day, Target had the phone on sale for the same price as Best Buy, plus they were going to give you a 20 dollar gift card! My first thought was that they might be out of stock too since Virgin Mobile itself hasn’t had them for weeks. The first Target store I went to didn’t have it so I asked them to check at nearby stores. There were two available about 4 miles away but they couldn’t hold one for me because it was an in-demand product. So I rushed to the other store trying to keep to the speed limit as much as possible. When I arrived, my urge to use the bathroom was so strong, but my urge to get the phone was much stronger. When I got to the electronics department, the two available phones were still there and I immediately grabbed one. The store clerk rang me up then gave me the free 20 dollar gift card. Then I was off to look for the bathroom before heading back home.
    As I was opening the box, I noticed a statement that said: This phone may only be used with the Beyond Talk Plan. Darn! Now I would have to pay at least 25 dollars every month to use the phone for calls plus internet. That would put a crimp on my budget. Well, I was willing to try and see if I could get the phone to work with my previous subscription plan or if Virgin Mobile would cut it off until I buy the more expensive plan. When I called customer service the next day for assistance in activating the phone, they confirmed that I would have to switch to Beyond Talk. I haven’t so far and while reading the Terms of Service, it doesn’t mention anything about it. As of this writing I’m still able to make and receive calls as well as surf the internet via wi-fi. I don’t plan to switch unless they cut me off.
         I’ve never had a smart phone before so this is my first one, and I’ve always been curious about apps. If I only wanted that, it was available through the Ipod Touch of course, but that would have cost almost double than getting the LG Optimus V. Other than the apps though, another thing I like about this phone is that it was easier to input contacts because it syncs with your Google contacts or you can  import them from vcards. This feature was not available with previous Virgin Mobile phones.
         There was something that Virgin Mobile did me wrong though. They changed my phone number which I’ve had for about 15 years. I think customer service mistyped my number while activating it because it’s still under the same personal information and password as the old number. I called them again when I found this out and they are going to try a way to get my previous number back. So if anyone of you call me at the number I had all these years and I don’t answer, please don’t despair for I’m still alive.
         After a week or so of use, here are my first impressions: the battery drains quickly if you are connected to wi-fi, GPS, surfing the internet or using apps; you don’t need to sign up for the beyond talk plan to use the phone and you just need wi-fi connections to access the other functions like downloading apps. The device charges faster via an electric socket instead of through a USB port. That brings me to decide whether it was an unnecessary expense or not. In a way it was one of those wants rather than a need. I can only justify it as a need because I needed to learn how smart phones work to keep up with everybody else. Besides, getting a free $20.00 gift card was too hard to pass up.
         P.S. I downloaded the following apps which enabled me to prolong the battery life: Advanced Task Killer and Juice Defender.

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larrydlp said...

Yup... you do not need the cell/plan connection/3G/4G to use GPS, surf and download apps via wifi. The wifi is your network and not Virgin's. You would need the plan to use the cell network to connect :)

Cash for My Mobile said...

Sell Old Mobile Phone.Larrydlp is absoutely right..

Noel DLP said...

Thanks guys. My old barebones cellphone plan is still working for regular phone calls and text messages so I don't have to pay $25 a month for the data plan. The information that Virgin Mobile printed on their packaging was not correct.