I bought an LG Optimus V (Android phone) on Virgin Mobile USA a couple weeks ago because the Mifi (mobile wifi) was getting dismal battery life. I went from paying $40/month for “unlimited” data to $25/month for 300 minutes + unlimited data + unlimited text + unlimited web surfing + about 5 hours of battery life on this phone. Financially, I’m very happy with the deal I’m getting along with better signal and service at my house. The AT&T iPhone barely got any signal. I thought NO ONE ever called me because it never rang or registered any missed calls. That could also be because I was always instant messaging or using the web so in low signal areas voice and data can’t both be active at once. Therefore, I was only getting data and my constant use of the phone blocked incoming phone calls from pinging the phone. Either way, I think the iPhone I had was a lemon.

I’ve been using a Google Voice number since it became available so I can forward that number to any phone I’m using including landlines. I could even have Google Voice ring the house, my cell, and work number simultaneously. What’s great is I’ve changed through 3 different carriers and more phone numbers than I can remember in the last year and a half, yet I haven’t had to ask everyone to change my number.

Going back to my original point, Google Voice integrates beautifully with this phone because once I downloaded the Google Voice app and told it to make all my outgoing calls and text messages to show my 415 number I could dial calls directly from the phone without having to launch a separate app to make a phone call. All my contacts were downloaded after entering my Gmail username and password.

Why can’t I love this phone?

  • It comes with only 160 MB of memory. Being a former iPhone user who loves apps, this is clearly unacceptable. I was out of space by day 2 and text messages were being rejected because the phone memory was full. I text more than I talk so rejecting text messages is like cutting off air.
  • It comes with apps I don’t use but can’t delete: airG chat, Poynt, Where, SCVNGR, Twidroyd
  • If I root the phone and use the command line to delete the systems apps (apps listed in bullet 2), it won’t free user accessible space because these apps are stored in the system space. Dumb!
  • With the limited memory available on the phone, apps should automatically install to the SD card which can accommodate up to 32 GB. Unfortunately, unless your phone is rooted, some apps won’t install to the SD card.
  • I had to delete Facebook and Food on the Table to free up enough space to continue receiving text messages. Facebook can’t be moved to the SD card and once you are using it it ends up storing a lot of data which fills up memory quickly. Ummm…yea mad that I can’t FB on this phone, which is fine because I bought it to use a hotspot for my netbook and iPod Touch anyway.
Other than LG’s lack of planning for app-obsessed users, the phone is fine. It’s easier to send pictures to Facebook or Hootsuite from the camera app, that is if you have enough space to accommodate Facebook. The other annoyance for me is that I can’t take a screenshot of the phone which I need to do to send examples of different apps to my business partner. The only “easy” way to take screenshots to is to download the Android SDK and plug the phone into the computer using a USB cable. If you are a casual smartphone user, these gripes shouldn’t affect you too much and seriously, this is a low-end Android phone so my expectations shouldn’t have been high at all.

I am impressed with Virgin Mobile service (it runs on the Sprint network) and would gladly pay for an “unlocked” high-end Android phone to use with it. If you decide you want to get Virgin Mobile service use the coupon code below to get 60 free minutes when you activate your service and each time you top-up with at least $20, you will get another 60 free minutes.

Coupon code: kDsQV7uF