When I received my annual federal tax refund last month, I decided it was time for a new cell phone and plan. After looking at the various options available in the prepaid market, I decided upon Virgin Mobile, USA for two reasons:
1. Handset pricing and selection.
2. Flexible voice, text, and web services and pricing.
Upon making the choice of provider, I went to Radio Shack to purchase the phone and plan.
I initially purchased the Samsung Intercept with the Android operating system in hopes that a smartphone would provide all the features I was looking for. It was your basic Android phone with a 3.o megapixel camera, camcorder, preloaded apps such as Google Maps, etc.
Before deciding on the phone, I asked the sales guy if it came with an SD card, or if I would need to purchase one seperately. He said an additional purchase of a memory card would be necessary as the phone does not come prepacked with one.
So I purchased the phone ($ 99), an 8gb microSD card ($ 7), and the Beyond Talk monthly service plan which gives me unlimited web, unlimited text, and 1200 voice minutes ($ 45/mo).
The salesman unpackaged the phone and setg up my plan. He also installed the SD card I purchased.
As I was looking through the packaging after I got home, I found two seperate micoSD adapters inside the box, a 2gb and the 8gb I bought per the salesman’s advice. At first I was cofused, so I read the box only to discover that the phone did, in fact, come prepackaged with a 2gb memory card. I thought, “Oh well, I can always use extra memory.” To my surprise, the guy at Radio Shack forgot to put the original SD card back in the package when he set up my phone.
The phone itself was visually appealing, and seemed to function well the first few days.
I started having issues on the third day when I began noticing a delay in response when using the touchsceen keyboard, and when moving from one screen or app to another.
I also began having problems with the services as well.
1. Web pages would either not load at all, or would load so slowly that I simply gave up after about a minute or so of waiting.
2. Approximately one-forth of my voice calls resulted in a message saying, “Your balance is low, please add money to your account to place this call.” This was laughable because, during the entire month, I barely was able to use 250 mintues of the 1200 available minutes.
3. Texting was also a problem. While uploading pics using the email upload option, I had to wait ten minutes between uploads even though it only took about ten seconds to send the pic. Uploading sooner between files resulted in an error.
In frustration, I returned the Samsung Intercept to Radio Shack to exchange for a phone with less features hoping this would solve my problems.
This time I chose the Samsung Restore slider. It seemed to have the features I needed, without all the extras that would slow the phone operation.
It took some time to adjust to switching from a smartphone to a feature phone, but all-in-all I am happy with the new phone. The issues with phone operation, calling, texting, and web surfing I had with the Samsung Intercept are a thing of the past, cured with the purchase of the Samsung Restore.
To my surprise, Virgin Mobile gave me my second month of service absolutely free, plus waived the activation fee of $ 15, because of the issues I had with the first phone.
Purchase Satisfaction Rating
Radio Shack: 6/10
Virgin Mobile: 8/10