Pros Plan price
Summary Long time PC user here, first smart phone. I use a cell phone about 10 minutes a month, on the computer maybe 80 hours per week. Not really looking to change.
Plan price --I dont need much of a phone, but a portable internet connection rocks!! This is the first plan that is designed for me. The plan was the primary factor in my decision to buy.
Android OS-- I like flexibility and choice, this gives it. If I get bored, I may even delve into rolling my own apps. Hopefully it will get an upgrade to 2.2 soon.
Performance-- works great for me. I dont do a lot of wideband. Probably 10 minutes of video in a month. But more like 10 hours of audio per week--my podcasting access (Geek talk from TWiT, BBC for general news...) is good enough that I have canceled my XM radio service. Helped offset the phone costs.
Feel-- I have clumsy old fingers, worried about the keyboard, but it is fine. Likely not an impressive looking phone in the younger crowd, but for my circle of friends it is good enough for geek points.
Reliability--4 weeks in, I have had failures with both WiFi and 3G and turned my neato little phone into a... just a phone! No data (well it did play stuff that I had already on the SD card) Anyway, had to reset the phone.
Support-- The Virgin Mobile/Samsung response to problems makes me a little reluctant to recommend their service.For the the service interruption, about 45 minutes on hold, with Samsung, hung up on me twice. Finally got helped. VM web page is so lame I was ready to send the phone back--could not get the Auto-top-up option to stick on my account.
Security--The hundreds of thousands of apps are so cool, but scary. I remember the days when PCs were new and we hadnt a care, then the malicious stuff started. There are so many tempting little apps, and I just know trouble is on the way.
Like the way it synchs with my Google accounts, I like the whole feel of having information at my fingertips. I will probably be hooked. Many little frustrations, many substantial pleasures. No boredom.
Pros Android, size, prepaid/ econimy
Cons a bit sluggish some times, bluetooth restrictions
Summary I have had this phone for a short week now, coming from AT&T and a loyal and sturdy but aging Samsung Stupid-phone.
Got the phone at Target for $249 with a $20 gift card (for use at Target) and a 90 day return policy.
Porting my phone number over took surprisingly less than 2 hours although I was told and prepared for 24-72 hours. No problems setting it up and went for the 300minutes/ 5 hours (thinking that would be plenty as I never ever used more than 250 out of my 450 minutes/ month with AT&T), unlimited web and text/ $25 plan.
After 6 days I have used 267 of my 300 minutes, which reminded me that AT&T does allow free calling between all their customers, free nights and weekends, and also I don't think they count minutes for incoming calls ,which Virgin Mobile does.)
So... a couple of calls to various utility companies of which most of the time was spend on hold listening to elevator music for literally hours.... my minutes have been eaten up. No problem; I'll sign up again for the 1200 minutes/ 20 hours plan at $40. That's right: you upgrade your plan and you have to start over again, so no deduction for the $25 I have already paid for the initial plan. Fair enough, I get it, but just saying.
About the phone itself: I like the size and the weight of it but personally find the slide-out keyboard a bit redundant and can't help but think that the phone could have been super slim and light without it. You can set the phone to switch orientation when rotating the phone, and the horizontal touch-screen keyboard is larger and easier to use than the vertical one... so the slide-out is nice I guess, but not really necessary (for me anyway)
I am somewhat comparing this phone to the Samsung Captivate which I had for about a week last summer. The Captivate I guess is supposed to be a more superior Android phone... and yes it was awesome, but honestly the Intercept suits my needs better. Despite the fact that it can be a bit sluggish and hesitant at times. I find that turning it off regularly (perhaps daily) seems to take care of that. And yes it does take its sweet time powering up.
The Task Killer app may or may nor be helpful in preserving battery life but I find I need to check it at least twice per day as the items to be killed seem to get unchecked and checked randomly. Once Skype is activated it will will not disappear from the notification bar until the phone is shut off, and this I suspect drains battery life. Skype only works on WiFi in the US FYI (and naturally the screen will not be of use on this phone).
After trying unsuccessfully to transfer jpg files to and from the phone I downloaded the user manual and read the following: "...send pictures, Contacts information, or other items using a Bluetooth connection... then later "only a Contact?s information can be sent via Bluetooth. No other file type (video, image, or audio) can be sent using Bluetooth." This was confirmed via emails from customer support at both Virgin Mobile and Samsung... whatever that is supposed to mean I can not transfer photos.
I like the USB charger combo, but when I connect the phone to my laptop via USB it does not recognize it or the 2GB micro SD card (included with the phone). I downloaded Samsung New PC studio software and that seemed to do the trick.
Conclusion: I am so far relatively happy with both phone and service, despite the little quirks and oddities. I am willing to live with those issues when I get to save $30+ off of my phone bill per month, and the realization that I'm not so important that I MUST be reachable all the time, nor that I can't wait 3 extra seconds for the phone to react. Being a student the economical factor is huge for me, and I think this will work quite well for me.
Pros Android phone, durable, no contract, bluetooth, price is right
Cons Slow in responding, software/hardware issues (notification bar freezes all the time), mediocre screen
Summary I bought this phone approx 2 weeks ago and I am in process of testing it. This phone is on the lower end of Android phones, I currently own myTouch 3G, that is more advanced with better screen and functions. Samsung Intercept may be a good fit for Virgin Mobile, however, it has few issues. The notification bar doesn't work all the time (I have to turn the phone off and on to fix it - sometimes several times a day). Also it is super slow in responding - specially if you use "go back" button. The processor can't handle if more applications are open and there is a huge delay in responding. Screen is not the best either. I also wish, they would install Swype keyboard on this phone, however there is just regular Android keyboard with small buttons. Good thing, this phone has another Qwerty keyboard, that will slide out. What makes this phone so great? It is Virgin Mobile service and it's great priced plans, that you won't find anywhere else. I tested this phone in SF Bay area and also recently in Atlanta, GA - no problems in all. Just to bad, that the phone is so sluggish and slow. This is my second testing unit, I returned the first unit back, because of many issues with the notification bar. However, it was not a problem of that unit, it is a problem on the entire Samsung Intercept series, probably a software or hardware issue. I did notify Samsung, but my concern has been quickly dismissed and I also have been asked to send the unit back for repair. From past experience I know, that most likely I will receive the phone back with statement, they didn't find anything wrong with the phone. On the plus side - it is an Android phone with tons of apps you can download (no restriction from Virgin Mobile) and if it is your first Android phone, you will be happy with it. If you are an advanced user - look for different phone! I am facing dilema - should I keep a great phone with T-mobile service provider, where the coverage is not great and I am paying over $90 for service or should I keep a mediocre Samsung Intercept phone with good Virgin Mobile coverage priced 50% less than T-Mobile?
Pros No dropped calls like iPhone 4 (mostly Apple's fault - I got a micro SIM adapter and had no dropped calls in same areas with my old LG Incite), much more flexible Android platform, amazingly cheap unlimited data / text plan.
Cons Not the greatest (size, resolution, clarity) screen. Not the fastest CPU (some 3D games are unplayable). Took 36 hours before data connection with Virgin Mobile stabilized. Need to do some housekeeping with Task Killer to keep battery life up.
Summary Having lived for 2 years with an aging Windows Mobile 6.1 LG Incite, I first tried the unbelievably brilliant Samsung Captivate (AT&T) and was thrilled with that except it has a well known extremely poor GPS receiver, so I decided to try the iPhone 4, which has a much better GPS and sharper (though much smaller and not nearly as good contrast) screen. I must admit the iPhone 4 was the pretties phone I've ever seen. But also the worst. Dropped calls on day 1 in my house, and continued to every day or two in various locations (BT stopped working, Genius Bar folks ran diags, said apps were running out of memory but they didn't know which ones, asked me to backup, reset the phone to factory and then restore - a messy hour long process, then BT worked fine but the piece of junk would freeze when a call was coming in so I couldn't swipe to answer!).
As I had only 2 days left of the iPhone 4 trial fiasco but Samsung still hadn't fixed the far better (IMO as a user who doesn't mind the flexibility/complexity of Android) Captivate GPS issue, a coworker pointed out he was going to consider the Samsung Intercept. I decided why not give it a shot as I wasn't that thrilled with AT&T (and am cheap so was trying to keep to 200MB/month for $15 on top of my $45 voice plan - difficult for the Captivate, almost impossible for the iPhone).
First experience wasn't great ... Radio Shack got the *phone* working but I had no data and couldn't even use it wifi for the first 24 hours, then had some intermittent data issues until it stabilized around 36 hours and has been fine since. Going to the smaller, lower res display and slower CPU wasn't easy, but at least I was happy to see the much more flexible Android interface again and very much liked the keyboard right away.
Though it is the case with most phones, this phone had particularly bad first-full-charge battery life, though got much better after the 3rd full charge, but would still barely make 8 hours if I had sync on both email accounts and facebook. I've since turned sync off (manual check required) and can now get 12 hours easily with ~40 mins talk, 1 hour web, 30 mins email, 30 mins game playing and BT on.
After the unexplained data teething issues (despite some calls to VM support), I've been quite happy with this phone. It is a bit fat, but a keyboard is such a welcome addition it seems worth it to me. I couldn't live with the iPhone 4 keyboard on a 3.5" screen, though I could have survived with the Samsung Captivate's 4" screen and Swype - but a real keyboard is a good step up in any case. Some 3D racing games are unplayable, but lots of games (Bonsai Blast, Labyrinth, Bubble Blast, Blow Up...) work just fine including even some 3D games like Winds of Steel.
Ability to stream Pandora music background is awesome, Movies is a great app for movie reviews and previews which stream in decent quality. (Youtube inexplicably uses very low resolution even on wifi here, so is barely passable). Skype works great though currently requires wifi to make landline calls (the hacked version allowing 3G calls crashes on all Samsung Android 2.1 phones FWIH and certainly didn't work here, but hopefully they'll hack the latest version). This phone, unlike AT&T Android phones, allows sideloading with no need to root (just a warning on the setting asking if you want to allow this).
The CPU / GPU is so slow that running Speedtest and other network performance apps returned extremely variable results. But I then tried the *highly recommended* "Easy Tether USB" app (free version - $9.99 if you need https ports), and visited speakeasy.net/speedtest from my laptop using the Samsung Intercept to get to the net. Not quite the 26 Mbps down I get from Comcast, but 900Kbps is pretty respectable for a low end cell phone data plan! Upload speeds weren't so hot, 60K-90Kbps, but certainly fine for sending small files (use wifi for big uploads).
In general, I think AT&T voice quality is a step up from Sprint (and Virgin Mobile using Sprint) /Verizon, but I can use Skypeout with wifi now and hopefully 3G later to get better qualilty), but I'd have to pay $70/month to get basically the same data+text plan on AT&T I get here for $25. And many people don't notice the difference (just like many don't hate the quality of XM/ Sirius like I do).
This phone does have limited memory for running apps, but I run the Advanced Task Killer which always shows me how much is free and I select certain memory/battery hogs to be killed from time to time (unlike iPhone 4 which, when out of memory even the experts can only recommend reboot and then reinstall OS).
I'd highly recommend this phone to anyone who is tech savvy and on a budget. It isn't by any means the prettiest or fastest phone out there, but it is among the most flexible and is far and away the best performance for your (phone+plan) dollar. I just hope Virgin doesn't quickly increase their data plan prices once they've got us hooked!
Pros Android Market, Full Qwerty Keypad, Touch Screen, Applications, Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, YouTube
Cons It's all great!
Summary The Virgin Mobile Samsung Intercept is by far the best phone out there in the prepaid division right now you cannot go wrong with this phone! Its loaded with features and stability from the awesome qwerty keyboard and touch screen to the ability to download applications from the Android market. The call quality is amazing and I have not yet had a drop call. How could you go wrong with the new Samsung Intercept with plans starting as low as 25 dollars a month with unlimited features.. This phone is definitely worth every penny!