"Good for the money, but don't expect great."3.0 starson by Captiosus
Pros: Retail friendly price; Android 2.2; Easy Setup; Budget friendly pre-paid plans
Cons: Lousy battery life unless you tweak most of the settings, low-end processor leading to laggy apps and games, no LED camera flash, factory reset forces you to go through the activation process again, preinstalled apps that can't be deleted w/o root
Summary: I have to say I'm rather flabbergasted at all these 5-star reviews and I suspect they're being driven, mostly, by the cost of the service rather than the performance of the phone. My wife and I picked up two of these from Radio Shack at 149.99 each when our AT&T contract expired to reduce our overall cellular expenses. For my wife, who has never had a smartphone before, it's perfect. For me, someone who is coming off the iPhone 3GS, this phone leaves a lot to be desired.
First, and foremost, let me address the battery issue. Battery life is absolutely horrid in the out-of-the-box (OOBE) configuration. After doing a battery calibration (full discharge to full recharge), with OOBE settings, I monitored the battery literally dropping 35% in 3 hours. The solution for anyone complaining about battery life is this:
- Turn off Live Wallpapers, they eat a ton of power.
- Turn off GPS unless you REALLY need it.
- Try to minimize the amount of e-mail addresses you add to the device to one or two.
- Disable background sync of e-mail, Facebook and Twitter accounts.
- Disable background data downloading (you will have to turn it on every time you use market).
- Get a Task Killing app like Advanced Task Killer Pro and set it to kill your apps every time you lock the screen.
Doing all of the above will SIGNIFICANTLY boost your battery lifespan. Of course, you'll have to manually sync everything when you use it, and switch GPS and Background Data on and off when you need them. If you leave everything as pre-configured, you can expect your battery to die in 10-13 hours, even in standby.
The screen resolution is ok, a bit fuzzy at times on both devices, so I suspect it's a problem with all LG Optimus S/V models. The processor in this unit is only a 600MHz one, so while the cNet review claims the Optimus V may see Android 2.3, don't hold your breath on that one (most of the current 2.3 devices have 1GHz processors). This processor is barely able to keep up with most games, including Angry Birds, where the simple act of rendering a bird being flung across the screen can make the phone's graphics choppy and laggy. The same lag holds true for many apps and Google Maps runs PAINFULLY slow when using satellite view.
Virgin Mobile's price is a double-edge sword. SMS takes forever to go through, and pictures sometimes won't even send. They included a series of apps on the phone which cannot be uninstalled without rooting the phone, one of which - an app named Where - will DESTROY your battery life on its own if you leave background data and GPS on. Additionally, if, for any unforeseen circumstance, you need to do a factory reset on your phone, you have to go through the activation process with Virgin Mobile again.
In short, before buying know what you're getting into. The $25 monthly tag looks great, but this phone, based on technical specs, is a low-end to mid-grade Android phone that probably won't be receiving any 2.3 or 2.3.3 updates. Heavy use will drain the phone with ease, even with the tweaks, and has a penchant for being slow and laggy. It's a great "first" smartphone, but if you've had others, you will find yourself demanding better.