Virgin Mobile has really stepped it up in the prepaid smartphone department in recent years, releasing Android handsets like the Samsung Intercept and the LG Optimus V. While we liked both of these devices, they were decidedly entry-level, with slower processors and not as many features as higher-end phones. Those who wanted a prepaid smartphone with more features and power were out of luck.
Enter the Motorola Triumph, which promises to be the new flagship phone for the prepaid carrier. The Triumph is far and away the most advanced phone in Virgin's lineup, with a 4-inch WVGA display, Android 2.2.2, a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, a 5-megapixel camera that can record HD video, a front-facing camera, HDMI out, and other notable features. Not only is the Triumph Virgin Mobile's first Motorola handset, it's also the first to come preloaded with Virgin Mobile Live, the carrier's social-networking music application.
One of the first descriptions of the Motorola Triumph we heard from our colleagues is that it looks a lot like a miniature Droid X. Indeed, the Triumph has a similar rectangular design, with sharp squared-off corners wrapped in a soft-touch shell. At 4.8 inches long by 2.6 inches wide by 0.39 inch deep, the Triumph is not quite as tall as the Droid X, and it is missing the Droid X's trademark bump on the back. It's still quite a solid slab to carry around, seeing as it weighs around 5.04 ounces.
Another design element that reminds us of the Droid X is the Triumph's large 4.1-inch WVGA display. We're quite pleased with the vibrant graphics and crisp 584x480-pixel resolution, and the screen size is an absolute treat when surfing the Web and watching videos. It's perhaps not as sharp as a qHD or Super AMOLED display, but we found it perfectly usable. The touch screen was smooth and responsive, and apps sprang to life as soon as the screen was tapped. You also get pinch-to-zoom support plus a proximity sensor and accelerometer.
Beneath the display are the usual four touch-sensor Android keys corresponding to the menu, home, back, and search functions. The volume rocker sits on the right spine while the screen lock key is on the left. We found these side keys a little too skinny and low to the surface for comfort. They felt squishy when pressed as well.
The 3.5mm headset jack sits on the top, while the Micro-USB and Micro-HDMI out ports are on the bottom. The Triumph has two cameras--a front-facing one is above the display, while a rear camera sits above the battery cover next to an LED flash.
The Motorola Triumph comes with an AC adapter, a USB cable, a preinstalled 2GB microSD card, and reference material.
Software and user interface
Those of you who fear manufacturer skins can rejoice: the Motorola Triumph ships with Android 2.2 and doesn't have the Motoblur interface. It has quite a vanilla Android interface, which we think results in snappier screen transitions and faster navigation. We hope this means the Triumph will be easy to upgrade to Android 2.3 Gingerbread as well. You get up to five customizable home screens and each home screen has shortcuts to the phone dialer, the main menu, and the browser. Holding down the Home button will bring up recently launched apps.
Motorola and Virgin Mobile did add a few touches to customize the phone. For example, along with the default Android keyboard, Motorola snuck in two other input options: a TouchPal keyboard and a TalkBack keyboard. TouchPal is a slightly more refined keyboard, with larger keys and better predictive options. It also looks better in landscape mode. TalkBack, on the other hand, is an onscreen talking keyboard designed to read back the text to you. You would need to enable accessibility options to use it.
As with all Android phones, you will enjoy access to Google's mobile services including Gmail, Google Maps with Navigation, Voice search, Latitude, Places, YouTube, and other features of Android 2.2 Froyo. Virgin Mobile and Motorola added a few of their own apps in the package, including AirG Chat, Facebook, My Account, Poynt, Scvngr, Twidroyd, Where, and Virgin Mobile Live. That last is a social networking music application that lets you listen to live music streams of Virgin artists and find video, blogs, and concerts featuring them. Of course, you can always get more apps via the Android Market.
In addition to the usual features of Android 2.2 Froyo like Adobe Flash Player 10.1 and voice dialing over Bluetooth, the Triumph has many other smartphone features that we've come to expect from most Android handsets. These include speakerphone; speed dial; voice commands; conference calling; text and multimedia messaging; a robust e-mail app that supports POP3, IMAP4, and Exchange accounts; Wi-Fi; GPS; and the usual PIM tools like a calendar, phonebook, clock, and calculator. The Triumph does not have Wi-Fi hot-spot support, due to Virgin Mobile not supporting that feature.