Looking for an entry-level smartphone for, say, a text-happy teenager? Or maybe you're ready to ditch your old flip-phone for something a little more robust, but you don't want to pay those crazy monthly rates ($80 and up from most carriers).
Consider the LG Optimus V from Virgin Mobile. It's a reasonably speedy, appreciably compact Android phone that'll cost you as little as $35 per month--no contract required.
And the phone itself just got a price cut. Direct from Virgin Mobile, you can get the LG Optimus V smartphone for $129.99 shipped. No taxes, no activation fees, just $129.99 out the door. (Virgin is one of the few carriers that doesn't nickel-and-dime you to death.)
Update: Eagle-eyed reader Dexterella noted that by applying coupon code OCTOBER at checkout, you can get the phone for $110.50!
The Optimus V is on the small side, weighing 4.7 ounces and measuring just half an inch thick. It also has a 3.2-inch screen, which can feel cramped--unless you're accustomed to a screen that's even smaller. It has no physical keyboard, but does offer that nifty Swype software for easily entering text via the onscreen keyboard.
You can learn more about the Optimus V in CNET's review. Incidentally, that review dings the phone for not offering hotspot tethering, but it's actually quite easy to enable if you install a particular third-party app--no rooting required.
I continue to be a big fan of Virgin's service offerings (even though they've raised prices this year--grrr). The aforementioned $35/month plan includes 300 voice minutes and unlimited texting and data. For $45/month you get 1,200 minutes--more than enough for the majority of users, I suspect.
The Optimus V is a great little phone for users who want the full Android (2.2) experience without the hefty prices. If you've got one already, hit the comments and let your fellow cheapskates know what you think of it.
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