Virgin Mobile LG Optimus Elite Review

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Our friends over at Virgin Mobile have sent us the Virgin Mobile LG Optimus Elite for us to review. As many of you know Virgin recently announced their 4G WiMAX network, however the LG Optimus Elite is not part of that. Instead it is the first Virgin Mobile device to have Google Wallet! And of course this thanks to a Near Field Communications chip, that is built-in. There is more to this device than just that, it is running Android, has a nice design and much more. But should you go with this device? We will answer that in the full review, which begins right now!

 

Design

LG has made some very nice phones in the past, and as expected the LG Optimus Elite for Virgin Mobile has a nice design. When you first pick up the device you will notice that it is thin and very light, so you are already off to a good start with this device. It is just .39 inches thick and weighs only 4.25 ounces. The back of the device is textured plastic, and there is aluminum going around the sides. Keep in mind that built-in to the back cover is the NFC(Near Field Communications) chip, so be careful when you are taking this on and off. This way you do not damage it. Speaking of which on the back you have a 5 megapixel camera, LED flash, a tiny mirror, and the LG logo. Above the screen you have an earpiece and the Virgin Mobile logo. Keep in mind that there is no front facing camera on the Optimus Elite. Below the screen you have the 4 touch capacitive android buttons. Those are your home, menu, back and search. They are silver when the screen is not on, but they do light up and glow white when you are using the device. This fits in with the design of the device. Along the bottom of the phone you will find a microphone and a micro USB port. Your headphone jack and power/sleep button can be found along the top of the device. And last but not least you will find the volume rocker on the left hand side. If you, carefully, pop the back cover off you will find the micro SD card slot and 3.7 V Li-Ion battery. Overall, the design of the LG Optimus Elite is very nice.

 

Hardware

Now we move onto the hardware of the Virgin Mobile LG Optimus Elite. For starters you get a 3.5-inch HVGA touch screen display. Compared to many other smartphones on the market today, this display is a little small. If you are a big game player, this may be an issue for you. However, if you are a first time Android user you should be fine with the screen size. The viewing angles on the display are good, unless if you are looking at from a very bad angle. Like directly on the side, the colors will not be vibrant and the image appears blurry. As with many devices when the brightness is all the way up, your colors pop out and look much more vibrant. This was exactly the case with the Optimus Elite. Even though this guy only has an 800MHz processor with 512MB of RAM, it does go pretty fast. If you want a fast experience don’t have too many applications open at once, and also just want to make sure you know that shutting off and turning on does take a while on this phone. But switching apps and using them is quite fast and I was impressed by its performance. There is 4GB of internal storage and around 2GB’s of that is user accessible. While it does have a micro SD slot that can hold up to a 32GB micro SD card, a micro SD card is not included with the purchase of this device. However, fear not LG and Box have partnered to give you 50GB of free cloud storage. This would usually cost around $240 for an entire year. Simply download the “Box” application and set-up your account. The 50GB of free storage offer is available until July 22, 2012 for all LG Devices. Now as usual you get 3G speeds, WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity. On the back of this device you have a 5 megapixel camera with LED flash. This camera gets the job done, for the most part. Focusing does take some time, but it will get there. While using the camera the quality of the photographs were hit or miss at times, but it should get the job done if your conditions are right. Overall, the hardware of the LG Optimus Elite is good in my opinion.

 

Virgin Mobile Plans And Network Test

Many of your are probably wondering how much is it going to cost for the calling, texting, and data plans a month. Well, one great thing about Virgin Mobile is that there plans are priced pretty well for the most part. And at time they beat out the big carriers, such as T-Mobile, AT&T, or Verizon. All of their plans give you Unlimited Data And Messaging. For $35 a month you get 300 Anytime Minutes and Unlimited Data And Messaging. For $45 a month you get 1200 Anytime Minutes and Unlimited Data And Messaging. And finally for $55 a month you get Unlimited Minutes, Data, And Messaging.  So they really do have a plan to fit everyone’s need. Now, we move onto the Network or Speed test of the LG Optimus Elite. This is a 3G phone, so we are getting 3G speeds. Check out our results right here:

NJTechReviews Virgin Mobile LG Optimus Elite Speed Test

  • Ping 137ms, Download 1.00Mbps, Upload .43Mbps
  • Ping 144ms, Download 1.12Mbps, Upload  .40Mbps
  • Ping 952ms, Download .04Mbps, Upload .13Mbps
  • Ping 878ms, Download .13Mbps, Upload .11Mbps

We saw some high 3G speeds on Virgin Mobile’s Network but, we also saw some low 3G speeds on their network. Overall, the network could be improved but, it should be fine and may even get better as more people migrate to their 4G WiMAX network, which launches in just a couple of days on May 31.

 

Software

The Virgin Mobile LG Optimus Elite features Android 2.3.7 Gingerbread, rather than putting an LG User Interface on this device you get Virgin Mobile ID. Basically it is the same as Sprint ID, you can choose from many different ID packs and they act as a custom user interface to fit your need. If you are an eco-friendly person choose the Green pack, if you want E! (entertainment show), then get the “E!” ID pack. They offer something for everyone and I enjoy this feature. For pre-loaded apps you get some, like Activate, Google App Suite, YouTube, Buzz Feed, Camcorder, Camera, Downloads, Facebook, Flash Player Settings, Mobile ID, News & Weather, My Account, Play Store, Polaris Viewer, Google Wallet, Google Shopper, Tuning Fork, Yelp, Wikipedia, Voicemail, Virgin Mobile Live, and more. Virgin Mobile Live is one of my favorite applications on this device and many of Virgin Mobile’s other smartphones. Basically it is a 24/7 radio station, that streams some pretty good music. In the application itself you can see some music videos, the latest music news, and listen to some good bands. And of course this is free on your device, and does require an internet connection. Next up is the best feature of the phone, that is if you use it. And that as many of you have guessed is Google Wallet. And it works well at times but, at other times you may be better off using your good old-fashioned wallet. Basically it stores you credit card, or you can fill up your Google Wallet card, and simply tap to pay where it is accepted. It works at many stores such as CVS Pharmacy, Macy’s, and some others. For a full list of stores head over to http://www.google.com/wallet/ . Overall, the software on the LG Optimus Elite is excellent.

 

Bottom Line

Let’s get the pricing out there before we decided whether or not you want this device. It costs $149.99 to get the Virgin Mobile LG Optimus Elite, and then you choose one of the plans that we spoke about in the “Virgin Mobile Plans And Network Test” section above. So, it is not that bad of a price if you want a phone with Google Wallet and NFC capabilities. If you don’t have your heart set on being able to use Google Wallet, than you may want to wait for another Virgin Mobile device like the HTC EVO V 4G. You Can Get The Virgin Mobile LG Optimus Elite, By Clicking Here. We would like to thank Virgin Mobile USA for providing us with a copy of the “Virgin Mobile LG Optimus Elite”.

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