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Virgin Mobile and their Android phones; opinions, please!
I posted this first in the Android Hardware forum but realized this would be a better place for it. I am looking into buying my first Android phone. I will be upgrading from a lovely LG Rumor Touch, so perhaps any Android phone would be an big upgrade, but I am looking for advice as a wanna-be Android user.
As you can see from the thread title, my carrier is Virgin Mobile (VM,) so my choice of Android phones is limited. My budget will also limit my choices somewhat; I don't want to pay more than $150 for the phone. I am aware that VM routinely has their phones crippled by the manufacturer so, assuming they do the same with their Android phones, my experience with whatever phone I end up getting will no doubt be tempered by that, but I am planning to gain some end-user control of the phone by rooting it and installing a custom ROM, if available. I currently have the grandfathered $25/mth plan and, sadly, realize I will have to bump this up to their $35/mth plan when I replace my current phone; I am hopeful that switching to an Android phone will make the extra cost worth it. I am unaware of any other non-contract carrier that offers a plan that is as good as VMs for that price, which is why I decided to stick with VM.
I don't use my phone extensively - it isn't constantly glued to my hand or my ear as it is for many users. I primarily use if to make and receive phone calls, so a phone with good, clear sounding reception and transmission, is important to me. I do use my phone to do some texting/messaging and for occasional Internet use. (Of course, my Internet use may increase when I get a phone with (hopefully) better browser implementation than I have with my current "semi-dumb" phone.) I don't take many pictures with my phone, either, but a better camera may change that as well, so a decent camera would be nice, though not essential.
Right now these are the phones I am seriously considering:
HTC EVO™ V 4G (if this is "the one," I plan to root this phone, and make the other necessary changes, to take care of the radio problem that others have posted about.)
HTC One™ V
LG® Optimus Elite™ (not current as far as OS software is concerned, but it seems to be reliable and get pretty good reviews; overheating was an issue but this problem seems to have been resolved for the most part.)
Pros and cons of these phones for those who have experience with them would be much appreciated. If another of the limited VM offerings would be better than the three I have picked out, that info would also be very useful and welcome as well. I have to make a decision very soon as the current sale price for the phones I am considering will be ending on 01/03/2013.