Do you use Virgin Mobile (in the U.S.)? Even better, do you use their Slice phone?
July 26, 2007 5:49 AM   Subscribe

Do you use Virgin Mobile (in the U.S.)? Even better, do you use their Slice phone? All its specs are fine for me; I'm hoping to hear how you like it (especially the sound quality of calls, since the reviews of that are mixed) and/or how you like using Virgin Mobile.
posted by lorimer to Technology (19 answers total)
I've never used the Slice, but VM is our go-to service whenever we're between services. I think you'll find a bunch of threads here with a pretty high satisfaction rate with Virgin.

I've never had a phone that was perfect in all situations; whatever $20 Virgin flip phone I had a couple of months ago was really loud but clear and nicely shaped to hold to your ear, the Samsung Blackjack I have now is crap when there's a lot of background noise, the PPC6700 before that was awful to talk on because of its vast heavy flatness.

Now that I think about it, it's possible my husband had a Slice briefly (before he lost it and got the cheap flip) and liked it very much. I remember he did a lot of comparing because he wanted a phone that would fit comfortably in his pocket.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:11 AM on July 26, 2007

HowardForums is probably the best resource for cellphone stuff in the history of the world, and they've got a Virgin section.
posted by box at 6:14 AM on July 26, 2007

We use Virgin since we can get it for $7/month and we only need it for emergencies. We use the Oystr (the $20 phone Lyn is probably talking about) and we're happy with it. I can't imagine signing a contract and getting an expensive phone after this. Service is good here in downtown Denver. As far as customer service, etc., the great thing about prepay is there's none to deal with. No extra fees or messed up billing. Only problem is the hold music makes me feel like a 12 year old.
posted by monkeymadness at 6:53 AM on July 26, 2007

2nd Monkeymadness' satisfaction with VM prepay service and call quality (Wash DC suburbs.) The phone I got is rubbish, but that's my fault
posted by mojohand at 7:38 AM on July 26, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for the warning against the K10, and the forum pointer!

Anybody has the Slice...?

I wonder because in the comments sections I see, many people say beautiful call quality and many other people say bad echoey call quality.
posted by lorimer at 7:59 AM on July 26, 2007

I'm a very light cellphone user, so Virgin Mobile keeps me because I can end up paying very little per month.

I've had two phones over the last 3 years or so -- now the Nokia 2115i, beats me what cutesy name they call(ed) it -- and the audio quality on both is OK for the occasional call but nothing to write home about.

Coverage is just fine in Lincoln, Nebraska, and also good whenever we travel to big cities. Rural Nebraska service is essentually nonexistant, and I assume that's true no matter what rural area you're in.
posted by jepler at 8:13 AM on July 26, 2007

My wife has the Marbl and I have the Oystr with Virgin Mobile. We are both quite happy with the phones and he service.
posted by COD at 9:01 AM on July 26, 2007

Contrary to mojohand, I have a Royale (K10), and find it to be a fine, basic cell phone. Nothing fancy, but it works. (If you planned to carry it with you everywhere, it might not be the best choice, since it's a little thick, but I don't do that.) The call quality has been all right. It's far better than the flimsy Nokia I got at first (the backlight died in a few months) and it was free after a $20 airtime rebate. I'd really recommend against the Nokia Shorty. Fortunately, I don't think they offer it anymore.

Virgin uses the Sprint network, so coverage is generally pretty decent in my experience. The bonus is, you don't have to deal with Sprint's customer service!
posted by kindall at 9:15 AM on July 26, 2007

Best answer: I have Virgin (in Seattle) and the Slice. So far the call quality has been fine. Previously I had a Vox 8610, which was also fine, but the battery was going, and I wanted something new. The call quality on that one was also fine. I like how the Slice is really thin and light. The keypad is taking some getting used to since it's a little small and there's no actual buttons. For the most part it's fine. I hardly ever text anyone, but if you had fingers on the large side it might be a hassle. My only real complaint is that even on the lowest setting the ringtone volume is louder than I'd like. Also the selection of background pictures is really crappy, though I don't think I'm anywhere near Virgin's target demographic. It would be nice if you could just pick a plain solid color.

Admittedly like many of the others, I don't use it that much, but I've never had any problems with service or coverage (in cities.) In fact Virgin is the only service I've had in Seattle where I get good reception in my apartment.
posted by sevenless at 10:37 AM on July 26, 2007

I used to use Virgin Mobile and was perfectly happy with their service for several years (phone was fine and coverage area was good). However, they eventually started hitting me with bogus charges (usually in the amount of $10.80) over and over and over and over -- as many as a half dozen or more a month. Usually they'd drop them, after I'd make call after call after call after call (dealing with "cool" "teenager" "customer service" "reps")... but eventually it became so much hassle and I had to get my bank involved that I ditched 'em for T-Mobile.
posted by scody at 10:43 AM on July 26, 2007

We had the K10 but switched to the Oystr for the flip cover. After a couple months the screen on the K10 became unreadable due to scuffing, and the backlight isn't so bright. YMMV, of course.
posted by monkeymadness at 11:21 AM on July 26, 2007

Best answer: I've had Virgin Mobile for years, lightly used. Everything's great except for the over-the-top teen hipness vibe. Even their target group must be rolling their eyes, sheesh. But once you get through to customer service, they're always friendly, polite, unrushed, and knowledgeable. A+ for the staff.

Never had scody's situation with bogus charges.

If you don't need to rush to top up, you'll benefit. They usually cave in and offer a $10 bonus for toppping up after your service has been inactive (not cancelled) for a few weeks.

I just upgraded to the Slice a few months ago. No echo, and I can hear (just barely) even at a crowded noisy outdoor venue. The keypad is annoying. Tiny, tiny little buttons that are absolutely flat. You've got to have smallish fingertips and be really precise, or else you are certain to misdial/mistype. Also the button on the side is a ringtone toggle (volume control during calls). It's easily jostled in a pocket or bag, which means that even though you set it to "vibrate" it can surprise you with some other gawdawful thing (it only comes with gawdawful things preinstalled -- you have to pay to download others and it's well locked to prevent you using 3rd party ringtones/graphics). On the plus side, it's small. About the size of an iPod Nano, and lighter than that. The case feels solid, not easily damaged by being banged around. It's smooth, though, no "tooth" like the plastic models. So it tends to slip out of pockets. Get a case or beltclip.

The battery indicator is (only on mine??) buggy. Fully charged, it always shows the battery as nearly dead. But I can pull it out of the purse weeks later and it's still rarin' to go, so the indicator is just plain wrong.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 11:28 AM on July 26, 2007

I have a Cyclops in Seattle, very happy with the service. I know Virgin is supposed to have awesome customer service, but the two times I called them I had a bored kid on the line who was unhelpful to the point of aggravation. Still, cheap & good.

Previously, I had Verizon, and my phone did not work in my house in Queen Anne.
posted by astruc at 12:11 PM on July 26, 2007

I signed up for VM after having several different carriers through work. I didn't want much but a plain ol' phone, so I settled for the Oystr, and have been seriously happy. I've got a friend with a Slice, it works fine, but the non-flip was a turnoff for me.
posted by pupdog at 6:11 PM on July 26, 2007

Oh, and if you do go with VMo, look into the Sugar Momma perks - spend a few minutes a day watching ads, get free minutes.
posted by pupdog at 6:14 PM on July 26, 2007

Response by poster: Thank you to all!

I so agree with the comments about Virgin's attempts at attitude (and I'm in their target demographic). I wish I could go with T-Mobile instead, but for a few reasons I need Sprint's network.

nakedcodemonkey, here's a thread that mentions locking the Slice to prevent those unexpected changes from the jostling (which is also useful because the Slice may too easily call 911 on its own if you don't lock it).

And, for anybody else reading this to get Slice info, here are the best closeup pics I've found of it.

The Slice is curently $30 shipped at Virgin's site, $30 at most of the big box stores (C-City, Best Buy) and $40 at Radio Shack.
posted by lorimer at 8:12 PM on July 26, 2007

nakedcodemonkey, here's a thread that mentions locking the Slice to prevent those unexpected changes from the jostling

Whoa, that's a whole other level of unexpected badness. Mine just periodically switches to one of its obnoxious ringtones (which key guard does seem to prevent -- thanks for bringing that to my attention!). If I'm reading that April discussion correctly, it's still possible to dial 911 by accident as described. Mine still does it, so looks like there hasn't been a firmware update.

If you don't leave the phone on between calls, or will keep it in a hard case, neither of these is an issue. Big "if"...
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 10:13 PM on July 26, 2007

Slice may too easily call 911 on its own if you don't lock it

Point of clarification: it's the other way around. Slice's 911 autodial menu happens because key guard is active.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 10:22 PM on July 26, 2007

Response by poster: You're right -- the thread says that when keyguard is on, two presses on the call button calls 911.

Maybe a hard case is the best way...
posted by lorimer at 12:54 AM on July 27, 2007

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