Monday, July 16, 2007

UTStarCom\Verizon CDM7075 & Page Plus Cellular

Well, I might as well just jump in…here’s my review of the UTStarCom CDM7075…

First off this phone is first and foremost a Verizon phone. In fact, there is no sign of UTStarCom branding until you open the back of the phone and look at...or under...the battery. The user interface is the now-typical Verizon "red" version...the only trace of anything else is the ringtone selection. So basically this is the most carrier-branded phone I've ever laid hands on. This is not completely horrible as the Verizon UI is fast enough on this phone and pretty efficient, but in my opinion there are a lot of prettier, easier UIs out there…VZW’s incarnation on this phone is decidedly bare-bones, even dated. And the phone itself doesn't even have any games on it...though a fifth of the user interface is devoted to making you buy games, ringtones and more.

As to the qualities that really count, this phone does reasonably, though not exceptionally, well. In the build quality area, the phone is decent, though the keypad has very little travel and is rather large for my tastes (between keys), making text messaging a chore more than usual (combined with a slightly foreign user interface for texting, though of course it’s very familiar to anyone who has used pretty much any Verizon phone in the last few years). On the whole, this phone seems to me like a retooled, newer overall version of the Audiovox 8910…in short, that phone done right. Unfortunately, this still leaves you with a pretty basic phone.

Voice quality is okay, though not anything to write home about it. Then again, Verizon uses the 1900MHz network where I am and I don’t think they get great signal anyway…yet I still think that an extended antenna should help matters just a little more than it does with this phone. Then again, 190MHz doesn’t really get a boost from an extendable antenna, and the phone does support analog networks, something that’s good for a Page Plus Cellular phone as that way it can serve as a backup for your favorite high-end phone (like the Razr or pretty much any PDA phone).

Battery life sticks out to me as not bad at all…I think the phone lasted a week…albeit in standby mode most of the time…before turning up dead. Really not bad for a CDMA phone. Then again, this phone doesn’t have any real power-drinking features…it’s just a basic phone with a black-and-white external display…so it should last awhile, given its relatively large battery…

As to features, again, this phone is tooled for taking advantage of all the buy-able stuff Verizon has. Meaning that it can support MP3 and polyphonic ringtones, and has a decent (for 640x480 shots…and Verizon’s camera UI isn’t too bad either speed-wise) camera. But if you’re looking for any high-end features (unless you consider MP3 ringtones, a camera or an average-quality\loudness speakerphone high-end) this isn’t your main phone. But hey, Page Plus doesn’t support anything right now beside voice and text, and when they come out with web it’ll be compatible with this phone (which has web access…that’s all I know as I wasn’t able to really test it) so this phone fits the bill at a palatable price.

Speaking of Page Plus, activation was quick, support was easy to access (no wait time or not much anyway) and the service is really dirt cheap for voice. Not quite so much for text messages…you should get Virgin Mobile if you text a lot and want prepaid…but I can’t argue with $80 buying 1400 anytime minutes, useable (and roll-overable) for the next four months, minus a few minutes for the 50 cent monthly fee. The only annoying thing with the service is I think that leaving voicemail costs airtime (or something outrageous like that) and the “minute lady” makes your outgoing calls about fifteen seconds longer than they need to be…though thankfully this mixed blessing doesn’t charge for while it’s talking.

So, overall, the CDM7075 is a fine basic phone for Page Plus and the like, but you’ll have to put up with incessant Verizon branding everywhere on the phone until Page Plus releases their own version (I’m guessing they will). But hey, for $40 you get a speakerphone, mp3 ringtones, a camera, web browsing, an external display and in general a phone that isn’t a total piece of junk. I’m all for that.


Anonymous said...

Nice review. I too decided to try Page Plus and got the CDM-7075 as well from a local Walmart. Very easy, fast activation thru Ugly Eric - no hassles at all. The phone itself is not too shabby; decent build, generally fast UI, easy to navigate. Camera PIX could've been relocated in another menu area...

The only quibble I have is that I get no banner showing the carrier network name. I have tried with ERI banner on/off, tried switching between home only, selection a/b - nothing. Tried another *22890 to see if another shot of OTA programming might work. Wondering if anyone else with this model phone, or any other Verizon phone on Page Plus has this issue? I haven't ventured into roaming territory yet to see if the triangle will show up and, if so, any banner showing extended netowork or something.

Other than that, I am very happy with the service - basic voice/text - gets the job done.

Again, thanks for the review.

Mike from York, PA.

Dave said...

My Verizon LG-VX4400 has not displayed a carrier name since I switched it from VZW to Page Plus.

The triangle is solid when roaming in extended network areas, but the network banner is MIA.