First off, apologies for the long silence. I've been pretty busy with things lately. What with Freeit4Less, a vacation, a vacation within a vacation to visit relatives (this is my last day of that particular event) and keeping current with various facets of tech-dom, as well as reading a book or two, I've neglected Go4Prepaid. Thanks for bearing with me. Hopefully the following reviews will serve to put up a lot of info in a concise format to make up for the dearth thereof I've been showing lately.
Oh, and yes I know, when I get back up to Colorado I'll take some time to review the Boost Mobile i425.
Second, battery life is not yet included in this review, and reception judgments are shaky...I'll edit this post later on with appropraite figures if I can, but I don't have the data due to laziness so far on my part...I promise I will repent thereof ;)
Okay, to the first review, or rather comparison, of the Kyocera K126c...
...to the Kyocera K7 Rave. No, I'm not really kidding on this one. The screen might be formatted differently, have a color background and sport a Tracfone balance display, and the phone may be MUCH smaller overall, lending somewhat of a modern air to the affair, but otherwise you have something that is best shoved back into the 2002 drawer, leaving you rolling your eyes and wondering what Tracfone was thinking when they released this one.
Okay, not everything is wrong with it. From a cursory look and a friend's observation about his own K126c (in Net10 attire, which looks a little better) reception and voice quality seem to be above average on this old=looking phone, and the ringtones are still polyphonic, opposed to the monophonic, color-screen Motorola c139, Also, small may well be beautiful; the phone, while wider, takes up a similar amount of space to the much-loved predecessor to this hunka junk, the Nokia 2126\i. And yes, it's Single-Rate and Net10-capable if you buy that version, but that's assumed of any Tracffone since the release of the LG 3280.
Overall, I'm simply baffled why (no wait...maybe Tracfone is MAKING money on the phones right when you buy the...even if they do only cost a scant $15) the perfectly functional, highly-praised Nokia 2126 was replaced with...this. Let's just hope that Tracfone's next run of CDMA phones isn't another, deeper, look into the past, sponsored by they-who-are-buying-Sanyo :(. I mean, why couldn't Tracfone get a BETTER phone when getting Kyocera...I mean, you know, Kyocera makes stuff like Virgin Mobile's Wild Card that are t least halfway decent. Which counts out their K10 and everything before it in this day and age. Oh, and the Oystr.
Next, the LG 200c, compared a bit less bitingly to the LG 3280...
...which is still a better phone. If you're given an option of getting either the 3280 for $50 or the 200c for $30, which may well be your options at this point, get the 3280. It may be a little more bulky, and is a little older, and a little more expensive...but you'll thank yourself. Not that the LG 200c is a horrible phone...it, along with its Alltel cousin the ax-145, its Virgin Mobile cousin the Aloha and its name-our-CDA-carrier cousin of some similar naming scheme, is just an inexpensive starter phone with none too many features that has somewhat of a sense of class, as long as it's closed and you don't see that it's a basic phone. But come on, why the heck would you want to downgrade from the previous-generation phone?
For one thing, the "cool" internal antenna doesn't look to pick up a signal as well as that of the LG 3280, which in turn fared worse than the Nokia 2126i (which, admittedly, has rather good reception, especially for a phone with an "intenna"). My dad works out in the country and his new 200c, on Net10, has been found to be noticeably weaker signal-wise than the Tracfone bar phone that preceeded it. Wrong way, Forrest! Especially considering that the phone introduces no new eatures to the scene versus the Nokia 2126i, except maybe being a flip phone and having some way to buy airtime on-phone now.
But what about the external keys on the LG 3280, removable faceplates, and other such marks of a decent phone? Sorry dude, they're gone on the 200c. Volume must be adjusted with the regular keypad of the phone. Oh, and the speakerphone\ringer now has no outside ort. Come on, don't tell me this stuff was lopped off in the name of style and simplicity. Espeially considering that the 200c (which probably has as good battery life as the 3280, if not better...so that's one thing going for it) is the highest-end Tracfone you can now buy if you're in a CDMA area...the lower-end one is the aforementioned Kyocera K126c. In short, the highest-end Tracfone on CDMA is the lowest-end new phone if you're looking at Virgin Mobile (note that I said new phone; the Kyocera Marbl isn't new and tops the 200c feature-wise if not speed-wise) and is put to shame by pretty much any prepaid carrier nowadays. Come on, Tracfone, don't let your neglect of the CDMA side of things, or your relegation of it to second-class citizenship in favor of your big honking AT&T GSM deal, cast again the light on your service that it is expensive and uses outdated phones. God forbid.
But enough of my rant. Here's the third review, this time for a non-Tracfone (seeing as how it's a CDMA phone with a camera, and it's a Samsung, that's sorta implied): the Samsung u340.
First off, thak you Verizon. You have finally realized that your "Red" user interface is a step this side of pathetic. Maybe we want different brands of phones to look different when we use them, rather than everything, even high-end phones like the Razr Maxx Ve, adhering to the same dismal creed of interface that makes your phones seem so ancient.
Okay, so you still have a fair portion of your UI embedded into this phone. SIgnal bars are still sorta wierd-looking, some items are a little wierd, and ringtone choice seems shorted by the desire for the customer to download something for pay at Get It Now. But at least a Samsung phone seems a little closer to a Samsung phone. Or maybe you've just smartened up your UI like you did with the LG Voyager and ported it to the rest of your platform, creating something that is actually worth using in the process. Either way, I'm a bit happier.
But enough of my UI ranting. The u340 is a capable phone. Like the UTStarCom 7075 that I reviewed awhile back, it's just your average cameraphone when you get down to it, with few extra features to make it notable above any other phone. And its internal antenna may not do wonders for reception...it seems along the lines of the LG 200c...maybe a little better but nothing really grat...but for $40 you get a fair amount of phone on prepaid. Makes a good Page Plus phone, though there are better models for reception, talking and texting.
The phone is like recent basic Samsungs: relatively thin, rather angular, mildly good looking (this one came in blue though other colors may be out there) and decent, though not amazing, for ease of use and speed. The keypad, my dad complained, didn't seem too great on one-handed operation, and I tend to agree, but it's passable. The camera is okay, though unfortunately no picture messaging and no cable means no picture samples. It even has a "sketch" mode that turns your picture into a hopeless attempt at a line drawing, but I oerstate its hopelessness.
So overall the u340, which is likely in a Wal-Mart near you around $40 in price (that's what I got it for), is a decent phone and a bit of an upgrade from the UTStarCom 7075 due to Samsung's slightly better sense of cellular style and Verizon's new take of UI design. Again, if you're looking for a Page Plus Cellular phone this is as good a one as any that have recently come through Wal-Mart's doors. Though it's nothing spectacular...no Bluetooth, EV-DO or amazing user interface is to be found. But that's what you get for $40.
Well, hope this helps catch everyone up nfo-wise, review-wise, and generally etcetera-wise and gives people an idea about the Kyocera K126, LG 200c and Samsung u340. Since all three phones run on the same (Verizon) network, I'll be doing a recetion and battery life shootout between the lot, as well as versus that great old standby, the Nokia 2126. Then, in a few weeks, a feview of the Motorola i425, the thinnest iDEN phone ever. Stay tuned!