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Virgin Mobile LG Rumor Touch review

Virgin Mobile LG Rumor Touch 8

Sitting all over America today are people who yearn to upgrade to a smartphone without paying through the nose on a monthly basis for the privilege. Meanwhile sitting in various Virgin Mobile warehouses is the LG Rumor Touch smartphone. Tying these two things together are Virgin Mobile’s Beyond Talk unlimited data and text plans, which start at a very reasonable $25 per month with 300 voice minutes. So is this the disruptive force that will make smartphone adoption ubiquitous?

First impressions of the Virgin Mobile LG Rumor Touch

The LG Rumor Touch is a new addition to Virgin Mobile, offering a 3 inch touchscreen with slide out keyboard, email/web/social-networking integration and downloadable Java apps. It runs a proprietary LG Virgin Mobile LG Rumor Touch 9operating system that supports touch throughout. Other notable features include a regular 3.5mm headphone socket, Bluetooth, a micro SD card slot and a 2 megapixel camera with video recording capability.  There’s no fancy OS here or App Store, but the specs are a good match for social-networking-cash-maximizing-wanna-get-something-that-works-and-doesn’t-break-the-back people.

Speaking of dosh, the LG Rumor Touch costs $149.99 and you then have a choice of no-contract pay monthly unlimited data, web, text and plans that have different voice minute allowances. The $25 plan buys you 300 mins, $40 gets you 1,200 mins and $60 buys unlimited talk time. Even better, while there is sales tax applied to the monthly cost, there are none of those pesky hidden charges that can take a $70 monthly contract cost up to around $80-90 when the bill arrives. The Beyond Talk sales tax, at least in New York, takes the $40 plan to just under $44 at the time of writing. And since there’s no contract you can cancel at any time or go up/down plan levels. So when compared to typical voice+data contracts over two years these Virgin Mobile plans can deliver significant savings.

While that all sounds great it’s clearly only useful if the LG Rumor Touch is any good, so is it?

Using the Virgin Mobile LG Rumor Touch

The LG Rumor Touch feels good in the hand. It appears to be well made and the slide out keyboard feels like it has a solid locking mechanism. The whole device is reasonably light at 4.59 ounces and is compact enough to hide in a pocket with ease.

Virgin Mobile LG Rumor Touch 11The social networking and email integration works well enough, although I had difficulty getting new email notifications to come through willingly from online email services.  I found that generally had to load up the email app each time I wanted to access my email, even though I had told the Rumor Touch to run the app to the background when not in use.  This would probably not be an issue for a light user who might only check their email once or twice a day, but I found it annoying to have to wait the few seconds for the email app to load each time I wanted to check my mail.   There’s Facebook integration out of the box and apps like Google Maps and Opera Mini can be easily downloaded.  I was impressed with how quickly the Rumor Touch downloaded and rendered Google Maps data, including satellite images.

On the subject of web content, Opera Mini is definitely a worthy download for the LG Rumor Touch as the built-in web browser is fairly weak. It tends to display information in more of a WAP format compared to how a state of the art smartphone would fully render a page. The Rumor Touch does download information fairly quickly though, as Virgin Mobile uses the Sprint 3G network to provide its service. However one online issue I encountered frequently was that the LG Rumor Touch often failed to play YouTube videos. I have to assume the issues were due to network congestion because while on some occasions YouTube video streaming worked fine, trying to stream the same videos on other days failed. Even when YouTube playback was successful the LG Rumor Touch often thought about the task for upwards of 30 seconds before starting to play the video clip, which is too long in my opinion.

The music player and camera can both make use of the LG Rumor Touch’s micro SD card slot, so with a high capacity card installed it’s possible to carry a large amount of media. The music player works well enough but unfortunately does not play in the background when other apps are in use. That was surprising, especially since most other apps on the LG Rumor Touch can be sent to run in the background.

Virgin Mobile LG Rumor Touch 5The camera is decent for general use, although its 2 megapixel resolution lags behind some of the competition. It’s fine for occasional snaps though. There’s also video camera functionality offering QVGA resolution, which is only 320×240.  It records video, but not to a high standard and is no rival for the HD-capable cameras on high-end smartphones.  Nevertheless the feature is useful as long you keep its limitations in mind.  It will play back at acceptable detail on a screen the size of the one on the LG Rumor Touch, but larger computer screens will not flatter the output of the video recorder.

The touchscreen does its job, but it’s resistive rather than the capacitive technology found on the likes of the iPhone and some other touchscreen smartphones. This means it’s more responsive to fingernails or stylus input than broad finger flings. Once you get the hang of it though it’s perfectly passable but don’t expect pinch-to-zoom or any of that funky stuff. The screen colors are vivid and the display is bright.

If touchscreens aren’t your thing, the LG Rumor Touch has a fully featured slide-out keyboard. The keyboard includes a dedicated row of number keys, which is a welcome feature, as well as button for instant access to emoticons. The keys themselves are easy to press and offer good feedback. I found it was easy to type with the LG Rumor Touch with good accuracy.

Virgin Mobile LG Rumor Touch 14Battery life was good on the LG Rumor Touch. I managed to get almost two days of general usage between charges, which I consider to be perfectly acceptable for a data phone. I find that current smartphones need a daily charge (some even need an intra-day fill-up) so it’s always nice to know that a phone has some leftover juice if I forget to charge it overnight.  Kudos also to LG for adopting the standard mini USB charging port for the Rumor Touch.

Call quality on the LG Rumor Touch was good, and these days we expect nothing less from a modern phone. Callers heard me fine and I heard them fine in New York City. I did not experience any dropped calls during my time with the LG Rumor Touch.

Is the Virgin Mobile LG Rumor Touch a good buy?

For a smartphone newbie or light data user, the LG Rumor Touch is a good choice at an excellent price point. It provides enough functionality to enjoy social networking, email and basic web browsing on the move in a compact user-friendly package. While it trails the better featured smartphone market leaders by some margin in many areas, its price point is also stratospherically lower than most competitors over a two year period.  If you’re considering buying the LG Rumor Touch as a genuine iPhone contender though, you will be disappointed.  More demanding users who want better smartphone functionality on a budget might prefer to consider Virgin Mobile’s BlackBerry Curve 8530 which sits at a slightly higher price point.  Stay tuned, our review of the 8530 is coming soon…and as promised here is our Virgin Mobile BlackBerry 8530 review.

All details, including monthly plan features and costs are accurate as at the time of writing and may change in the future.  Consult Virgin Mobile for the most up to date information.

Neil Berman

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theonbutton.com

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Jul 17, 2010 - Posted by | Hardware, Mobile, Reviews | , , , , , , , ,

54 Comments »

  1. […] Update: Here’s the review: Virgin Mobile LG Rumor Touch review […]

    Pingback by Virgin Mobile Beyond Talk is a beyond amazing deal – Update: now with review! « theONbutton | Jul 17, 2010 | Reply

  2. that phone is so cute!!!

    Comment by jada waugh | Jul 21, 2010 | Reply

  3. Thanks so much for the review. You just helped me finally make up my mind on which phone/plan to get after about a year!
    I’m one of the only people I know who doesn’t own one! (I thought my kids would have one before me!)
    It sounds perfect for a beginner like myself who won’t be spending a ton of time on the phone. I just really need one in case of emergencies and to check an occasional email or text but didn’t want to break the bank.
    Thanks again.

    Comment by Steph G | Jul 28, 2010 | Reply

    • i thnk u have to download opera mini its free jus go to it on the phone

      Comment by Anonymous | Aug 30, 2010 | Reply

  4. I am very pleased with my rumor touch excep I have on issue which is that it is the only phone that I am aware of with a media player that has a hard tie streaming viedos off sites like youtube. Dose anyone know how to update the flash player with this phone

    Comment by Jason | Jul 29, 2010 | Reply

    • I just left a comment about how to view videos, if you haven’t figured it out elsewhere by now. Look at my 3 Sep post. I’d still like to figure out how to get a Flash player. Have you found an answer to that part yet?
      Cheers
      Jim

      Comment by Jim | Sep 3, 2010 | Reply

  5. uhm yeahh. this phone is fantastic, i rlly want it. im hoping to get it this week. now i know tht its the way to go, thanks!

    Comment by erple | Aug 1, 2010 | Reply

  6. Just ordered the phone today. I was wondering how much memory it has without the SD Card?

    Comment by Natalie | Aug 6, 2010 | Reply

    • the phone is awesome but it as only 52 mb without the micro sd card with is not that bad. but am pretty impressed with the battery life………

      Comment by Someone says | Aug 8, 2010 | Reply

  7. my b-day is comin up im turnin da big 13 i hope tew qet dis phone it look pretty tight oh dey even qot 1 in purple

    Comment by bianca | Aug 11, 2010 | Reply

    • grammar..

      Comment by lol | Nov 29, 2010 | Reply

  8. ive wanted to get this fone for a long time but i keep findin a lot of bad reviews on it and im scared that it’ll be great at 1st to then having to send it back…but i hope the good reviews are really true

    Comment by anise collins | Aug 12, 2010 | Reply

  9. omg i want that phone so badd please please i want it so badd

    Comment by Anonymous | Aug 14, 2010 | Reply

  10. Umm…well im writing this off of my rumor touch lmao but i love this phone…great battery life..great features…only 2 things…1 the keys on the keyboard are pretty close together but youll get used to it and 2 is sometimes it takes forever to download pictures and videos and sometimes wont even download at all…not even picture mail…but otherwise you should most definitely get this phone. best im come across yet.

    Comment by bmx4life | Aug 16, 2010 | Reply

  11. I WANT THIS POHNE

    Comment by lejohn | Aug 20, 2010 | Reply

    • ME TOO!!!

      Comment by Anonymous | Jul 8, 2011 | Reply

  12. YEA THIS FONE IS SWEET AND I WANT IT

    Comment by kaos | Aug 24, 2010 | Reply

  13. This appears to be the only phone I have had without the ability to download contacts? There’s a touted ability called “Contact Vault,” for which there is a monthly charge, but it does not work on the Rumor phone line, if the web site can be believed, which it often cannot.

    The Web site does not work on Safari. It always offers the option of logging in, even after you have logged in. The USB connector is only used for charging the phone, so far as I can tell. It does not link with a computer at all.

    It works as a phone and Sprint service is quite good, but as for any features, the phone is fairly useless. Too bad the iPhone does not work as a phone, because it’s features are great.

    Comment by Richard Bellerose | Aug 26, 2010 | Reply

    • the iphone works as a phone…Im assumming u mean iPod Touch.

      Comment by Anonymous | Aug 26, 2010 | Reply

  14. This is NOT a smarthphone, it is a 3G multimedia phone. It works fine for a 3G feature phone. It does well enough for the $25/month pricepoint. It’s no iPhone killer, but it lets prepaid customers finally have a soild touchscreen phone that is also 3G and cheap.

    Comment by FreakyLocz14 | Aug 27, 2010 | Reply

    • Noooo go on the virgin mobile site, it’s a smartphone, it’s just not any iPhone it’s a light smartphone

      Comment by Anonymous | Jan 15, 2011 | Reply

  15. I have a Rumour Touch threw virgin mobile, and when I record video and play it back I cant hear any sound. The only time I can hear sound is when I have my ear phones in. Can anyone tell me what the problem can be?

    Comment by Mike | Aug 29, 2010 | Reply

  16. the phone overall is good.I had got it on august 2nd and I have not been happy with the results.The fone it has like been shutting off ndd the internet is very slow

    Comment by Anonymous | Aug 29, 2010 | Reply

  17. Here’s how I was able to finally view YouTube videos:
    It’s simply a matter of disabling the GPS, then go watch a video, then activate GPS again. Really!

    Start at MAIN MENU, SETTINGS, LOCATION, CONTINUE, OFF
    Then open OperaMini, go to YouTube and watch a video in HD (not Normal.)

    Then go back to the first step and select ON at the end, reactivating your GPS in LOCATION.

    I wish I could remember where I found this. But I’m thrilled that it worked.

    Good luck.

    Comment by Jim | Sep 3, 2010 | Reply

  18. I REALLY ENJOY HAVIN THIS PHONE CAUSE ITS A TOUCH SCREEN AND HAS A KEYBOARD!!

    Comment by KIARA | Sep 4, 2010 | Reply

  19. I would watch some youtube videos and in some spots they would either hiccup or seem to be on ffw. I tried the GPS tip by Jim (#17)and that seemed to do the trick. =)

    Comment by Anna | Sep 5, 2010 | Reply

  20. COO COO I DIDNT NO THAT THIS PHONE IS 3G AND ITS PREPAID COO!

    Comment by ja mama | Sep 5, 2010 | Reply

  21. Is there a add the Arabic language for this model please respond quickly and thank you very much

    Comment by moath | Sep 7, 2010 | Reply

  22. damq bro dis phone is so freakin kuu
    cant wait to get it
    is it really only $30???????????

    Comment by Marissa ♥princezz♥ | Sep 17, 2010 | Reply

  23. I think tis phone is OK for what I’m paying, $25 on VM, and all of the problems I am having, it would be unacceptable otherwise. First I could not connect to data. Called VM the had it fixed in 14 hours. Next the yahoo and other messengers, and emails did not work, another issue, another day, fixed. I’m going through the whole phone now making sure it all works. My current problem is the media player. It is supposed to support WMA,MP3, MP4. No WMA files work. mp4 will go to a folder I made on the SD card, as well as MP3’s. I can only access thes files by going into the file management, and the created folder.. Only mp3’s show up in media player, and can not create playlists, albums or anything else. So only 1 song at a time, no continuous play. I do like the maps feature and can log into emails from opera. The user manual on VM’s website is also inaccurate, and does not explain things well. It does ahave an LG warranty service number and they have answered at 1am PST. Very good service from them yet still no fix on the media player. I’ve still got 26 days to take it back to best buy. It is a pretty expensive phone at $150, so it needs to do what it says it can do. Calls are fine, but for the added features and extra $$ it better work!

    Comment by mra | Sep 22, 2010 | Reply

    • So I’m 14 and I just got this phone like not even 6 days ago and my mother and brother got it to and we got the $40 plan. Yeah well we get home and my mom and I noticed we could receive pictures. The next day my mother call Virgin Mobile and basically told them that if they didn’t fix and fix it quick that she’d call the Better Business Bureau and they fixed like that. So if this happens do that. Oh and tell them that you’ll tell everyone you know not to go with this company and you’ll switch to a differnet phone provider.

      Comment by Anonymous | Feb 26, 2011 | Reply

  24. I like the phone but the only thing is sometimes when i make calles the other person cant hear me and its really getting on my nervs

    Comment by gabby | Sep 27, 2010 | Reply

  25. I got this phone the only down fall is that it doesnt play wma files other than that great price great product! if you dont think so suck it and go buy the intercept for an extra hundred bucks

    Comment by Anonymous | Oct 20, 2010 | Reply

  26. This phone looks so cool cant wait 2 get it!!!

    Comment by Taylor | Oct 24, 2010 | Reply

  27. I agree that the response from the touchscreen is not as precise as i’d like it to be, (although i don’t have the smallest fingers) it still works. Flash is NOT and will never be applied to this phone without a complete OS redo which will never happen. Youtube does act a bit sluggish but it again ties into the brew OS as not being the best to chose from for putting in a phone with the capability this one has. 2mp pics and you wanna zoom Forget about it. Its the least of my concern since 1.3mp pics look great on my desktop. My overall assesment: awesome phone with a tight (OS) leash. Buy it if you are in fact not interested in the (in my opinion) over-rated iphone and androids. Flash on the pc is always there for me. Get over it and love the 3rd gen rumor.

    Comment by Bryan | Oct 25, 2010 | Reply

  28. By the way, the person who started this post is not as smart as i am ;)

    Comment by Anonymous | Oct 25, 2010 | Reply

  29. I am going to buy this phone with my next pay check!!!!!! I need the 40.00 beyond talk plan! :))))))))))))

    Comment by Rose | Nov 9, 2010 | Reply

  30. This phone sucks!!! I bought it and had to have a new one sent because after 2 months it started turning it self on and off! for no reason! no one even had to touch it! Talk about annoying at 3 am! And so customer service is really good, but now my new phone you have to take the battery out 2 or 3 times a day to restart it just so you can get text messages! I say dont waste your money on it!

    Comment by Annie | Nov 12, 2010 | Reply

  31. Had it almost a month, and I can’t complain too much for the price. After formatting the phone, it works great with the browser I installed.
    Not a bad phone for 150.

    Comment by Endo | Nov 14, 2010 | Reply

  32. Just picked it up for $69.99 at Best Buy for Black Friday. It’s still $140 on the Virgin Mobile site.

    Comment by April | Nov 26, 2010 | Reply

  33. On the virgin mobile site it say 99 or 90 dollars offically

    Comment by =)STARLYN_HIGGINS=) | Nov 28, 2010 | Reply

  34. ok with the problem of it turning off and on is probably because you slideing the keyboard open too fast/rough cuz it like wiggles the battery and turns it off and on cuz my fone does that sometimes when i slide it too hard so just slide it open slower and it should stop. if it’s doing it without you touching it then… that’s just your problem too bad for you. all phones have their indivisual problems so deal with it be happy you have it at all. and this phone has flash what are you talking about? and it has zoom… ? 0_0

    Comment by Anonymous | Nov 30, 2010 | Reply

    • how did u get flash player installed please tell me.

      Comment by danny | Nov 30, 2010 | Reply

  35. Have had phone since 08/10. Yes, turning off the GPS makes it so you can view You tube vids but any longer than just a few minutes buffer to 6% and then die. So if a video is longer than 3 minutes, you can’t watch the whole thing. It’s irritating as heck. Main reason I upgraded was to view video… UGH

    Comment by leese | Dec 14, 2010 | Reply

  36. going to get this phone on christmas! can’t wait!! :D thanks a lot for the review. it really helped.

    Comment by Anonymous | Dec 20, 2010 | Reply

  37. I think the phone shuts off and YouTube videos stop after 5 minutes because of the tiny amount of working memory installed on this device—only about 58 MB. Most PCs and smartphones have at least 256 MB. What happens is that the data passes through faster than the phone can write and erase it (to allow for the next batch), causing it to clog up the works until no more can pass through, slowing it down and shutting it off. Multitasking overloads the process even more. The “memory” card should be referred to as a “storage” card. It serves the same purpose as the hard drive on your PC, but in miniature.

    Comment by AdinaJazzMaven | Feb 5, 2011 | Reply

  38. I would like to know how to upgrade the flash player so i can watch movies and such…

    Comment by Anonymous | May 4, 2011 | Reply

  39. Hey. The part of this article where you said you can’t play music and put the application in the background is a lie/false. Now if you’re viewing your music through your memory card, you’re doing it wrong. You have to go through to go to “Entertainment” then “Music”. It’s going to take you through the start-up. Let it enable service data if it asks. ALL of your music that is on your memory card and the phone itself will then be loaded into the app. Once that is done, hit the “Home/House” icon on the phone and touch “Run in background”. Your music will still be playing while you’re doing everything else with the phone including surfing the web. *Warning* When you switch from keyboard to touch screen your music will pause! But it’s okay, it will continue playing within a second.

    Comment by Zeffa1234 | May 20, 2011 | Reply

    • Hi Zeffa1234,

      Well done for discovering this. Certainly not an intentional omission, I just didn’t realize during my testing that it was possible. Thanks for posting :-)

      Neil

      Comment by theONbutton | May 27, 2011 | Reply

      • I could not find this entertainment option, nor is it in the virgin downloadable manual…if someone has the steps to get there ….??

        Comment by Thomas Frieder | Aug 24, 2011

  40. i personnally likk diz fone ettz a gudd size nd da touch screen jst makes ett better….

    Comment by rusell 07 | May 29, 2011 | Reply

  41. i love this phone it is good for kids like me

    Comment by seth | Jun 1, 2011 | Reply

  42. I WANT THIS PHONE NDD IM GONE GETT IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by CHINA MARIE ROSE | Jul 2, 2011 | Reply


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