Not all Androids are created equal

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I want to do a back-peddle on some bad advice I gave a few months ago about a couple of Android phones.  Sometimes I get a little ahead of myself with excitement about these kinds of things and it can cost you as a listener.

First, I had talked about a Virgin Mobile offer for people who wanted an Android, did very little talking (300 minutes each month) and needed all the data they could eat. Virgin Mobile priced their entry level plan for this at $25 a month.

The problem was, as I now learned twice, not all Androids are created equal. The phone matters a lot. So does the network. I had bought into idea that all Androids are good because I use an EVO 4G that I love. So I thought any Android was great. But that’s not so.

Android is a back-end operating system and each operator can make a good or bad phone on a good or bad network. Virgin Mobile’s first Android phone was trashed by CNET. I should have followed that, but I didn’t. So when I started getting a lot of listener complains about the Virgin Mobile deal, I got their first Android and tried it. It was crummy. Thankfully, Virgin Mobile now has a new and improved Android that sells for a decent price called the LG Optimus V.

Second, Metro PCS offered an Android with service at, depending on the device, $40 to $60 a month. There were problems with the second-generation network though. So again, when I heard the listener complaints, I bought an Android that worked on Metro’s traditional network. It was a terrible experience.

But now in more and more cities, Metro is popping up Long Term Evolution (LTE), a true fourth-generation data network. So they went from 2G, skipped over 3G altogether and went straight to 4G. I tried a Samsung phone on Metro’s 4G network and the thing flies. The monthly service cost is a deal at $60 for unlimited everything (though the phone’s expensive.)

The point is I learned with smart phones that the phone matters and the network matters. I missed that before and aggravated some people, and I apologize to you on that count. I will be careful in the future before getting too far out ahead of these things. I’ll check it out myself with my own money. (Nobody gives me any phones. I buy them myself.)

So when you hear a cell phone recommendation from me going forward, I’ll either tell you I’ve checked it out or I haven’t, I’ll warn you that you’re a guinea pig.

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Clark Howard About the author:
Clark Howard is a consumer expert whose goal is to help you keep more of the money you make. His national radio show and website show you ways to put more money in your pocket, with advice you can trust. More about Clark
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