Net10 LG900G Review: A No-Contract “Smartphone” for Under $40?
This past week I upgraded from an old-school Net10 Motorola W375 flip phone (think first gen. Razr) to the new Net10 LG900G. I’ve praised Net10 a lot on the site before for their low cost, prepaid, no-contract plans. I’m guessing a few readers followed my lead in switching away from the bad guys and their early termination fees, so I thought I’d give a review of the new phone – which due to a possible quirk and special pricing at the moment, could actually result in a free upgrade for you right now.
Why review one single phone from Net10? Because it’s a brand new no-contract, full QWERTY, mp3, digital camera, web-enabled phone for less than $30! It’s probably the best phone they have, and it comes at a great price. It might just be the missing link that allows you to have cheap cell phone service without looking like too much of an intentionally cheap jackass.
Net10 LG900G Snapshot
Although it claims to be a “smartphone” in that it can multi-task and is web-enabled, I would not label the LG900G as a smartphone (which, in my opinion, should be reserved for phones with nimble and easy web functionality). It’s a full QWERTY keyboard phone (one of two offered by Net10) with very strong functionality for the price. To my knowledge, these are brand new and not refurbished phones.
Features & Accessories
- Full QWERTY keyboard
- 2.0 megapixel camera, capable of taking video
- Bluetooth compatible
- MP3 player
- FM radio
- 1GB built-in-memory (expandable up to 4GB with microSD)
- Web browser
- Headphone jack
- GSM quad-band
Note that the phone only comes with a wall charger, SIM card, and battery. If you want to take advantage of the MP3 player, you’ll need to purchase the standard USB phone cord. It also does not come with a microSD card. The phone does have 1GB of internal memory, so you might not need the SD card if you don’t have an extensive mp3 library.
Appearance & Feel
It definitely has a Blackberry look and feel to it. Pretty stylish compared to other non-smart phones. The one big difference from a Blackberry in key functionality is that it does not have a touch or ball pointing device, like most Blackberry’s. Rather, it has a standard left, right, up, down directional keypad. The keyboard is backlit, if you were wondering.
It has a mid-weight feel to it and fits nicely in my medium-sized hand. Despite the low price, it doesn’t look or feel cheap. The keys and casing plastic are pretty solid and seemingly durable, unlike the other Net10 QWERTY, the Samsung T401G.
The Pros with the LG 900G
Here are the pros that I’ve experienced with the 900G thus far:
- MP3′s sound great, and the player and playlist functionality is good and very intuitive. I love that this phone has a standard headphone audio jack, so I don’t need any adapters or to purchase anything new.
- Interface is intuitive, even if much less superior to iOS or Android.
- Love the FM radio functionality. I’m a bus commuter, so I can vary it up from mp3′s. You can pre-set stations.
- Phone clarity and connectivity is good thus far. I’ve never had a problem with Net10 on this.
- Picture and video clarity is good.
- Also has voice recording capabilities to record memos for yourself.
- Battery-life is strong. After a few days, I’ve only lost one of three bars.
Cons with the LG 900G
For the price, these are somewhat expected and petty concerns, but:
- Web-browsing capabilities are limited, which is why I say it’s not truly a ‘smartphone’. The browser is slow and navigation with the native browser is clumsy.
- Doesn’t come with a good manual, you’ll have to dig one up online for the LG 300GW (which launched in non-U.S. markets).
- Pre-loaded apps and games. The 900G comes pre-loaded with FaceBook as the only app and just two games – Sodoku Cafe and WordAttack. Sure, you can get more for free, but pre-loaded app functionality is always nice.
- Not voice activated.
Price & Availability
It does not appear that Net10 is selling this phone directly on their website any longer, however, you can pick up a used version elsewhere and use it on Net10 still.
Plans & Free Upgrade:
This phone can be used on any of the Net10 plans – unlimited or not. I personally buy the 300 minute, 60-day plan for $30 ($15/month is ridiculously good). I’m planning on using the web functionality only when needed, since one minute of web = one minute reduction in minutes and one could speed through minutes pretty quick.
The Upgrade Trick: Get this. If you’re an existing Net10 customer and you transfer your time and minutes from your old phone, Net10 usually adds on a few extra minutes and they gave me 60 days of added airtime (which usually costs me $30). This means that if you are upgrading and you’re able to snatch up the phone for $35, you’re basically getting the phone for free! If you sell your old phone, you’ve made money. For a phone with this level of functionality, that is outstanding.