Buggy Samsung Intercept on Mediocre Network
I have had them since Spring 2011. Phone is Samsung Intercept. The pricing is certainly good, 300 minutes talk, unlimited voice and data, for $25 monthly on a "Beyond Talk" monthly plan. The price went up to $35, but I am still eligible for $25, for how long, who knows.
The biggest problem turns out that my house is literally in a "hole" in Sprint coverage. The signal fluctuates between 4 bars and 0 bars, and making or receiving calls in my house is a gamble. For data features, I usually have my phone in WiFi mode when I'm home. The other problem is that when I am visiting family, they are in a rural area, and coverage there is very sporadic, but I already knew that. One of the main reasons I'm getting the Tracfone to try is to experiment and see how reliable the ATT network is for me and the places I frequent.
Phone: Samsung Intercept
Samsung Intercept Android phone with Qwerty. The phone is ok for basic things, but don't try to load it up with apps. It's basically a slow computer and prone to freezing and crashing, so don't ask too much of it. I also don't like the annoying characteristic of Android to have apps running in the background unless you "kill" them. Some apps you never use will take up memory and resources and I wish it was easier to just keep them off.
I must say the Navigation is pretty good and I use it a lot. I also use gmail, so it integrates well with my contacts, etc. I like that it has a wi-fi mode that I can use when I'm home. I use the browser for a few things, and it works better on some sites than others but overall its fine.
If you live and travel in areas with excellent Sprint coverage, VM might be fine for you. I would avoid the Samsung Intercept. It is the lowest-rated phone of their Android offerings. Read the user review on the VM site, Best Buy, etc. They're all basically true: phone crashes a lot, and it just gets terribly annoying and unreliable. I would love to have an iPhone, but I just can't justify the hardware and service costs. Verizon coverage is best in my area, but they're pricey and I don't want a contract, but it may come to that if the cheaper options are not acceptable.
Glad I found your site! Very informative. I'm going to "experiment" with a TracFone and see how I like it, and see if it might work for my elderly parents when their Verizon contract expires in Feb 2013.
Thanks a bunch for the detailed review.