Are Cricket 3G phones a great deal for the serious cell phone data user? They can be. As long as you choose a compatible phone with the unlimited plan of your choice, there are no extra charges for almost unlimited usage. (With the exception of the Motorola QA4 phone).
But first we should clear up . . .
3G stands for third-generation cellular technology. There are a few different network standards that come under the 3G designation. The Cricket 3G network is a CDMA2000-type network.
What this and all 3G networks basically do is allow you to browse the web on your phone at speeds comparable to what you experience with a laptop on a cable modem. This means it's actually feasible to watch videos and download music at a reasonable speed rather than having to wait all day.
Of course other things like sending email are also much faster over a 3G network. If you have a Cricket 3G phone you don't have to sign up for a separate data plan. The data is included.
So with that cleared up, let's look at some . . .
There are few good 3G phones available including three Motorola phones and one Samsung phone. They also have other phones which are web-capable but not at 3G speeds.Samsung Messager II $129.99
The Samsung Messager II has a sliding QWERTY keyboard for messaging and email, 3G technology for Mobile Web browsing. Other features include a camera/camcorder with video playback, and a music player with Stereo Bluetooth.
It normally costs about $200, but you can get a $70 web discount when you buy online from Cricket.
The Motorola VE465 also comes with a megapixel camera and music player. You can use its 3g capability to check email and surf the web on it 176 x 220 screen.
(Update: Being phased out by Cricket)The Motorola Hint QA30 has a QWERTY keyboard that slides out in the vertical direction. It's designed for text messaging and email but you can also send picture or video messages. There is a music player and a 2.0 megapixel camera with video. You can store videos, photos and music on a microSD card. The 3G capability allows you to surf the Mobile Web on the 320 x 240 pixel screen. It usually costs $250 but you get a $70 discount plus a $100 mail-in rebate if you order online from Cricket.
The Motorola Evoke QA4 is the only touch-screen cell phone available. It offers full Web browsing at 3G speeds but unfortunately, there is an extra $15 a month data charge that is unique to this phone. Still, using the phone you can watch online videos, take pictures and videos with the 2.0 megapixel camera/camcorder, listen to music with the MP3 player, and tap out text messages and emails on the virtual QWERTY keyboard. There is also a slide out numeric keypad for easy dialing.
The $15 a month data charge is presumably for the online video streaming which, I guess, puts a strain on their network.