Virgin Mobile presents an alternative to how most cell phone carriers conduct business. Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint all offer the latest and greatest handsets, and oftentimes for dirt-cheap prices. The downside is that you're locked into a lengthy contract to obtain one of those dope, new phones.
These agreements are what allows such devices, which in reality are quite expensive, to be served up for such a seemingly low or nonexistent asking price. While the phone's full price is essentially subsidized you're actually paying full price throughout the course of your contract.
Often or not, when that time is up, the phone has long been paid off, and all money from that point forward is going directly going into your carrier's pockets with no real bonus to the consumer. Enter Virgin Mobile, which offers phones with no strings attached, meaning no contract necessary. But because the prices of their devices are not subsidized, they must be paid in full and up front. Which is why most of the offerings are not the current, feature rich devices that the big guys use to attract business.
Hence the stigma (which has some basis in reality) that Virgin Mobile's customers just want a phone that works, period. That they have little to no need for cutting edge smartphone hardware or software. The recent addition of the iPhone 4S would indicate that this is not true, or at least any more; their customers simply desire freedom from carrier shenanigans, and are willing to pay a premium for a top of the line device while they're at it. Period.
Yet regardless of all that, people deserve the most bang for their buck, no matter the actual amount. One of the most popular smartphones in Virgin Mobile's catalogue has been the LG Optimus V. When that Android device hit the streets back in early 2011, it offered solid, albeit unspectacular functionality; any shortcomings were mostly excused by the reasonable asking price for a non-contract smartphone. The LG Optimus Slider is its follow-up, adding a sliding QWERTY keyboard into the mix.
But it's mid 2012 and standards have changed quite a bit, even for low-end smartphones. Is the Slider a worthy follow-up, one that can compete in an increasingly crowded marketplace? The answer is no. Not one bit.