Boost Mobile's off-contract plans with lower monthly rates are surely appealing in an age of rising mobile costs, but the handsets available for that service mostly lag behind the current crop of Android offerings. The LG Venice can be had for less than $200, but a variety of drawbacks make it a handset that excels at little more than the basics of calling, web browsing, email, and social media usage.
Let's face it – the price is right. Boost's Android plans start at $55/month and can decrease down to $40/month over time if you pay your bills. Listed at $200, the LG Venice can be found for $160 or so, and that's not subsidized by a contract.
LG's Optimus 3.0 skin adds helpful, customizable shortcuts to the lock screen, and is otherwise a largely unobtrusive layer atop Android 4.0: Ice Cream Sandwich. Getting around the menus is a mostly speedy experience, and the screen is bright, though that's not the full story in either department.
Performance is a definite issue. The low-end specs really show when popping into and between apps, and a variety of current games all showed issues when played on the Venice. Not everyone's a gamer, we understand, but if even simple games are lagging behind, it doesn't bode well for future high-performance apps of any kind.
Most of the components feel well behind even mid-range current Android options. The display lacks clarity and shows its pixels too readily, the camera is just OK, and the lack of 4G LTE service means browsing speed is limited, even if pages loaded at above-average rates over 3G.
Not every prospective Android handset buyer is seeking a high-end device or a ritzy contract, so the LG Venice holds certain appeal on Boost Mobile's network. However, performance issues weigh heavily on the experience, and the other low-end aspects of the device don't help.
Moreover, Boost offers a handful of 4G LTE devices to choose from, and while some of those sell for a higher price – like the Samsung Galaxy S2, listed at $330 – it's worth shelling out a bit more to not feel like you're already far behind the curve.