Monday, April 22, 2013

Carrier Close-up: Virgin Mobile (Canada)

Virgin Mobile is a global "bargain" cellular service provider, and it's Canadian division has deals happening right now. Let's see what this Canadian carrier has to offer, shall we?

Despite being a 'tier 2 carrier', Virgin offers some good phones (at some great prices, too). The best budget phone they offer is the Windows Phone 8S. This phone (made by HTC) has a dual core 1GHz processor, a 4" 480x800 screen (Virgin's spec sheet is wrong), and a 5MP camera. For $150 ($0 on a silver plan), this is a steal, and by far the best deal on any phone they offer.

Virgin Mobile Canada doesn't offer many mid-range phones, but they do have the iPhone 4S ($49 on a platinum plan), and Galaxy S 3 (also $49). The iPhone 4S is super smooth and fluid, wile having access to the best selection of quality apps. The S3 on the other hand has a much larger 4.8" screen, and more powerful innards.

There are lots of 'Tier 1' level phones to choose from - there's the iPhone 5 ($179), HTC One ($150), Galaxy S4 ($199), Nexus 4 ($0), or BlackBerry Z10 ($99). This "Tier 2 carrier" has every hit phone of late. Starting with the iPhone 5 - it is the smallest out of the bunch, has one of the best cameras, and the best quality app selection. The HTC One has the most storage on-board, with the best low-light camera, and best audio quality by far. The Galaxy S4 is the fastest, with about 50 unique software features. The Nexus 4 is a bargain, yet still has specs to rival the others including a quad core processor, and stock android. BlackBerry's Z10 runs the most efficient UI, getting the job done. (Note: all prices are with a Platinum plan using $500 tab)

 Virgin's plans are tiered - Silver plans are cheapest, Gold plans are in the middle, and Platinum plans are the most expensive. Silver plans don't include data (the data saver adds monthly data use onto the base plan), but start at $20/month thru $50/month for unlimited everything (excluding data, which is extra). Getting a new phone on a Silver plan lets you put up to $150 on Tab.

Gold plans have a balanced mix between data and calling minutes. Right now, there are special offers starting at $35/month (200 minutes, evenings & weekends free, 200MB) and ranging through $60/month (unlimited calling, and 2GB of data). These are generally the best mix between what you get and what you pay, especially now that they have special offers. $300 can go towards your tab when you pick a Gold plan.

Platinum plans start at $45/month (1000 minutes, 150MB) and go to $100/month (unlimited everything besides only 5GB of data). Only get these if you need them, as they do cost a lot more than gold plans. You can put $500 on a tab when you use these plans.

Top Deal:
Now for the best combination of value/cost: The Nexus 4 on the $39/month (limited time) Gold Plan. For $99, you get one of the best phones available, and you get an amazing plan including 200 minutes, unlimited calling on evenings and weekends, as well as 400MB of data. Unique to the Nexus 4 is a feature called "photo sphere", which allows you to take multiple pictures from a stationary position and it puts them all together into one giant 3D panorama picture you can look through.

Let me know which carrier you want details about next, I'd love to help you guys find the best deals on mobile phones! Either comment below, email me at, or tweet me @QandAndroid. You can also find me on Reddit, username (you guessed it) QandAndroid.

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