My wife and I recently upgraded our cell phones. For about 7.5 years my wife and I had Sprint paying about $62/month total. Over the years I looked into upgrading to a smartphone but just couldn’t justify going from $62/month to at least $130/month for 2 phones. I figured we’d just wait until prices dropped a bit. Additionally, if I ever switched to a smartphone I wanted everything to be unlimited. I didn’t want to monitor my data, minutes and text messaging fearing additional charges.
After much research I found the best deal with MetroPCS. For $80/month total (includes tax and fees), my wife and I get unlimited everything (minutes, data and text). However, I got a smartphone, the LG Esteem and my wife got a regular phone, the LG Beacon. My plan is $50/month and my wife’s plan is $40/month, however, since we are on a family plan, we each get a $5 discount which drops the price to $80/month. The LG Esteem costs $249 after a $100 rebate and the LG Beacon costs $39 after a $30 rebate.
I must admit that I’m extremely satisfied with the LG Esteem. I absolutely love the phone and it has exceeded my expectations. The screen is big at 4.3”, crisp and bright. If you are looking for a small phone, this phone isn’t it. I considered a smaller phone, but couldn’t resist the screen size.
The menus are well thought out and extremely easy to navigate. I like the GPS navigation which is big improvement to our old Garmin GPS. Voice recognition used in various software and features such as text messaging is very good. The camera takes very good pictures and video quality is excellent.
The LG Esteem features 4G LTE connectivity, Android Platform 2.3 Ginerbread, 4.3” touch screen with damage resistant Gorilla Glass, 1.3 MP front-facing camera, 5 MP camera with 720p HD Video, HDMI Output and Dolby Audio.
The one disadvantage to the LG Esteem is battery life isn’t that great. If you use the phone a lot you may have to recharge after about 5 to 7 hours. If or when I have to change the battery I may consider purchasing an extended battery, however, it will make the phone bulkier.
Fortunately, 4G service is available in my city so streaming video is flawless and browsing the web is fast. MetroPCS 4G is only available in 14 cities which include Atlanta, Boston, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Detroit, North Florida, Central Florida, South Florida, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, LA/Bakersfield, New York, Philadelphia, Sacramento and San Francisco. If you don’t live in one of these cities or travel a lot, getting 4G service will be an issue, however, I’m certain over time additional cities will be added.
MetroPCS claims their phone service covers 90% of the U.S. We recently drove from Atlanta to Chicago and never witnessed any loss of signal or dropped call. Sound quality was always good anytime we made a phone call. Although there was no 4G service outside Atlanta checking email and sending text messages was never slow.
So far I’m very happy with the LG Esteem and with MetroPCS’s service. For $45/month, I get unlimited minutes, text, data, picture messaging, international text messaging, GPS navigation, 4G (if available) and much more. You sure can’t beat the price. The larger carriers (AT&amp;amp;amp;T, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless and Sprint) charges much more for these services but have better 3G/4G coverage than MetroPCS. However to me, the savings more than offset this fact.
The downside to the LG Esteem is battery life and the availability of 4G in limited markets. However, if you are fortunate to live in a city where 4G is offered and don’t travel too much, this is a non-issue. If 4G isn’t available, you can always connect to Wi-Fi to get similar 4G speeds.
Overall, I highly recommend MetroPCS and the LG Esteem. You won’t be disappointed.
One last thing, overall, my wife is very pleased with the LG Beacon and her service as well.
Update (Added 2-5-2012): Due to some of the comments below about MetroPCS’s 4G Service, I made the quick video below highlighting the 4G Service in the Atlanta area. (Sorry about the audio!)