Cell Phone Saga Pt. 2: The New Phone

This weekend I finally upgraded to a new phone, bringing an end to the cell phone saga and nearly a month without cell phone service.


In part 1, I discussed carriers. My old carrier, Virgin Mobile, has switched to an “iPhone-only” philosophy. While Android phones can still be bought for VM for a limited time, I decided to switch as I felt that it probably isn’t a good sign.

I was really sad to switch. VM served me well since I got my first cell phone, a LG Optimus Elite, back in 2012. I never had any major problems with VM, and their reception was fairly decent. The LG Optimus Elite itself lasted me a good while before being replaced. You can read more about the issues I had with my last VM phone, a LG Tribute 5, in part 1.

The search for a carrier led me to want to go with Cricket Wireless. Cricket Wireless is heavily advertised in our area, and had fairly decent prices and had some decent phones. But some major problems with Cricket’s billing system and their customer support forced me to abort and try another place.

That’s when I learned of AT&T’s prepaid service. Cricket uses AT&T’s network (AT&T owns Cricket), but there are some differences between AT&T Prepaid and Cricket. (I will not go into much detail here, as there is information elsewhere on this.)

The nice thing about AT&T Prepaid, a service that was formerly known as the “GoPhone” until recently, is that they sell phones at my local  Walmart. So I went there and picked up my new phone and got it setup.

My New Phone: A Samsung Galaxy?!?

The phone I chose is a perfect example of how you can manage to find a phone that is decent for the money.

The Samsung Galaxy Express Prime 2 (EP2) is a mouth-full to say, but is packed with great features and decent specs (at least for me) at a low price of $100. The phone is comparable, from what I’ve found, to the Samsung Galaxy J3, which a friend had and raved about.

First thoughts of the phone are great. The screen is crystal clear, the camera takes amazing pictures, and the phone is quick and snappy. AT&T’s call quality is clear – not much different from VM.

Photo of the T420, taken with EP2.

However, before I stopped using my VM phone, it would randomly drop a call in the middle of a conversation. Thankfully, I didn’t have that problem with the EP2, as it lasted through a three-hour conversation with no interference or dropping.

The nice thing about the phone is it’s battery life. As mentioned in the last paragraph, I put this phone and AT&T’s service through a fairly rough maiden voyage: a three-hour phone call. While my Tribute 5’s battery would’ve dropped from being fully charged to around 50% or less after the call, the EP2 only dropped 10%. Additionally, this phone charges in nearly no time.

One last thing about this phone that I like, but is a really small detail. It came from the factory with a USB cord (micro-USB to USB) and a separate AC adapter. All of my previous phones, except the Optimus Elite, has had the adapter and cord integrated, meaning you can’t use it to plug your phone into your computer.

Of course, I’ve only had the phone a couple days. I will follow this up soon on how it has withstood the test of time.