Sometimes it is fun to take a break from reviewing the newest high-end Android phones out there to see what the other end of the spectrum has to offer. Virgin announced its new low-end phone, the PCD Chaser, which is just $79.99 without signing up for a plan.
Virgin offers unlimited data 3G plans starting at $35 a month. So, you are looking at just under $500 for a year of this phone with unlimited data. That is an incredible deal for an Android 2.3 device that does not totally suck. The Chaser comes with many of the same specs as the previous Virgin-base model, the Optimus V, including a 3-megapixel camera, 800MHz processor, 3.2-inch display, and hardware buttons. The Chaser adds the new, lower $80 price tag and Android 2.3, which the low-cost folks will welcome. However, those who want to see Ice Cream Sandwich or Jelly Bean on their devices will lament (Virgin never updated the Optimus V, so do not expect this one to get an upgrade either).
It is still a remarkable little device that once retailed for $149 (but lately it is often on-sale for much less). The Optimus included a 2GB Micro-USB card, but the Chaser does not, which frankly is pretty petty. Although the phone has a low-end camera, you cannot take videos or still images until you buy a Micro-SD card. Lame. I was able to take some borderline decent pictures and movies once I popped in an SD Card. Therefore, this might actually be a step down from the Optimus V.
Otherwise, this fine Android device will be a good step up for feature phone users. Some notes: