Boost Mobile has added another great phone to its lineup of Android 4 devices with the new Boost Warp 4G, which costs just $55 per month without hitting you up for a two-year contract.
The Warp 4G measures 5.25" by 2.6" by .4" and sports a 4.5" screen. Its weight of 4.76 oz keeps it in line with competing phones. Its screen size makes it larger than any of the currently available iPhone models and just a hair smaller than high-end phones like the Samsung Galaxy S III or Galaxy S4.
I thought the touchscreen worked well and had just the right amount of sensitivity for everyday activities as well as games like Angry Birds and Words With Friends. I sometimes get a second opinion on demo phones, and my other tester thought the screen was too sensitive. The Touchscreen Booster App, though it says it's only for Samsung devices, appears to work with any Android 4 phone, and could resolve any sensitivity issues you discover.
The screen reader accessibility setting was turned on when I received the demo phone; here's how to turn off that feature. The phone's generous display size makes for nicely sized keys on the virtual keyboard, which also sports multi-function keys so you can hold in a letter to get a number or symbol.
Running Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) on a 1.2 Ghz dual-core processor with 1 GB of RAM, the Warp 4G makes short work of installing apps and runs them smoothly. Its 8 GB of onboard memory should prove sufficient for most folks. The phone doesn't seem to take up a significant amount of space with preloaded software.
However, unless you add an optional microSD card, you may need to clear off pictures and videos periodically. I recommend using Dropbox or Google Drive to sync photos with your computer so you can safely remove media from your phone.
To insert a microSD card, you need to remove the phone's back. The phone's battery can also be removed and replaced in this way, which I consider a big plus in a phone. Batteries seem to be the most likely part of a phone to go bad, yet many phones on the market don't have user-replaceable ones.
The Warp 4G offers good battery life, probably better than average, allowing it to sit and collect emails for two or three days without a charge and lasting a day or two with light usage.
The Warp 4G takes excellent photos with its 8 MP camera (1 MP front-facing) and has a side camera button for easy picture taking. The HD camcorder takes dynamite videos at up to 1080p.
Web browsing uses Google Chrome, abandoning the aging, unspectacular Android Internet browser as other new smart phones have done.
Boost Mobile uses Sprint's nationwide 4G mobile network on the Warp 4G. They don't charge extra if you go over their 2.5 GB monthly data allotment, but they may slow down the speed significantly. You can easily monitor data usage using a free widget such as 3G Watchdog (which monitors both 3G and 4G data) or by checking periodically under Settings, Usage. You'll probably want to use Wi-Fi whenever possible, since it conserves your mobile data usage.
With Boost Mobile's low monthly fee of $55 (which can decrease to $40 with 18 months of on-time payments) and no limits on data, voice or texting, it's an ideal choice for teens. You won't see any surprise bills if your kid decides to send 5,000 texts in a month. Grown-ups can certainly enjoy saving a lot of money on their monthly mobile phone bill, too.
In addition to being able to buy a new phone at any time with no penalty, you can also return a Boost Mobile phone within 30 days if you decide you don't like it. Just save all the original packaging.
All mobile carriers have some dead areas. If you'll need frequent access to a reliable mobile network, I recommend trying a friend's phone that uses the Sprint network in your neighborhood or workplace to make sure you have adequate coverage.
The Warp 4G costs $199.99 online with no strings attached. You pay more for an off-contract phone than you would if you had to sign a contract, rather than paying an artificially low price in return for a two-year commitment. Mobile phone prices tend to fluctuate, so you may want to periodically check prices on Boost Mobile's Web site to see if the phone you want has gone on sale.
You may not find the trendiest, flashiest phones with a no-contract carrier, but you can certainly find some nice options at reasonable prices. The Warp 4G would make a great gift - for yourself or someone else.