Tuesday

Kyocera Wild Card Phone from Virgin Mobile USA

Virgin Mobile USA’s sleek and stylish Wild Card by Kyocera Wireless "aces" both great functionality and trendsetting design. Among its most notable features are two vibrant color displays. The first on the front face of the phone is for voice calls.



But by turning the phone sideways and giving its face a quick flip, customers have access to the Wild Card’s wide screen – along with a sizeable QWERTY keypad designed for emailing, texting, IMing, gaming or browsing online.


This dual-screen messaging phone is also stacked with Bluetooth® Wireless and a 1.3 megapixel camera, and is the first Virgin Mobile handset with the ability to stream music.

• Large hidden QWERTY keypad
• Dual display screens – External 65k color 128 X 128 pixel;
- Internal 65k color 128 X 160 pixel wide screen
• 1.3 megapixel camera with 3x digital zoom and images effects including black and white photos
• Lightweight (just over 4-ounces)

• Integrated speakerphone

• Real music ringtones

• WAP 2.0 Web browser

• Bluetooth® Wireless Technology
• Pre-loaded with Yahoo! and AOL Instant Messaging

• “Headliner” – Virgin Mobile USA’s exclusive mobile music magazine
• Preloaded demo games such as Tetris, PAC-MAN, and Block Breaker Deluxe

• Access to
VirginXL, Virgin Mobile’s full suite of diverse mobile content

**A special, limited edition Virgin Mobile Festival Wild Card will be available this Spring / Summer. For full details on the Festival and this special edition phone, please click here.

Virgin Mobile USA continues to show consumers “Who Rules?” with the recent launch of new Monthly and Pay As You Go voice and messaging plans – all without annual contracts. The new plans offer consumers even better value and more flexibility, with popular features such as Roll Forward Minutes, 7PM Unlimited Nights & Weekends, and Unlimited Text & Messaging options. These plans are highly competitive with other prepaid players – as well as with many postpaid (i.e., contract) plans.

With no annual contracts and no fees for termination, Virgin Mobile USA allows its more than 5 million customers to change plans to suit their needs at any time – without hassle. For additional information on Virgin Mobile USA’s host of new voice and messaging offers, please visit click here.

PURCHASING:

Virgin Mobile’s Wild Card by Kyocera Wireless is available at www.virginmobileusa.com and over 40,000 retail locations nationwide including Best Buy, Radio Shack, Target and Wal-Mart. To find a Virgin Mobile retailer, visit the Store Locator.

*Customers abroad wishing to purchase the Wild Card can do so by visiting the Virgin Mobile USA website at www.virginmobileusa.com. However please keep in mind that Virgin Mobile USA service works only in the United States and its territories (Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, etc.), so if you are coming here on a vacation, or an extended stay, this is the ideal phone for you, with no commitments.

Success Through Play™ comments:

Virgin Mobile USA offers simple airtime pricing, no hidden fees, no monthly bills and no contracts to sign. This company is committed to the environment, and social causes and has implemented several programs which we would like to highlight.

Recycling

Virgin Mobile USA wants to make sure old phones are disposed of properly, so it offers two easy ways to recycle them:

A) If it's a working Virgin Mobile phone, they encourage customers to “Pass It On to a friend."

B) Or, the customer can send it to Virgin Mobile USA to be recycled. In fact, Virgin Mobile provide a self-addressed postage-paid envelope in every new Virgin Mobile phone for just that purpose. They accept ANY wireless handsets for recycling.

All profits from the Virgin Mobile USA recycling program go to the charitable partners of The RE*Generation, Virgin Mobile USA’s pro-social initiative to raise awareness about the crisis of youth homelessness in this country.

*More details on the Virgin Mobile USA recycling program may be found here.

*More details on The RE*Generation may be found here.

Social Awareness

*Virgin Mobile USA first launched the TXT2CLOTHE initiative in 2006 to offer its customers an easy way to help give back to those in need. This is an ongoing program and, to date, has generated more than 94,415 items of clothing donated to homeless youth. This year, Virgin Mobile USA be launching some additional dimensions to the program.

More information on TXT2CLOTHE, and other ways to give back via The RE*Generation, is available here.

GOING GREEN:

The upcoming Virgin Mobile Festival is going GREEN: from using clean energy, using recycled and organic products, promoting mass public transport to running eco-workshops, we applaud Virgin Mobile USA for taking eco-friendly measure. Full details of the festival can be found here.

The Kyocera Wild Card from Virgin Mobile USA.

Weighing it at just 4 ounces, and measuring 3-3/4" long, just under 2 inches wide and 3/4 inch thick, the ergonomic Kyocera Wild Card is the new messaging handset from Virgin Mobile USA. The handset is well built and feels solid and robust. The number keypad on the outside is used to make and receive calls. Turn the phone on its side and flip it open to reveal the QWERTY keypad for texting. The inner QWERTY keypad is very well designed and the rectangular base allows one to hold the phone in a stable position for texting. The split keyboard takes full advantage of the wide horizontal base. The keys on the QWERTY keypad are well spaced so that both men and women will be able to text with ease! The raised keys enable quick and accurate texting. The QWERTY keypad comes complete with the symbol and shift keys, which allows you to easily utilize caps, numbers and symbols, without having to scroll through the menu.



The left side of the phone has a volume control and a camera button.



The back of the phone houses the camera flash and lens (1.3-megapixel camera) and has a rubber guard to protect against scratches. We were able to take the following images with this camera lens:




Tester Feedback:

Our experience with the Wild Card has been very positive. We have had the opportunity to test it for several months now, courtesy of Virgin Mobile USA. The manual is well laid out and guides you through the many unique functions and features of the phone. While other phones can be very intimidating to operate, the Wild Card excels in its simple-to-operate menu which we found to be very intuitive.


The ergonomic design of this phone is truly exceptional. When making or receiving calls, you won't have to struggle to hold the phone because at just under 2 inches wide, the Wild Card phone will fit comfortably in your hand, and you won't have to strain your muscles, ligaments and joints to hold the phone when talking-as is common with many other phones on the market!

The QWERTY keyboard won our testers approval who really liked the design which enabled them to send text messages at record speeds, all while maintaining a good level of comfort. The horizontal placement of the keys allows the texter to simply focus on typing his message, without having to be concerned about stabilizing the phone, as is common with other phones on the market which make use a vertically placed keyboard. If you have been texting on a regular number keypad, you will be THRILLED with this QWERTY keypad which will forever change the way that you send texts messages make texting simple and FUN!

We really love sending text messages (or smsing!). Think of all the times when you need to send someone a short message, but perhaps your current phone has a typical number keypad and the thought of struggling through the typing is just too much, so instead you call, wasting your minutes! Running late and need to let someone know...want to let someone know that you arrived at a destination safely....want to send a quick message to that special someone in your life? How about when you in the movie theater or in a situation where it isn't socially acceptable to make a call? Thing about the music recitals...school plays...etc In addition, if you have a hearing impairment, texting is the ideal form of communication. With the Wild Card handset, you will be able to text effortlessly and silently. Texting is the way to go. Texting is not just for teenagers! It's a fun way to communicate your family and friends.

Practise Safe Text!

In 2002, Virgin Mobile (UK) launched the "Practise Safe Text" Campaign, in an effort to educate consumers about how they can text safely: offering them tools and tips. Click here to access a list of exercises/stretches that have been developed in conjunction with a British physical therapist (physiotherapist), to keep your fingers, hands and arms in tip top shape. These exercises are also pertinent to those of us who are glued to our laptops and spend hours each day typing! If you do experience pain from any repetitive motions, please seek medical advice. We applaud VM for educating and providing consumers with these tools.

Call Quality:


We received good reception in the San Francisco Bay Area, where we are based-often with 3 and 4 bars. The phone quality was good with clear audibility from both sides. We liked the hands free option of being able to use the speaker phone when we opened the phone. This allowed us to multi-task!

Features we like:

*Custom settings, including 2 options for your display:





*All the latest Real music ringtones from your favorite artists can be downloaded with ease.

*Address book which is very user friendly.

*Calling use voice commands-this feature worked really well and is ideal for hands free dialing like when you are in the middle of baking or if you are visually impaired or have arthritis.

*We liked the voice memo options and the scheduler to keep track of events and appointments.

*Picture messaging-you can send picture messages to phones that are capable of receiving them (nationally) or to email addresses.

*Option to enable Smart volume which automatically adjusts the volume of the call based on surrounding noise levels.

*Sending and receiving IM's from your phone.

*Virgin XL-your gateway to media! You can access music, entertainment, and info services from phone. In addition, ringtones, games, wallpapers, screen savers to customize your phone. We were able to access our yahoo email account with ease and were able to stay in touch when we were away from our laptop.

*In addition, the Wild Card has Bluetooth wireless technology that enables wireless connectivity with headsets (must use a Bluetooth wireless technology device)

*If you need to kill some time, you can play some games on the phone and download additional ones.

CUSTOMER SERVICE:

When we needed some assistance activating the phone, downloading the ringtones, or just had a question, the Virgin Mobile Customer Service team was ready and waiting to help us. In fact, the Virgin Mobile has ranked "Highest in Customer Service" for the 2nd year in a row by J.D. and Associates. We were helped promptly by their well trained staff and received great service.

The Virgin Mobile USA website is hip, fun and well designed. You can compare phones, plans, download ringtones, access manuals, and so much more!

Virgin Mobile has managed to pack so many features into this compact, stylish and sleek phone, which is truly a bargain at under $100.

For more info, please visit: www.virginmobileusa.com

18 comments:

Victoria said...

Wonderful to see that you are now doing tech reviews. What a thoughtful and well written article. Thank you including those of us with special needs :-) This phone sounds perfect for me and with no annual contracts, I am thrilled!

Marcia said...

Thank you for outlining the advantages of texting. There are so many times when I am unable to make a call and texting would be a great alternative. I have always been intimated and thought that it was only for teens. This phone looks very well designed!

Rebecca said...

What a thorough review! I appreciate that it wasn't written in "tech jargon" which is way over my head. I am also looking for a new messaging handset, without any contracts and this definitely fits the bill. Thank you for the Ergonomic comments-never would have even considered it!

Lara said...

Thank you posting the link to the list of textercises! Between spending all day at my desk job on my computer, texting and sewing, my hands need a good stretch :-)

Jade said...

What a gorgeous looking phone. I LOVE the awesome keypad. WOW!

Mira said...

The Wild Card is priced very reasonably and offers all the features that I have been looking for. Thank you for working so hard to bring us the best products-Your reviews are so comprehensive-I really like the pictures!

Kristen said...

Beautiful pictures of the cats! This phone is really impressive! Looks extremely versatile.

Jennifer said...

The festival sounds great! I live in MD, so I am interested in attending. I am really impressed by VM's efforts to "GO GREEN"-very cool.

kathy said...

I LOVE the unique design of this handset. It looks like my ergo keyboard for my computer! I love texting, but my current phone is not conducive for texting! Hadn't heard of the Wild Card, but I will be ordering one :-)

Rose said...

What a COOL design. I am going to buy this phone as a gift! Thank you.

Eryn said...

I have the Wild Card Handset and it is really phenomenal! I am still in disbelief about how easy and fast it is to send texts. Thank you for sharing the "textercises" with us :-)

Stacey said...

I am LOVING the ergonomic shape of this phone! The keypad looks really impressive :-)

Ruth said...

I am really impressed to hear how "Green" VM has gone. The recycling program is terrific as well as the attention to social welfare. This makes me want to buy from them!

Arlene said...

Great review :-) The split keyboard is fabulous. WOW-I am going to get one of these.

Emily said...

FINALLY-an affordable phone packed with features. I will be buying one :-)

Nikki said...

I am SO fed up of annual contracts. The pay as you go philosophy sounds like it was made just for me. This phone looks really cool-great review.

Gina said...

Thank you for such an awesome review! I went out and bought it and have been using it constantly ever since and LOVE it!!!! The design is really ergonomic and it has made texting FAST, FUN an EASY!

Anonymous said...

I have that phone it is AMAZING!! But my parents won't pay an extra $20 for texting! :( I am very upset...any help? or ideas?