Tech Review: The Virgin Mobile LG Rumor Touch Smartphone

Okay, I’ll admit it, I’m an iPhone sheep. I love me my iPhone. What can I say? The touch screen is to die for, and the apps are outstanding. I’m not a particularly hard guy to please when it comes to smartphones. Heck, I still own the iPhone 3G, forget about the newer 3GS, or the even newer iPhone 4, though I’m definitely eyeballing the 4 for future purchase. So yeah, it’ll take a lot to make me give up my iPhone, and while the Virgin Mobile LG Rumor Touch didn’t succeed in that respect, it would make a pretty decent back-up. That is, if I had $25/month to spare.

You could definitely do worst than the Rumor Touch. The phone has all of today’s must-haves, including 3G, touch screen, GPS, and its primary features, a slide-out QWERTY keyboard and intuitive social networking connections. That means if you’re one of those people who lives and dies on your Facebook or Twitter, the Touch was designed for you. The QWERTY keyboard makes alerting your 20 spambot followers (and Aunt Glenda) about what you’re currently eating a jiff.

That’s the theory, anyway. In practice, the QWERTY keyboard was a bit small for me, though I have been told I have freakishly huge fingers. (Call me, ladies.) The touch screen is good, but not nearly as responsive as an iPhone. Then again, after using the iPhone for so long, anything that isn’t immediately responsive feels lacking, so those who aren’t used to the excellent touch screens of an iPhone will probably find it more than adequate.

The Rumor Touch comes without a contract (yup, no signing away two years of your life here), which means you put money into an account (in this case, with Virgin Mobile), activate the phone, choose a number (or use one you already have), and pay as you go. Virgin’s cheapest package is $25/month for unlimited messaging, data, email, web, and more than enough minutes unless, you know, you’re one of those people. The unlimited data and web comes in handy for you social networking animals who are the primary target base for the Rumor Touch to begin with.

That’s not a bad deal – if you aren’t already paying an obscene amount for an iPhone plan, that is. Sigh. Sometimes I don’t think the iPhone is worth it…

The LG Rumor Touch retails for $149 at the Virgin Mobile website. Top-Up cards are available at approximately 150,000 locations nationwide and can be used for Assurance Wireless and Broadband2Go services.