MOSSBERG: There's A Super Cheap Smartphone Alternative

Walt Mossberg at D8

Photo: Asa Mathat, All Things Digital

There’s a new data plan out there that won’t cost you an arm and a leg, Walt Mossberg of The Wall Street Journal reports.Republic Wireless offers a no-contract plan that costs $19 a month, and comes with unlimited data, calls, and texts. But at least for now, it only works with the Motorola Defy XT. 

While Republic is taking an interesting approach to phone plans, which may represent the future, there are a few flaws to it, Mossberg writes.

“[…] it doesn’t deliver the best voice quality and it requires a specially equipped phone,” Mossberg writes. “The sole phone that works with the system now is mediocre.”

One of the reasons why Republic can offer low monthly prices is because it’s a Wi-Fi-centric carrier, Mossberg writes. The phone defaults to Wi-Fi, but if the connection isn’t good enough, it will use Sprint’s cellular network.

But here’s what’s wrong with the service and phone, according to Mossberg:

  • The phone itself is pretty “chunky” and its screen resolution is lower than any current iPhone or Android model.
  • The Defy XT only has 2.5 GB of usable storage.
  • When it’s not on Wi-Fi, it’s only able to connect to a 3G network.
  • The phone runs a two-year-old version of Android.
  • If you leave a Wi-Fi area while on a call, the call will drop.
  • The call quality is “adequate.”
  • Republic offers very little customer service.

Watch Mossberg’s full review below:

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