Phone Scoop

printed December 19, 2014
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Review: Alcatel Venture for Virgin Mobile USA

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Screen

The Venture's screen measures 2.8 inches and has 240 x 320 pixels. It's exactly what you'd expect to see on a low-cost smartphone: awful. I can count the pixels on the screen from an arm's length away. There are so few pixels on the screen, everything looks like it is slightly out of focus thanks to the ill-defined borders of images, icons, and on-screen graphics. It really is blah-tastic. However, it is bright, and easily read outdoors under the shining sun.

Signal

Virgin Mobile makes use of Sprint's 3G network. During my tests, the Venture performed above average when compared to other Sprint phones. In places where Sprint's coverage is weak, the Venture managed to stay connected to the network and never dropped any calls when I moved between cells. Data speeds over the EVDO Rev. A 3G network were consistently good, suffering only a fraction when under poor coverage.

Sound

The Venture is an excellent voice phone. Calls were crystal clear in my tests, and the earpiece can be set to pain-inducing volumes. Set all the way up, the earpiece could almost replace the speakerphone. It was easy to hear calls through the earpiece in a very noisy coffee shop. Good quality plus extreme volume means you'll easily hear conversations. The speakerphone can also be set to jarringly loud volumes. I could hear the speakerphone clearly over the grinding of an espresso machine. Ringers and alerts are smoke-alarm loud, though the vibrate alert was a bit weak.

Battery

One benefit of a smaller, lower-resolution display should be that it doesn't require as much power to operate. But it's a benefit that isn't realized on the Venture. I drained the battery from a full charge to 19% in just six hours the first day of testing. Subsequent tests had the device barely lasting until bed time (unplugging from the charger at 7AM). Keep a charger handy.

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