Virgin Mobile Arc review: Virgin Mobile Arc

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3.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good The Virgin Mobile Arc is a basic yet stylish camera phone, with decent call quality and an affordable price point. It also has Bluetooth and voice dialing.

The Bad The Virgin Mobile Arc has a slightly crowded keypad and bad photo quality.

The Bottom Line If you want an attractive yet affordable basic camera phone, the Virgin Mobile Arc is one of the better options in Virgin Mobile's lineup.

7.0 Overall
  • Design 7.0
  • Features 7.0
  • Performance 7.0

Virgin Mobile is known for its entry-level phones with catchy names, and the Arc by UTStarcom is no different. The Arc sets itself apart from the rest of Virgin Mobile's lineup with a unique and very appealing curved design. Otherwise, it has a decidedly basic feature set, with a VGA camera and Bluetooth as two of its most advanced features. We're not complaining, though, since it's very affordable at only $49.99 with no contract required.


Design

Out of all the Virgin Mobile phones we've seen cross our path, the Arc is probably one of the most stylish. Measuring 3.6 inches long by 1.9 inches wide by 0.8 inch thick, the Arc has a slim and curved body, which is swept inward from top and bottom to create a very streamlined and sporty look. Also, the phone's surface is made of a soft-touch material that makes the Arc pleasant to hold in the hand. It is clad in red and black tones, similar to the colors of Virgin Mobile.


The Virgin Mobile Arc has a camera lens on the front.

Even though it is a basic phone, the Arc does have a 1-inch-wide diagonal color display. It only supports 65,000 colors, but that's good enough for basic date, time, caller ID, and battery and signal strength information. You can also use the color display as a self-portrait viewfinder when the camera is activated. You can adjust the wallpaper and the clock format, but nothing else. Above the display is the speakerphone grill, and underneath it is the camera lens. There's a headset jack, dedicated camera key, and a volume rocker on the left spine, while the right is home to a voice command button.

The Arc flips open quite easily, and when it is fully open, the phone is laid out almost completely flat. The 1.8-inch internal display supports 262,000 colors, which results in a decent-looking display, but the Arc's default menu style doesn't take full advantage of it. You can adjust the contrast and the backlight time, but not the font size.

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