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HolidayBuyer's Guide

The prepaid Virgin Mobile Awe

Simple, familiar design

Curves ahead

Quick access to the camera

Google Android software features

More like Temple Walk!

Plagued with a poor camera

Preloaded Virgin apps

Equipped with a 1.2GHz processor, a 4-inch screen, and a 5-megapixel camera, the Virgin Mobile Awe is an entry-level 3G Android phone that has a big draw with its small $100 price.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

Compact and lightweight, the Awe looks like most entry-level Android devices. At 4.96 inches tall, 2.56 inches wide, 0.41 inch thick, and weighing 4.4 ounces, it's comfortable to maneuver with one hand.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

The battery door is styled with curving lines and ridges that you can feel. Gray with a matte rubbery coating, the back is iridescent, but it won't trap fingerprints.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

On the left edge are two bulbous buttons to adjust volume and a Micro-USB port, and up top are a 3.5mm headphone jack and sleep/power button. The right edge houses a convenient shortcut key to launch the camera.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

The handset runs Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean, and you'll get a number of Google apps and features including Chrome, Gmail, YouTube, and Google Now. To access Google Now, long-press the home key.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

The handset is powered by a sluggish 1.2GHz CPU. Though basic tasks like unlocking the screen showed little lag, more complicated tasks took more time. For instance opening Temple Run 2 took a few seconds more than usual.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

Some of the 5-megapixel and front-facing camera features include autofocus, digital zoom, geotagging, compositional grid lines, and three photo qualities.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

As a Virgin Mobile prepaid phone, the carrier preloaded three of its own apps as well. One is MyAccount, which lets you check your phone and data plan, and the other is the Feed, a news app that aggregates pop-culture and music news.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET
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