Virgin Mobile's cell phones tend to stick to the basics. Even when they offer cameras, like the UTStarcom Arc and the Samsung Slash, the handsets concentrate on doing what a cell phone should do. The prepaid carrier's latest model, the Kyocera TNT, certainly follows this format. Like the recent LG Flare, the TNT concentrates on making calls and sending messages. And, on that front, it functions relatively well, even if the voice quality is slightly tinny. You can get it for a bargain-basement $19.99, which is quite reasonable for a carrier that doesn't make you sign a contract.
Though Virgin Mobile calls the TNT a "dynamite little flip" phone, we wouldn't go that far. Designwise it's about as basic as a cell phone can be. Straight lines dominate, and the tiny (96x16 pixels) monochrome display is decidedly retro. The screen shows the date, time, battery life, and signal strength, but users with visual impairments may find that the text is too small. On the upside, we liked the TNT's blue color, and the soft-touch skin gives it a comfortable feel in the hand. We also appreciated the phone's solid build and sturdy hinge. At 3.53 inches long by 1.78 inches tall by 0.62 inch wide, it slips easily into a pocket, and at 2.78 ounces it won't weigh you down.
There's not much else on the exterior of the phone besides a small speaker below the external display and a volume rocker on the left spine. You also can use the volume rocker to reactivate the backlighting on the external display. The 2.5mm headset jack sits above the rocker, while the micro USB charger port rests on the right spine.
The TNT's internal display measures 1.8 inches (160x128 pixels) and supports 65,000 colors. That's pretty low-res as far as phone displays go these days, but on a basic handset like the TNT it is more than appropriate. Graphics won't look great, but the text is readable and the simple icon-based menus are intuitive. You can change the contrast, brightness, and backlighting time.