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UTStarcom Super Slice - black (Virgin Mobile) review: UTStarcom Super Slice - black (Virgin Mobile)

UTStarcom Super Slice - black (Virgin Mobile)

Nicole Lee
Nicole Lee Former Editor
Nicole Lee is a senior associate editor for CNET, covering cell phones, Bluetooth headsets, and all things mobile. She's also a fan of comic books, video games, and of course, shiny gadgets.
4 min read

It was a long time coming, but Virgin Mobile finally has a phone in its lineup with built-in Bluetooth. The Super Slice (also known as the UTStarcom PCS1450) is an upgrade from the Slice of yesteryear, and it is an upgrade in two important ways--the addition of the aforementioned Bluetooth feature, plus a VGA camera. As far as design goes, it is still superskinny, but with an updated look and feel that sets it apart from the original. Since it's meant for the lower-end market, we're very pleased at the $59.99 price tag, no contract required.


UTStarcom Super Slice - black (Virgin Mobile)

The Good

The UTStarcom Super Slice is a slim and lightweight basic camera phone with Bluetooth. It's also very affordable.

The Bad

The UTStarcom Super Slice has a lackluster display and disappointing photo quality.

The Bottom Line

The UTStarcom Super Slice is a decent basic camera phone for Virgin Mobile, and its low price makes it one of the more affordable prepaid Bluetooth handsets on the market.

Though the Super Slice is not the skinniest candy-bar handset we've seen, it's still definitely on the thin side. Measuring slightly longer and wider than the Slice at 4.4 inches and 1.9 inches respectively, it is still only 0.4 inch thick. Keeping it simple in an all-black finish, the Super Slice weighs a mere 2.5 ounces, and feels nice and lightweight. Unlike the Slice, the Super Slice has smooth edges and curved corners, making it comfortable to hold in the hand.

The Super Slice has a tiny VGA camera on the back.

The 1.75-inch diagonal display on the Super Slice is a tiny bit bigger than that of the Slice, but it still retains the same boring 65,000-color display. For a basic phone, however, the graphics and colors are bright enough even if they aren't as sharp or detailed. You can adjust the screen's backlight time plus the appearance of the menu style, the clock or calendar, and the graphic of an incoming call. Unfortunately you can't adjust brightness or font size. The menu is really simple and very easy to use. The headset jack and volume rocker is on the left spine while the charger jack is on the right. The camera lens and self-portrait mirror is on the back.

Underneath the display is the navigation array that consists of two soft keys, a four-way circular toggle that doubles as shortcuts to My Account (to check your Virgin Mobile prepaid minutes), text messaging, a list of recent calls, and VirginXL, Virgin's mobile Web browser. There's also a middle OK key that doubles as a camera button, a dedicated speakerphone key, a Back button, plus the Talk and End/Power keys. The overall keypad on the Super Slice is much better than its predecessor's. Unlike the flat keys on the Slice, the Super Slice has keys that are raised above the surface, which allowed for easy dialing and texting.

The Super Slice lives up to its name in the features department, as it is indeed a "super" version of the Slice. Many of its features are the same, but it has the addition of Bluetooth and a VGA camera. But before we get to that, here are a few basics. The Super Slice comes with a 500-entry contacts list with room in each entry for five numbers, an e-mail address, an IM username, a memo, and a Web site URL. You can assign callers to groups; pair them with a photo for caller ID; or assign them one of 12 ringtones and alert sounds and one of six vibration patterns. Other features include text and picture messaging, e-mail, instant messaging, a speakerphone, a vibrate mode, a voice recorder, voice command, a tip calculator, a calculator, an alarm clock, a scheduler/calendar, a memo pad, a stopwatch, a world clock, a memory manager, and a wireless Web browser. As we mentioned, there is Bluetooth built-in, so you can use your favorite Bluetooth headset with the Super Slice as well.

The Super Slice's VGA camera took pretty bad pictures.

The other improvement is the addition of a VGA camera. Though we're accustomed to megapixel cameras on phones by now, the VGA camera is OK for such a basic phone. Camera settings are rather bare-bones, which include four resolution settings (640x480, 320x240, 160x120, Wallpaper), three quality settings, three shutter sounds, a self-timer, 10 fun frames, six image effects, and a mirror effect to flip the viewfinder horizontally or vertically. Photo quality was predictably bad--images were blurry, pixelated, and overcast.

There are quite a few personalization options for the Super Slice via VirginXL. You can download more ringtones, wallpapers, and screensavers, plus content from MTV and Comedy Central. The phone comes with three games--EA Arcade Demo package, Gameloft Mega Hits, and Pac-Man/Ms. Pac-Man--but you can always download more via VirginXL as well.

We tested the CDMA 1900 Virgin Mobile Super Slice in San Francisco using the Virgin Mobile network. Call quality was actually quite impressive, with callers reporting clear voices and a lack of background sound on our end, and vice versa. Speakerphone calls were not as good, however, as we found ourselves having to hold the phone a little closer in order for callers to hear us. We paired the Super Slice with the Plantronics Voyager 520 Bluetooth headset without a problem.

The Virgin Mobile Super Slice has a rated battery life talk time of 4.5 hours and a rated standby time of 9.5 days. We had a tested talk time of 4 hours and 40 minutes. According to FCC radiation tests, the Virgin Mobile Super Slice has a digital SAR rating of 1.47 watts per kilogram.

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