The hottest phone for Virgin Mobile in 2011 is the Motorola Triumph which debuted in July. For $300 you can get a fairly advanced Android smartphone without the typical contract required by most carriers. Virgin Mobile has no-contract monthly plans that let you walk away at any time you want. That should make a cell phone carrier work even harder to keep their customers happy.

The question is whether the Motorola Triumph is a good enough phone to keep you paying for the service. The phone has some great specs for a mid-range phone, but comes with some hardware/software issues that need to be considered before buying.


The Triumph sports a 4.1" Gorilla Glass screen. That is not a huge screen when compared to the Samsung Nexus with its 4.65" display, but it is still much larger than the 3.5" screen of the iPhone 4S.

Like so many phones in 2011 it still shipped with Android 2.2 (Froyo) even though there were more advanced versions of the Android operating system available. While there are some pre-loaded apps, it has a standard Android interface (no MotoBlur thankfully).

The Motorola Triumph has a 1 Ghz. processor, 5 megapixel rear camera and a front-facing VGA camera. There is an HDMI output, but there is no cable that comes with the phone.
As far as standard features you would expect, the phone has those as well: Wi-Fi, speakerphone and Bluetooth 2.1. The phone ships with a 2 GB microSD card, but you can upgrade that to up to 30 GB. Internal memory is 2 GB also.

Things to Love

Call quality seems to be good. I have not had any call issues other than occasionally my Bluetooth earpiece seems to garble some calls. The calls directly on the Triumph have not been a problem as long as I have a good cell signal.

The screen is beautiful. My phone experience is that I am coming from an iPhone 3G. This screen is every bit as nice, but much larger. Watching movies on this screen is a bit easier on the eyes. The glass is Gorilla Glass. There is a protective film on top of the glass that is pretty thick. There are YouTube videos showing you how to remove it if you choose.

While it is not a top-of-the-line phone, I have not had any problems running applications. The processor is fast enough for everything I have tried on it so far. I read app reviews of people saying different apps don't run on various phones, but I have never had an app that would not work on the Motorola Triumph.

The Triumph is not a stylish phone. It is simply a rectangular block with no bumps or protrusions. This makes the phone less identifiable in a crowd. That can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your perspective. I personally like the generic nature of the looks of the phone. I feel like it is less likely to be a target for someone wanting to steal it.

Things to Hate

Motorola TriumphCredit: Virgin MobileThere are a couple of design choices that I have not been pleased with.

The volume-up button is almost directly opposite the power button. This means that when you want to turn the volume up while watching a video, you are just as likely to turn the phone off. While that is frustrating, it is not as embarrassing as turning the volume up and making a 'bong' noise when you meant to turn the phone off while sitting in church.

Besides the power button, there are no other physical buttons that will power on the phone. I know that the trend is to move away from multiple buttons, but if the power button is not convenient for you, you have no other option but to use it. My preference is that the power button be on the top, further down on the left side than where it is, or on the right side at the top (about in line where it is now).

It is nice that you can remove the battery back and replace the battery. However, the back seems to come off too easily. If you are not using a case you may find that the back pops off on occasion. It doesn't happen much more than once a week for me, but it still happens often enough to be a concern. Most of the time when it comes off it ends up falling to the floor. I am afraid of it getting stepped on and broken.

Things to Wonder About

This phone is not without its problems. There are some serious issues[1331] that seem to be software related. I am still holding out hope that they will be fixed.

The GPS receiver in the Motorola Triumph is sometimes slow to lock on to the satellites. Most of the time it is not a big enough issue to worry about. It gets me close enough that I can see where I might be on a map. But sometimes it will take several minutes before it can pinpoint my location, and other times it never does. I know weather can play a role in GPS signals, but this even happens on a perfectly clear day. I don't pretend to know everything about GPS receivers, but there are many reports of this being a problem.

A bigger problem in my experience has been the signal reception issue. I have compared it side-by-side with other Virgin Mobile and Sprint phones (Virgin uses the Sprint network). My Motorola Triumph almost never has 4 bars of service while other phones are pegged out. It seems there is a serious problem with the phone's reception.

The final hardware/software problem that bothers me the most with the Triumph is the responsiveness of the screen. There are times when the phone doesn't seem to register that it is being touched. I never experienced that with my iPhone (or the LG Optimus V that I used for a short time). Sometimes when I receive a call I am not able to swipe to answer the call without having to slide across the screen 3 or 4 times.

There are a few other problems that also seem like they may be software fixable. It is not like Motorola is clueless when it comes to making phone hardware. I hold out hope that we will someday see a software upgrade that will make everything work properly.

Should You Buy It?

I think if you are interested in a phone that works well on Virgin Mobile you should seriously consider the LG Optimus V. After my first Triumph wasn't so triumphant, I traded down for the Optimus V which worked flawlessly.

I eventually traded back up to the Motorola Triumph because I mainly wanted the larger screen. If you are someone who feels cramped with the 3.2" screen of the Optimus V and you want the latest hardware with hopes of a future fix, then the Motorola Triumph is not a terrible phone. Reception is a problem when you don't live in a big population center. The GPS may or may not be a problem for you. The larger screen and more memory makes the Triumph much more appealing.

I hate recommending to people that they should avoid the phone. I really want to like it and recommend it to my friends. But until the cell and GPS reception works better, it may not be the best phone for those who are more interested in using the phone as opposed to the nice specs of the Triumph.