Boost Mobile might be ahead of the curve in offering contract-free smartphone plans, but those fancy devices can come with a hefty upfront cost. The budget-friendly carrier hopes to change that with the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Prevail II, an Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean-equipped device available for just $180 without subsidies or further payments. And budget-friendly this gadget is indeed, sporting a 4-inch WVGA touchscreen, a 1.4GHz processor and Bluetooth 4.0. So, aside from unsurprisingly mediocre hardware and a dated operating system, what’s the biggest catch?
Well, $180 up front and $55 a month (or as low as $40 after 18 months, if you keep up) gets you neither Sprint’s dwindling 4G WiMAX nor its LTE service–this phone is equipped for 3G networks only. But don’t misunderstand: This is a major update to the original Galaxy Prevail, jumping from a 2-MP to a 5-MP rear camera and a 1.3-MP shooter up front, not to mention a much larger display that’s higher quality by comparison. Also, Samsung and Boost Mobile promise 8 hours of talk time on the 1750 mAh battery inside the Prevail II.