I bought these in the past (these in particular, the Galaxy SIII), so I’m going to lay out some of my experiences with both the phones and FreedomPop’s services.
As a note, I’m not a heavy phone user in any way. The basic plan of minutes, texts, and data is pretty much all I need, and I was careful during setup/activation to decline the offers for additional features and trials. Because I use a cell phone so little, this plan is a good fit for me so that I’m not paying $100/month for something that just sits there.
Anyway, some points:
My wife, myself, and my in-laws have this model, refurbished by Freedompop. The phones were in decent shape, but the batteries don’t seem to hold a charge for more than about 2 days. Not sure if that’s typical or not, but I have the option of replacing on this model if I wanted so it’s not a big problem. The included chargers are not that great, and on my wife’s phone the battery was so stone dead that the included charger would not even get the phone going (I had to use a different, higher amperage USB charger). The phones appear to run a custom ROM by Freedompop and all communications are done through the messaging app which has some quirks. The volume controls do not work quite as expected, since incoming calls are not really “calls” but notifications from the app. System alerts for things such as inclement weather will not use the Freedompop messaging app but instead try to use the Messenger built into the phone, requiring the default to be changed in order to clear the alert. I’ve not tried it personally, but I’ve heard that this model from Freedompop has some incompatibilities with Bluetooth devices that can be fixed by rooting the phone and putting a different OS on it. The Messaging and phone apps work well enough most of the time, and they do receive updates, but sometimes its necessary to reboot the phone if things are acting properly.
While it works, the reception and call quality are not always the best, but I knew that going in. If you are on wifi, the phone will use that for calling/messaging, which greatly helps. A family member upgraded to the premium voice plan and says it made a good bit of difference. You are limited by Sprint’s coverage, so if you’re used to AT&T or Verizon you might be a bit underwhelmed.
My biggest complaint is the voicemail - while there is an option to purchase it for a small monthly fee, I opted not to do so. When I first got the phone this was fine - callers for whom I did not answer would just get a message that I was not available and then the line would disconnect. Freedompop changed this, and so now callers can leave a message that I can’t retrieve. Let me reiterate that: When I don’t answer, the caller can leave a voicemail that they expect I will get. I get a message in the Messeging app that a voicemail was left, and that if I activate the voicemail service I can retrieve it. I could easily pay the monthly fee and have voicemail service, but I didn’t want to and the principle of this is what really bothers me.
So, in summary, the phones and service work, but you do get what you pay for (which could be just the cost of the phone). Overall I’ve been content with the performance of it, but I’m not a heavy phone user. The new voicemail policy really irritates me, but since most people will probably opt to get voicemail anyway it might not be a big concern.