Sprint Web Page - Pro
You can read detailed information about the phones and their features on the Sprint web page. You can see pictures including 360 degree views of phones. Basic voice plans are presented clearly. Street level coverage maps now give detailed information about where your phone will likely work. My experience is that actual coverage is slightly better than the maps show. There are many options for managing your account online i.e. adding phones and services and changing plans. Most Sprint web pages are fairly legible -- at least as good or better than their competitors who seem to be caught up in the crazy fad of having dirty white text (pale gray) on a white background.
Sprint Web Page - Con
When shopping for a phone on the web page, I should be able to click on the phone and see a new web page with all the info about that phone. Then I should be able to print the page. The last time I tried doing that, I got several pages of useless stuff besides the one page that I really wanted.
Web Page / Data Plans - Con
July 2008: It seems that you may have to click to buy a phone before you can see what options or data plans are available for it. You will probably have to talk to someone on the phone before you can figure out why the web page will not allow you to add a Blackberry to your family plan.
June 2007: It is difficult to figure out the true cost for a data plan. The price for data depends on the phone, and some phones have a confusing array of data plans. You are likely to see a choice of adding a $15 Vision Pack to a Blackberry. Actually the cheapest Blackberry data plan is the $40 Blackberry Unlimited Data Pack (or whatever their price is today). There is a convoluted way to view the correct data plan options for any phone. You have to clear cookies in your browser, and then repeat the process of choosing a phone, voice plan, and data plan. To ensure that you are looking at the data plan that goes with the phone, you have to do this every time you look at the plans for a different phone. Most CS people at Sprint do not seem to know about this flaw, and will wonder why you think you can get unlimited internet on a Blackberry for $15. Although Sprint fixed the cookies issue in late 2007, data plans are still not explained well on the web pages.
The Digital Lounge page has a nice sampling of available information and entertainment services. However, it is hard to figure out what items are included in the different data packeages, or if they are premium services that cost extra.
In early 2008 Sprint improved online security for their customers. Prior to that, it was probably easy for hackers to see your phone number and password when you first logged in.
Advertising - Con
Some of Sprint's advertising is false and misleading. One of the most glaring advertising falsehoods: get an additional phone that can share minutes for only $10 per month. What Sprint does not tell you until you try to add a phone, is that you have to switch to a family plan, and your bill will nearly double. Verizon has the same offer, but they are honest enough to include the fact that you have to upgrade to a family plan in order to have more than one phone sharing minutes.
I expect large print ads to contain some useful information. Sprint ads only tell the price of buying the phone which has little to do with how much you will spend during the life of your contract or what you will get for your money. If there is any information about the cost of the plans, it is in print too small to read. If they are going to spend the money on an advertisement, why can't they provide some real useful information?
Advertising - Pro
The TV ads are entertaining. I don't expect to get much real information in 30 seconds.
Maps - Phone Navigation - Pro
For Power Vision (fast internet) phones a Maps feature in the "On Demand" menu allows your phone to show your GPS location on a map, and give you driving directions to a destination. Other carriers may call this feature "Navigator". In the past this was a Premium service, but now may be included with a data plan. Ask Sprint about it.
Even if you have only a Vision (basic internet) phone, you may still be able to receive driving directions and view Google Maps without GPS location -- you will have to enter an address or intersection that you want the map to display.
Family Locator - Pro -- review from early 2007
View the location of up to 4 phones for $5 per month. The service lets you use your computer or certain newer phones to view phone locations on a small map or an optional aerial photo view. It seems that younger children are likely to have cell phones these days, and this service can obviously be used as a child locator as well as for other uses. I tried this service for a few months until January, 2007. If the located phone is within the Sprint network and receiving GPS satellite signals, the accuracy is good -- usually accurate to within 200 or 300 feet. When you manually locate a phone, you can see whether the location is accurate (GPS located), or not accurate (general location based on cell tower locations).
There is an option to set up a schedule when the phone will be automatically located at the times you specify. You can elect to receive feedback about the location of the phone at these scheduled times by text message to your phone, Email, or popup on your computer. You can also view a history of where the phone was at the times that it was located, but you would not know where the phone was between locations (it does not track every place the phone went). Many different Sprint phone models can be located with this service. We had a 2003 model phone that could be located.
Family Locator - Con
This service is a great concept, but there is room for improvement.
In 2007 it was difficult to cancel the Family Locator Service. There was an "unsubscribe" on the FLS web page, but when I clicked that it just told me to call Sprint customer service. When I called Sprint customer service, they told me that I have to delete FLS from my plan in the "manage account" area on the web. I was unable to cancel FLS until about 3 months after I tried to cancel, and then I was still being charged for the service after it was canceled. Update: I thought the service was finally canceled because FLS sent me an Email that they were canceling. I replied to their request for feedback Email thanking them for finally canceling my service, gave them the link to this review, and said that I would check future bills to make sure that I was no longer being charged for the service. Then they resubscribed me. I replied again asking them to again unsubscribe me, but they did not. I guess my mistake was replying to the Email asking for feedback. I called customer service, and this time they canceled the service. I waited until I received my next bill before I believed it was really canceled.