Straight Talk now carries AT&T at half the price

July 6, 2012 Review Print Print

The 3.5-inch touch screen, Android 2.3, full Internet and full GPS capabilities make Straight Talk’s new Android smart phone, the ZTE Merit, powered with full support of the AT&T network, one of the best values for your buck.

Having had prepaid Straight Talk phone service for some time now, I have gone through several phones, mostly Samsung phones. Being caught in the Galaxy rage, I even purchased the lower end Precedent, and a mere six months later it died. As its replacement, I am happy I switched to the Merit.

Priced at $129.88 through, I had to drive clear to Purcell to find it. But I could tell immediately it was worth the trip.


The whole box felt a bit heavier than the prior Galaxy phone, and to my surprise I found the casing of the phone itself to be exactly that—thicker and more durable with a padded coating similar to a semi-expensive case.

The screen is not much bigger than my Galaxy, which was only 3.2 inches, but seems more sensitive to touch than the Galaxy ever did. And I can tell a difference in letter sizing which is a plus for someone who needs lenses to see.

Upgrading from a 3.5-to a 5-megapixel camera did not hurt the decision either. The increase in pixels means I can take better quality photographs with my phone.

Some people may wonder why I would want to downgrade from an 800 megahertz processor to a 600. Well, to increase my RAM from 384 megabytes to 512. Now, I am not constantly waiting on my phone to catch up with me because my phone memory is overloaded. And besides, I think the Galaxy’s Android 2.2 system had some problems.

It seems there is yet another bonus to the decrease in processor size: an increase in battery time, which was exactly what I needed. I am constantly on the go, and it is hard to charge my phone twice a day as it is. So far the Merit has increased my battery time to one charge a day. And to top it all off, new features that I did not have on my Galaxy really amazed me. Features like simply laying the phone face down to stop it from ringing.

That means no more fumbling to find the correct button in my pocket.

Since the whole exchange was done through a Walmart service replacement plan, I unfortunately had to wait four days for the money to show up on my shopping card. But, there was enough money left over from the $159 Galaxy I had previously purchased that I was able to buy yet another protection plan with only a few dollars in my pocket.

The switch of providers to AT&T from Sprint has also brought an increase in data speeds. This was the selling point. I can now receive all the data, talk and text I want for only $45 a month through Straight Talk, and pay no where near the $80 or more AT&T charges their own customers for the same service.

I once switched from a cell phone company I had been with for 10 years that claimed to have the happiest customers in cellular. Armed with my ZTE Merit, it is apparent it is Straight Talk that now has one of the happiest customers in wireless.

Rating: A

—Shawn Stawicki

Guest Writer

To contact Shawn Stawicki, email

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