To be clear, the deal is contract-free, without a carrier subsidy. Normally, the LG LS840 Viper Sprint 4G LTE Android smartphone sells for $499.99 without a two-year service agreement, which of course means that the subscriber is either new to Sprint or is eligible for a device upgrade.
The LG Viper 4G LTE was Sprint's first LTE model. It was introduced in early 2012, when Sprint finally realized that WiMAX was more of a hindrance than a help, and that it had to join the LTE party and use that as its LTE technology.
Honestly, when the phone was introduced, it was seen as clunky. That was about 1 1/2 years ago, so you can probably imagine how consumers would view the device nowadays. Still, this is a low price, but one has to wonder if there isn't something better out that that is current and state of the art, yet only costs about $100 sans contract.
The LG Viper 4G LTE includes an NFC chip embedded in the shell, as well as a 1,700mAh Li-ion battery and microSD slot. Processor-wise, the device sports a dual-core 1.2GHz MSM8660 chip, and ships with 1GB of RAM. Sadly, though, the device shipped with Gingerbread and has received an upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) but not an upgrade to any version of Jelly Bean (4.1, 4.2, or 4.3). That means no Google Now, and no access to a lot of other new functionality.
Those willing to tinker with the device, though, will likely be able to find custom ROMs and roots available which will allow them access to later versions of Android -- all with the termination of their warranty, though.
The screen is a (then) relatively large (but now so-so) 4-inch diagonal affair. It has a 400x800 resolution, which is hardly Retina quality, but is at least decent.
Storage-wise, the LG Viper 4G LTE includes 2GB of internal storage, which is hardly worthy of note nowadays. However, it ships with a 4GB microSD card, a nice touch. That does mean, though, that buyers had better hope that the apps they really love allow movement to the SD card. Not all apps do.