Helio Launches in the US

Helio Logo

In case you haven’t heard yet, Helio, which we talked about a few months ago on our sister site, has officially launched in the US today. They’ve launched with two phones geared towards the youth market (Helio service on a whole is geared towards the youth demo) and have included integrated MySpace access, video messaging, news feeds, and a whole slew of other multimedia features.

MySpace Helio members will also receive extra storage for their MySpace pictures, and be able to update their MySpace pics directly from their Helio handsets. Live news feeds can be received and displayed to their idle screen and has been aptly dubbed H.O.T (Helio on Top). H.O.T content is fed from an assortment of sources for 10 different live channels, including such partner content as Fox Sports, IGN, MTV News, MySpace, POPSUGAR, Surfline, The Onion, Yahoo! and more.

Exciting as this all maybe, don’t expect to get into one of these handsets without a little damage to your plastic. The Korean manufactured handsets will run you $275 for the Hero and $250 for the Kickflip. How these prices will fly in a ‘free handset world’ remains to be seen. Service options include an “All In

Christen Costa

Grew up back East, got sick of the cold and headed West. Since I was small I have been pushing buttons - both electronic and human. With an insatiable need for tech I thought "why not start a blog focusing on technology, and use my dislikes and likes to post on gadgets."

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43 Comments

  1. I had a helio ocean for a good year. its a great phone to have in tell it brake on you.i called helio to see if i can get it fixed.they said no cuz my warrenty has exspired 2 weeks ago. i still one more year on the contract with them. the only way they will fix my phone is if i singed a anouther 2 year contract with them.i think that is some bullshit because there contract last longer then cell phone do. i am telling every to NOT BUY A HELIO PHONE TRUST ME ON THIS.

    p.s. thats my story

  2. I have had Helio for the past 6 months. My Ocean is the worst phone ever, it’s falling apart in my hands. You sign up for the $65/mo plan…. expect to be paying nearly $100 here in WA. I’m cancelling my contract really soon. (All the Helio stores here have closed, I wonder why!)

  3. Stay away from this company! The service is the worst I’ve ever dealt with! I just cancelled today after six months of “service”. I would try to make calls and would be unable to connect. It has taken me six attempts to make a call before it went through. I had full bars and the little 3G logo too so it wasn’t a bad area. I dropped calls all the time. I wouldn’t receive calls, the only reason I knew I had missed a call was a random voicemail 3 hours later. People weren’t receiving my text messages either. I live in Chicago so it’s not like I’m in the middle of nowhere either… I called to cancel and they asked if there was anything they could do to keep me. They offered me more minutes every month. I laughed and said, “What good are extra minutes when I just explained to you that I’m unable to make calls?” The representative was not as amused. The kicker is that when I had my fiance add a line to her T Mobile I was informed that because Helio is such a small company, they wouldn’t be able to port my number… Seriously folks, I wish I had read a review like this 6 months ago. Save your time and money and stick with a major provider.

  4. I recently purchased the Helio Ocean from Finawireless.com this phone is the best thing going. It has every feature I could possibly want in a cell phone. The camera on the Ocean is great. The full keyboard makes text messaging so easy and accessing the web is no trouble. The storage space is remarkable. Finawireless.com really helped me make an excellent choice.

  5. I was really torn on my cell decision. My current phone is broken and my provider has sorry choices, so Ive been looking at the Fin’s capabilities and the seemingly excellent $65 almost completely unlimited service plan and I was really wanting to switch. I wouldve been taking this phone back home to a place where there’s no Helio stores for over 100 miles.

    The plethora of reviews of Helio’s bad service have absolutely convinced me to avoid them.

    Thank you everybody for sharing your 20/20 hindsight.

  6. I’ve had Helio for a little over a year. The Hero was ok at first-though the menus were set up in a ridiculous manner. Hitting the year mark meant dropping calls, not getting text messages, and difficulties with getting voice mails.

    I decided to switch to an Ocean and extend my contract for two years. Making sure I got the resigning deal of $199 instead of paying $400 for the phone meant three phone calls to customer service. The first call resulted in being transfered three times and spending 20 minutes on hold. I was then told to call back in half an hour because their, “systems were updating”. I did and was told to call back in an hour because their systems were “still updating”. I called back two hours later, placed the order for the Ocean, but was told conflicting information. During my first call I was told that resigning a contract meant I was elligible for the all in $99 a month unlimited plan. When I ordered the Ocean, I was told this wasn’t the case. I asked to speak to a manager.

    The manager didn’t state his name, but assured me that a fax was going out to all their sales people stating, “current members who resign contracts are elligible for new member deals.” I was then told to call back to switch my contract on the 20th so I wouldn’t take on any weird charges.

    Now, I just got off the phone with them. I was on hold a total of 45 minutes-put on hold a total of 6 times. I talked to a manager, he supposedly consulted other supervisors from different departments and told me I could not have this deal! I told them I was seriously considering ending my contract over this-that they don’t treat their already existing customers well and hung up.

    I’m torn because I love the Ocean, it hasn’t dropped calls, I get good service in Chicago and can be on the internet in the mountains of North Carolina. All cell places have their problems, but I feel their customer service is ridiculous, takes too much time, and am considering filing a complaint with the better business bureau.

  7. I will be switching to Helio this coming week. 99 for everything is unbeatable. Ive used all major carriers and currently have tmobile. I use blackberry devices and will be switching to the Ocean. Helio has great service (Signal) because it uses both sprints and verisons towers. Ive called numerous times with questions and everyone is right. The customer service is HORRIBLE. Im still switching despite this because the 99 all included just cant be beaten and I dont contact customer service very often anyway. Order online, pay online and everything elsse will be fine.

  8. I have had a horrible problem with t-mobile for like 3 months ever since I had them change my phone number. They changed my number to one that had been canceled, it caused me to be unable to access their “my-tmobile” website because it kept saying my number was canceled. I called their customer service (I use that term loosely) multiple times, and I kept getting the run around. Their website finally allowed me to login around January 16th 2008, about 2.5 months since the problem began. The story doesn’t end there. I have a sidekick 3, and after logging into their website, I will try to access the desktop utility for my sidekick 3. The site then tells me that I don’t have a valid phone number. Also, the mytmobilepictures website won’t let me long in at all. Tmobile is pathetic, and I despirately want to switch to Helio. But I need more info. People seem more apt to complain in this forum, does anyone have anything GOOD to say about them? I went to the Better Business Bureau website, and could only find about 2 complaints lodged against Helio, there have been thousands lodged against T-mobile, including one I submitted which they have yet to resolve. If anyone has an Ocean, please tell me what you think of it?

  9. I have had a horrible problem with t-mobile for like 3 months ever since I had them change my phone number. They changed my number to one that had been canceled, it caused me to be unable to access their “my-tmobile” website because it kept saying my number was canceled. I called their customer service (I use that term loosely) multiple times, and I kept getting the run around. Their website finally allowed me to login around January 16th 2008, about 2.5 months since the problem began. The story doesn’t end there. I have a sidekick 3, and after logging into their website, I will try to access the desktop utility for my sidekick 3. The site then tells me that I don’t have a valid phone number. Also, the mytmobilepictures website won’t let me long in at all. Tmobile is pathetic, and I despirately want to switch to Helio. But I need more info. People seem more apt to complain in this forum, does anyone have anything GOOD to say about them? I went to the Better Business Bureau website, and could only find about 2 complaints lodged against Helio, there have been thousands lodged against T-mobile, including one I submitted which they have yet to resolve. If anyone has an Ocean, please tell me what you think of it?

  10. i have read all the comments, 1 which was helpful to me. i have tmobile, (sidekick user), and am so fed up with them at this point.

    i live in the philadelphia area. how is service here? i read one comment that was great, but want to hear from more than one person. im considering helio ocean… lemme know!

    [email protected]

  11. I am a Helio member and I have the Ocean, I joined about six months ago. Consider yourself warned — Helio is the WORST cell provider I have ever dealt with. I have been fighting with them for the last 3 months trying to get out of my contract due to their ridiculously terrible service. If you only plan to use your phone to chat and surf the web than it might be fine for you. I live in LA and service is ok, not great but not the worst. However, I need to be able to rely on using my emails daily and I cannot tell you how many times I have not been able to send or receive emails. Every single time I have called “customer service” (I use the term loosely) they have fed me the “we’re in the middle of updating” bull; which has at times been for an entire week. To my surprise there are never any new features or any signs that updates have been done; and this company send an email alert about every thing under the sun! Finally I did get a supervisor to admit that they simply have an ongoing issue with their server. It is absurd, and their customer service is laughable. They will flat out tell you they have no clue how to answer your question. I once went into their one and only store in my city (which is 45 minutes away and the store they told me they were opening closer to me when I signed up has yet to come close to being opened) I asked an employee a specific question about my Ocean device, he said to me that he didn’t actually have that particular device so he didn’t know much about it’s features! Sadly, this was not even a surprise as that point. Save yourself a huge headache – yes, all cell companies have issues – but Helio is by far in over its head and simply not up to the task of providing standard service of today’s expectations. Not to mention that they have never once offered any type of credit for their ongoing mistakes and when asked refuse to do so. And as someone who has always paid their bill early, this month my bill was due on January 30th and I simply didn’t get to it before then. At 7am January 31st I received text messages and emails from Helio telling me my bill was past due and my service was in jeopardy! We’re talking one day AND the first time…they are unbelievable!

  12. the phone is great, i have the heat, i have never run out of service from the beach in florida to the mountains in Utah and Colorado it is great, if you get helio i recommend to get the unlimited. service is great, is there is a Sprint, Verizon, At&t service then you have service, i am sorry that i have not swich to helio sooner. the GPS is great, even for direction. i would take helio over Sprint and over Cingular any time. and my friend are mad at me when i can tell them the score on football faster then he get connected with Verizon.

  13. hey my family and i were going to switch to helio from a little rural mom and pa kinda phone service. and i love the fact that the ocean can be my new ipod w/ expandeable memory all my family and i want to know can we get reception in Texas in the NE part of it and also when we travel we just want to make sure this phone will work in all parts of our house not just the bathroom lol all comments would be great ty

  14. I am interested in getting the ocean but i am curious about the service. I currently have verizon and they’re great but they have a bad selection of phones.Anyone in the NYC area have any reviews for me?

  15. So i am looking at losing alltel and going with helio … i pay close to 200/mo for 3 lines and 1200 mins and only 1 phone has internet accesss. Does HELIO work in ohio well? specifically cleveland area? and northeast towards erie PA

  16. I have been using the the ocean for about a month now and I cannot complain. I am in the philadelphia area and am loving the reception. I have yet to drop a call and the ultimate inbox is the greatest thing for me. I actually enjoy the service so much I partnered up with a local dealer and have been selling the service for about 2 weeks now and these phones are flying off the shelves. I previously used and sold sprint phones and I will never go back.

  17. I live in Northwestern PA and am interested in knowing what the service is like in that area. I’m thinking of changing from Sprint and want to know if it is worth it. I also am interetested in the GPS feature can anyone give me more info on this.

  18. Just picked up the new “fin” a couple of days ago and really enjoying it! i got a great deal on the phone and the best deal on minutes and internet access………………unlimited baby! had a great time checking it out and learning about it at the Santa Monica (CA) store. My man Bejan was super knowledgeable and very helpful. I have had great coverage on the Sprint network coming from TMobile. Looking to discover more about what this little device can do!

  19. worst customer service ever
    the total happiness guarantee
    gave me complete unhappiness

    terrible terrible blasting hold music

    no happiness what so ever!

  20. Helio is the worst company in the world. If you an hour to waste every time they mess something up you should get them. They have no customer service and the customer service reps are nice but terrible. Good luck

  21. Anybody in the southern New Hampshire area have comments on the Helio service? I live in Portsmouth New Hampshire and I’ve been looking primarily at the Sidekick 3, but I like the Ocean a bit better. My only sticking point is the coverage. I’m on Verizon right now and I have great service. I’d be afraid to lose that coverage if I went with Helio…..

  22. Helio is NOT a Prepaid company. The cheapest “All-In” plan is $65 and includes 500 minutes (free Nights and Weekends) and unlimited everything else including text messages, internet browsing, etc. The cheapest phone they have right now is the Heat. (You can get the phones cheaper if you do a Google search for “helio promo code”) You HAVE to use the Helio phones with the Helio plans. (unless you know a knowledgeable phone guy that can hack it to work with Verizon phone plans etc) No, Boost will not work. I have reliable service in MD, 5 bars, 3g network, etc. It’s worth the $65/month. I love it. http://www.helio.com for more answers.

  23. hi, i would really like to get the helio ocean but can u use boost pre paid on it??????? i rlly hope it is possible.
    or do u have to get a plan?

  24. I have not had good reception with Helio, even though their “coverage” map shows my area as being in the prime coverage area. I should be getting 5 bars and the full 3G, but I do not. It actually goes down to zero bars periodically and talking on it at home produces lots of static which makes it difficult to hear. I am returning it and cancelling my service.

    Additionally, the speakerphone on the Ocean is terrible. If you want a quality speakerphone, steer clear of the Ocean.

  25. I been with t mobile and been wanting to change servces.So I would like to know if helio is reliable as it sounds.

  26. I’ve been seaching the internet trying to find a review about the Helio phone service. I just want to know how reliable is Helio? I travel alot and really need to stay connected. Can anyone tell me if the service is worth it?

  27. Helio runs on Sprints CDMA network. From what I have seen it gets better service than my friends that have Verizon and Sprint. If you are a heavy text and internet user this is an excellent deal. Other carriers charge over $100, if not more compared to what Helio charges, $65 for the same services. It is a new company and will most likely become a major player in the U.S. market. Also, if you are young and do not have any credit, Helio will approve you no problem. The other carriers charge deposits up to $500 to $750, so Helio is a great deal hands down for young text and internet users with limited credit info. Plus thier handsets rock for the price. Try Cingular Sync it might be cheaper to buy if you have no deposit requirement but, no flash for the camera, plus it has defects on the screen looks like water on the screen after about a month, and for $80 a month you get the same services, but not GPS and not unlimited messaging. Plus, Helio’s 3G area covers a lot more than Cingular’s or anyother carrier for that matter. Another downside to Cingular is that you cannot insure any of thier 3G devices which Helio lets you do. Helio will get bigger and better with more subscribers. Helio also has a great referral program, if you refer a friend you get a month free, no other carrier can match that. All in all, Helio is a good deal for the money.

  28. A few questions. First, how does the phone have such great service where as other companies who have been out forever don’t have service like in rocky mountain areas and or arizona desert areas? Is the phone technology CDMA, GSM, or IDEN? Are there any hidden roaming charges? Even verizon doesn’t have service in those areas and they claim to have the best coverage of any wireless phone company, explain that.

    Sincerely,
    Josh

  29. $150 a month will buy you alot of headaches and unreliable service. The phones are weak and the company is weaker. Only sign up if you have another cell to fall back on.

  30. hey does anybody have the service? i’m also tryin to break off of my parents, but i have yet to find a job, so i’ll probably have to wait a tadbit before i can get it…i’m just gonna do the 500 a month 65 bux…and then the hero, bcuz i guess the hero is alot better than the kickflip, so anyways can anyone tell me if my paying 65 a month really worth it?

  31. I found out on a website that this Helio Kickflip cell phone can use other services such as Boost Mobile and Ampdmobile. I have a question about Helio using other services. Can helio’s kickflip use Boostmobile and Ampdmobile “prepaid card” services?

  32. I realize that being connected to MySpace so much is a marketing ploy, but this could be a really good thing for many musicians. The phones aren’t too expensive compared to when the Razors first came out (they were like $400 and sold really well) and the “A la Carte” deal sounds really good. I’ve been thinking of getting one for when I’m on tour with my band. MySpace has become a huge part in keeping fans updated on the band and in contact. Also I’m trying to break off from my parents, so having my own phone plan would help a lot. Has anyone heard any feedback from anyone who has one of the phones?

  33. I’d personally prefer the unlimited plan. My best guess is that the targeted demo already uses exuberant amounts of data, and not so much talk time. Take for example the Sidekick foks, course they charge less for unlmited data but dont offer 3G. Could turn out to be a steal for these type of users. Thoughts?

  34. $85/month and targeted at the youths??? Wouldnt it make more sense to charge less for phone and service, and have folks pay for the 3G usage?

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