Thursday, 2 December 2010

LGP500 (or the Optimus 1)

Another android handset from LG hits the shelves and it becomes more difficult to differentiate one from another and again, LG give it a code number & a name, to confuse consumers and retailers alike. This one comes equipped with a 3mp camera and no flash (from first inspection). I get distracted and try a couple of failed attempts at switching it on. Then I realise the tiny power on button on the top of the phone. I peel off all of the protective stickers, (of which there are many) and I give it my full attention. I don't however peel off the screen protector, this looks as good as a case mate screen protector. I'm not sure how hard wearing its likely to be, but for the first month at least, I think I'd be tempted to leave it on and see how well it works. The screen seems responsive enough leaving it in place.
Upon boot up I'm given the option to enter my username and passwords. I am then presented with a vile alpha numeric keypad. So I click the cog, select inputs and change it to a qwerty. This gives me a crammed keyboard, so I rotate the handset and the phone happily obliges by rotating the screen, enlarging the keypad. Then I enter my data, so far so good. I make an input error and tap the cursor to the right part of the screen to correct. The thing that sets this apart from the older Optimus is the capacitative touchscreen and it's instantly obvious that it's far quicker to respond and doesn't need an annoying push. I tap in a couple of errors to see how it copes with correcting mistakes. It doesn't. After setup, a bright galaxy appears, a weather report and a link to the android market. I tap it and, infuriatingly, am asked for my gmail settings; again. Even though I just entered them! I struggle with the tiny qwerty keyboard on the portrait screen and I'm in. halfway through the process, I get a nice sounding reminder that I have 14 mails. I check and see that despite using a dummy gmail account, I have junk. I quickly and easily use the phones interface to see which are worthy of keeping, (none) and delete the rest. As I break to type, the phone keeps switching itself into standby, but switching it back on is easily achieved by hitting any of the keys on the front. From the home screen the main menu is displayed by hitting the middle key. 5 Multiple home screens are now the norm on these devices and they are all present and correct as expected. I click the search key and the familiar google search screen is displayed. Theres a mic button for voice recognition searches, but it's not auto activated by the proximity sensor like on the iphone. I test it however and, as it's server side processing, obviously it works equally as well as it does on other devices.
Maps is the usual google maps affair and to my amazement pinch and zoom works, although, if we're being honest, not particularly well. Otherwise, again, google maps is all present and correct. Although I have to confess, after trying to use google maps to locate 5 body shops around the Chester area, it's damn useless when you really need it, regardless of which phone it's on. Using google to obtain an accurate address, from a website, then punching that address into a sat nav is far more effective.
I boot up the web browser and it too works. Very small text looks blocky but when zoomed, (awkwardly using the pinch and zoom technique). Google Navigate is in the main menu but there is also a car home app, which appears to use navigate, only in a car only mode. There's a clock, calc, calendar, contacts, Gallery, etc. 

Google sky maps installs ok and looks good and proves the device has a working electronic compass. Angry birds looks great and shows off the screen brilliantly. 

It's hard to give a precise conclusion about this handset, it costs a little more than I expected it would, but it has just been pointed out to me, it does have a quicker processor than the Optimus and a bigger and much more responsive capacitative touch screen. So I guess the conclusion that I'm coming too is that yes, it is worthy of the price. It's clearly no galaxy S or iPhone, but then it's less than half the price of both of those. 


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