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A Laymans view of the LG Optimus One Smartphone

LG Optimus One P500

Rating: ★★★★☆

I have owned the LG P500 Optimus One Smartphone for 5 months now and as this is my first foray into the world of “Apps”, Touchscreens and mini computer processors I can tell you that overall it has exceeded my expectations.

Now, A lot of professional reviewers will make a big hoohaa about styling. I have to say that I am not so hung up on this this aspect but at the same time I wouldn’t want a huge plastic brick, The optimus One is a small phone in comparison to other Smartphones but it is nice and slim, lightweight and not unattractive.

Consequently a small phone means a small screen, In turn that means a small touchscreen keypad which over a few months I did struggle with when typing texts, using google searches and making notes in the diary. However, Thanks to the Android App market this issue is resolved significantly with the download of my one and only paid app – “Swiftkey” £1.25 – Brilliant keyboard alternative to the default Android one pre-installed on the phone.

Apart from the small keyboard the screen is clear and the touch screen is responsive, Like all quality branded smartphones the app icons are very sensitive, Just the slightest touch will get an app started or the phone pad, messaging screen etc. I have on a few occasions inadvertantly touched one of these and although irritating, it is simple and immediate to exit back to the main screen. There are a maximum of 5 screens to scroll through on the home screen, I have found this more than ample to store my regular used apps and widgets on. Again the scrolling sensitivity is nice and responsive (maybe not as responsive as the very slick ithing gadgets? but it’s smooth and nicely controlled).

The LG is GPS installed so using the phone as a Satnav works seamlessly. It works by connecting to GPS and HSDPA (turning on the mobile 3G connection) So Google maps is activated over the internet to plot where you are and direct you to your desired destination (That’ll be another £80 saved then by not having to buy a seperate Satnav!). The LG has Voice control for every application you can think of…Including the Satnav element. The installed MP3 player is adequate, As is the rear facing 5mp 720p stills camera which also shoots standard definition video (At least I think it’s Standard definition? I personally have never used this). In general all the functions one would expect on a Smartphone are included, None of them are the very best that money can buy but all of the functions work well enough to be of use.

Another good point is the LG’s easy setup and customizable interface. On receipt I had it connected to my home wireless internet connection in a couple of minutes and arranged the icons on the screen how I wanted them, Including picture icons of the 4 most used contacts…A quick touch on the icon and it instantly dials that persons phone, Another 4 icons for the same contacts which instantly take me to the text message input screen…. Fabulous! I can change wallpapers,ringtones and backrounds with ease. All in all I found the settings menu very easy and fun to use.

The Optimus One has not got the most up to date processor but I have not had any issues with the speed of any application tried out. I have downloaded approximately 40 free apps from the Google android market (The app to access the official market is pre installed), All of them have downloaded quickly and all have run smoothly, doing exactly what they are supposed to do. This aspect has been a major plus point for me as I read app reviews before downloading and on many occasions I see comments made by other quality branded Android users such as “Doesn’t work, Uninstalled!” and “Won’t run!”. The excellent compatability with apps may be down to the operating system being pretty up to date as it is pre-installed with Android 2.2 “Froyo”? What I do know is that searching, Downloading and using really useful apps has been a fabulous experience with this phone.

However there is one function the LG Optimus One does not have that I think may be a frustration and in some cases a big no no to would be consumers – This is the absence of Flash Player. I have read many reviews and pundits in connection with the various Smartphones on the market and I know that a large number of Android system phones have Flash Player installed. I do not know the full functions of Flash Player other than it can play certain videos broadcast by various mobile web sites (BBC iPlayer is one). I do know that many Android phone users love Flash Player and enjoy taunting ithing owners on how fabulous this facet is (ithing doesn’t have Flash Player). It’s difficult for me to comment on this issue as it’s a case of “If you’ve never had it, You won’t miss it” but I can say that I do use BBC iPlayer at home on the odd occasion and it would have been a nice addition to the LG Optimus Ones features.

I have been pleasantly surprised with the reliability of the LG Optimus One. In the 5 months I have had the phone it’s been dropped on to hard surfaces, mauled by childen and in constant use! To date it has not faultered. Of course I would expect the any product I invest in to continue working and doing it’s job in that short time, But technology is a different beast and I have had other gadgets which stop working under far less trauma than what this phone has gone through! The only flaw I have noticed is some sort of dust has got stuck inside the screen…. I have no idea how? It does not impact on any functionality and when the screen is on I cannot see it, So it’s not a big deal to me.

There are not thousands of accessories for the LG optimus One but the usual neccessary kit is available. On the deal I got from 3 mobile it included a suction mounted phone holder which works well and has never fallen off the windsreen since january. I also received the usual headphones/mic unit which as all the manufacturers provide is utter rubbish (you know? those ridiculous buds that won’t fit in your ears!), A cigarette car charger lead and mains plug plus usb lead (allows charging from the mains plug, Computer or in car). I have also bought a silicon skin (pictured) and a weatherproof phone case which was a generic design and not specific to the LG Optimus One.

So why did I go for the Optimus One Smartphone in the first place? – Well, I do like to read about new technological innovations and I do enjoy using gadgets that truly make things easier, fun, useful and simple. Therefore I had been interested in a suitable smartphone prior to my mobile phone contract coming up for negotiation. I am with 3 network and with a rufty tufty negotiating style I haggled for the deal I wanted. Initially I was offered a Free Smartphone running Android 1.6…..Hmmm? But I held out and was offered the LG, Free for £19 per month including 900 anytime minutes or texts. If you don’t want to be tied in on contract? the best price I have seen it available in the UK sim free is £148.95 (As of May 2011).

Pros

  • Low Price
  • Excellent compatibility
  • Reliable
  • Small, Slim and discrete

Cons

  • No Flash Player
  • Tiny keyboard

Verdict

For those who want to invest in a Smartphone for the first time this is the product to have. For a quality branded item it is almost unbeatable on price and due to the up to date firmware this phone should last the regular average user a good couple of years before the effects of feeling out of date. The tiny keyboard is a pain but fixable to a good degree with a decent alternative keyboard app. The absence of Flash Player may be a problem to some?


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