LG claims that its new Optimus One is the perfect entry level phone for prospective smartphone owners, but just how good is it? We take this $349 Android smartphone for a spin.
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The Optimus One won’t win any awards for its plain black design, but it feels well-made and solid. The unit has a 3.2-inch capacitive HVGA screen, which is a good step forward as we really didn’t like the resistive touchscreen found on its predecessor. The buttons below the screen allow users to easily access the menu, go to the home screen, go back, and search using Google.
The highlight of this phone is its operating system. Unlike other companies that still launch Android phones with an outdated OS, the Optimus One comes pre-installed with Froyo (2.2).
Having this new OS on board means that a user will get a better and faster Android experience, be able to install apps to an external SD storage, receive better Microsoft Exchange support and even turn the handset into a portable Wi-Fi hotspot.
The unit comes pre-installed with various Google Mobile Services including Voice Search, Car Home, Latitude, Maps, Gmail, as well as Market. However, LG has taken it a step further by including a couple of useful applications such as Swype, NDrive (Navigation) and social apps such as Facebook and Twitter. LG has also included an exclusive program called ‘LG App Advisor’ which recommends 10 highly rated applications every two weeks.
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The Optimus One has five home screens by default but can be increased to seven if needed. The main home screen displays a Google search bar, a weather widget from Accuweather, and shortcuts to Talk, Gmail, Market, and camera. Like any other Android phone, you can easily delete these icons/widgets and customise them accordingly.
Despite only having a 600Mhz processor, the Optimus One was fairly quick and loaded programs without any problems. The capacitive touchscreen was responsive while the built-in Swype allowed us to send messages faster. We downloaded Quadrant Standard to check how the Optimus One compares to its competition and found that it scored 387, rating better than the Moto Droid and HTC Magic.
The Optimus One comes with a dedicated Music and Video Player, allowing you to listen to your favourite music or watch movies while on the go. YouTube streaming is also available on the device.
The unit lasted for a day and a half during our test, which isn’t bad at all considering we used it to surf the Internet, call some contacts, and check e-mails.
The LG Optimus One is available now for $349.