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Monday, December 6, 2010

Urban Adventures: Switching to Touchscreen (An LG Optimus One Review)

It's now days since I own an LG Optimus one. Remember how I ranted about not getting anything at that LG fale (fail sale) of theirs? Well, I was one of those guys who got so hyped and disappointed but in the end gave in buying it on regular price. Maybe the marketing manager thought that it would be better to piss off a few clients and hope that suckers would still buy their unit due to the hype. They’re lucky I’m stingy.



LG Box

First off, I really have small hands so the width of the gadget has to matter, in this case, I could never flip it in any way as it needs my entire hand to hold it unlike the one I've been using for a long time. I also have to mention that the finish is a bit slippery to the palm and I might need an anti-slip cover for it just to lessen any stupid accidents in the future. Here's a comparison of the Optimus One to my sister's Itouch:



We still can’t figure out how to use the new digicam T_T



Width of ITouch is thinner without the cover my sister professes.

Being new to the touchscreen revolution, I can say I have no extensive experience in any keypad less device. I haven't replaced my phone for a really long time and the only other gadget I own is a PSP, both didn't require me to touch the screen. This also means that I could not complain that much on how I am disabled when in bumpy rides I could not find which keys I am meaning to use. In a keypad based phone I can text without ever looking at the screen (most handy in early mornings when I can't look at the too bright of a screen) but this time I find myself retyping the useless words I come up with only to end up with accidentally hitting the send button while I'm in the middle of editing my unreadable text. There is an option where I can use other keyboards but I wanted to train myself with QWERTY


Upper QWERTY is the Android pad, bottom is LG’s.

One of the things that add plus (to me anyway) to any phone is its’ feature of how you can set the brightness in anyway you want. Indoors and in bright light it's not noticeable but I often have mine in the lowest setting although I still use the brightest mode outdoors where the sun usually darkens screens.



This is the only angle where you won’t see me reflected in the screen.

SMS thread though already a feature in most phones is still something to rave about. I just can't figure out still how to change my photo.


Those aren't the only messages I have. Honest!


And speaking of photos, since the phone is integrated with a Google account, once I've registered mine to the unit via Wifi (no, I've tried GPRS but a hundred credits later it still didn't work) I get to have my email contacts synched. Existing phonebooks contacts were updated: their respective emails AND headshots get to be included to their phone numbers. It's a feature that shows how naive I was, since my sister told me all wifi capable phones are like that.



I’m hoping it’s okay for me to post that part.

Other than those, benefits of registering Google to the unit does not end there. It also does the following:

1. Unlocks the Calendar feature, uneditable out of the box.
2. Enables you to be notified once you have new mail at Gmail.
3. Automatically sets your phone to accept pms from Gmail’s Chat feature.
4. Updates your gallery to whatever photos you have in your Google account.
5. Gives you the option to share files/notes/contacts from phone to your online account.
6. (Not 100% sure with this) Forwards you details how to unlock your phone if you accidentally forgot how to unlock it.

All of those above are available once you join a Wifi network. No need to sign in everytime. What is also cool once Wifi is on it automatically updates the weather and temperature on the home screen. Without it though, you can still enjoy the day and night transitions as seen below. Live Wallpapers follow suit but since it is animated I dare not use it to prolong battery life.


You should see how that screen changes when it’s raining in Manila.

Also to love is the notification bar. It's a pullable toolbar on the top of the screen that enables the user to see what's currently updating and downloading. It is also your shortcut to enable Wifi, GPRS, GPS and volume. Neat. It only takes a single click to enable any or all of it on. This makes it possible for me to play Sudoku and still reply to any message that comes.

I don't know with IPhones but based on what happens to an Itouch, once I got off of a program, when I get back to it, it resets back to its original state. This on the other hand, keeps the last activity I've been doing. So let's say I've been adding numbers in my calculator. If I accidentally hit the Home button, no matter what program I've been into, once I select the calculator back, It still shows my 1+1 equation. And speaking of calculators, it supports a lengthy form of equation, making it handy in groceries. You never have to input 2 items of the same price twice, but you can simply type in 342.54 X 2 + 1922.30.

Another wonderful feature is the Task Killer, aptly named from its Windows counterpart. It enables you to remove programs that are hogging the phone’s memory.

For a camera that was 3mp, I expected better since my old one was just 2mp. I don’t know if it’s because I haven’t mastered how to make most of it or if the camera just sucked. I still can’t make decent photos indoors especially when there’s people involved. It is also frustrating that even if I may use the volume buttons on the upper left side of the unit to zoom in and out of a subject, there is no dedicated button for it. It’s obviously a challenge if I wanted to take a photo of me and someone.


Although I have complains on what the camera does in other photos, I most especially enjoy the Macro setting. 

Storage also gets a low rating. It would have been nicer if they released Optimus One with a higher internal storage, useful for apps that cannot be moved to the SD Card due to how it was programmed. Initial SD (micro) is only 2Gb so I might get a higher one so I can save more videos.
Other minor flaws in my opinion include:

1. In spite of declaring that you can simply drag and drop a video from your pc to phone and watch it then and there, this is simply not true as you will still need to convert the video to the resolution of the screen. Don’t worry where to find the converter though. The micro SD out of the box has the installer for it.

2. There are times that even if I haven’t used a program it still stays on making Angry Birds lag from the reduced memory available. I usually work around this by refreshing the Task Killer or remove them manually from it.

3. Subfolders created from a previously uninstalled app needs to be deleted manually.

4. Battery life is extremely bad. After a day of moderate usage (Wifi, text) I can only get halfway through a movie.

5. Up to now I still can’t open the back cover of the unit. I feel like my nails would bleed if I tried harder.

6. Touch screen has varying modes of sensitivity at times.

7. It’s a wonder how portrait to landscape mode transitions lags a second for normal applications (SMS, calculator) but is quite quick when it comes to games.

For 12150php, buying this out of my 30 day holding period (it took me about a few days before giving in) is not bad at all. Let’s just say it’s good enough that I can use it for another long period without replacement AND without the unshakeable feeling of how I can use that amount to other stuff; unless of course mom insisted in buying me a Samsung Galaxy hehe.

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