The launch of Windows Phone 7 has been greeted with open arms and adulation by consumers all around due to its fresh new looks, responsiveness, and the complete reinvention of a Windows OS on a mobile scale. But compared to the majority of the existing pack of Windows Phone 7 smartphones, the LG Quantum C900 separates itself ever so slightly by being the sole one to sport a landscape style QWERTY keyboard. Since it’s priced evenly with the existing crop at $199.99 with a contract, will its keyboard become the driving force to persuade customers to choose it over other offerings?
The package contains:
- LG Quantum
- microUSB Cable
- Wall Charger
- Quick Start Guide
- 3.5mm Stereo Headset
Even after glancing over the LG Quantum a couple of times, it’s quite telling that its design doesn’t necessarily take precedence over the alluring look of its brand spanking new mobile platform. Instead, its approach is much too ordinary as it borrows styles featured on previous handsets with its predominantly soft touch coating exterior and accenting metallic rear cover. Upon holding it, there is no hiding the kind of weight (6.21 oz) it’s packing as it also looks a bit more bulky (0.60” thick) compared to the streamlined nature of something like the Motorola DROID 2. However, its solid construction provides a sense of durability in fending off the adverse affects of normal wear and tear.
You can compare the LG Quantum with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.
The LG Quantum employs a brilliant looking 3.5” TFT display thanks partly to is WVGA (480 x 800) resolution. Essentially, it’s able to provide ample visibility with even the tiniest of text, and colors that retain their natural tones in just about every angle. Moreover, the level of responsiveness is accurate enough in registering subtle touches and complex gestures. Though, we’re not particularly too content with its brightness output as it still requires being shielded in direct sunlight.
It’s near impossible to accidentally press either of the capacitive buttons, the back and search keys, because they’re spaced so far apart from one another. As for the home button, which is an actual physical one, its placement squarely in the center-bottom is fitting – but it’s rather difficult to feel out seeing that it’s almost flush to the surface.
We’re fairly content with the snappy opening and closing mechanism of the handset as it locks firmly into place to expose its 4-row keyboard. Despite being somewhat flush to the surface, buttons are large enough to make them distinguishable by any finger size. Moreover, the decent tactile response it exhibits manages to enable speed typing without much pause or fault. However, we find it strange that the shift and function buttons, which are recessed and difficult to press, are separated from the rest of the keyboard on the left side.
The microUSB port is hidden behind a plastic flap on the left side of the phone, while the thin looking volume rocker and two-level shutter key are placed on the right side. Unfortunately, there is some difficulty in distinguishing them and they offer a lacking response when pressed. On the top edge, we’re greeted to the appropriately placed 3.5mm headset jack and dedicated power button – the latter of which shares the same indistinguishable feel of the other buttons.
Turning over to its rear, we find the 5-megapixel auto-focus camera with LED flash in its usual spot, while the speakerphone grill hugs close to the bottom edge. Removing the back cover is accomplished with an effortless yank which will then provide access to the 1,500 mAh battery and SIM card slot.
Interface and Functionality:
Packing the usual amount of heat with its 1GHz processor under the hood, the LG Quantum doesn’t deviate from the Windows Phone 7 experience we’ve witnessed with other handsets. In fact, it doesn’t miss a beat when navigating through the new platform as it’s accompanied with a responsive and fluid performance that unanimously shows off its speed prowess. With the homescreen, you’ll be able to rearrange the live tiles to your liking and even modify the color theme to add some personalization to the handset. As we mentioned in previous reviews, some of the tiles will aggregate a variety of content that include status updates and photos to give it that dynamic appearance over other competing platforms.
Now the only inconsistent item we find on the Quantum is the fact that not all aspects of the platform are optimized to be viewed in landscape. Naturally, relevant things like the Messaging or Internet Explorer apps will automatically adjust for a landscape view, but the homescreen and Zune experience stay stuck in portrait only. It’s understandable to see a unified experience on all devices right now at the start, but hopefully future updates will take into account the landscape orientation that most keyboard packing devices employ.
If you don’t happen to have a Hotmail or Windows Live account, you’ll still be able to sync contacts from your Gmail and Facebook accounts. In addition to seeing the usual contacts information, like phone numbers and email addresses, you can check out their social networking statuses through the “People” hub.
Granted that it manages to offer the convenience of a physical keyboard, the messaging experience with its on-screen ones is still more than acceptable by any means. Space might become a factor with the portrait option, but it doesn’t affect its overall responsiveness in typing quickly with few mistakes. However, the landscape option will remedy the space issue as it proves to be a worthy alternative to the physical one.
Email setup is a breeze with the LG Quantum since it will automatically get popular clients, like Gmail or Yahoo, onto the device by simply providing a user name and password. In some instances, it will require additional information, such as server addresses and ports, to correctly set up. Even though it lacks a universal inbox, you can pin specific accounts to the home screen for quick access.
Facebook and Windows Live integration is tight with the LG Quantum seeing that you can post status messages to both accounts through the “Me” Hub. Furthermore, the “People” Hub aggregates content in a centralized location and will also enable you to post replies to specific messages without running a dedicated app. Yeah, it’s nice for right now, but it’s lacking support for other social networking services like Twitter and MySpace.
Again, we see AT&T’s presence on the LG Quantum with apps like AT&T FamilyMap, AT&T myWireless, AT&T Navigator, AT&T Radio, and AT&T U-verse Mobile. Aside from that, the only app on the handset that’s not customary to the platform is LG’s very own “Play To” app – which is basically a DLNA service. However, taking a stroll into the Marketplace, you’ll be subjected to an option for the LG apps store which dishes up apps that are exclusive to LG handsets.
Camera and Multimedia:
Most users will probably warm up and take a liking to the average looking shots that are produced with the LG Quantum’s 5-megapixel auto-focus camera. In situations where lighting is abundant, it’s capable of capturing some good looking visuals, but colors tend to have a darker tone to them. Despite not fairing too well in low lighting conditions with its fine details and natural color reproduction visibly lessening, it’s still probably acceptable for some to tolerate. However, the LED flash fails to properly illuminate figures that are even very close.
With its high specs, it’s only fitting to find 720p video capture on board with the smartphone. One issue we find with the handset is how it abruptly changes exposure during a recording – which inevitably becomes a constant thing you’re combating. In addition, details become blurred because there is some evidence of artifacting with its recording. Likewise, there is also a crackly tone to its audio capture. Finally, it manages to chug at a frame rate of 24 frames per second, which looks a bit jerky compared to the smooth visuals of some other handsets.
The Zune experience is in full effect, of course, as it provides a polished presentation that will accent your taste in music. On top of that, the usual assortments are displayed when playing a song – like the album cover, track information, and on-screen controls. However, we’re displeased by the strained and crackly tone of the audio emitted from its speaker which makes it rather irritating to the ear.
Watching high definition videos on the LG Quantum is no problem as it manages to play a movie trailer encoded in DivX 1280 x 720 resolution without any pause. And thanks to its reasonably sized display, we’re more than content with its smooth playback that’s not hindered by any obstacles in its path. So don’t be afraid to use it on those long trips as it’ll make for a friendly companion that won’t disappoint in providing plenty of entertainment.
Out of the box, you’ll have approximately 14.94GB of total storage to fill with a variety of content. Like most other Windows Phone 7 smartphones, it lacks an accessible microSD card slot to supplement its internal storage from the onset.
Internet and Connectivity:
Bringing it along on your international escapades shouldn’t be an issue with this quad-band GSM (850/900/1800/1900 MHz) and tri-band UMTS (850/1900/2100 MHz) device. And in the event you’re lacking adequate data speeds, you can opt to use its 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi for a faster connection. Lastly, it’s packing Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR to enable a mix of wireless devices to connect to it.
For something that’s still new to the game, Internet Explorer is exceptionally polished versus other web browsing solutions out there in the market. In fact, it establishes a sense of speed and responsiveness to exemplify its keen sense of offering a stellar experience. Complex pages load up in a decent amount of time and render properly, but it’s supplemented with fantastic smooth scrolling and support for multi-touch gestures to zoom in/out. All in all, the web browsing experience will more than satisfy even the most veteran mobile users out there, with the only notable absence being Flash support.
Placing the volume to its loudest setting, there is a noticeable amount of static noise that can be heard through its earpiece. It goes without saying that it muddies down conversations, but it doesn’t help when voices have a mute tone to them. Thankfully though, our callers didn’t have any problems in comprehending our natural sounding tones. But when using the speakerphone, its output continues to be distorted, which makes voices sound muffled.
During our testing, we didn’t experience any drastic changes in signal strength in the high coverage areas within the greater Philadelphia region. Moreover, it didn’t drop any of our test phone calls.
Able to withstand a solid 8 hour work day on normal usage, the battery life of the LG Quantum is pretty average when you consider that it offers a full day for light users. For those power users, don’t be too surprised to constantly charge the smartphone whenever the opportunity arises. The manufacturer has it rated for 6 hours of talk and 350 hours of standby time.
If you really despise using touch-only input options, then the selection for Windows Phone 7 devices on AT&T’s lineup is primarily limited to the LG Quantum, for right now. However, the inconsistent experience with the platform not being optimized for landscape use can be a hindrance for some. Still, it proves itself to be a decent offering as it accentuates all the core aspects that Windows Phone 7 radiates. Is it by chance a quantum leap over existing devices? Clearly no. But it still personifies a well rounded experience that offers the additional convenience factor of a physical keyboard.
Clearly, if you’re on the lookout for a WP7 device on AT&T’s lineup, your alternatives to the LG Quantum are the HTC Surround, which has the unique feature of offering a powerful speaker, and the Samsung Focus – also a well-rounded smartphone with a brilliant Super AMOLED screen.
Software version of the reviewed unit: 7.0.7004.0
- Usable QWERTY keyboard
- Solid construction
- Interface not fully optimized for landscape
- Hard to press shift & function keys
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