As a follow-up to the Cosmos VN250, LG needed to improve on the entry-level messaging, but unlike what they did on Sprint (with the Rumor line) they couldn’t risk encroaching on their successful enV lineup by moving into the feature phone market. So what do you do to a basic, side-sliding messaging phone? Why add a touchscreen, of course! The VN270 Cosmos Touch retains the same basic specs as the original, and mostly just adds a touchscreen. Other features include a 1.3 megapixel camera, full QWERTY keyboard and GPS. The Cosmos Touch simply includes the battery and AC adapter.
By ditching the numeric keypad, LG was able to make the Cosmos Touch shorter than the original Cosmos, while still giving it a bigger display. The Cosmos Touch has a 2.8” resistive TFT display with a resolution of 240×400, but manages to be 0.4” shorter than the Cosmos. On the right side of the phone is the lock key, microSD slot and camera key. On the left is the microUSB charging/data port and volume rocker, while the top simply has the 3.5mm headphone jack.
You can compare the LG Cosmos Touch with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.
Other dimensions and weight remain nearly identical, but a shorter phone means a more cramped keyboard. It was noticeable to us, but to the target market of teenage hands this smaller version may not be a big deal. The keys have a very good feel to them; they are rubbery but not too sticky and the travel is reassuring.
The resistive display isn’t too shabby for an entry-level device. At 2.8” it is decently sized and with 262K colors, images look pretty good. It is fairly responsive, but when tapping out text messages on the on-screen T9 keyboard it did have trouble keeping up with us on longer words. We don’t imagine many people will opt for the screen over the keyboard though, so this is a minor issue. General navigation of the menu system worked well. Below the display are three physical keys: Send, Back/Voice Dial and End.
The LG Cosmos Touch feels good in the hand, thanks in part to the soft touch paint used along the sides and on the back door. The slide mechanism is smooth and solid and we don’t foresee issues with it down the road. Even though it is an entry-level phone it is well build and we feel it’ll withstand the bumps and bruises of everyday use.
Interface and Phonebook:
The best way to describe the Cosmos Touch’s interface is a watered down version of Samsung’s TouchWiz UI. The homescreen has four static icons along the bottom- Messages, Dialer, Menu and Contacts- but the user accesses a menu from the side to add other icons and semi-widgets to the homescreen. You can also swipe to the right to access speed dials, and to the left for messages and social networks. As you might expect there is some lag in the system, but not enough that can’t be forgiven in an entry level device.
The phonebook can handle up to 1000 entries. Within each entry you can store multiple phone numbers, email addresses, IM names and a street address, as well as a note. Voice dialing is initiated by hitting the middle key below the screen and works as you would expect.
There are few tricks in messaging these days, and the LG Cosmos Touch is pretty standard. It gives you the option to view messages in chronological order or by contact (threaded) and we don’t imagine too many people will select the former. As we mentioned earlier the keyboard is usable, but cramped for adult hands. One minor gripe that we do have is that the FN key is awkwardly placed at the top left of the keyboard. This makes oft-used symbols harder to access quickly and we’d prefer LG switch it with the Shift key which gets used less on a phone. A nice touch is that the space bar serves as quick access to the social networking app when in use.
The Cosmos Touch also supports Verizon’s mobile email service, but you need to pony up $6/month or subscribe to a $10+ data package for the privilege of using it. The client supports all of the popular web clients, such as Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail, as well as Exchange and POP3/IMAP accounts.
Camera and Multimedia:
LG historically has had subpar camera performance in all but their top-end phones, but lately they have been turning this reputation around. The Cosmos Touch takes remarkably good pictures for an entry-level handset. Images were a bit dark, but details were good and crisp even at a distance. This isn’t a superb camera by any means, but for MMS and casual photos it gets the job done. It does not have a camcorder – something we’ve come to expect from even the most basic phones.
The Cosmos Touch features a pretty basic music player. It gets the job done and may be suitable for the most basic users, but it is certainly not a primary music player and we have a feeling most users won’t utilize it.
Performance and Conclusion:
Call quality was fine on the LG Cosmos Touch but not spectacular. Callers rated us a 7.75/10, complaining that there was a slight tininess and echo. Voice reproduction was so-so on their end. To us they sounded good with solid voice reproduction and the earpiece was plenty loud. Battery life is rated at an ample 6 hours, enough to get your average user through the day and then some.
Overall the LG Cosmos Touch VN270 has some niceties but is ultimately done in by its price and competition. At $80, the phone is simply overpriced for what it offers, especially when you can get a Curve 9330 for $30 and the LG Vortex at $80. Yes, those phones require a data plan so that requires consideration, but for such a basic phone the price is too high. When you take the price away the LG Cosmos Touch is a fine entry level phone with great build quality, an above average touchscreen and a good camera. If you can pick it up on one of Verizon’s “buy a … – get any phone free” offer, it is a solid pickup for the add-a-lines on your account.
Software version of the reviewed unit: VN270ZV2
- Good size
- Nice UI for an entry-level handset
- Price, price, price
- Keyboard may be a bit cramped for some
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