LG Optimus 7

The Optimus 7 looks like it could be one of LG's best smartphones to date, but is that enough to steal sales away from the WP7 offerings from HTC and Samsung?


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On paper the Optimus 7 doesn't seem to stack up well against the Windows Phone 7 (WP7) competition. It reads like its Windows Phone sibling, the Optimus 7Q, minus the Q's slideout QWERTY keyboard, and it is, after all, made by LG, a company not renowned for making excellent top-shelf devices. But we urge you to read on, in the melee of five new WP7 phones reviewed simultaneously, the Optimus 7 has earned its place at the top of this list.

Design

LG may not be known for producing class-leading smartphones, but it does regularly release some pretty sexy handsets. The Optimus 7 is no exception; its 3.8-inch LCD touchscreen is the centrepiece in this design, but it's the attention to detail we appreciate most. We like the way the ends taper outwards, the brushed metal finish on the battery cover and the trim around the 5-megapixel camera lens. But if there's one part of this phone we like above all others, it's the real, mechanical buttons below the screen.

The first round of Windows Phone handsets are uniformly plagued by a lack of mechanical buttons. HTC, Samsung and LG have all opted for touch panels for navigation rather than mechanical keys, a choice that trades off a level of usability for an assumed aesthetic appeal. The Optimus 7 differs in this regard, below its screen are three depressible navigation keys. This will seem like the height of nit-picking to some, but after you've accidentally quit out of applications more than a few times you'll understand why we regard this feature so highly.

The screen is a WVGA resolution TFT display, and though this pales in comparison to Samsung's Super AMOLED technology (literally), the screen on the Optimus 7 still does a fine job of displaying clear, colourful images.

There's a 3.5mm headphone socket on the top of the handset, alongside the screen-lock key, and you'll find a dedicated camera shutter button on the lower right side. The battery cover is removed with a nifty ejection switch on the back of the phone, and returns to its original position nicely, laying flush with the rest of the handset, following its curves seamlessly.

Due to the commonality of Windows Phone 7 across the various supported devices, we'll refrain from repeating our review. If you want to know more about the Windows Phone 7 platform, refer to our full review or to our Guide to Windows Phone 7.

Features

As with all of the other WP7 phones we've reviewed over the past few weeks, the Optimus 7 matches Microsoft's required hardware spec, and is limited by it as well. It supports a full range of connectivity options, with HSPA network compatibility, Wi-Fi including wireless N, A-GPS, Bluetooth, plus it adds to the basic suite with DLNA media streaming (but not receiving).

Like the 7Q, the Optimus 7 also has twice the on-board memory of its competition, with 16GB of non-expandable storage. Its 5-megapixel is the basic spec for WP7, but the quality of the sensor is quite good, and the LED flash does a good job of illuminating dark scenes and acting as a fill flash. Its digital zoom feature is basically unusable, but then, digital zoom is always pretty rubbish.

The 5-megapixel camera does a decent job of capturing colour
(Credit: CBSi)

You also get access to a range of exclusive LG-created apps, which are by far the best we've seen from the manufacturers so far. Pre-installed on our review unit were a panoramic photo stitching tool and an augmented-reality nav app, similar to Layar. A quick glance at the Marketplace and we discovered a half dozen more, including music rhythm games and a Tool Kit with a range of mini apps within. We've also been told by LG that it plans to co-develop up to 10 new apps every quarter and that these are exclusive to LG WP7 handsets.

Performance

If you've been following our coverage of Windows Phone, you'll know that our experience with all of the WP7 range of handsets has been universally excellent, and the Optimus 7 is no exception. From the time you unlock the screen to the moment you lock it again, you'll experience smooth graphic transitions and good performance both in the menus and within all of the core apps. The only time you will come across any lag in the navigation is when the phone is pulling down data from the web, like Facebook status updates when you enter the People hub.

A standard business day of use wasn't enough to fatigue the 1500mAh battery in the Optimus 7, though for us a standard day includes up to an hour of talk time only. If you were to add another hour to this, or exceed our two hours of daily web browsing, you might need to keep a charger at work.

Overall

If you've read this far, you're probably wondering how the addition of three mechanical buttons and 16GB of memory equate to the Optimus 7 being the best Windows Phone 7 handset of the launch devices. After all, Samsung has its amazing Super AMOLED screen, and the Optimus 7Q has a QWERTY keyboard. The Optimus 7 feels like a more complete package, the screen appears brighter and more colourful than the 7Q and the absence of a keyboard doesn't phase us. Its design is as nice to look at as the phone is to hold and use, and the extras, like the memory and LG's apps, are icing on the cake.

Ultimately, when you're comparing phones with such similar specs and functionality, it's the little things that grab and hold your attention. We like using the Optimus 7, we didn't have the same problems with the camera that we did with the Omnia 7 and we feel it's a more attractive WP7 phone than those on offer from HTC at this time.



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JaredB posted a comment   

The phone is really crappy and one year after buying the phone it just stopped working took it to five different places and they said it cant be fixed and for me to buy an other phone

yenage
8
Rating
 

yenage posted a review   
Australia

The Good:Crisp, smooth screen. Easy to use interface.

The Bad:Lacks personalised mp3 ringtones (Probably will be fixed with the Mango update however). Camera doesn't quite compare to iPhone.

Real simple phone to use. Intuitive menu and OS. Apps are easily purchased and accessed. Large, clear screen which doesn't lag through normal use or viewing videos. Integrated windows live account to access your email and contacts very easily.

Just a nice alternative phone on the market.

Krissy
1
Rating
 

Krissy posted a review   

The Good:Fast scrolling

The Bad:Handset didn't work

Unfortunately LG have let themselves down BIG TIME by sending me a handset in the mail that DID NOT WORK! Brand new - and didn't work properly.

I regret signing up to the handset contract now, as I fear additional problems due to LG's lack of thoroughness.

Amazingly, the phone had not been checked for full functional capabilities before it left the factory/warehouse, and so it had to be sent straight back after one day in my hot little hands. I was so disappointed... another ten day wait.

I was also advised by Optus staff that LG (and Samsung) are two companies that try to avoid 'replacing' broken phones - instead they try to fix them. Slightly worrying!

The problem was that it could turn on but no one could hear me when I called them, I couldn't hear any dial tone, it had no ringtones, no key tones or alarm tones. I took it in to an Optus shop and they checked it, confirming the issues.

Get your act together LG - not good enough!!

Krissy
10
Rating
 

Krissy posted a review   

The Good:Mechanical navigation keys, metal casing

The Bad:Screen a smidge smaller than competitor screen

I have been thoroughly researching my new phone online and in stores. I have reached a decision between the Samsung Omnia 7 and the LG Optimus 7...

I have decided that the LG is for me.

However, the two phones have many similarities and could not strongly be considered very different.

What pushed the LG Optimus 7 over the line was the metal casing on the back and the larger internal memory, and, lastly, the mechanical navigation keys.

I am so looking forward to getting this phone. It is currently on order, so I have been hanging out in stores playing with live ones. (Geek!)

I am thrilled with the screen, the display, the camera, the speed... it is perfect! I'm a pretty low-tech person, so did not make my decision lightly. It had to be attractive, intuitive and at a good price.

It has met and exceeded all of my criteria.. fantastic phone. Don't hesitate to consider it for yourself.

jack78
9
Rating
 

jack78 posted a review   

I'm in OZ and have just spent the last couple of hours finding my way around the new opitmus 7 and absolutely love it. My only issue is that I can't get the blue tooth function to successfully communicate with older style mobile phones.It recognizes the other hand sets and vice versa but information fails to send to the new lg.
I've paired it up with no problems to my car hands free unit without any issues. Am I missing something here?

 

Jdiggity posted a reply   

You can't transfer files if that's what you're trying to do.

 

jack78 posted a reply   

Actually, I tried to send ring tones (or edited mp3 files) via bluetooth from both my computer and anotherlg phone to the optimums7. The data cable via zume allows mp3 music to be stored on the optimus7, but no options to convert these songs into ring tones for individual id ring tones. Is it possible on this phone? Because the 30 standard lg ring tones are like all other phones which are woeful to say the least. My old lg phone did this with ease.It's just a nice personalized feature I miss or may have over looked. Help or confirmation that it is not possible to do would be much appreciated. Thanks!

Fotografa
10
Rating
 

Fotografa posted a review   

The Good:Great screen, great form factor, and WP7 ROCKS! Love it.

The Bad:Nil

I looked around a lot to find the right phone. I think I succeeded! This phone is fantastic.

 

TzeeKin posted a comment   

I have this phone as well. Everything is good, but I have problems with connecting to any bluetooth headsets.

George
10
Rating
 

George posted a review   

just got this phone a couple of days ago. it's is AWESOME. very fast and no lag at all. i think the smoothness is better than any Iphone or Android phone i've come accross. highly recommend this phone.


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User Reviews / Comments  LG Optimus 7

  • JaredB

    JaredB

    "The phone is really crappy and one year after buying the phone it just stopped working took it to five different places and they said it cant be fixed and for me to buy an other phone"

  • yenage

    yenage

    Rating8

    "Real simple phone to use. Intuitive menu and OS. Apps are easily purchased and accessed. Large, clear screen which doesn't lag through normal use or viewing videos. Integrated windows live account ..."

  • Krissy

    Krissy

    Rating1

    "Unfortunately LG have let themselves down BIG TIME by sending me a handset in the mail that DID NOT WORK! Brand new - and didn't work properly.

    I regret signing up to the handset con..."

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