LG Optimus 7Q

Though the LG Optimus 7Q lacks the raw aesthetic appeal of the Omnia 7, with its full QWERTY keyboard it could be the better bet for business.


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It's been a long time between drinks for LG, especially when you look at the company's smartphone range across the last two years. Like HTC, Samsung and Motorola, LG's previous attempts at smartphones were held back by a very cumbersome piece of software, Windows Mobile 6.5. Despite this, LG has backed the latest mobile OS from Microsoft and is among the first to launch a Windows Phone 7 (WP7) handset. Will this gamble pay off?

Design

As soon as we got the Optimus 7Q in our hands we were surprised by its weight. Its matte black finish and 3.5-inch screen tricked us into assuming this smartphone would feel the same in the hand as a multitude of other phones we've reviewed, but it's considerably heavier. At 176 grams the 7Q is almost 50 per cent heavier than the (admittedly lightweight) Samsung Galaxy S.

The extra weight goes into the partial metal body of this phone. There's a soft-touch plastic surrounding the screen, but the battery cover and the sections of the phone concealed by the slider are all made from a lightweight metal. The weight and materials give this handset a premium finish missing from so many LG phones of recent memory.

With five Windows Phone 7 handsets launching in Australia over the next six weeks, comparisons are inevitable, and one area where both the Optimus 7Q and its companion device, the Optimus 7, will struggle against is in the quality of HTC and Samsung's displays. LG has opted for TFT LCD panels, presumably to save on costs, and the results are far less impressive than the 4-inch AMOLED screen on the Omnia 7 or the Super LCD displays used by HTC.

In its favour, the 7Q sports a full QWERTY keyboard. This pad has four rows of keys, with the top row of letters sharing their place with numerals, and a very handy collection of directional cursor keys at the bottom right. The keyboard is larger than you might expect, with each key afforded a generous horizontal spacing, but the keys are also quite shapeless which can be troublesome if you're used to typing quickly. The size, shape and position of the Shift and Function keys are also a miss for LG, as the two steel studs on the left-hand side of the keyboard are far from our ideal for buttons that you'll likely use frequently each day.

On the back of the 7Q is a 5-megapixel camera and flash, and below the tin is a 1500mAh battery pack, but no microSD card or slot is to be found thanks to restrictions from Microsoft.

Features

Hardware-wise, LG is restricted by the minimum specifications outlined by Microsoft to all of its manufacturing partners. LG just meets the minimum spec for WP7, packing a 1GHz Snapdragon processor and 512MB RAM, and going a little beyond the call of duty with 16GB of storage (where the minimum spec is 8GB).

There's also the standard suite of smartphone connectivity on offer; HSPA for fast uploads and downloads, wireless N compatible Wi-Fi with one-way DLNA streaming, and Bluetooth for connecting wireless headsets. Charging the phone and data transfers are both performed through the handset's micro-USB port, and you can connect your favourite headphones at the 3.5mm headphone socket on top of the 7Q.

Because of the commonality of Windows Phone 7 across the various supported devices, we'll refrain from repeating our review of the comments we make about each of these products. If you want to know more about Windows Phone 7 refer to our full review or to our Guide to Windows Phone 7.

Performance

There's no accurate way to benchmark the performance of WP7 on the Optimus 7Q (though we're sure those apps are being compiled as we speak), so you'll have to trust us when we say it's fast, very fast. Navigating through the core apps is first class, the main menus are completely stutter-free, with movement of the menus corresponding precisely with the movement of your finger. Launching apps is also fast, though some third-party apps don't run as smoothly as the first-party apps, but then this is to be expected.

Microsoft's controversial lack of multitasking in this first release of WP7 pays off in its superior performance. This means that the limited multitasking available, like playing music in the background, doesn't affect performance across the rest of the platform at all.

The Optimus 7Q's 1500mAh battery pack is an essential element of this smartphone package, providing roughly a day and a half of power between charges with moderate use and our work email set to deliver every 15 minutes. We began our tests using the push email option, but this cut the battery life in half and made it difficult to finish a working day.

Overall

The Optimus 7Q is the best smartphone we've seen from LG in a long time, but side by side with the HTC and Samsung handsets running WP7, and even beside its sibling, the Optimus 7, the 7Q trades off quite a bit to accommodate its keyboard. It has the smallest screen of the bunch, it's thicker and heavier, and we're not entirely sold on the keyboard design. Windows Phone 7 absolutely delivers, and this smartphone benefits from using this new system enormously. If you're in the market and you really need a physical keyboard, the 7Q is a fine phone, but if you're not sold on the design, take a peek at the Samsung Omnia 7, the HTC Trophy or the LG Optimus 7 before you sign on the dotted line.

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Kitty Kat
8
Rating
 

Kitty Kat posted a review   

The Good:Nearly everything!

The Bad:Not bad,....just handset is a little heavier due to qwerty, contact list, auto detect horizontal or vertical

Well I hadnt needed a new phone for many many years, so was right out of touch with what was hot and what was not. After much study I ended up choosing the Optimus 7Q, mainly cuz it has all the features that I needed and a qwerty keyboard. As a girl with acrylic nails, the idea of trying to tap out a message correctly first go on a touch screen seemed impossible, hence having the flick out keyboard, which I find is easy to use, buttons are a good size. Turns out though, that I hardly use the qwerty keyboard as the onscreen one is fantastic and prompts all words anyway, so you never have type the whole one anyway. My nails arent a problem with this at all. Screens slide beautifully and is very responsive to your touch. Taps, double taps and flicks down and sideways. The main screen shows date, time and any reminders that you have set for the day, which is fantastic, cuz with my old old nokia I never used to see an alert until 5mins before Id programmed it. If you receive a text you can see the first line of it on the main screen and tape into the actual message from that screen which is great. Messages are in conversation format, so you can see the history as you message. You can change the colour of the 2nd screen with all the tiles easily and 'pin' the tiles that you use most and remove those you dont need or dont use often.

When you start the phone up it runs you through a setup process and lets you establish your facebook account and hotmail if you wish. Make sure you select a 'custom' install, otherwise the automatic one will add automatic updates, which uses up your data. Custom means you can update when and if you wish.

The only downside I guess is once you have your facebook account seup, it copies ALL your contacts into your Contact phone list. Which means should you want to call someone, you can be scrolling through 100 names to get to them. There is a search button though which allows you to go directly to the name. Would be nice of these were separate though.

The other thing I found when I first got the phone is that sometimes the display would come up vertical, like the phone thought it was turned to the side, turning the phone in the opp direction sometimes fixed it, otherwise sliding the qwerty in and out triggered it back into its sensible state again. Have found that this doesnt happen much anymore and if it does a quick flick of the qwerty, rights the direction of the screen.

Overall I am loving this phone and dont even notice the weight of it cuz Im so used to it. VERY happy with my purchase and would def recommend it.

Its only for personal use, so I dont use word or excel, however I can see any attachments that I receive via email and open them as they are installed.

Jon
7
Rating
 

Jon posted a review   

The Good:Windows Phone 7, application flow, people hub

The Bad:touch, telstra application, no custom ring tones

I had the 7Q since the WP7 launch in November. I absolutely love the UI and how you flow into and out of applications. The Zune media player implementation is also excellent with the flexibility to pause a song, even when the phone is locked. I got this model as I will never purchase another HTC device (the first Touch Diamond has scarred me for life). Curiously I use the keyboard infrequently as I find the soft keyboard works, despite the touch issues. On the issue of touch I believe this model has a problem with distinguishing between a tap and a swipe. More often than not the tap ends up being interpreted as a swipe! Also right thumbing is problematic at best. These niggles aside I am very happy with my WP7!

 

Márton posted a comment   

Two things (as far as I know):
1.) Micro SD slots are not forbidden to use, only it is not compulsory
2.) The minimum memory in MS' specs is 256MB, the LGs have 512 (while Samsung Omnia 7 has only 256)

 

Shaun posted a comment   

"At launch, the Optimus 7Q will be available for AU$0 upfront on an AU$49 per month plan. "


Unfortunately, this appears to be incorrect. According to Telstra's press release today:

"The LG Optimus 7Q will be available for $0 upfront on a $79 Business Cap Plan. Plus, Telstra will be launching its first-ever consumer Cap Plan with unlimited standard national calls, SMS and MMS for $129 per month in time for launch, where customers can choose the LG Optimus 7Q for $0 upfront."

See:

http://www.telstra.com.au/abouttelstra/media-centre/announcements/UBERSTAGING_072419

 

Joseph Hanlon posted a reply   
Australia

Cheers Shaun, looks like I got my wires crossed with the pricing for the LG and the HTC.




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User Reviews / Comments  LG Optimus 7Q

  • Kitty Kat

    Kitty Kat

    Rating8

    "Well I hadnt needed a new phone for many many years, so was right out of touch with what was hot and what was not. After much study I ended up choosing the Optimus 7Q, mainly cuz it has all the fe..."

  • Jon

    Jon

    Rating7

    "I had the 7Q since the WP7 launch in November. I absolutely love the UI and how you flow into and out of applications. The Zune media player implementation is also excellent with the flexibility ..."

  • Márton

    Márton

    "Two things (as far as I know):
    1.) Micro SD slots are not forbidden to use, only it is not compulsory
    2.) The minimum memory in MS' specs is 256MB, the LGs have 512 (while Samsung Omn..."

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