By Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla
LG has taken the release of Windows Phone 7 very seriously. Not only has it produced two of the best handsets for the new platforms today, it has also added some innovative features of its own to confirm it is locked into Microsoft's new mobile OS. The LG Optimus 7 brings Windows Phone to Telus in a slim touch-screen form factor.
We first got to see the LG Optimus ($100 on a 3-year-term or $499 no term) when it was gracefully demoed to us by LG's Frank Lee. We were impressed by how smooth and responsive the device was running Windows Phone 7 as well by some of the LG-specific features developed for the device.
Having spent a week with the LG Optimus 7, our sense of appreciation for the device has only grown. Made from matte black plastic, glass and with a shiny grey plastic back.
Fit and finish is top notch and the LG Optimus 7 feels solid all around. LG has taken ergonomics into consideration with their design as there are rounded corners that make the device easier to hold, and an almost rubbery matte finish adds grip and texture.
Phone functionality is very good, thumbing telephone numbers is dead easy and we found signal strength and call quality on Telus' network to be exemplary. An ideal accessory for the LG Optimus 7 would be a handsfree car kit, specially since Windows Phone powered devices can manage voice commands quite well. The built in GPS, tied in to Microsoft's Bing maps would also be a useful feature although it does not yet offer turn-by-turn directions.
The overall look and feel is stylish and austere. The Windows logo that serves as a home button is done in chrome as are the Back and Search buttons. They are not backlit like what we've seen in other models but are raised high enough that you can feel it in the dark.
With a 1GHz processor coupled with 512MB RAM, the LG Optimus 7 powers through the Windows Phone OS quickly and lag free. Flipping though menu items is a breeze and even the more demanding aspects of the OS, like watching HD video and playing games are a treat.
The 800 x 480 (WVGA 3.8inch) TFT Capacitive Touch Screen works extremely well and even if it isn't an AMOLED screen, does a nice job of representing colours accurately and with good pixel density.
The LG Optimus has a dedicated camera button as well as a volume rocker and the power on/off button. The overall design is clean, functional and sleek. Thankfully, only the rear metal covering the 1500mAh battery and the SIM card is somewhat glossy but the majority of the phone does not attract smudges and fingerprints and has a nice grip to it.
The LG Optimus comes preinstalled with LG-exclusive panoramic photo stitching tool and a reality-augmented navigation application like the Layer. There are half a dozen of other applications also. These include the Tool Kit with a number of mini applications and music based rhythm games. LG also has assured to create another 10 applications every quarter and these applications will be exclusive only to the WP7 handsets going forward.
The Panorama shot app is impressive, you simply take a succession of horizontal photos and the software will generate a stitched version of the collected photos that can be printed out or emailed as well as shared online.
We like what the LG Optimus 7 represents, a new slim smartphone with innovative functionality. LG is making phones with very high build and design standards and we would consider the LG Optimus as our Windows Phone device if we didn't need a keyboard and wanted one of the slimmest yet most functional smarpthones with the new OS.
Rating: 4 out of 5