Review: LG Spirit 4G for MetroPCS
The Spirit runs Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich with some UI tweaks from LG similar to how it treated devices such as the Optimus G. MetroPCS's presence is also easily discerned thanks to the branded apps littered all over the home screens.
As far as the user interface is concerned, it offers a customizable lock screen with access to vital apps such as the phone, browser, messaging, and camera. I like that you can access the notification shade from the lock screen, too.
There are, by default, five home screen panels for customization and these are packed with MetroPCS apps/widgets out of the box. Of course you can rearrange them however you wish. There's a really cool 3D-like animation that occurs each time you swipe between the home screens. This is actually customizable, as there are about seven different animations from which to choose.
The main app menu is laid out in typical fashion, with apps arranged in grids. They are in alphabetical order by default, but you can arrange them however you wish, as well as drop them in folders or hide them entirely. There are plenty of widgets, and the tools for managing them work well.
In terms of customization, the Spirit lets choose from four different home screen themes, tons of animations that can be turned on/off, the different swipe effects, wallpapers, plus all of the normal adjustments you expect to be able to make on an Android 4+ device.
Performance of the Spirit was flawless. I didn't see any lagging, hiccups, or other goofiness in the operating system. Everything worked quickly and as it should.
Calls and Contacts
The Spirit runs the stock version of the Android 4.0 phone and contact applications. Pressing the phone button on the home screen brings you to the dialpad. You can use tabs at the top to access the call log, and your favorite contacts.
The Spirit comes with the same stock Android communications apps that are on all other Android devices. That means Gmail, email, SMS, Google Talk, Google+, and Google+ messenger.
The Spirit ships with the Metro Block-It app, which, as the name implies, lets subscribers block unwanted calls and text messages, block private/blocked numbers, and enable a "do not disturb" mode. The service costs $1 per month after a one-week trial. It worked better on the Spirit than it did on the Avid, which Phone Scoop reviewed earlier this year. (The Avid was not as good as at effectively blocking certain calls/messages).
The Spirit can also use MetroPCS's joyn messaging service, though the app itself isn't preinstalled. It can be downloaded from the MetroPCS-branded app store.
joyn is a standards-based app that collects and merges messaging services, such as IM and SMS, and lets users conduct threaded text conversations. It makes it easier to share photo and video content when the user is on an active phone call. It also lets MetroPCS customers make voice and video calls to other joyn users via Wi-Fi.
I found the joyn app easy to set up and use, but it is limited in that it only works with other joyn users who are MetroPCS customers.