Review: LG Optimus F7 for U.S. Cellular
The Optimus F7 runs Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean with many of the same software customizations we've seen on LG's smartphones for the better part of a year.
The lock screen is fully customizable. It offers four shortcuts, all of which can be changed or deleted. You can also customize which clock appears on the lock screen, and whether or not weather data and other alerts are sent to the lock screen. There are five home screen panels for customization out of the box, but you can delete or add screens if you wish. There are a zillion widgets on board.
The drop-down notification shade provides shortcuts to control the wireless radios as well as brightness, rotation, sound, and the QSlide apps (videos, notepad, calendar, calculator). The QSlide apps (more on these later) - as well as the radio toggles - can be customized by the user.
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The main menu is a regular old grid of apps, but there are plenty of customization options. You can view it with large icons or small icons to fit more apps on each individual page. You can sort apps alphabetically or via install date. You can't, however, view them in list form, nor by most-frequently-used. Apps can be hidden, and deleted. The settings menu acts the same as it does on other Android devices, but LG has spruced it up a bit with nice 3D icons.
As far as performance goes, the Optimus F7 uses a 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus processor. The F7 performed flawlessly with the Snapdragon engine under the hood. Nothing fazed the processor at all. Screen transitions were smooth, apps opened quickly, and the F7 never slowed down.
The phone and contact apps work exactly as they do on other LG smartphones, such as the Optimus G and Lucid 2.
The dial-pad provides tabbed access to call history, contacts, favorites and groups. In-call options run the standard, such as add a line, send to Bluetooth, hold, or mute. You can also open the notepad and messaging apps, or toggle on/off noise reduction (which makes calls clearer for those with whom you speak.) Settings tools let you customize the tabs that run across the top of the phone app, and the phone can also do things like provide a pop-up alert about incoming calls when taking pictures/video. The F7 can also decline incoming calls with a text message.
As for the contacts app, there are the usual home screen shortcuts for quick access to select contacts, as well as a nice widget for a collection of your favorites. The bigger widget lets you access your top nine contacts and gives you a cool UI for interacting with them on the home screen. The contact app itself has a pleasant visual look, and it is easy to pull up contact data without fully opening a contact card thanks to some hold-and-press actions.
As far as messaging goes, the F7 doesn't deviate from the Android norm. It houses all the typical Google apps: Gmail, email, SMS/MMS, Hangouts, Google+, and Google+ Messenger. All of these apps functioned as designed and are well built tools for communicating with others.
Both the native Facebook and Twitter apps are pre-installed, and integrated with Android's sharing system. Sharing things with your social networks is never more than a Menu button out of reach.
U.S. Cellular didn't put any of its own, branded messaging apps or services on the F7.
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