Review: LG Lotus
There's no nice way to say it: The LG Lotus is an odd duck. Ditching the normal soap-bar-sized clamshell form factor, LG has crafted a device that resembles a woman's compact make-up kit. Given the resemblance, it is possible that women are the target demographic for the device. That it comes in purple almost solidifies this assumption. (For the men out there, it also comes in matte black.)
The Lotus is wide. Whether closed or open, it feels fat in your hand and you won't be able to get your hand all the way around it. The plastics feel good, though, and the rounded edges mean it will slip into and out of your pocket easily.
Closed, the front face is dominated by a large external display that is framed in silver. It is not obvious at all, but there is a button below the display that allow you to access your music. The button is hidden until pressed, only then does it light up. The button itself has good travel and feedback.
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On the left side of the phone is the volume toggle. Travel and feedback were a little bit on the mushy side. Below the volume toggle is a hatch covering the microUSB port.
The right side of the Lotus has a little bit more going on. There is a hatch near the top that covers a 2.5mm headset jack. Under that are keys for the music player and camera. They stand out more than the volume toggle, and have better travel and feedback. Last up is the hatch covering the microSD port.
Open, the Lotus looks even odder than closed. We're so used to a particular size for clamshells, that the extra width of the Lotus gives it a very strange appearance. The width means there's plenty of room for a large display on the top half of the phone and a full QWERTY keyboard on the bottom half.
The entire keypad works great. The D-pad is rectangular in shape and is contoured nicely. The center select button is also a rectangle and sticks out the perfect amount so you'll always be able to find it. There are six buttons flanking the D-pad, three on each side. On the left, you have a wide function button and the send key and speakerphone key. On the other side is the other function button, the back key and the end key. All of these buttons feel good, and have good travel and feedback.
As for the full QWERTY keyboard, I am a fan. It is one of the more usable QWERTYs I've encountered in a while. It's not too wide, and it's not too narrow. This means your thumb doesn't have to go too far to reach the keys, and it also doesn't feel squished. My favorite feature is a button in the bottom right corner that says "Text". Press it, and it automatically takes you to the text message composing screen and offers a quick link to the last person you sent a message. That's a nice little time saver. When holding the phone open in two hands in typing position, the Lotus is comfortable and feels more natural than when it is held in one hand.