Review: LG Lotus Elite
The LG Lotus Elite does not make much of an improvement (when compared to its predecessor) as far as looks go. 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 girlish red with tree branches stenciled into the paint almost solidifies this assumption.
The Lotus Elite 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.
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Closed, the front face is dominated by a large external display that is framed in silver. The big change compared to the original is that this large display is touch sensitive. The resistive-technology touch screen lets you access a number of the Lotus Elite's features, including messaging, picture gallery, speed dial, contact, and call history.
On the left side of the phone is the volume toggle. Travel and feedback were much better than on the original There was a clear click in both directions. The 2.5mm headset jack is above the volume toggle. It works well enough, though the lack of a 3.5mm headset jack for regular music headphones is always frustrating. Below the volume toggle is a hatch covering the microUSB port. I had no issues using it.
The right side of the Lotus Elite has the music player and lock/unlock keys. 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 Elite looks even odder than closed. We're so used to a particular size for clamshells, that the extra width of the Lotus Elite 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 has been updated with a rounder shape and is contoured nicely. The center select button 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. LG did a good job with these controls.
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. When holding the phone open in two hands in typing position, the Lotus Elite is comfortable and feels more natural than when it is held in one hand.
LG has added three buttons to the Lotus Elite. Crammed in between the nav cluster and the QWERTY keyboard reside three buttons the size of a sliver. The are Social, Email and Text. It doesn't take a genius to figure out what they are hardwired to do. Once you notice that there are there, they are easy to work with despite their slim profile.