Review: LG Fathom
The resistive touchscreen on the LG Fathom is packed with pixels, but it doesn't satisfy. The 3.2-inch display is a WVGA screen with 800 by 480 pixels. In terms of clarity, the screen is great. Text looks sharp and pictures and colorful. Besides problems with the touch capabilities, I also had trouble using the screen outdoors. In any amount of bright sunlight the screen fades dramatically and is difficult to read. Plus, it is a bit on the small side for my taste. I appreciate a small device, but this phone is already too thick to be considered small, so a larger screen would be appropriate.
My phone calls sounded very good on the LG Fathom. The earpiece produced a clean sound with very little static or extraneous noises. On my callers' end, they said I sounded good. When signal reception was a problem - not too often - some issues cropped up, including a digital hissing and some sound drop outs. But this wasn't frequent enough to worry about.
There is a clear, loud speakerphone on the LG Fathom. I was easily able to hold conversations while driving with all the loud road noise around me. The speaker also sounded pretty good playing music. This also helped with ringtones, and the Fathom was able to produce some loud rings, easily heard from my pocket or across the house.
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The LG Fathom was at least as receptive to Verizon Wireless' signal as any other Verizon phone I have on hand, perhaps more so. While other phones registered one bar, or no signal, the Fathom managed to keep hold of a couple bars. My calls always went through. Data could stall from time to time, but this didn't seem related to signal strength.
I was excited to try the 802.11n Wi-Fi on the LG Fathom, since few phones come with this faster networking standard. Unfortunately, the Fathom could never connect to my home Wi-Fi network. I got cryptic error messages every time I tried. Changing the settings was a confusing chore, and never produced working results.
Battery life on the LG Fathom is pretty good. That thick shell hides a large, 1500 mAh battery, and the phone managed more than seven hours of talk time, which is inline with LG's own estimates. In regular use, the Fathom lasted me more than a full day, and without too much Web surfing or heavy use you could probably go a few days without charging the phone.
The Fathom uses a microUSB port for charging, and the phone comes with a plethora of world adapters for the included charger. When I plugged the phone into another microUSB charger I keep on hand, I got an error message telling me I should use the intended charger instead. The phone also failed to charge while plugged into my Macbook Pro. Of course, I didn't realize it wasn't charging until I grabbed it to take on a day of testing, only to find it wasn't sleeping, it was dead. This all seems to defeat the purpose of USB; after all, the "U" does stand for "Universal."
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