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printed August 30, 2014
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Review: LG Fathom

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Is It Your Type? Body The Three S's Touch  

It is ironic that LG chose to use a resistive screen with the Fathom. Resistive technology certainly has its place. It's better for handwriting recognition, for instance. But the Fathom runs Windows Mobile 6.5.3, an incremental improvement over the aging WinMo 6.5. Key improvements in the new update include touch-friendly buttons at the bottom of the screen and, for the first time, native support for capacitive touchscreens. That's right, Windows Mobile 6.5.3 is mostly built for capacitive touch phones, but LG chose to use a resistive screen. Bad choice.

The touch experience on the LG Fathom is awful. It's not just the resistive tech, which requires you to press hard on your choice, as it registers pressure. The screen just is not accurate or responsive. Those large touch buttons at the bottom required a precise, hard hit or they would fail to register. Often, the phone didn't register taps at all. When the camera starts up, for instance, there's a silly message about the aspect ratio and you have to hit a radio button to make sure it never pops up again. I tried tapping with my finger and with the stylus and I could never get that button to "x" out. The "Favorites" button in Internet Explorer had similar trouble; it wouldn't respond to either touch or stylus tapping.

Windows Mobile 6.5.3 is made for touch, and its ruined by this choice of screen tech. It's impossible to enjoy the new settings menu designs that allow for some small bit of swiping, or the Today screen with its large fonts and huge, finger-sized selector, since none of this works properly with fingers on the Fathom. The only way to enjoy a proper, fast response is to use the stylus, and even then it doesn't work well.

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