Review: LG Optimus S
The screen on the LG Optimus S is very bright, outshining most of the best and brightest phones I have on hand, including super TFT and super AMOLED displays. Color wasn't perfect, though. The phone had a slightly yellowish tint that was especially noticeable held up against the competition. Onscreen icons and fields of white, especially in the messaging apps, looked slightly gilded. That said, the brightness made the screen easily viewable in bright sunlight. The strange tint isn't a fatal problem; most users probably won't notice it unless they compare phone screens with another device.
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Sound quality during calls made with the LG Optimus S could be disappointing. I often heard a digital crackling sound that made voices less clear. At best, calls were mostly clean of noise problems, but still had a metallic twang to the sound coming through the earpiece. Callers had no trouble winning the "cell phone or landline" game. On my callers' end, friends reported occasional dropouts, where my voice would cut out for a brief instant in the middle of a word. Otherwise, calls sounded okay, and things sounded better for them than it did for me. Using speakerphone, the speaker on the LG Optimus S sounds good, but it could be a bit louder to be useful. I had trouble carrying on a conversation in a fast moving car with the Optimus in the passenger seat. With the sound turned off, the phone has a solid vibrate, just a bit stronger than most other phones I have on hand.
Signal strength on the LG Optimus S is pretty good. It's definitely better than the Samsung Transform, the other Sprint ID phone I have lying around. Though both phones could occasionally stall, especially while downloading the large Sprint ID packs that are required to use the devices to their fullest. Still, I'm not sure the Optimus is to blame, as side-by-side browsing tests put this phone neck-and-neck with other Sprint 3G phones. This phone and the Transform even stalled at the same times during downloads, so I'm guessing it was a network issue. The LG Optimus S had no trouble connecting to my home Wi-Fi network.
Battery life on the LG Optimus S was disappointing. It fell far below my expectations, based on manufacturer estimates. I had to charge the phone halfway through my testing days, even when usage was fairly light. I made sure to charge the phone while it was downloading all of the large Sprint ID packs, but after I had unplugged it in the early morning, it did not last until dinner time before the phone was dead again. I had similar problems with the Samsung Transform. Sprint says that some widgets downloaded with Sprint ID packs are known to drain the battery faster than normal, usually because these apps constantly update over the 3G network while running in the background. Hopefully, a fix is forthcoming.
CTIA Fall 2010
Phone Scoop is on site in San Francisco to take in all the breaking news and hands-on experiences of the fall CTIA trade show. Be sure to check for full coverage and handset first impressions here.
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