Review: LG Optimus T
The LG Optimus T is a small phone, though it's not the smallest Android phone I've seen (the HTC Aria is smaller). It's not an identical replica of the LG Optimus S on Sprint, and that's too bad, because I really liked the soft touch paint on the S model. The T-Mobile version has a slightly grippy finish on the plastic, but it isn't as luscious as soft touch. Otherwise, the Optimus T is compact and easy to hold in one hand. I had no trouble reaching my thumb from end to end while holding the phone. It's compact with a nice build quality, and though it's a little thicker than most of the high-end Android touchscreen phones, it was still easy to slip into a pocket without noticing the size or light weight.
LG mixes things up a bit with the buttons on the face of the phone, beneath the screen. The Home and Back button are raised slightly and corralled with a metal band, setting them apart from the Menu button on the left and the Search button on the right. Though it always takes me time to get used to a new Android button layout, since there is no consistency between phones, I like the Optimus T's button design because the Home and Back are the two keys I use most often in Android. I also appreciate that these are real, hardware buttons, and not capacitive keys. Touch keys on an inexpensive phone is usually a recipe for frustration.
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On the right side of the phone is a tiny sliver of a volume rocker. It can be very difficult to find without looking, and even once you've found it the buttons can be tough to press. The same is true of the power/lock button up top. It was nearly flush with the phone, and difficult to find by feeling around; I usually had to look for it. That's the extent of the external buttons on the Optimus T, and T-Mobile buyers really get gypped compared to Optimus S owners. The Sprint version also includes a voice dialing key, which is a nice addition, and a camera button, which should be a legal requirement on touchscreen phones. I'm tired of tapping the screen to take a picture. It always messes up my framing and makes self portraits nearly impossible.
There is a microUSB port on the bottom of the phone and a standard 3.5mm headphone jack up top. The back cover peels off easily, revealing the microSD card, which you can remove without pulling the battery.
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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