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printed December 22, 2014
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Review: LG Quantum

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From an arm's length, you'd never guess that the Quantum is a smartphone. It looks (too) similar to LG's line of messaging devices. The well-trained eye might be able to guess by the button configuration at the bottom of the LG's front panel, which has the requisite Back, Home, and Search keys.

The Quantum is a thick, heavy phone. If you drop in on your foot, it is going to hurt. It feels very dense, and the metal, plastic and rubber materials with which it is constructed give it a sturdy, strong feel. The back battery cover is made of brushed metal, and looks great. Despite its density and weight, the Quantum is probably the most compact of the Windows Phone 7 (WP7) devices available so far due to its smaller display. You can put it in your pocket, but you're going to know the Quantum is there.

As I mentioned, the only controls on the front of the Quantum are the three WP7 buttons. The Back and Search keys are capacitive buttons that are part of the glass panel covering the display. The Home button is a physical key set below the glass panel. I like that Home key is a physical button, especially since it feels so good to use.

The microUSB port for charging and data transfer is on the left side of the Quantum. It is covered by a plastic hatch that peels back easily. The volume toggle is a sliver of a button that is set flush with the right edge of the Quantum. It is too slender, and set too far into the surface of the phone, for my tastes, plus travel and feedback were a bit weak. The same goes for the dedicated camera button. It would be better if it protruded a bit more. It suffers from limp travel and feedback, too, and the two stages - for focusing and shooting - are very hard to tell apart.

The power/lock key is placed on the top edge of the Quantum. Thankfully, it is larger and works better than the other controls. A 3.5m headset jack is next to it, so you can use your Skull Candy 'phones.

The Quantum's slider mechanism could stand up to a Sherman tank. It's solid as all hell, and snaps open and shut with a solid "thwock." LG has graced the Quantum with a four-row keyboard. The bottom row is reserved mostly for the space bar, and other control keys. The keys stand up from the surface just enough, but have little shape to them. I'd prefer they were slightly domed to give them a more distinct feel under the thumb. They have good travel and feedback, though. As you might expect to find on an LG feature phone, there is a dedicated emoticon key, but no ".com" key, which would be more helpful in a smartphone, in my opinion. Thankfully, there are dedicated keys for the period and camera. Also, the Function and Shift keys are placed off the keyboard itself, to the extreme left. I found them a pain to reach for and use.

Nothing about the LG Quantum's hardware is awesome or revolutionary. It's simply a solid device that mostly works as it should.

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