Review: LG Vortex
The calling and contacts experience on the LG Vortex is nearly identical to calling with the LG Optimus T. For a more detailed look, you can check out my full review here. It's mostly standard Android stuff, except that you can ignore a call and send a pre-set SMS message at the same time. When calls come through, you also get a quick look at the last status update posted by that caller, if they are a friend on Facebook or Twitter. Once again, LG's changes are subtle, but useful and welcome.
Skype is preloaded on this phone, and it was easy to set up and use. It does not work like a normal VoIP app, instead it routes calls through a separate phone number and simply gives you the minutes free, if you are making a SkypeIn call, or at a discount for SkypeOut calls. Sound quality on Skype was on par with normal calling, so if you have a Skype account, this is a nice way to save money, especially on international calls.
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The contact list is slightly improved from normal Android phones. You get the last status update for each contact just below that person's name in the full contact list. There are also some convenient filter controls to help keep your contacts manageable, like the ability to view only contacts with phone numbers, or only contacts synchronized from certain accounts.
One difference I did encounter came through the Facebook for LG and Twitter for LG apps bundled with the phone. You can use these apps to synchronize your contacts, but the LG-branded apps don't work as well as the official Facebook and Twitter apps, which are still available as free downloads from the App Market. In the official apps, you can choose to sync contacts with folks already on your existing list. On the LG versions, you can pick and choose each contact individually, or synchronize all of them at once, but the apps aren't smart enough to match that information with contacts already in your address book. Best to ignore the LG versions and head to the App Market for the real thing.
Review: Sony Xperia Z5 Compact
Sony is offering its Xperia Z5 Compact to US buyers online. This unlocked Android smartphone works with both AT&T and T-Mobile.
Hands On with the Sony Xperia X Compact
Sony's compact flagship manages to pack a lot of technology into its tiny frame. The most compelling feature for most potential buyers is likely to be the 23-megapixel camera.
Review: LG Spree for Cricket Wireless
LG's latest low-cost Android smartphone for Cricket Wireless is compact and well made, but it misses the mark in more ways than one. Here is Phonescoop's full review of the LG Spree.
Review: LG Lancet for Verizon Wireless
The LG Lancet is a low-cost Windows Phone that's easy grasp and offers a lot of value for the dollar with Microsoft's productivity apps on board. The Lancet proves that sometimes small stands tall.
Hands-On: Sony Xperia Z3, Z3 Compact, and E3
Sony revealed a new line of Xperia Z-class devices today, including the Z3 flagship and its close cousin the Z3 Compact. Here are our first impressions of these two winsome handsets, in addition to the mid-range E3.