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printed December 21, 2014
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Review: LG Vortex

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Basic text messaging and email features on the LG Vortex were identical to the LG Optimus T. The phone uses a standard SMS app, with a threaded, conversational style of messaging. Pictures did not show up in the threaded conversation, though. Instead, you get a link to start a slideshow, even if you just have one picture attached to an MMS messages. Even then, the first half of the slideshow was only a black screen, which was confusing the first time I received a picture.

For email you get the standard Android toolkit, which means there is a Gmail app and a separate email app for every other type of account, including IMAP, POP and Exchange accounts. During setup, for some reason the LG Vortex assigned my Gmail account to both apps. So, when I got a new incoming message, I would get two alerts, one from Gmail and one from the more basic Email app. I was able to delete the account from the Email app, but I'm sure this problem will cause confusion for new users, who might be vexed by double notifications, at best, or might find themselves using the inferior Email app instead of Gmail, at worst.

In addition to Google Talk, the Vortex also gets Verizon Wireless' IM client for AIM, Yahoo and Windows Live. It's nothing to write home about. It's basically the same IM app Verizon has been using since Moses invented instant messaging back in Egypt. But, aging interface aside, it gets the job done if those are your chat networks of choice.

The messaging experience is hurt by the LG Vortex's touch response problems. The phone offers the great Swype keyboard, but Swype requires fast and accurate swiping response, which the Vortex couldn't manage. So, I would start tracing my finger from letter to letter, (which is how Swype works,) but the phone would start recording my trace path late. Or if I typed by tapping, it would miss letters, especially on the periphery. I often had to jab hard at a letter to get it to register, as if this were a resistive screen and not a more sensitive capacitive screen. It was bad enough that I found myself dreading typing long messages. It was even worse when the keyboard would fail while I was entering a hidden password.

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