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printed November 24, 2014
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Review: LG Cosmos Touch

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Menus Calls / Contacts Messaging Social Networking  

 

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One of the homescreen panels on the LG Cosmos Touch is entirely devoted to messaging. Here you'll see all of the messages you've received, organized by date. Of course, I set the messaging app to group messages by contact, but this homescreen ignores that setting. You can tap the message to read the entire text, or tap an icon beside each message bubble to respond to the sender. Beware, though, as trying to slide the list up or down invariably results in a tap.

There are also buttons for Facebook, Twitter and MySpace on this pane, and, confusingly, one button with icons for all three services. The first three buttons are a red herring. They don't actually open apps or take you to the respective service, they are really shortcuts for SMS messages. You can send status updates or photos to Facebook and MySpace by messaging a special number, and the phone has those preset. The fourth button is for the Social Beat app, which is a bit more useful.

When you open the full messaging menu, you can see text conversations grouped by contact. The messages are threaded, kind of, which lists them in a more conversational format. But you don't get to read the full message unless you tap on the message text, and pictures don't show up in line with the rest of the messages, you have to tap through to see them. So, it's a nice feature, but I'll only give Verizon and LG half credit.

The phone gets Verizon Wireless' newest Mobile Email app. It is an improvement over the last generation, with a better interface and much more responsive notifications. The Cosmos Touch was buzzing for new emails at about the same time my personal smartphones were buzzing, and it never missed a message. That's pretty impressive, especially for a phone on the 1xRTT data network. Mobile Email costs an extra $5 per month if you don't already subscribe to a data plan. If you do, it's a free service.

On the other hand, there were significant problems. The interface could be sluggish and hard to use. The notifications that popped up for new messages were unresponsive and difficult to dismiss. Both of these problems are touch response issues. I also tried using the official Google Exchange service with this phone, hoping it would offer contact and calendar sync as well. Unfortunately, the phone refused to recognize Google's simple Exchange server address, and offered no advanced fields for me to try to dig deeper and tweak settings. I was simply out of luck.

Verizon may have updated its email client, but the IM app is stuck in the old west, waiting for Marty McFly and the DeLorean to show up. In other words, it's the same app Verizon has been using forever. It works fine for AIM, Windows Live and Yahoo messaging, but the interface leaves something to be desired, and there are no advanced features beyond simple chatting.

I also think the notifications on this phone might get confusing. There are notices for new text messages, new picture messages, new emails, and new activity in you social network. All of these pop up with a different style window, and with a different selection of options. The text messaging lets you jump to your message. The picture messaging doesn't seem to do anything but tell you a picture has arrived. The social notification tells you there is new content, but takes you to the front page of the app, with no indication of what's new. It feels very slapdash. Combined with the tiny notification bar on the homescreen, it makes for a disjointed feel, and I wish these notifications were more unified.

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