Review: LG Fusic
One look at the Fusic and it's hard not to say "iPod." The music playback buttons on the outside are certainly designed to be reminiscent of the iPod's click wheel. When closed it is a thin white rectangle with clean lines and smoothly rounded corners just like an iPod. There are side buttons and other bulges like a small stub antenna, but overall the phone maintains an uncanny similarity to the iPod. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. The iPod is not just iconic, it's well designed.
The Fusic is incredibly comfortable to hold. It is relatively small for an EV-DO clamshell, which means it sits nicely in your palm. The sides and corners are all rounded with a gentle radius that lets you wrap your hand around the Fusic without ever being poked by sharp edges. The buttons - both on the outside and inside - are easy to use, but don't stick out in such a way that they make holding the Fusic difficult or painful.
Not even the stub antenna is uncomfortable. Both the antenna and the phone itself are small enough that you rarely notice the antenna is there, except when you are looking at the phone. The Fusic takes up so little space in a pocket that the antenna never pokes your thigh, nor does it get in the way when holding the phone.
Wedging a finger between the two halves to flip the phone open is simple because the edges are so rounded. It opens smoothly, and with the very little effort. But the phone does not open with that high quality "snap" that other models have. It's not because the hinge is flimsy. It feels solid; there is no give between the upper and lower parts. It's just there is no detente that the hinge clicks into to give feedback that the phone is locked open. And that's because it's not. The phone doesn't lock open, it just sort hangs there. If you shake the phone while open, the top half will flap around quite a bit. Although the phone stays closed much more securely, it does not snap closed either.
Don't let the external media controls cloud your impression of the Fusic's keys. The media playback keys are the one sour note in what is, overall, a pleasant experience. The play/pause key works well enough - it has a nice action to it. However the surrounding ring of controls is, well, awful. The keys have no click or tactile feedback at all. This wouldn't be so bad if they worked consistently, but instead sometimes they respond to the lightest touch while other times you have to mash the buttons down. Additionally the buttons have somewhat iregular functions. The next and previous track keys work as expected but the arrows do not work as volume keys, they work as next and previous track keys, except that they scroll through the next or previous track in playlist, but don't play the track. Which only serves as a slightly quicker way to navigate through your playlist.
The rest of the keys are excellent. The side keys are each easy to press and have a nice feel to them. They are easy to find without having to look at phone, which makes adjusting volume during calls easy.
The keypad inside is relatively flat, but it provides significant tactile feedback. There is a slightly ridged ring around each key that is easy to feel, and the texture of the keys is slightly rougher than that of the phone's plastic. The keys are fairly large and LG still manages to put quite a bit of space between them. It didn't take long for us to ramp up to a reasonably fast texting speed.
The spacing and feel of the keys even makes no-look texting or dialing possible, but the look of the keypad is so captiving, it's hard to ignore it. When the phone is open the keys glow a gentle blue, except for the send and end keys which glow green and red respectively. The glow is just bright enough to make the keypad easy to use in the dark without overpowering the screen or the phone's aesthetics.
Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.