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Review: LG DoublePlay for T-Mobile

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The LG DoublePlay is typical of a sideways sliding device in that it's bulky and heavy. It feels dense, as though every cubic millimeter of its interior is packed with electronics. Stylistically speaking, it sticks with themes we've seen on other LG smartphones this year, with the speckled brown/gray coloring, and strip of brushed aluminum running down its backbone. There's a nice, metallic band that wraps the edge of the DoublePlay, breaking up the tones a bit and giving it a wee bit of personality.

Its feel in the hand is pretty good. The materials chosen by LG certainly don't feel cheap and the cool feel of the metal band on the back gives it a much-needed boost in perceived quality. The edges are gently sloped and the DoublePlay is comfortable to hold. It is a tad bulky for tight pant pockets, and its weight will remind you that it is there.

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The display on the front is framed by a black bezel. The four Android controls are found below the display; they're the capacitive touch type. I found these buttons to be responsive.

Other controls are kept to the bare minimum. The microUSB port is on the left side of the DoublePlay, covered by an easy-to-remove hatch. The volume toggle is on the right. It's a good little button that protrudes the perfect amount and has good travel and feedback. The lock key is on the top of the DoublePlay. Thanks to the rounded shoulder, the key is a cinch to find. It has great travel and feedback. The 3.5mm headset jack is next to it.

Unlike the myTouch Q, the DoublePlay is easier to slide open. With less-slippery materials and a more helpful shape to the sides, it won't pop out of your hands. The slider mechanics are solid, and the DoublePlay produces a nice, solid "chunk" when slid open or shut.

I had a hard time getting used to the DoublePlay's QWERTY keyboard. In order to accommodate the second, multitasking display, LG split the keyboard in half, with the 2-inch screen in the middle. The space bar is split into two, with one-half on either side of the display. Each half-keyboard has four rows to it with letters/numbers combined in the top row, while the bottom row is reserved for punctuation and special characters. It takes your thumbs and eyeballs a while to adjust to this set up. I was very slow with it the first day, as you have to swing your eyes wildly about as your thumbs learn where all the keys really are positioned. I was slightly better at it the second day, but I must admit that I gave up and used Swype on the touch screen when I really needed to type something quickly.

The keys themselves remind me very much of those found on Nokia's E Series devices from several years ago. They are compact, but rounded, and each has its own shape and feel. The travel and feedback is quite good, but the keys are somewhat slippery.

The camera and flash are located on the back surface, as is the grill for the speakerphone. You need to remove the battery cover to access the microSD slot, which thankfully doesn't require you to pull the the battery itself to access.

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