Review: LG Mach for Sprint
The Mach includes the native Google Play Store and associated apps for consuming media. The store lets Mach owners purchase music, television shows, books, and magazines, as well as movies and movie rentals. Each type of content has its own app for playback, and they are all pre-installed on the Mach. The Mach also includes the stock Android MP3 player, video player, and YouTube apps.
There are no Sprint media apps pre-installed, but plenty are available for download from the Sprint Zone, such as Stitcher Radio, Sprint TV and Movies, Sprint Music Plus, NBA Game Time, NASCAR Sprint Cup and others.
The Mach also includes an app called SmartShare. This app makes use of DLNA to ease the pain of wirelessly connecting with and sharing content to HDTVs and other DLNA-compatible equipment. I found the app intuitive to use and managed to pair the Mach to my TV set via my home Wi-Fi network with no trouble.
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The Mach uses the same camera software that LG is using on most of its other phones this year. The Mach includes a physical camera button as well as on-screen controls. Either way, the camera opens swiftly.
The fastest and easiest way to take a picture is to press the physical camera button. It focuses in a blink and captures images in two blinks. This is a single-stage button. If there's something in particular you want the camera to focus on, you can touch that subject in the viewfinder and then press the shutter button.
An on-screen tool bar offers advanced controls. The Mach offers plenty of features, including panorama, HDR, continuous shot, "Cheese shutter" (predetermined voice commands make the shutter fire), and a Time Catch shot mode for timed bursts starting before you press the button.
The Mach's 5-megapixel shooter does a passable job. Most of the shots I took outdoors showed accurate color and were in focus. Exposure was sometimes problematic, with bright areas blown out and dark areas lacking detail. Sharp focus was harder to obtain indoors, and indoor shots were prone to annoying grain. Still, on average, the pictures are usable.
The Mach can capture video at a max resolution of 1080p HD. In general, video results look pretty good. I notice the same type of problems with the video camera that I did with the still camera: video captured with good lighting looks good, video captured with poor lighting doesn't.
The Mach uses the stock Android 4.0 gallery app. I find it easy to share pictures via this app, and managing your separate photo libraries is a snap. You cannot create new albums on the device itself, but you can move photos between albums that are listed. The gallery lets you rotate and crop images, as well as adjust color, reduce red-eye, and apply a handful of different filters. The editing features are nice to have. There is also a simple video editing tool that lets you stitch together separate video clips into a longer clip. I thought it was easy to figure out.
Sprint has been proactive in reducing bloatware on its Android phones. The only two Sprint-branded apps are the Sprint iD and Sprint Zone apps. Of course, both these let you do nothing but download other Sprint-branded apps and services. With more than 5GB of internal memory available to users and support for microSD cards, you're not going to run out of room for apps.
The Mach's Bluetooth 4.0 radio worked very well. I had no trouble pairing it with other Bluetooth devices. Most importantly, call quality was excellent through both headsets and my car's hands-free system. Music worked well, too, via Bluetooth headphones.
The Mach has the age-old standard Android browser installed. I found the Mach's browser performed well as a browsing device over Sprint's 3G network. Despite the limitations of Sprint's 3G network, the Mach was quick to load web pages and it never timed out.
The Mach has a handful of different lockscreen clock options, including a large one that's really easy to read, as well as others that also include a calendar. The flexibility of the lockscreen clock is awesome.
Google Maps is the only mapping software pre-installed on the Mach. If that's all you ever use, you'll be fine. It is a capable piece of software for discovering local points of interest and routing directions to them. As far as the GPS radio is concerned, it is accurate, but not all that quick. It often took close to a minute to find me, though it was usually as close as 10 feet to my actual position.
The Mach also includes LG's QuickMemo app. QuickMemo lets users capture a screenshot and then open it in the Notebook app. The Notebook app lets you scribble on the screenshot with various pen styles and in various colors. You can add your own scrawled text, insert actual typed messages, attach photos or videos, and send them all together as a package via email, SMS, Google+, Picasa and so on. Without a stylus, though, the QuickMemo app is a bit limited.
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