Review: LG Optimus F60 for MetroPCS
Aside from MetroMusic, there are no third-party music or video services on the F60; it's all Google Play. MetroMusic is best used for consuming ringtones and not music. I dislike the user interface, and other than today's Top 40, there's really no selection to speak of.
The Google Play Store and associated apps are all decent choices for purchasing/renting music, movies, TV shows, books, and magazines. Google has updated them consistently and the Material Design makeovers they each received in late 2014 are good. I've grown particularly fond of the Play Movies app, which is also capable of playing your sideloaded content. The stock YouTube app is also worth wasting time with.
As far as sharing is concerned, you've got Chromecast and DLNA. The DLNA client is clunky and I'd recommend sticking with Chromecast if at all possible (requires a $35 Chromecast dongle for your TV).
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LG changed up the camera software a little bit when compared to some of the phones we saw from the Korean company last year. It does away with some of the heavy-handed menus and frames and leaves the UI open and airy. There's no physical camera button, but you can launch it from the lock screen or home screen.
Like most camera apps, the camera interface includes controls running down the left and right sides of the screen. Four quick action buttons appear on the left: flash, user-facing camera, modes, and menu. These buttons cannot be customized.
The F60 doesn't offer all that many shooting options. You can cycle the flash to on, off, or auto; you can shoot in normal or panorama modes; you can alter the resolution; and you can turn LG's cheesy "Say Cheese!" voice-controlled shutter on or off. There are no controls for exposure, white balance, color, or contrast, nor are there any fun extras like effects or filters.
The camera's best feature? It's fast. I found it extraordinarily quick to focus and snap photos. Many phones with the Snapdragon 400 have sluggish camera performance. The F60 appears to be an exception.
The F60 has a 5-megapixel sensor, which is about what a phone in this class deserves. It's a decent sensor and produced results that beat my expectations from an entry-level phone. I was generally pleased with exposure and white balance. Focus was somewhat soft and about half the shots were rather grainy. The flash has a really short effective range; it doesn't do much to improve shots taken in dark places. The F60's camera is (just barely) good enough for everyday shooting, but if you're serious about your pictures you need to have a real camera with you.
You can score some above-average (for an entry-level phone) full HD video with the F60. The phone hit way above its weight with solid focus, exposure, and white balance. The video quality isn't going to bowl you over, but I was pleasantly surprised given the phone's minimal aspirations. I think most people will appreciate their results for what they are with the understanding that important events need real video gear.
Like many of today's KitKat phones, the F60 has both the legacy gallery app and the newer Photos app. I recommend the newer Photos app. It offers a more solid set of editing tools than the older app and also has features such as Auto-Awesome and automatic uploads for safekeeping. Both apps have plenty of tools for sharing photos across a wide range of social networks and messaging platforms.
MetroPCS didn't put too much bloatware on the F60, which I appreciate. MetroPCS-branded apps include the AppStore, Metro BlockIt, Metro411, MetroMusic, MetroZone, MyMetro, Mobile Hotspot, and Visual Voicemail. There are several other extras, such as a weather app and ThinkFree Viewer. There is only about 3.25 GB of space for users to stick their own apps on the F60, so I'd recommend you make use of a memory card for storing images, videos, and other media.
The F60's Bluetooth radio functions as intended and as expected. It supports the usual set of profiles for an Android smartphone and I didn't have any issues pairing it with and connecting it to other devices. Phone calls routed to my car's hands-free system sounded great, but without the aptX profile, music playback through a high-quality speaker was lacking.
Chrome and the generic Android browser are aboard the F60. These browsers each do a fine job of rendering web sites quickly and cleanly. I prefer the controls and features of Chrome to the generic app, but for basic web browsing either suffices. Speeds on MetroPCS' network (which is really the T-Mobile network) are solid, but not the quickest. I live right on the edge of T-Mobile's LTE coverage in the NYC region. As long as you have LTE or even HSPA+ you'll be in good shape. Browsing over EDGE, however, is worthless.
The F60 has a simple digital clock that adorns the lock screen. I could not find a way to alter its appearance. It's white, but big enough that it's visible indoors no matter what wallpaper you're using. I didn't have any issues reading it outdoors unless in direct sunlight.
The F60 comes with Google Maps, which works well with the phone's GPS radio. Maps is great software and it ran well on the F60. The GPS radio consistently located me in just a few seconds. Accuracy was about as good as 35-40 feet. It was great at point-to-point navigation as long as HSPA/LTE was available.
The F60 includes LG's KnockOn and KnockCode lock screen tools. With KnockOn, you tap the screen anywhere twice and it wakes up so you can see the lock screen. KnockOn is separate from whatever method you use to actually unlock the F60. KnockCode is similar to KnockOn, but adds a security code. You can set your own knocking pattern for locking the screen. I like both these features a lot, and they work perfectly on the F60.
Like most LG devices, the F60 includes the 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, or insert actual typed messages, photos or videos, and send the file via email, MMS, or Google+.
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