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Review: LG Fathom

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Is It Your Type? Body The Three S's Touch  

The LG Fathom has an appealing look, well suited for business class travelers. It seemed a bit thick, but the screen is also narrow, so this may be a matter of proportions. LG calls this slate blue, but I saw almost no blue in the phone's materials; it seemed much more black. The phone is mostly dark plastic. There's a speckled pattern on the back that's subtle and adds a textural look. The face gets some dark grey metal accents with a brushed texture, and these small strips are my favorite part of the phone's design.

Beneath the screen you'll find a trio of buttons. There are Send and End keys, but they look nearly identical. The phone icon on the Send key is tilted about 30 degrees up, otherwise it was tough to discern the two. In the middle there's a Windows key that opens up the Start menu. Of course, there's almost always a software Windows button on screen, but I'll get to that later.

On the right side of the phone you'll find a microSD slot with a nice groove, making it easy to pry open. There's also a two-stage camera button, and the stages are well defined, so focusing a shot then releasing the shutter is an easy action. Finally, a task manager button. Here's where I remembered why I don't miss Windows Mobile, an OS I haven't seen recently in an unadulterated form, especially since Windows Phone 7 was announced. Windows Phone needs that task manager so badly, LG should have made the button bigger.

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On the left side you'll find a headphone jack, a poor placement for the 3.5mm port. My earbuds stuck out sideways, making the phone less comfortable to pocket with headphones attached. There's a good volume rocker on the left side. The microUSB port is also on the left, along with a reset button. I've hardly seen a reset button get its own labeled port on the phone's exterior before. Not a good sign.

On the back is the battery cover, easy enough to remove. If you want to gawk at a real Verizon Wireless / Vodafone SIM card - a rarity - it's hiding beneath the battery. That SIM lets you roam internationally and use the most common 3G radio band in Europe.

There's also a stylus. It's a small, thin, telescoping rod that hides itself near the back of the phone, stuck in sideways on the right side. There are two bumps that catch your finger, so it's easy to withdraw without looking. You'll be using it quite a bit if you buy this phone.


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