Review: LG Lotus for Sprint

lg-lotusI’ve been a loyal Sprint customer for over 8 years now and through time, like most relationships; there have been ups and downs. One of the ups was when I received the LG Lotus to try out. From the moment I saw commercials for this phone, and when I tried playing with it in the Sprint store all I thought was ‘what the heck?’ – Why? Because over the years, I’ve been trained to think that all phones, to be normal, are rectangular, and most smart phones are touch screen or sliders. Can you blame me? Not really. Most of us don’t live overseas, or spend enough time toying with the savy phones that come out, so when Sprint launched the Lotus I thought “Woohoo, change is coming!’.

First off, it’s square, that’s the first thing you notice. If you’re looking at the purple version then the flower decal is definitely what attracts your attention but if it’s the black or red (new color!), it’s the shape of the phone.

The shape of the phone seems a bit odd at first and although it was a tad bit wider than my current phone it’s thinner, shorter and was actually more comfortable to have in my pocket. It is 3.3 inches wide, 2.4 inches tall, 07 inches thick and weights about 3.7 ounces. .I’m not one of those geeks that carry huge bags, clip my phone to my belt, or actually invest in bulky covers and cases for them. I minimize my luggage and fit all of my necessities into tiny purses or wristlets. This phone fits perfectly in my back pocket without sending a sharp reminder when I accidentally forget that I have it there, and sit down. I did the test. It’s comfy, I promise.

When you open the Lotus you’re greeted with a nice sized screen on the top part of the flip, and a wonderfully perfect sized QWERTY keyboard.

The outside of the phone has buttons to facilitate the user’s music listening experience (something I did not use), but one thing I can say is when the phone rang for the first time, I jumped out of my seat and ran across the room to pick it up. It was the loudest ring tone I’ve ever heard, combined with unrecognizable song that was a tad bit embarrassing…From that experience I decided this phone has a great set of speakers and you can probably put your favorite songs on the phone and use it as mini speakers. It has a built-in media player, which allows you to switch back and forth from calls to music.

When I first started clicking around, it reminded of the user interface that HP’s TouchSmart PC has. “Sprint’s One Click”, brings a bunch of fingers to your fingertips by having a carousel-like display that lets you scroll to the left or to the right without bringing you to a stop. Does that make sense? It’s like flicking through pictures on your iPhone or like swiping your finger across the TouchSmart – it won’t end, but just bring you back to the beginning. It’s cool. Unlike other phones, you don’t have to leave the main screen to navigate through the majority of the phone’s features.

My favorite feature is to add ‘bubbles’ to your main screen, which is the equivalent of widgets for computers. For example, if you’re always checking weather, that’s a ‘bubble’ you can add to your main screen.

On the main screen, there are tiles. The tiles are the different icons, an example of one is messaging. When messaging is highlighted, a preview window pops up that shows you “Email”, “Text”, etc That’s how most of the icons work. Before actually having to click on them, you view what is waiting for you, which makes it easier to get used to, instead of having to click back and forth when you’re trying to find something in the phone.

As a touch screen user, I had some difficultly getting used to its non-touch screen. I found myself touching the screen more than I hoped, with nothing happening. I am a creature of habit – what can I do? I’ve had a touch screen phone for almost 2 years now and it’s hard to break that sort of trained behavior.

Something else I’ve gotten used to in the last couple of years is the comfort of a large keyboard. I have an outdated phone, and despite my friends’ requests to upgrade, to maintain ‘cute geek’ status, I refuse because I love my keyboard. I felt like I was cheating on my old phone as I started texting on the Lotus because I was happily able to use one hand and one hand only. I held the phone and maneuvered my thumb across that keyboard like a pro. A multi-tasker’s dream...

Disclaimer: It’s not safe to text while driving, but even that task was made easier with this phone.

The LG Lotus is also “phone as modem” capable, which is one of the key features that I look for. It allows you to use your phone to get online anywhere, without having to lug around a wireless card, or an expensive data plan. (I currently pay $15 to enable this feature on my phone but it could vary because I’ve had the same plan for years).

I would recommend this phone to an avid texter, or someone that is looking to make the switch from a regular flip phone, into something with better features. The LG Lotus provides multimedia enthusiasts music, TV, GPS directions, easy texting, quick emailing, and nice style. Smart phones are fun, and their functionality may intrigue many, but some of us need less than half of what they offer. I can use Microsoft’s PowerPoint to view documents through my current phone, but will I ever? Probably not. I do enjoy taking pictures and this phone has a good 2.0-megapixel camera. I took a picture of my work space and it came out very clear, and surprisingly bright.

Its 2.4 inch wide screen display really facilitates Sprint’s Power Vision add-ons like on-demand TV shows and watching movies. Images appear very bright, and unlike regular flip phones, the display on this phone is great. Colors appear life-life (and what I mean is that things appear the way they should – for example, viewing pictures online and on your phone won’t vary much).

As someone who owns a phone with a significantly bigger screen, I would recommend sticking to something in its size range. Although texting is not affected much because of the QWERTY keyboard, the smaller screen size you see a lot less on the screen and if you’re online often, I would suggest sticking to a phone with a bigger screen. Searching for things online or even checking your Facebook account was less enjoyable for me. This is a good upgrade from flips, but not the ideal downgrade from PDAs.

The LG Lotus is ‘competively’ priced (they all say that, but this time it’s true). It’s only $49 for new customers and current customers looking to upgrade.