Hello Android: Why I chose the LG Optimus One

So I have an Android device as I recently bought an LG-P500 also know as the Optimus One from Incomm’s website for a great deal of B$338. I hadn’t heard much of this phone previous to buying it as it’s not one of the ‘super-phones’ with all the fancy features but albeit it is a great Froyo equipped device (by default) with enough RAM to let it have a fluid interface when using it. First and foremost the details on the Incomm website is wrong: it has a capacitive screen not a resistive screen and it also has multi-touch (and thus has pinch-to-zoom).

I’ve honestly been looking out for a budget Android phone that will Froyo and this is the closest to my requirements. I can’t justify, to myself, a phone that costs more than B$400, so phones like the HTC Desire are out of the picture. I was slightly interested Huawei U8230 that Bmobile sold recently but it seemed like an end-of-life device with 2.1 being the last firmware update. Other budget Android phones would be:

Another notable device that I didn’t really see or play around with was Samsung Spica (B$388) though at that price, there isn’t much reason not to go for the Optimus One

I wanted a device with an HVGA resolution screen (480×320) as it makes it’s easier for surfing the web without the need to be constantly scrolling through the webpage. That only left the GT540 (the X10’s and Wildfire both have 320×240 screens, and the Galaxy 3 has a 400×240 screen) which has a small 3″ screen with a resistive touch screen. While it was pretty smooth and sensitive when I played with it the small screen made typing pretty hard. The Galaxy 3 has a non-typical screen resolution and while lower than the Optimus One resolution, it is the same physical size at 3.2″ meaning text will look bigger on the Galaxy 3 when compared to the Optimus One.

RAM is more than enough at 512MB to allow smooth(er) multi-tasking and allows for more caching of data if reading large/graphic intensive PDF files. This plays a major part for the overall usability of the device. I can say the Optimus One is pretty snappy and never had an issue of being forced to close/kill tasks. I’ve never needed to use the task manager to close applications in order for the device to be smooth and snappy.

A large 1500mAh battery which seems to have good reviews. I’ve had a pretty good experience last Sunday with 3G on from 7am – 630pm (with no real configuration) but truth be told, I can’t seem to replicate this as of yet, perhaps as I’ve been using it quite a bit or could be some misbehaving apps / syncing issues (an inherent Android problem I believe). Though that being said I crave for Nokia battery life where it wasn’t really an issue to be concerned with.

Other notable features

  • Custom LG keyboard to enable phone keypad in portrait mode. I actually prefer this, especially coming from a Nokia background and I honestly love the Nokia seems to have single hand use almost perfect. On-screen left and right cursors allow moving the cursor left and right which is good option as the device has no physical / optical trackball for scrolling or text selection.
  • Froyo: with features such as performance tweaking, being able to move some data application to SD card and tethering via USB/WiFi I consider Froyo as a standard for all Android devices to come with. Lower versions of Android will typically have lower performance and even have application limitations (not having some applications available to install on the device). Make budget phones do not have 2.2 by default.
  • Accelerometer: so it auto rotates in accordance to the orientation of the device

Some issues / tradeoffs

  • 3.2″ screen: pretty small screen to typing on in portrait mode with the on screen QWERTY keyboard
  • No trackball/trackpad
  • No notification light
  • No auto brightness
  • No camera flash / forward facing camera
  • Limited space to install applications: the stock installation only has 170MB of space to install applications. Being able to move applications to the SD card (this will only move some parts of the application to the SD card and it can’t install the ) helps a bit, but this is another annoying Android issue where the device can’t use the entire SD card to install applications and only has a small section of it’s internal storage to install applications.
  • There is no / little LG customization of Android. They have a slightly customized LG homescreen & application launcher but it isn’t anything like HTC’s Sense, Samsung’s TouchWiz or Sony Ericsson’s Timescape custom user interfaces. These customizations and usability is always a personal preference and you can always install a 3rd party launcher (I’m currently using Launcher Pro)

With about a week using the device and Android, there are more things to be said about them both, and that will come in due time. Have a happy new year everybody!

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