ailon's DevBlog: Development related stuff in my life

3 Weeks with LG Optimus 7 and Windows Phone 7

12/16/2010 2:35:27 PM

imageI’ve had my LG Optimus 7 Windows Phone for more than 3 weeks now. The short story – I love it. It’s by no means perfect and Windows Phone 7 as an OS is in it’s infancy. So to be honest every WP7 fan must admit that if you need the most powerful, customizable, etc. smartphone today you will be better off with top of the line Android device or an iPhone.

But Windows Phone is getting there in big steps and I believe it won’t take long before there’s no obvious gap between Android, iOS and Windows Phone in terms of features and app availability. Keeping that in mind I can say that I like WP7 Metro UI. All those fake 3D elements, shadows, glass effects of the other platforms look so 2008 compared to clean digital UI of WP7.

There are tons of WP7 reviews on the web and I don’t have anything substantial to add to that. So I’ll just point why I chose LG Optimus 7 as my WP7 device:

Physical hardware buttons

All other currently available WP7 devices have capacitive touch sensitive buttons for the 3 mandatory WP7 hardware buttons. I hate that. Almost every review of a dynamic game in marketplace comes with owners of Samsungs and HTCs whining about accidentally brushing over a hardware button and dropping out of the game. Optimus 7 (currently) is the only phone that has real physical hardware buttons. And guess what, I’ve never accidentally press them, because you really have to press them for it to register.

Build quality

I was pleasantly surprised with build quality of my LG. It’s very solid with metal back, rugged plastic top and bottom. It sits very nicely in hand. It’s a little heavier than I expected and even taller than HTC HD7 but I can’t say it’s a bad thing.

Actually when I decided that I want Optimus 7 I thought that it’s looks are a sacrifice I’m making for other features I wanted. But ever since I got it in my hands for the first time I started liking it. It’s a rare case when a product looks better in reality than on promotional pictures (I’m looking at you, McDonald’s!)

16GB of storage

All other phones on European market (as far as I remember) come with 8gb of storage. Some of them have SD card slots but using that slot is currently tricky. Optimus 7 doesn’t have such a slot but has 16gb right away and I think it’ll do for me for a couple of years.

PlayTo DLNA app

LG has included an exclusive DLNA streaming app called PlayTo. This app let’s you stream photos, music and videos from your phone directly to your DLNA enabled TV (or computer). Here’s my video review/demonstration of this feature (sorry for my English and video quality ;):

Now I have no doubts that this feature will be built-in into the OS itself at some point in the future and probably Samsung will add their “AllShare” app to their WP7 phones even earlier than that. But for now you have to have LG handset to get this awesome feature.

SAMOLED is not a feature ©

I’ve coined this phrase as a response to the people who want to get Samsung Omnia 7 (or Focus in US) solely because it has a Super AMOLED screen. My wife has a Samsung Galaxy S with SAMOLED. Yes, the blacks are super deep and colors are super vivid. That’s awesome for a display stand in the store but in reality the colors are too warm for my taste and my wife complained that Angry Birds on her coworkers SE Xperia X10 looked better to her taste (she doesn’t know or care for buzzwords). You may also want to check this video which demonstrates an interesting glitch in SAMOLED equipped Samsung Omnia 7.

Anyway, I’m not trying to say that SAMOLED is bad or even worse than plain LCD in Optimus 7. I’m just saying that having a SAMOLED doesn’t change anything in the way you use your phone. That’s why I’m declaring it as “not a feature”.

Few grains of salt

Obviously not everything is perfect in Optimus 7. The on/off button could’ve been a little bigger and, IMHO, it should be on the left of the phones top (not on the right).

My biggest complaint is the location of micro-USB port. Whoever is responsible for placing it on the side of the phone (or actually any location other than bottom) should be severely punished. This kills the possibility of having a normal desk or car dock for the phone, makes it uncomfortable to use while plugged, etc. No engineering needs can justify that in my book.

That’s all I had to say for now.

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