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Author name (Administrator) #1
Member since May 2011 · 2485 posts · Location: Brisbane
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Subject: Bought a new Celphone
So there are three things I like in my phones:
  • Fantastic technology
  • Clamshell design
  • Completely customizable

The new phone I have purchased is none of these things.  It is, in fact, a bargain-priced phone, costing $200 and locked to the BOOST network.  Buying this phone required a conscious decision on my part to somehow NOT get the latest and greatest technology, but to instead try to get something that, from the moment I first picked it up, felt like a perfect fit for me.

[Image: /grafx/photos/LG-KS360-1.jpg]

It's not a super-fast phone, the camera's only 2 megapixels, and the touchscreen ONLY works when dialing numbers.  It's not a clamshell so that huge, beautiful front face is just begging to be scratched every time I use it.  In fact, it's the kind of phone I would normally shun as entirely unworthy.

Until I slid it open and it revealed this:

[Image: /grafx/photos/LG-KS360-2.jpg]

Holy shit, is that a qwerty keyboard?

[Image: /grafx/photos/LG-KS360-3.jpg]

It is!  Wow, neat!  And boy, does it feel nice.  Smooth, textured, nice tactile response, and comfortable enough for my massive manthumbs.

[Image: /grafx/photos/LG-KS360-4.jpg]

The phone has its issues: compared to my old Sony Ericsson K800i it's not really customizable at all, and the simple act of adding photos to users slows down the contact-list scrolling quite a lot.  It has some strange foibles throughout: backgrounds rotate from portrait to landscape when you slide it open, and you can't stop it from doing this.  It has an inexplicable habit of opening GIFs and PNGs sideways, but displaying them fine if you apply them as a contact image or background.  There are some things you can add your own sounds to, and some you cannot: I can select my own MP3 ringtones, but if I want a different sound for startup, shutdown or opening the slider, I'm limited to built-in choices.

And yet, despite this list of annoyances, I love the damned thing.  It's small, it's comfortable, it's friendly, and it works.  Hammering out messages is easy, throwing my contacts on from the old phone was a simple matter, and in actual use, this phone makes me smile whenever I think of it.

[Image: /grafx/photos/LG-KS360-5.jpg]

For $200 (Add $80 to get it unlocked) I couldn't really expect more.  It's nothing I want in a phone but it's everything I need, and I love using it.
Author name (Administrator) #2
Member since May 2011 · 2485 posts · Location: Brisbane
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I returned the new phone today.  It was a tough decision to do so, there were many things about the phone I really liked.  The handful of things that I didn't like overwhelmed the things I did.  The list is short, but significant:

  • Incoming TXT messages were sorted by time: the SENDER'S time.  If someone's clock was out by half an hour, their messages would appear at the bottom of my list.
  • Adding photos to contacts made the phone unbearably slow. 

On a phone built for messaging, having the messages appear out of order was unforgivable.  It was a lesson in user interface aggravation in other respects too: If you had an incoming message, it was one button to read it.  If you had two, you could only read one, the other would require navigation through the menu to find it, and you never knew where in the list it was, since the timestamps were effectively random.  And the only way to tell which was read and which wasn't?  A tiny little icon that looked similar to the other.  Compare this to the Sony Ericsson I currently use, which allows you to view in a list only the new messages.

Worse, if you're composing a message when a new one arrives, the LG would allow you to keep editing or read the new one.  The Sony lets you read the new one and get right back to the one you're composing, kind of like switching from one program to another in Windows.  With the LG, it was one or the other.  If you chose to abandon the message in progress, it'd get saved to drafts where you had to dig it out again.

When sending a message, the contact list on the LG was slower and slower as you added contact pictures, and once selected, would show the recipient's NUMBER, not their NAME.  "Did I pick the right guy?"  The only way to tell was to un-highlight the recipient.  It would change to the name, but only until you re-highlighted it.

It was well built, it went days on a charge, it was nice and loud, it was comfortable. But it was tragically, and fatally flawed: No matter how awesome your hardware is, it's a failure if it can't do well the one thing it's designed to do.

I should have seen it coming, really.  The LG site doesn't even admit this phone exists, there are no downloads, no firmware updates, nothing.  That's the kiss of death, for sure.

The Sony, for all the things that annoy me, is a work of technological art by comparison.
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