As one of the more affordable Windows Phone 7 devices, what does the LG Optimus 7 bring to the party?
- 2G: Quad-Band / 3G: Tri-Band
- 3.8inch / 480×800 pixels / 16.8m colours Capacitive touchscreen
- 5MP autofocus / Flash / 2592×1944 pixels camera
- 720p record / Playback
- Music player / Stereo Bluetooth / 3.5mm jack
- 16GB internal
- 1,500 mAh
- DLNA support, accelerometer
LG’s styling stretches from businesslike to glitzy with a gloss edge and shiny metal back. LG has a long design heritage that oozes class, since the launch of the original Chocolate phone. Here, the Optimus 7 is handsome,
solid and reassuringly weighty. The only non-glossy section is where the three WP7 icons sit just below the screen on the front. This wide button-area is the only design disappointment on the Optimus 7. All three icons (Back, Windows and Search) are pressable instead of being the touch-sensitive lights HTC favours. This is fine, but the icons themselves are slightly raised which means that the middle Windows button has a rough-edged feel which just isn’t very pleasing.
The micro USB slot is hidden under a flip-open flap – of all the phones this is the least successful version with a flimsy feeling that doesn’t inspire. However it does make for a smooth right edge, save only for the camera button which, as on all Windows Phone 7 handsets, allows you to activate the snapper and take a shot from one button press, even if the phone is in standby. This is a neatly quick-response feature other phone interfaces would do well to copy.
The camera is good and the lens has a very cool look to it with lens, mirror and flash all seated in a gleaming circle. The results it delivers are proficient and capable, comparable with the other 5-megapixel snappers on test. And the HD camcorder is similarly effective. LG has put Panorama Shot as one of the front page tiles, a simple and reasonably useful program which stitches up to five photos together. Take the first one then when the viewfinder’s in the right position it’ll automatically snap the second and subsequent shots.
Onboard memory is impressive, at 16GB, twice the amount built into all the phones on test here, bar the HD7. The Samsung phone comes with either 8GB or 16GB, so LG is offering a good level of performance here.
LG has also put an augmented reality program, ScanSearch, on the front page, too. Hold it aloft and it uses the camera to show you what’s in front of you, with markers floating in the air where the nearest hotels, restaurants, cocktail bars and more are. It’s neat enough and if you tip the phone back to look skywards, the view then shifts to reveal weather information.
With its chic, stylish looks, the LG Optimus 7 is a neat and handsome phone. Though the Windows button feels a little low-rent with its rough edge, the build quality of the rest of the handset is excellent and some elements, like the camera lens inset, look just great. LG specialities include the Panorama Shot feature and augmented reality program ScanSearch. As with other WP7 handsets, the screen is responsive and the phone works at speed. The Optimus 7 has 16GB of built-in memory, which is the most any WP7 handset boasts, and more than many.