Review: LG Quantum
[review pros=”The device feels substantial and quite smooth, and welcoming for that matter, to the touch. Its full-spaced, physical QWERTY keyboard should garner positive critiques from those who can do without it and for those who love physical keyboards, alike — it seems rather fitting for people who have large hands, as well. Its design should please both the text messaging crowd and the moms who want to seem just trendy enough. And while it may be bulky, it doesn’t exactly feel like a brick.” cons=”Sadly, many of the features that are made to acclaim the phone serve to its detriment, its material and its keyboard really pack on the weight at more than 6 ounces. This is one heavy phone. I don’t exactly get the layouts of buttons on the phone and at times buttons feel too subtle and on the surface rather than protruding. The camera could be much better, specifically for video; and the audio quality for the speaker is a bit lacking.” title=’LG Quantum Mini Review’ verdict=”Texters, emailers, those who cannot find themselves using an onscreen keyboard, your parents who might even find the Quantum’s design adorable, and anyone scattered in between will very much find themselves enjoying the LG Quantum. It may be a tough sell, considering Fall — and thus, new devices — is just around the corner, but if you just need to have the physical keyboard, you might just need to have the Quantum.” score=77]
Note: We have been offered no compensation from LG or any other parties for writing this review. LG allowed us the opportunity to review their device and we accepted graciously as a way to build our review portfolio. We accepted a test device from the company and will soon have to ship it back to them, other than that short period of time in which we were able to use the device (no services, just the hardware) without pay, as mentioned, we received no compensation. If that deal is to change or happens to change, we will update this post immediately with new terms of our agreement.
I currently use an iPhone 4 and have previously owned a Samsung Focus as my Windows Phone of choice. As such, I may refer to, compare, and contrast those other devices with the Quantum.
This Fall will mark a year of when Windows Phone 7 was released worldwide. Here in the United States we were mainly given three phone choices, around the time WP7 started becoming available, from AT&T: the Samsung Focus, the HTC Surround, and the LG Quantum.
The LG Quantum separated itself from the Focus and Surround by being the only offering available on AT&T to have a full, physical QWERTY keyboard, its design looked (and still looks, for that matter, it obviously hasn’t changed) a tad bit like a tween’s messaging phone á la Kin, but other than that it may have fallen flat to the critics’ eyes. That is to say that most were clamoring about the Focus and Surround before they even began noticing the Quantum.
I am quickly beginning to realize, however, that critics may have been all too quick to disregard the Quantum. And that comparing it to the Kin is already a grave mistake.
When you first open up the box to your Quantum, you’ll be met with the phone’s circular-rectangle shape; its design can only, and most fittingly, be described as a squircle. Though, it’s not squarish like the Kin One (remember: don’t compare the phone to the Kin), it’s as aforementioned a rectangle. You’ll probably quickly forget that, though. The phone has not one sharp corner, it has not one edge, every taper will make you question exactly where it ends or begins.
And despite how smooth it is from the rubber material, LG didn’t use it gratuitously, even if it feels that way. The material only goes around the edges of the phone; the front is mostly screen, and the back is mostly what I’m assuming is some sort of brushed metal. Because of that, the phone feels substantial. If this fell without a case on, I wouldn’t be all too worried.
Regardless, it is quite heavy. At more than 6 ounces, it makes my iPhone 4 feel like a Samsung Focus, and it makes the Samsung Focus (which feels like a feather on its own) feel as if it’s not even in your hand. Though, I can’t say that my iPhone feels invincible: this past week I noticed it had a horizontal crack from one side of the phone to the other through the Apple logo. I know that could never happen to the Quantum. It feels chuck-secure, rugged, yet smooth. (On the contrary, perhaps tweens can use this phone, since they tend to have quite the clumsy hands, speaking from personal experience.)
The Quantum is also quite sizable in terms of depth. The height and width are comparable to an iPhone, but it would probably take two iPhones stacked screen up to size up to the Quantum, if placed in the same fashion. Once again, though, that’s because of its physical slide-out keyboard.
Speaking as someone who doesn’t terribly understand the praise over physical keyboards, I can see using the Quantum’s in a very natural way. The keys aren’t fairly spaced out, but they’re quite large. Now, keep note that I have relatively small hands, and it was easy for me. My thoughts are that someone with large hands should have an easy time using it, as well. It felt a bit awkward and I was unsure if I was pressing the right keys or not, but I chalk that up to the fact that I’m not used to physical keyboards.
The portrait soft keyboard was equally as easy to use. For some reason, the Samsung Focus’, which has a larger screen than the Quantum, keyboard wasn’t as easy to use. I believe there was an actual bug with the Focus but another reason could be because it was so large, who knows? The landscape keyboard on the Quantum, however, is a mess and a half. It’s better to use the actual, physical one. However, since Windows Phone 7 predicts what you’re going to type, I find it easier to use the onscreen keyboard, allowing you to select an entry quickly. The same is true for the emoticon button, which brings up a selection onscreen.
That said, you’re probably not going to buy a phone with a physical keyboard to never actually use it.
The Quantum’s screen size is smaller than most other Windows Phone devices, if not all other ones, but it’s actually the same as the iPhone’s (lest I stand corrected). In that regard, it’s easy getting used to how much screen real estate is lost on a smaller screen like the Quantum’s, or iPhone’s, but when comparing vibrancy and such: it’s a mixed bag.
The way I described contrast between the Samsung Focus screen to the iPhone 4 screen was that they’re both beautiful in their own ways. I was very earnest about that statement. The Quantum’s screen isn’t like the Focus’ super AMOLED beauty (and its ridiculously amazing true blacks), but it’s quite vibrant… perhaps too vibrant at times. As opposed to the iPhone 4, which when I compared both screens, I feel is actually quite dull now. But again, that’s in terms of vibrancy. The iPhone 4 has, barnone, the better quality. Photos and videos look much crisper and cleaner on the Apple device, but the Quantum does a fair job in displaying that type of media too.
Even the blacks on both screens were a bit different. The iPhone has this blueish, mostly screen, hue to it (not unlike the Focus, but still the Focus is much better at this) while the Quantum was hovering towards a grey, but not much.
If I had to choose between the saturation of the Quantum’s colors or the iPhone’s lifelessness in comparison, I’d have to honestly go somewhere in between. The Quantum can be so vibrant at times it makes people look cartoonish. A picture of me, including my bare lips, looked as though I had eaten a cherry Italian ice or slabbed on lipstick. But in many ways that can be pretty beautiful (read: not me in lipstick, that would be horrific.)
The Quantum’s power button sits on the top left side of the phone, and actually is fitted with the groove of the curved back. Now, I never actually failed to power on the device or to turn it on from its sleep state, but it did feel as if though I was just pressing down on the top of the phone with no actual button. I don’t know if that matters to anyone, to me it doesn’t; as long as I am able to turn on the phone, all is well.
The same is true for the volume rocker and the camera shutter button. The phone’s mini-USB jack is hidden behind a piece of plastic that can turn 360 degrees but never actually be removed from the phone itself (hopefully you know what I’m talking about) and I’d rather do away with that.
Something else that ticks at me a bit is that the back and search buttons are capacitive touch, but the start screen button is a physical button. Now, I suppose that’s all right, if not seemingly half-baked, but there’s no haptic feedback when you touch the other buttons, which I would prefer. And quirky enough is that the start button actually sits below the other two buttons; an LG logo sits between the back and search button instead. It’s this weird triangle of buttons down there.
I can commend LG, though, for having one button be physical since I’m sure touching those capacitive buttons by mistake happens often (it happened a couple of times on the Focus for me) but still I’m bothered by the nonlinear button placement.
Click to the second page for Photo and Video quality, Audio quality, What’s In The Box, and final tidbits and Conclusion.