LG 800g Review
This is the first installment of my in-depth review of the LG 800g from TracFone and Net10. I’ve already had quite a few posts on this, including a youtube video and a “first impressions” quick review. For links to those posts, check out my LG 800g Review Index.
TracFone and Net10’s first long-awaited touch-screen is the LG 800g, a slab-style device on the GSM network. It offers a resistive touch-screen, and does NOT have a hardware QWERTY keyboard (although a virtual QWERTY keyboard is available when composing text messages). It is surprisingly light weight at 3.05 ounces, and measures 4.05″ high, 2.24″ wide, and .47″ thick. The screen is pretty large and takes up a good percentage of the front of the phone, at 1.7″ by 2.2″ for a 2.8″ diagonal measurement. The only physical keys on the phone are “send,” “back,” and “end” keys on the front of the phone, the power button on the top of device, and a volume rocker switch along the right side.
There are many features to list when discussing this model. Of course the most-desired feature is the touch screen, but there’s also a 2.0 megapixel camera, video recorder, mp3 player, micro SD card slot, full bluetooth, 3.5mm headset jack, and voice recorder. You’ll also be able to add applications to this device, in the form of java programs. These apps are not available from a central location like with the iPhone or Android devices, but from a variety of sources on the web such as getjar.com, and MobileHeart.com. Most apps are free.
In terms of appearance, this one is really set apart from all previous Net10 and TracFone handsets by its touch screen form. In my opinion, it looks quite modern and will blend in nicely with most other expensive contract phones on the market today. The phone feels good to me as far as build quality and ease of handling. The screen is, obviously, very glossy, but the sides and back cover are not. This, along with the rounded edges and small size make for a very comfortable, sure-handed grip. It also slides easily in or out of a pants pocket.
My only complaint is that the touch screen already shows signs of wear after I carried it around for a little over a month. I think the bulk of that happened when I had the phone in the same pocket as my keys, though. You can see the scratches in the picture, although they look much worse in that picture than when I actually use the phone. I really don’t notice them when looking at the screen. That said, I would advice a cheap adhesive screen protector to keep your screen sharp.
General Phone Function
Signal reception so far has been very good for me, and I have no concerns about it. I was a little worried about voice quality at first. I thought it sounded muddy and static-y, but after further review I’m not so worried about those. I did compare this model side-by-side with the LG 900g from Net10, and they were quite comparable. However, I did notice slightly more background hissing noise on this touch screen. Based on that, I would rate the 800g at 7 out of 10 for audio quality. On the plus side, audio quality didn’t suffer much when I used the phone in a noisy car at highway speeds. The other party commented that I sounded VERY loud, and clear, so it seems that this model must have some technology designed to zero in on the voice and block out background noise.
Audio volume has been quite impressive in all facets, including standard voice calls, speaker phone, and ringtone. I did not have a problem hearing the phone in any situation. The ringtones also allow for a nice variety. You can use mp3 files for ringtones, although the mp3 file must not exceed a certain size (approximately 30 seconds in length, I believe, although this may depend on bit rate). You can also create specific rintones for individual contacts or groups. One area that disappointed me was the lack of flexibility with regard to message tones – although you can use any short mp3 for the text message alert, you must use the same text message sound for all contacts and groups.
I haven’t had a chance to do too much testing of the battery life yet, so I’ll have to update as I continue to work on the review. However, it seems to me that when I wasn’t using the phone much at all, I got over a week of life on a single charge. I’m sure that number will go down as I use the screen more, but so far it seems reasonable.
The performance of the display has been satisfactory, even in direct sunlight situations. I somewhat expected to be disappointed because of the low price of this phone, but thankfully everything lived up to my expectations.
One area where I’ve heard a handful of complaints is that the menu looks “childish” or “cartoon-y.” In fact, this is accurate, when you first start up the phone. However, there is an option buried within the settings menu (Menu>settings>display>theme), that allows you to switch between to themes: Cartoon or Black. The “Black” settings offers a more refined look on the menu icons.
Text messaging offers three different input methods – virtual qwerty keyboard, virtual T9 keypad, or handwriting input. You can choose from among these three methods manually by pressing the menu button in the text composition screen. The phone will also default to the most recently used method the next time you compose a text. The qwerty and the T9 both require you to tap virtual “keys”on the screen, while the handwriting input method allows you to draw letters on the screen, which the phone then decodes and puts into digitized text.
Either method will take a little getting used to – using the keyboard or keypad will take some practice to get the correct amount of pressure to strike the keys. I’m an avid iPod touch user, and the experience with the LG 800g was very different from the iPod, which makes sense since they are two different types of touch-screen technology.
The LG 800g uses “resistive” technology, which requires the users to press hard enough on the screen two connect to parallel layers of the screen, thus changing the electrical circuit. On the other hand, iPod uses “capacitive” technology, which basically means that your finger, since it can conduct electricity, is itself changing the flow of electrical current on the screen. The resistive technology of the 800g requires a firmer touch.
All this is a long way of saying, you’ll have to press quite a bit harder on the 800g screen than on an iPod, iPhone, or other capacitive touch screen. If you’re used to one of those more expensive devices, the LG 800g will definitely take some getting used to, but really the pressure required is no more than you’d need to apply in order to press physical hardware buttons on a standard phone. The phone does, however, provide a slight “haptic feedback,” which simply means that the phone produces either a slight vibration, a sound, or both after each touch, to let the user know that the phone registered your command. Both the sound and the vibration can be customized by type and volume, and can be turned off completely if you prefer.
As I said above, the 800g screen is not as sensitive as some more expensive devices, but the flip side of this is that I like handwriting input better on the LG 800g than on those expensive screens, including my iPod touch. Due to the resistive technology of the 800g, it is possible to use a slim non-conductive device such as a stylus or fingernail to operate the touch screen. I found it quite simple to enter a text message in handwriting mode while using the fingernail on my index finger, and I actually preferred this method to the virtual keyboards. I also had luck using the blunt end of a pen, which is handy for me since I almost always carry a pen in my pocket. Now this might strike you as unappealing to think of pulling out a pen to compose a text message, but I think it could be helpful for writing longer messages.
One other thing I’d like to comment on here is the home screen. This can be customized with a handful of icons. Actually, there are two home screens – one for menu options, and one for contacts. The contacts screen, as the name implies, allows you place shortcuts to your favorite contacts on the homescreen. The icon then shows the picture you have assigned to that contact, if you have one. Once your contact is added, tapping on the icon brings up three options – call, sms, or edit.
The menu home screen allows the user to add shortcuts to their favorite menu options. I can see how this would be handy, and in fact I use the music player and camera shortcuts. But my complaint here is that TracFone has placed a shortcut to the “prepaid” menu on the home screen, and there is no way to remove this icon. However, the rest of the icons are easy to customize quickly.
Well, that’s all I’ll cover in this portion. I’ll continue learning more about the LG 800g and return with another installment of the review early next week.
If you want to purchase this phone now, you can save $5 (from either TracFone or Net10) by using code GI2011 when you check out from their sales pages. Click on one of the following links to use this code now: