LG’s Cookie phones have done well for themselves around the world on account of their reasonable performance coupled with a light price-tag. The LG Cookie Fresh GS290 is the newest phone to take on the Cookie tag and is looking to win over people looking for an inexpensive touchscreen device.

LG Cookie Fresh GS290: Features

The LG Cookie Fresh GS290’s feature-set can be termed as 'smartphone lite', as it has plenty of features that smartphones have such as a camera, organiser and scheduler, social networking apps, email etc, but also forsakes plenty of other features.

For instance, the LG Cookie Fresh GS290 makes do without 3G, Wi-Fi and GPS, leaving only GPRS and EDGE connectivity. The camera is a miniscule 2Mp with no flash. The GS290 has a reasonably large 3in screen with a resolution of 240x400 and 256K colour output. Its microSD slot supports cards up to 16GB and the phone’s bundle includes a 2GB card, which is great.

The LG Cookie Fresh GS290 sports the same proprietary UI that was on the LG Cookie Pep. The phone offers three homescreens - one where you can arrange widgets, one for your favourite contacts and one that features animated avatars of your most recent contacts, known as LiveSquare. The main menu consists of four sections that can be scrolled horizontally: Communication (that includes Contacts, Recent History, Messaging etc.), Entertainment (comprising of Camera, Gallery, Music, My Stuff etc), Utilities (that consists of Browser, Google Search and Dictionary among others) and finally, Settings.

The LG Cookie Fresh GS290 comes with a bunch of pre-installed applications including built-in Facebook and Twitter apps. These work fine but take an inordinate amount of time to log in thanks to sub-par EDGE speeds. There are also shortcuts for Picassa, Orkut, MySpace and Flickr but all they do is take you to the site on the browser. Some other neat applications include a well-defined organiser, a memo pad and a video editor to edit videos on the phone.

LG Cookie Fresh GS290: Design & Usability

The test model we received was a mix of white, orange and black and quite honestly, we can’t see this particular make being used much outside college (and high school) campuses. Fortunately, the LG Cookie Fresh GS290 does come in more understated colour combinations.

The LG Cookie Fresh GS290’s build quality is very middle-of-the-road. While it feels solid, the build is plasticky and the phone does look a little cheap. The battery cover is especially very thin and, we would guess, easy to crack.

While simple and easy to operate, the LG Cookie Fresh GS290’s UI is sluggish and the touch isn’t as accurate as we would have wanted it to be. The resistive touchscreen also means that you have to press the screen a little for the phone to recognise touch input. However, the LG Cookie Fresh GS290 uses haptic feedback very well as every touch elicits a detectable vibration that helps in the overall touch experience.

LG Cookie Fresh GS290: Browsing, Multimedia etc

Tested in the PCWorld.in Labs

The LG Cookie Fresh GS290 has a pretty basic browser for your web-surfing needs. The browser is alright while surfing the mobile Web but falters when trying to surf proper pages. This is mainly because the Fresh is restricted to browsing at limited EDGE speeds.

The LG Cookie Fresh GS290 is a very good device for listening to audio. Music on the LG sounded loud and punchy and was great for listening to all genres of music. The loudspeaker was also suitably loud and clear. For its price, the Fresh manages to play videos decently. You can use the bundled LG suite to convert movies for the phone but in my tests, the software had problems converting WMV videos. The FM app has a simple interface and auto-scanning for stations was quick. However, the FM reception wasn’t great and there was plenty of static when the phone was in motion.

We didn’t have great expectations from the LG Cookie Fresh GS290's 2Mp camera and it managed to under-achieve in every aspect. The Cookie’s camera is hands-down one of the worst we have come across. Images we shot outdoors were dull and indoors it got worse. Indoor images were universally hazy, noisy and washed out. Videos recorded also looked pretty bad with low frame-rates and dull colours.

The LG Cookie Fresh GS290's battery is average at best and lasted just about a day on a single charge with regular usage. Call quality is loud and sharp, although the mic is a little too sensitive and manages to catch some background noise.

Best deals on the LG Cookie Fresh GS290

NEXT: our expert verdict >>

See also: Group test: what's the best smartphone?

Mobile phone deals

LG Cookie Fresh GS290: Specs

  • Cellular phone
  • Digital camera, FM radio, digital player
  • GSM 850/900/1800/1900 (Quadband)
  • Voice Recorder
  • Speakerphone
  • Bluetooth 2.1 EDR
  • Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP)
  • Intelligent Typing (T9), Radio Data Service (RDS)
  • MMS, SMS
  • POP3
  • GPRS, EDGE
  • WAP 2.0
  • Java MIDP 2.1, CLDC 1.1
  • XHTML Web Browser
  • MPEG-4, 3gp, H.263 video and AMR audio
  • 2Mp camera, 2x Digital Zoom
  • Video Recorder Resolution: 320x240 (QVGA)
  • 3in 240x400 pixels, 262,144 colours TFT LCD display
  • WMA, AAC, Real Audio, MP3, eAAC+
  • 16GB shared memory
  • microSDHC
  • Micro-USB, headset jack mini-phone 3.5mm
  • power adaptor
  • Lithium Ion 900 mAh battery
  • 53x13x108mm
  • 90g
  • Cellular phone
  • Digital camera, FM radio, digital player
  • GSM 850/900/1800/1900 (Quadband)
  • Voice Recorder
  • Speakerphone
  • Bluetooth 2.1 EDR
  • Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP)
  • Intelligent Typing (T9), Radio Data Service (RDS)
  • MMS, SMS
  • POP3
  • GPRS, EDGE
  • WAP 2.0
  • Java MIDP 2.1, CLDC 1.1
  • XHTML Web Browser
  • MPEG-4, 3gp, H.263 video and AMR audio
  • 2Mp camera, 2x Digital Zoom
  • Video Recorder Resolution: 320x240 (QVGA)
  • 3in 240x400 pixels, 262,144 colours TFT LCD display
  • WMA, AAC, Real Audio, MP3, eAAC+
  • 16GB shared memory
  • microSDHC
  • Micro-USB, headset jack mini-phone 3.5mm
  • power adaptor
  • Lithium Ion 900 mAh battery
  • 53x13x108mm
  • 90g

OUR VERDICT

The LG Cookie Fresh GS290 carries a price tag of £99 in the UK. The price-tag looks especially good when you look at the phone’s feature-set. However, its performance is strictly middle-of-the-road and that takes away a whole lot from the phone.

Find the best price