LG's Optimus One P500 is a great example of an affordable yet highly functional Google Android smartphone. The following is our original review of the LG Optimus One P500, from November 2010, by Ross Catanzariti of PC World Australia
The LG Optimus One P500 is a great example of an affordable yet highly functional Android smartphone. A successor to the original LG Optimus, the Optimus One includes a 3.2in capacitive touchscreen and runs the latest version of Google's Android platform. It is excellent value for money and has plenty of features.
However, the LG Optimus One P500 is not going to win any design awards. It uses a basic plastic chassis with silver edges and a soft, rubber-style back that makes it comfortable to hold. We like the curved, sloped edges on the top and sides, as well as the use of physical buttons below the display (menu, home, back and search); the keys click reassuringly when pressed and provide decent tactility. Many competing Android smartphones use touch-sensitive keys, which are often unresponsive or easy to press accidentally, so the Optimus One P500 is a step ahead in this regard.
The LG Optimus One P500 feels reasonably well put together; while it doesn't have fancy metal casing, the plastic body feels well constructed and doesn't creak or rattle. A minor complaint lies with the volume controls, which are a little thin for our liking, although they are well positioned. The power/screen lock key requires a forceful press.
LG Optimus One P500 screen
Low-end Android smartphones often compromise on display quality to keep costs down, but LG has managed to equip the LG Optimus One P500 with a noteworthy 3.2in capacitive screen. While it may lack the vibrancy of displays on more expensive handsets like the HTC Desire and the Samsung Galaxy S, the Optimus One's screen is perfect for a device at this price.
It has a respectable 320x480 resolution, making it better than direct competitors like the HTC Wildfire and the Huawei IDEOS. The screen is responsive to finger presses and has reasonable viewing angles, but it is hard to see in direct sunlight.
LG Optimus One P500 operating system
The LG Optimus One P500 is one of the first smartphones to ship with the latest version of Google's Android operating system, 2.2 or 'Froyo'. In addition to all the regular features and functions of an Android phone, including access to the Android Market for third-party apps, an excellent notifications taskbar and automatic and seamless synchronisation with Google services, Froyo offers built-in wireless tethering, the ability to store third-party apps on your microSD card, and general performance improvements. One benefit of Froyo that doesn't apply to the LG Optimus One is Flash support for web browsing; the phone's modest specifications mean that it doesn't have enough processing power to offer full Flash support.
LG has skinned the standard Android interface with an interface overlay called LG Home. It offers customisable quick access icons at the bottom of each home screen (set by default to phone, contacts, menu, messaging and Web), and a main menu than cleanly separates Android default, carrier default and downloaded applications. We love the quick toggles in the notifications drop-down for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, 3G and silent mode; a tap of each box allows you to quickly turn these settings on or off.
The LG Optimus One P500's on-screen keyboard supports Swype text entry. Swype allows you to slide your fingers over the letters you want to type in a single motion, letting the software work out the word you're trying to write. Though it sounds awkward, Swype is very easy to pick up and surprisingly accurate. As with most on-screen keyboards, the software will learn as you type and add words you use regularly to its database.
LG Optimus One P500: camera and extra features
The LG Optimus One P500 has a 3.2Mp camera that takes average pictures and lacks a flash for night-time photography. We had trouble keeping the handset steady when shooting photos and video, with even slight movement resulting in blurry photos. Web browsing is more than adequate and is aided by the multitouch-capable display; you can pinch the screen to zoom in and out of web pages. The browser also features text reflow, so text will automatically be reformatted to fit the screen when you zoom in and out.
Overall performance is adequate but not outstanding; the LG Optimus One can often be a little sluggish when loading graphically intense websites, although we didn't experience too much lag when running multiple applications simultaneously.
The LG Optimus One also features a built-in accelerometer, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a digital compass and a GPS receiver. Only 170MB of internal memory is on board, but a microSD card slot for extra storage is included and the phone comes with a 2GB microSD card in the box. Battery life is about what we would expect from an Android phone: the Optimus One should last a full day, but it will need an injection of power every night.
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