The last smartphone I reviewed was of the mid-range category. Devices at this level are generally cheaper and has a more toned down feature set. The LG Phoenix doesn’t really bring anything new to the table. Sure, it has the basic functionality of an average smartphone, but it doesn’t maintain the same high level of performance as its other high end brethren.
The LG Phoenix measures 4.5 by 2.3 by 0.5 inches and weighs just 3.2 ounces. It has rounded edges with silver trim that slowly tapers to the thin border around the top side of the phone. To top it all off, the phone is covered with a soft touch, matte blue plastic that’s quite comfortable to hold. At the front you have its 3.2-inch capacitive touch screen that offers 320-by-480-pixel resolution.
The right spine of phone contains the volume rocker keys. The left spine is empty, the top of the phone contains the 3.5mm headphone jack and Power/Screen Lock button, and the microUSB port is on the bottom. The phone does have a microSD card slot but it’s underneath the battery cover. It ships with a 2GB card and supports up to 32 GB of additional memory.
Four backlit, plastic function buttons sit beneath the screen, and have just the right amount of give. The on-screen QWERTY keyboards are a little cramped, but LG redesigned the keyboards to have slightly larger keys. The typing experience is okay, although other phones are roomier and a bit more responsive.
The LG Phoenix is a quad-band EDGE (850/900/1800/1900 MHz) and tri-band HSDPA 7.2 (850/1800/2100 MHz) device with 802.11b/g Wi-Fi. You can also use it as a mobile hotspot for up to five devices with the appropriate data plan. Its processor, however, is an older Qualcomm MSM7227 600 MHz ARM11. The device is responsive enough and its Android Froyo 2.2 OS feels snappy. Although of course, apps that are memory/processor extensive will have some problems on the Phoenix.
Even with the limited resources, LG still shipped the Phoenix with their custom UI on top of Android 2.2. The phone also shipped with a few custom LG widgets and LG’s keyboard, but you don’t have to use them if you choose not to. Although, the stock Android keyboard does perform much better than LG’s custom keyboard. Custom apps included are FamilyMap, Code Scanner, Hot Spots, myWireless, Navigator, Radio, and Live TV, an app that can be used to watch live TV.
LG phones are generally pretty good when it comes to voice quality. The LG Phoenix is cut from the same mold. Calls sound loud and clear. The speakerphone sound okay too although it needs a little more gain. Furthermore, battery life is pretty good at 6 hours and 30 minutes of talk time.
As a multimedia device, the Phoenix’ stock music player displays album art clearly and is very simple to navigate. Standalone videos play well in full screen mode, though hi-def (720p files) are not supported at all. The Phoenix isn’t the best portable video player out there, given its smaller LCD and somewhat subdued colors, its better of as a phone.
The 3.2-megapixel auto-focus camera has no flash. Test photos looked good, but not great. The camera sensor picks up a reasonable amount of detail, and outdoor shots looked relatively natural. But indoor shots in dimmer lighting exhibited too much grain. Recorded 640-by-480-pixel videos looked okay and played relatively smoothly at 18 frames per second, though the lack of image stabilization means you’ll need a steady hand.