Experience and Potential 9.5/10
This is the only Windows Phone 7 handset on our list of top 10 smartphones of 2011! Microsoft has gone through many harsh phases in the mobile world of Oss (remember windows mobile 5.0?). With iOS and Android setting new heights, Microsoft set out again to convince the world that it is the best at what it does. Android has the power of seamless Google integration built in at the firmware level, and taking a leaf out of Android the Windows Phone 7 used Bing as its weapon. iOS has had the better of all the OSs because of its gargantuan catalogue of applications and games, so a new OS cannot just burst onto the scene and start churning applications out. It needs a good base and some potential investors. And to this end WP7 is set to break the shackles and all barriers.
Now that Nokia has taken up the task of impressing consumers and critics alike, the job for Microsoft might be a little easier. But what about current hardware manufacturers? LG, HTC, Samsung, Dell and even Acer have been part of the Windows Phone 7 regime, and from the looks of it, LG has produced by far the best WP7 handset as far as practicality goes. The Quantum isn’t going to break your bank either at 310 pounds apiece.
The phone doesn’t have the largest screen, at 3.5 inches and with a resolution of 480 x 800, the phone has a crisp and usable display. The phone comes with a 1GHz Scorpion Snapdragon and Adreno 200 GPU. This is according to Microsoft, the minimum hardware requirement for producing a WP7 phone. And it shows. The interface is slick and responsive. The screen helps with the experience as well and the operating system is a joy to use. We might even go as far as saying that Windows Phone 7 is currently the best OS for mobile users with the simplistic yet marvelously implemented tiles. The tiles are regenerating and refreshing slab sized icons. They display information for the particular application and updates. Not resizable but think of them as Android widgets and application shortcuts combined to give super icons. They are here to save the day (for Microsoft at least). The phone has been designed taking a power user and a casual user in mind. And the menus, the regenerating tiles, Zune integration, a very slick camera interface, and the best browser out there with Xbox live make this the OS with the most potential out there. Add the mindblowing QWERTY sliding out of the insides of this beast and this makes the LG Quantum the best Windows Phone 7 handset out there right now. It isn’t the highest specced WP7 but it doesn’t need to be. You won’t see the difference between a 1.5GHz processor or a 1GHz processor unless you push the system to its edge. And tell me one application that pushes any WP7 device to that edge.
Now why does this handset rate so low in our list of the best mobile phones of 2011? The WP7 is still maturing. It needs time and a lot more effort from the developers and Microsoft itself. The application store is almost barren but you will find the essentials with around 3000 applications in the store ( not comparable to the hundreds of thousands in the appstore and market). With Nokia in the race again, we expect the WP7 to create a buzz like no other. We have our fingers crossed in any case.
Feature Set 6.5/10
The phone has most of what you need in a handset in this day and age. But no external memory card means you need to have the Zune client to link it upto the computer. And we are not happy when a device is not exactly plug and play on a desktop or laptop. A utility like Dropbox might help but it isn’t the easiest thing to use. But at 16gig of built in storage you will have plenty of free space for all the files and bytes you need to put in this phone.
The camera is 5MP autofocus, and it isn’t the best in the market. It does perform well for a 5MP but even the iPhone trumps the picture quality. There is jittery 720p video recording, and it is nowhere as good as we would like.
But the browser looks after the problems faced in other departments. It is lightening quick. Did we mention how zippy the pinch to zooming and gestures are? We love the Internet Explorer equipped with Windows Phone 7. It does not support flash and therefore isn’t the perfect desktop experience but for most other browsing, the browser is outstanding. Quick and worth every penny invested in it.
The battery life is worth mentioning here though. It sucks. We could barely get a whole day out of the phone with moderate use. And this might be something Windows Phone 7 may be the culprit for as the Quantum itself has a large 1500mAH battery.
Oh and did we mention the on screen keyboard. The Quantum sports one with the slide out keyboard and it is the standard WP7 typing experience. And it isn’t bad either. Good text prediction and accurate text input might mean you never use that slide out. Ever (o_O)!
There is GPS and Bing Maps do a good job for the phone as a standalone SATNAV utility. WLAN and Bluetooth are understandably there, so there’s no need to worry. An average 6.5 out of 10 for the effort.
Build Quality 6/10
The phone has curves at all the right places. It feels chunky but that’s part of a slide out QWERTY package. And the rubberized feel with a gorilla glass at the front and the stainless steel at the back makes this phone have that premium feel the SE Neo lacked. Its tough but the weight might be a put off. At 177g it is one of the heaviest handsets out there. And it pulls at your pants when it’s in your pockets.
The sliding mechanism is strong, too strong and sometimes just plain stiff. It gives the solid feel to the handset and doesn’t move when you have the phone in your hand but this again might be a point against the phone. The phone gets a 6 out of 10 for build quality.
Everything that’s standard and nothing out of the ordinary. Bluetooth, GPS, WLAN b/g, DLNA for media streaming and HSDPA and HSUPA with good connectivity all around and clear voice quality. It doesn’t have anything out of the ordinary and the lack of tethering or a wifi hotspot is a bummer. There is no mini or micro HDMI port either. The phone score a 6 out of 10 for connectivity.
The camera as we mentioned earlier is a 5MP autofocus 5x zoom sensor. It takes good clear shots in bright daylight, but pull the curtains down and you will the muddiest pictures in a while. The noise levels rise and contrast and saturation make the picture feel like it has gone through a war. The sensor takes decent macro snaps but we’d rather you just didn’t try all those fancy things because the sensor hates shaking. The images come out blurry with the slightest of movements. But the interface is slick and very easy to use. It almost makes you want to take pictures, disregarding the quality. And the 720p HD video recording is as bad as HD video gets. There are times the video suddenly whitens things out, and the constant exposure changes during the video, along with stuttering and artifacting make this video recorder your last resort.
The music player is the Zune certified rendition for smartphones and is as polished as they come. Its easy to use and with a vast array of features. There are gestures and some very fancy menus, and if you have a huge collection of songs and playlists we are sure you will love the Zune player. This could be the only mp3 player you will ever want (unless you love dragging and dropping, skip this one please). And the video player can play HD Divx and Xvid out of the box. The screen has high pixel density (267 pixels per inch to be exact) and that too helps for those long trips in the car. Just make sure you have a car charger lying around. It doesn’t support all the various containers and wouldn’t play a single mkv but that’s where convertors will do a fine job. The Zune desktop client might not be the taste you want but there isn’t an alternate for the casual user. Get ready to use it and you will be rewarded.
DLNA streaming and those small perks that come with WP7 make this handset achieve a good 8 out of 10 for Media.
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