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LG GS290 Cookie Fresh Review

3

The original LG Cookie was a big hit – over 10 million were sold and it helped popularise the touchscreen format for budget phone buyers. But in an age where the touchscreen phone is now the norm and the mid-range market has really taken off, can the updated LG Cookie Fresh still cut it for today’s savvy consumer?

What we like

The LG Cookie Fresh is a bright colourful handset. Its three homescreens can be customised using handset themes. There are two main colour schemes available; black, which displays the icons of the main menu is a style reminiscent of the LG Arena, and white, which renders the icons in a cartoony hand drawn style.

We like Livesquare a lot – we last saw it on the LG GW520 and you can assign it to one of your homescreens on the Cookie Fresh too. Livesquare displays your favourite contacts as tiny avatars milling around in a park, kind of like the Mii Parade on Nintendo Wii. The other two homescreens can be used for speed dial shortcuts, while the other is free for widgets and app-shortcuts.

A nice little design touch, the LG Cookie Fresh’s widget homescreen wallpapers have imaginative layouts, including a wooden fence with shelves (see the pic below), a washing line and a series of Polaroids.

We liked the feel of the LG Cookie Fresh. It’s small and lightweight but also compact. It’ll fit in your pocket easily and feels as though it can take a fair bit of wear and tear.

The silver task manager key in the centre of the phone allows you to call up a list of apps and functions that are running on the phone and jump between them to save you scrolling back through folders and sub menus. This stops things from feeling too cluttered, keeps you informed of what’s currently running and helps you get to know the phone’s ins and outs.

Sound quality of the music player is good and you can choose from a range of equaliser presets to get the best out of whatever music you’re listening to. You can use your own headphones thanks to the 3.5mm headphone jack, something we always appreciate, and we found it easy to transfer MP3s and WMAs from your computer to the phone via USB.

Speaking of sound quality, we had no problems with the sound quality of calls made on the Cookie Fresh. Although they weren’t crystal clear, conversations were a good volume and without interference.

The LG Cookie Fresh comes with a small selection of native apps, which is expand the functionality of the handset; one that we particularly liked was Drawing Panel. It’s a fun little painting app which allows you to doodle away on a blank canvas. Pictures are saved as PNGs and can easily be transferred to your computer through the USB cable, or sent to mates via MMS picture messaging.

 

What we don’t like

The Cookie Fresh’s touchscreen is of the resistive variety and as such works much better when used with a stylus as opposed to fingers. Unfortunately the Cookie Fresh doesn’t come with one included. You could fork out for one but there’s no stylus slot, so you’d have to find somewhere safe to keep it too.

Stylus or not, we found that whenever we tried to flick between the three homescreens the Cookie Fresh didn’t always want to know. It seems to work best if you press and hold a finger or thumb in the bottom left or right corner of the screen before swiping left or right. Even then it won’t always work – this was a real annoyance.

The Cookie Fresh lacks 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity; so web browsing is pretty painful and social networking really suffers. Facebook and Twitter both look good (nice layouts, text isn’t cramped) but watching statuses and tweets load on the screen is a saintly test of patience, to put it mildly.

LG has made the bold move of making the almost-universally loathed Comic Sans font its default on the Cookie Fresh. Bad move. Luckily, you can substitute it for another in the settings.

While the music player is ok, it’s not amazing. You don’t get the option to edit any of the equaliser settings, and we’d like to be able to skip to a specific portion of a track using the touchscreen.

A 2-megapixel camera in this day and age is likely to disappoint, and the LG Cookie Fresh’s effort is no exception – especially when you consider that the original LG Cookie had a 3-megapixel camera. The camera key is also a bit on the stiff and unresponsive side which led to a couple of blurry shots when we tested it out. As fun as the Drawing Panel app is, it’s a shame that you can’ take pictures on the camera and immediately start scribbling on them

Conclusion

The LG Cookie Fresh is a nice touchscreen phone and will satisfy the casual mobile user who wants a basic phone and to use for texting friends and listening to music. Social networking fiends and those who want to surf the web will be disappointed with the slow speeds, and will wish that LtG had left the Cookie Fresh in the oven for a few more minutes.

Specification

OSProprietary

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