LG KM570 Cookie Gig review: Live at the arena
Pocket Apps are fun little tools
The LG Cookie Gig comes with a suite of various applications preinstalled. First off, there's an app that lets you draw random graphics and even save your art.
The Banner app offers various layouts to display some text on the screen and can be used as a screensaver.
The Weight Tracker and Running Mate are meant to help you watch your weight and get exercise, making useful calculations such as allowed fats, BMI, speed of your runs, etc.
Mellow Candle and Mind Selector are nothing but pastime gimmicks. Mellow Candle give you a selection of candles to blow away by physically blowing into the phone's microphone. Mind Selector on the other hand is like virtual coin flipping - you can get a simple Yes or No answer to your questions.
Finally, the Sound Tuner gives you a collection of ambient sounds featuring twenty different sounds - from natural to urban.
The LG KM570 Cookie Gig has pretty good social networking support. There’s no phonebook integration but we didn’t miss it much. Not all social networks are created equal, only Facebook gets a dedicated widget.
Not that a Picasa widget would have been terribly useful, considering you can run the app in the background thanks to the multitasking support. But a service like Twitter is ideal for a widget – tweets are short by nature, which makes them a perfect fit for the limited space widgets have.
The KM570 Cookie Gig comes with a Social Network menu, which lists Orkut, Facebook, Twitter, Picasa, Flickr and MySpace. However only Facebook and Twitter have apps, the rest are simply bookmarks to the respective sites.
The Facebook application is custom-made and nicely touch optimized. Its interface feels quite familiar, so you can get going straight away. While the widget only shows the last couple of status updates, the app can handle the rest of the functionality.
The Twitter app on the other hand is a Java app with smallish controls. It’s not the most finger-friendly app we’ve seen, but it’s a complete Twitter client. You can post tweets, read other peoples’ tweets including a special section for @relpies and search is enabled as well.
A bunch of games
The Games section in the menu holds Games, Applications and Fun stuff. Games on the Cookie Gig are trial versions only – BejeweledTwist, Ferrari GT Demo and The Sims 3.
Fun stuff offers another couple of games. The first one, Flying Dice, lets you roll a pair of dice by shaking the handset. The Flying Dice also offers a set of really simple mini games, including Snakes and Ladders and a drinking game. Maybe this is the right handset to get a party off the ground.
Then, there's the Music World game where you have to tap some jumping yellow creatures in the right moment in order to reveal some puzzle picture.
Of course, you are free to install other games of your choice without worrying about the unconventional resolution - titles for QVGA screens run just as fine on the Cookie Gig, taking only the upper two thirds of the screen.
The unused space is occupied by virtual controls that make up for the lack of a D-pad and context keys. There are apps like Opera Mini that don't need the virtual controls as they're enabled for touch operation.
The LG KM570 Cookie Gig is not a phone to be impressed with; it’s a phone to enjoy. All the more so if you’re of the right age and attitude. On the hardware side, we have little complaints – you have to keep in mind that the KM570 is a Cookie after all. The software is mostly positive too – there are a few downfalls, but the app package is so rich you can spend days with the Cookie Gig and still find things you haven’t used yet.
We have mixed feelings about the Lifesquare screen. Sure, it’s an interesting way to view your communication history, but to put it plainly – it’s childish. Still, the LG Cookie Gig can do some serious work too if you get used to some of its limitations (like the email attachment size).
But let’s face it – the LG KM570 Cookie Gig is hardly targeted at the business crowd. On the other hand, whisper “social networking”, “Dolby mobile” and “good camera for photos and videos” to a youngster and you’ve sealed a deal. Not to mention the 4 gigs worth of memory and the FM transmitter.
However, even a casual look at today’s market reveals trouble ahead for the young LG Cookie Gig. At its current price point, there are some competitors that might prove tough to beat.
The Samsung S5560 Marvel and the Samsung S5620 Monte have the same basic ingredients as the LG KM570 Cookie Gig, but certainly get an edge from Wi-Fi. They run the competing touch UI – TouchWiz but cannot match the Cookie Gig’s built-in memory. For the price difference though you can easily buy a 16GB microSD card, so that’s not a problem. The Monte doesn't make it in the 5 megapixel league but has Wi-Fi and a GPS receiver to make up for that.
The LG KC910 Renoir and the Samsung M8800 Pixon used to battle it out for the 8MP cameraphone crown but today, they are equally priced alternatives to the LG KM570 Cookie Gig. They may be older in terms of hardware and software but they can match the Gig’s capabilities – and those cameras they have there are pretty good. Much like the one on the Samsung S8300, which records the nicest WVGA video we've seen from a mobile phone.
Another phone with an 8MP sharpshooter on its back is the Samsung S8300 UltraTOUCH. It too has fallen to the Cookie Gig price bracket. Its screen is smaller though (2.8”) and it doesn’t have the internal memory.
And finally perhaps the most compelling reason against the Gig, the LG KM900 Arena, which we quite liked back in the day. It has been busy getting cheaper and can now be found for the same kind of cash as the KM570 Cookie Gig.
It has four times the display resolution, a capacitive touchscreen, twice the built-in memory, Wi-Fi, GPS. There’s also DivX/XviD and TV-out and the real S-Class.
Now, those are mostly older phones that we’ve looked at. And we haven’t even mentioned Corby or XpressMusic yet. Affordable touch phones are a booming market and everybody is playing hardball. The Cookie Gig will have a harder time perhaps than some of its namesakes. But it does the right thing at the right time – bring in the updates and stay within budget.