LG KP500 Cookie review: Grab a bite
A fresh touch to the user interface
The Cookie has the latest Flash-based touch interface by LG, very similar to what the KC910 Renoir offers. The functionality is slightly cut down here and there to underline the KP500 market position but there are also some improvements such as a second standby screen where you can arrange you favorite contacts (the LG Renoir has only one, while the LG Prada 2 has three of those).
It is quite an achievement for the modest Cookie to be able to match (and even outdo at times) the interface and performance of the twice more expensive Renoir.
The interface features a lot of nice animations and transition effects. For example, when you get to the bottom of a scrolling list, the items don't just stop rolling, but bounce and throb to your sweeps with almost physical elasticity as on the iPhone.
The interface is generally quick and responsive enough and lagging is rarely an issue. In everyday use it is hardly bothering.
The nicest novelty that the LG KP500 brings is the two alternating homescreens. The first is the Widget-enabled screen that allows you to arrange several mini applications as you please.
To get to the second homescreen you sweep your finger sideways across the screen. The screen turns over like you roll a cube (remember the first HTC Touch TouchFLO?).
The second homescreen doesn't work with widgets, but lets you to arrange contact icons instead.
Now let's get back to the Widgets home screen. You've probably already read about it in our LG Renoir or LG Prada 2 review.
A touch on the marker in the bottom right corner of the homescreen pulls out the Widgets tray, which holds all of the currently unused widgets. You can choose the ones you want and drag them onto the screen or hide the ones you don't need back in the tray.
The widgets available on the LG Cookie are the same as the ones on the LG KF900 Prada, which means that there are fewer of them as compared to the LG Renoir. The LG Cookie offers an analog clock, a mini FM radio, a mini music player, a notes app, Image slideshow, a world clock, and a calendar.
The widgets missing from the Renoir are the alternative digital clock and the dedicated weather widget.
Unfortunately, new widgets cannot be added. That is the main disadvantage compared to the competing Samsung TouchWiz interface.
A nice feature allows you to align the widgets onscreen by shaking the handset thanks to the built-in accelerometer. For this to work however you need to have the widgets tray opened.
Here's a quick video demonstrating the LG Cookie user interface: the widgets, the 3D-like homescreen and the two types of main menu navigation.
Digging further down the menu system
For those of you that meet the LG Flash interface for the first time, we'll also cover the basics.
At the bottom of the homescreen you will find a navigation bar with four nonnegotiable shortcuts. The first one takes you to the Dial pad to punch in a number, the second opens the Contacts list, the third one takes you to Messaging, and the last one brings up the main menu.
The menu system is simple, yet decently organized and generally very usable. The main menu consists of four tabs - they are displayed in a column on the right-hand side of the screen. Changing the tabs is done by clicking the respective icons. Alternatively you can select the scrolling menu option from the settings where you can change tabs by simply sweeping your finger accross the screen.
They the first tab is named Communicate and quite logically is related to making calls and sending messages.
The second one is entertainment, which houses the multimedia files, the camera, the FM radio, the games, and the music player.
The Utilities tab comes third, bringing the web browser and applications such as the Calendar, Calculator, Unit converter, etc. It also features a drawing pad where you can create quick sketches using the touchscreen. And, finally, the last tab is reserved for settings.
Unlike the LG KC910 Renoir, the LG Cookie has fixed main menu structure. You cannot rearrange the items and that's a strange decision by LG.
Thanks to the built-in accelerometer, the LG KP500 Cookie interface auto rotates when you turn the handset to landscape mode. The feature works selectively and is only available when you're typing a message, browsing images or watching a video. Rotation is quick but perhaps not the smoothest we've seen.
We are glad to see the LG Cookie use the set of colorful icons that's usually reserved for the white-background theme in previous touch phones by LG. This time around, the colorful icons are set upon a black background, which however has a touch of color as well.
This once again confirms that LG have intended the LG Cookie to be a more lively and fun.
Ever since the KF700, LG handsets come equipped with a task manager. The Cookie makes no exception with the handy application allowing you to run several Java and native applications simultaneously and effortlessly switch between them.
The task manager on the Cookie is pretty similar to the one found on the Renoir, having a "launcher" tab that hosts a number of configurable shortcuts to various applications. Unlike the Renoir, the KP500 only offers nine slots since the favorite apps list isn't scrollable.
Another thing the Cookie shares with the other recent touch phones by LG is the Status screen - touching on any of the icons on the status row on top (next to the clock) opens up a screen with signal, battery and memory stats, and allows you to quickly toggle the ringing profiles, music player and Bluetooth.