LG Optimus One P500 review: One and a half
Organizer is good, office document editor preloaded
The LG Optimus One comes with the usual set of organizing apps and there’s a preloaded document viewer/editor too (which is a great perk for a phone of this caliber).
The app in question is ThinkFree Office and it supports viewing and editing Word, Excel, and PowerPoint (with Office 2007 support) and also PDF files.
Handling Office documents is an intensive task and is one of the few places where you really see the 600MHz processor struggle. While viewing files is slow but workable, editing almost any document (save for docs with very little content) is so slow, it’s unusable.
We tried out Google Docs, which support document editing if you’re using Froyo (see how important it is to have the latest OS?), and they worked considerably faster. However, the interface is nowhere near as good as the native Office app and it lacks even basic formatting options (the mobile version does anyway). Give it a spin and see if it’s an acceptable compromise to the nigh-unusable native app.
The calendar has four different types of view - daily, weekly, monthly and agenda. Adding a new event is quick and easy, and you can also set an alarm to act as a reminder.
The LG Optimus One features an alarm clock application, which allows a lot of alarms to be set, each with its own start time and repeat pattern.
The organizer package also includes a voice recorder, which might be pretty useful for making audio notes and a nicely touch-optimized calculator.
Extensive Facebook and Twitter integration
The LG Optimus One P500 features great SNS integration. Both Facebook and Twitter contacts can be added to the phonebook and you can link those to existing phone contacts.
When you link a contact with their Facebook or Twitter, their last message will be visible on the top of their contact info screen (right next to their contact photo). Links to their profiles on the respective social networks are added to the Info tab as well.
The two apps are the official apps and they support full interaction with the networks.
The Facebook app lets you read news feeds, post messages on people’s walls, browse their profiles and so on. You can of course post status updates and including a photo is very easy.
The Twitter app is also feature complete. A lot of actions are simplified as the app automatically uploads the photo (to either TwitPic or yfrog), shortens URLs (with bit.ly or TinyURL) and there’s a toggle to switch geo-tagging of the tweet on and off. Another nice feature is the Trends section of the app, which gives you a glimpse of what the Twitter hive mind is chattering about.
When you receive a new message, it will appear in the notification area just like regular SMS messages do.
Android Market gives you loads of apps
The Android Market structure is quite simple - featured apps on top and, below them, three sections (Applications, Games and Downloads). There is also a shortcut up there for initiating a search. With HVGA resolution and Froyo, the Optimus One will be compatible with most apps, so you don’t need to worry about the fragmentation of Android.
The first screen of the Market shows several featured apps. The Market organizes apps and games into two separate tabs and each tab lists sub-categories (e.g. Finance applications, Arcade & Action games). In each category you can select to view the Top free apps or ones that are “Just in”.
There's a third tab – Downloads – that keeps track of what you’ve already downloaded. Do keep an eye on this tab – when updates become available for an app you’ve installed, a label shows up next to the app name to notify you.
The Android Market flew past 100,000 apps recently but it’s the quality of the apps that really matters. The good thing is that many companies have made official Android apps and plenty of popular games have received an Android port.
Google maps and GPS navigation
The LG Optimus One P500 comes with a built-in GPS receiver. In under two minutes it got an accurate GPS lock. If you need only general location (within 100-150 meters) for location-based services, you can use Cell-ID and Wi-Fi network positioning.
Google Maps is part of the standard Android package. With it you can plan a route and track your current location but you have to rely on network data for downloading the map info. To zoom in and out in Google Maps you have to use well-known controls - +/- keys, double tap and pinch zoom.
The Google Maps Navigation option is available too – but only for supported countries. And while Maps does cache map data for the route, it will need to contact Google’s servers again if you deviate from the route (which makes it unsuitable if you don’t have a data plan or when you are roaming).
Street View mode is supported and it's probably the most fun part of Google Maps - it gives you a 360-degree view of the surroundings where it's available. When the digital compass is turned on it feels like you're taking a virtual tour of the location.