Product Type: LG Electronics mobile phones
Newest Review: ... is easy to see and it is easy to use. Mine has always had a good reception However, the screen cracked and became scratched pretty soon af... more
If it's not a cookie you can eat, then steer well clear!
LG Cookie KP501
Member Name: pmcds
LG Cookie KP501
Advantages: Ummmmm.....battery life is quite good
Disadvantages: Phoning, texting, camera, memory, touchscreen, not user friendly. Need I continue?
It's nearly a year ago that I wandered into the Orange shop, checking to make sure I had reached the end of my contract and could upgrade to a new handset. First piece of good news: I was! After perusing the shelves and following some quite good advice and customer service from the sales assistant, I was left with a choice of three different handsets. Sadly, I chose this one.
The phone comes in what is a pretty standard box, with charger and instruction leaflet/manual. My main problem with something like this is that I generally tend to disregard the instructions and launch straight into something, complaining how nothing works, only to then find out that I've been doing it wrong. I have learnt my lesson, and so actually used the instruction manual for once.
Not that it helped much, to be honest, as it didn't take long before I realised that my decision hadn't been the best I'd ever made. The first thing I noticed with the phone is that it actually has quite a sleek design. I have chunky hands with fat fingers (I'll get onto this in a bit more relevance shortly), and this fits quite nicely in my hand. It's about 1cm deep, and quite standard in terms of width and length. Not as wide as a Blackberry, not as long as an iPhone. Quite typical of an LG phone, really, and no different in dimensions and feel to other Cookie KP phones they've produced.
What has annoyed me about other phones I have tried, whether it be previous contract phones, or purchases, or even using someone else's phone for just a moment, are the barriers to being user friendly. Unclear buttons, or function controls that are crammed into a small space and are hard to press without pressing another button accidentally. Sony Ericsson phones typically annoy me, and I have yet to try an SE phone that is compatible with my fat finger syndrome. The 501, in contrast, has three simple buttons on the front, and quite well 'labelled' as well. The centre button is, if you like, the main control button that can bring up your applications screen. The left hand button has a phone symbol with a green backlight - this is for positive elements when making phone calls, such as confirming a number to call. The button on the right has a red backlight, and this is used for cancelling calls.
The call function is actually not too bad if you want to do something very basic. If the phone is unlocked (bear with me on explaining this part as well!) then pressing the green phone button brings up your call history, and pressing it again calls the most number to have had call activity with your phone. I often find myself ringing home to speak to my wife, and because our home phone has a short ring time before the answerphone kicks in, I'm forever trying two or three times before anyone can get to the phone, and this last number recall function is quite handy.
The problem comes when you want to make a call other than the last one in your call history, as this invariably involves having to use the touchscreen function, which leaves a lot to be desired. The three buttons that are prominent, and are outside of the touchscreen, have little function when it comes to a phone basic usage, such as making calls, texting, taking photos, using your address book to update contacts, setting an alarm or changing your settings. The two buttons either are only relevant to phone calls, and the central one just takes you through to applications.
I feel this is poor design, as the buttons I would use the most rely on a below par touch screen function. The screen locks automatically, to avoid accidental pressing if it's in your bag or pocket, which is a fair enough design element. However, there is a little flaw in this as although you can change how long it takes for the phone to lock itself automatically, it tries to save your battery after only a few seconds. This is particularly annoying when you're composing a text and have to pause to think for a moment, as the screen darkens and then goes black while you're trying to read what you've written. Similarly, entering phone numbers where you may have to refer to a written down number or wait for someone to continue relaying it mean that the phone often does this in the middle os trying to enter it in. This is incredibly annoying, and is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the problems this touchscreen 'energy saving' element can have. During phone calls, especially where you may have to interact with your handset while calling, for example, the Orange helpline itself, means that having to enter in numbers on option lists results in two or three presses of the not-so-reliable touchscreen before you actually get through to the next stage. There have been many occasions where I have been so frustrated by pressing the wrong number as the screen changes that I have ended up cancelling the call as it's too much effort.
So what is it about this touchscreen that infuriates me so much? Well, aside from this element, there is a split second lag that is variable, and unpredictable. I find that texting becomes a real chore more than anything else, and the boundaries between the various characters aren't clearly defined, as sometimes pressing in the same place can result in different character spaces being introduced to the message. Staying with the text function, I find that the predictive text function is almost over complicated. Words are suggested for you automatically, without giving you the option to choose it or not, and other words are not accepted, no matter how much you're convinced it's a real word. There is a function to edit your predictive dictionary, but it's more of a rigmarole than an ease making exercise, and I still haven't completely worked out how exactly it's supposed to help. Indeed, I don't think it does! Another annoying element is that, after typing out a whole word, it can still have it selected, and then when you start typing your next word, the previous one disappears. Editing your text message is tricky, as there are no arrow buttons to go through the text if you want to change things. You have to press on screen where you want to go, and with a poorly calibrated screen that isn't easy to recalibrate despite there being a function for it, it's yet another hassle that results in this being a phone I'd sooner not bother sending a text from. Other niggly little things happen as well, such as not being able to cancel a message without it saving it to your drafts folder, but the main problem is that creating a text is a hassle in the first place. Sending it is also tricky, giving you the tiniest magnifying symbol which you have to try to press to search through your address book to select a recipient. It's just as hard as choosing the letters for your text.
There are options to remove the predictive texting, and you can manually type, which is okay, and you can even turn the phone on its side to bring up a widescreen effect that allows you a whole keyboard to use. However, this doesn't always happen automatically, and is as frustrating to try and get working as it is to get Star Power to work on Guitar Hero using the Wii balance bar (don't get me started, and I promise not to digress!). Overall, the texting experience for this phone has had a negative impact on me.
You may think that this is merely because I have fat finger syndrome, as I call it, but plenty of my friends have tried using my phone with their dainty little pinkies, including my wife, and they have all come to the same conclusion as me, remarking at how bad the text facility is, and indeed the whole touchscreen element of the phone. Put there to help you avoid any troubles is a stylus that slots nicely into the bottom of the phone. It took me a couple of months to find it, and when I did I was really happy, thinking my troubles would be over. However, this didn't really make it any easier, as the sensitivity meant that letters were typed twice when there was clearly only one tap on the screen. Chalk to cheese, frying pan to fire!
Navigating your way to making a phone call can be a real struggle, too, and the problems don't really stop once the call is under way. You have a clear indication of what status your call is at, whether it's locating the number, or dialling, and the ring you hear when making a call is decent enough. There's a bit of a lag at times, but I'm unsure whether this is due to the connectivity issues of the network or whether it's the actual phone itself. Either way, this should have little effect on the general call quality, which is often hard to hear when your ear is pressed to it, but doesn't have enough of a privacy feature to make it inaudible to others around you. I find that I can hear what is being said whether it's by my ear or a few inches away, and putting the speaker on often results in being far too quiet for the purpose I need it for. It renders it virtually useless when making hands free calls unless you buy something extra to act as a speaker, and this shouldn't be necessary with a phone that has its own speakerphone.
Call problems with quality are fundamental, to me. Calling and texting are always going to be the main staple of a mobile phone, no matter how extensive the applications become. The point of it was always to be able to make a call or receive one without actually being at home. Some phones seem to have opted for these points to be mere extras, giving way to applications and cameras and music players as the more important elements of a 'phone' as it were. So, with this in mind, can this little Cookie redeem itself with any other features?
Sadly, the answer is a resounding 'no', especially as the next thing I'm going to talk about is the camera and memory space. The camera itself has a few decent functions for taking the photos, allowing you to focus quite well and take decent pixelled photos. The button to do this is on the side of the actual phone, and the camera lens is small and in the corner. Holding the phone to take a picture is easy enough to do without your hand getting in the way. However, there is a delay on taking the photo, and no matter which way you change this to try and negate the delay, it still means there is always this limitation on its usage as a camera. Furthermore, there's no light on the phone, and no flash. Early on, I tried taking a photo at night of a glorious moon that was a deep red colour. The photo was completely black, so it didn't even pick up light already supplied. Taking photos whilst out at night has been pointless, and were it not for the fact that I may need to be contacted while out, I probably wouldn't have bothered taking it in the first place.
I have maybe 15 or 20 photos in the phone, and not a lot besides this. Despite having deleted a large number of surplus photos, I have been unable to take another photo for quite a while due to the memory being full. Apparently, this is somewhat of a common issue with this phone, and there's not really anything that can be done about it. The end result is that the camera function is rendered completely useless. Not a happy bunny with this in mind!
I'm clearly not happy with this, am I? I don't like winging, but I feel it's important to clarify exactly what it is that doesn't work for me. Just mentioning it's not very good, or saying I'm annoyed without actually justifying it, isn't very productive or helpful, and so I've included the explanations. Browsing is something that's easy enough to do, although the world has moved on so much in the past year or so with the new iPhone and various elevations in the Blackberry's functions, means that if you're looking for something to do this part of a phone's gadgetry requirements, you should really look at something else first. Connection, although it relies on your actual signal/broadband speed, is very slow, and the page seems to spend longer loading than the time you would actually spend browsing. I haven't bothered to spend much time with this as it has frustrated me more than been a blessing. The occasions I did use it seemed to be rather archaic in this fast moving world of telecommunications.
Of course, there are ways around things like memory space running out. There is a slot on the side of the phone that is well covered, that allows you to use an external SD memory card. While I could easily do this, I'm a bit stubborn, and don't feel that I should have to do this, when so many phones as standard have a large memory that should be able to cope with as many photos as you want to take, and then give you that memory back once you have deleted whatever it was taking up the space. My Cookie uses and keeps the space, much to my disappointment.
Poor little phone. Here's me banging on about how useless it is. Is there any respite for it at all? Any redeeming features at all? Shock answer: yes! After using it for a whole year, through thick and thin, annoyance and various usage, the one thing that has retained its quality is the battery life. I regularly find it will last for a good few days, and only takes a couple of hours to charge. You get a beep to tell you when it's full, along with a nice little environmentally (and wallet) friendly message to disconnect the charger to save electricity. There are three bars to indicate how long you have left, and then you get a warning set of beeps when it's nearly out of battery. This could do with giving you a bit more warning, as if it happens when you're in a call, you probably have less than a minute of battery left. The only bug I have with this is that even if the phone is on silent, the battery warning noise will sound. I have to turn it off if I'm at work and the battery is about to run out, which isn't an issue, but if I haven't realised it's so low, the noise can be an annoyance to others, as well as me.
Overall, then, I really can't recommend this at all. I have put up with it for a year now, and when it comes to choosing my next phone, I will make sure I do my research a lot better than last time. The phone has an incredible collection of annoyances that seem to suggest no one actually road tested it before they launched its release, and for this I shall always be wary of LG phones. One thing's for sure: LG won't be a brand I'll consider at next upgrade. For the moment, make sure that any Cookie you get, is one you eat, and not one you have to use as a phone, or you may find yourself as frustrated as me. Thanks for reading.
Summary: Very disappointing phone from LG that I definitely don't recommend
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