Even though LG expanded its smartphone presence in the U.S. with phones like theand the , the company still makes plenty of simple messaging phones for those who want something a little more basic. The LG Cosmos 2 is the latest member in this category for , and it's essentially a successor to the messaging phone from last year. The Cosmos 2 is quite an entry-level handset even by feature phone standards, with only a 1.3-megapixel camera and no 3G. However, it does have a music player, Bluetooth, mobile e-mail, and quick access to popular social networks. It doesn't have too many improvements over its predecessor, but it is free with a new two-year service agreement and a $79.99 discount.
At first glance, the LG Cosmos 2 looks practically identical to its predecessor. It nearly has the same dimensions, measuring about 4.41 inches long by 2.06 inches wide by 0.63 inch deep, and has a similar compact candy bar look when closed. It's made out of matte black plastic, with rounded corners and a textured gray battery cover on the back for extra grip. One noticeable difference between the Cosmos 2 and the Cosmos, is that the Cosmos 2 slides open with the display going to the right, while it's the other way around for the original.
There isn't much difference between the display of the Cosmos 2 and the Cosmos. Both have a 2-inch color display, with 262,000-color support and a 320x240-pixel resolution. As far as feature phones go, we think the display looks great. Graphics are vibrant, crisp and rich with detail. The interface remains the same as before, with easy to navigate menus. You can adjust the backlight time, the brightness level, the display themes, the charging screen, the menu layout, the font type, the font size, and the clock format on the home screen.
Underneath the display is the navigation array and keypad, which look similar to the original Cosmos, except the layout is much smoother and curvier. The array consists of two soft keys, a four-way toggle plus middle OK key, a dedicated speakerphone key, a Clear/voice command key, and the usual Send and End/Power keys. The toggle can be mapped to any user-defined function, except for the right direction, which brings up a My Shortcuts dialog box. You can customize the My Shortcuts box with up to four shortcuts.
LG shrank down the navigation array on the Cosmos 2 just a touch in order to get a roomier number keypad, which we think is a good move. The undulating keys with peaks and valleys provide texture for texting and dialing, and they have a satisfying click when pressed as well. We would probably opt for the full QWERTY keyboard for texting most of the time, however.
As we mentioned, you reveal the keyboard by sliding the display to the right so that the keyboard appears on the left. The sliding mechanism is rather solid and locks itself into place each time. You are then invited to rotate the phone 90 degrees, as the display changes orientation from portrait to landscape mode. There are two keys to the left of the display that would now act as two soft keys in this position.
While the four-row keyboard might look small, we actually think it's quite spacious. Each key is raised above the surface in a slightly domed texture for speedy texting. It has a dedicated row just for numbers, and we like that there are arrow keys on the lower right side. Aside from the usual Shift and Function keys, the keyboard also has shortcuts for messaging, favorite contacts, voice command, the speakerphone, and social networks.
Back to the closed vertical position, the Cosmos 2 has a volume rocker and the Micro-USB port on the left spine, and a camera key on the right. A 3.5mm headset jack sits on the top, which is a welcome addition, as the previous Cosmos did not have one. The camera lens sits on the back. You'll have to remove the battery cover to access the microSD card slot, though you don't have to remove the battery.
The LG Cosmos 2 has a 1,000-entry phone book, with room in each entry for five numbers, two e-mail addresses, a street address, an IM screen name, photo ID, and notes. You can organize your contacts into caller groups if you like, and you can customize them with any of 27 sounds for ringtones or message tones.
Basic features include a vibrate mode, a speakerphone, an alarm clock, a calendar, a calculator, a tip calculator, a to-do list, a stopwatch, a world clock, and a notepad. A slightly more sophisticated user will appreciate features like voice command, a document viewer, USB mass storage, a wireless Web browser, and an Info Search function that lets you find anything on your phone. The Cosmos 2 even has a few preinstalled Java apps like Bing, Mobile IM, City ID, Daily Scoop, V Cast Tones, Uno, Tetris, Backup Assistant, and Mobile E-mail. You can download and purchase more apps from the enhanced App storefront.
The Cosmos 2 has a number of different messaging options, including text and multimedia messaging, of course. You can choose to group messages alphabetically or chronologically. As we mentioned, the Cosmos 2 also has instant messaging plus support for Mobile E-mail. The app allows you access to popular Web mail services like Yahoo, Hotmail, and Gmail, plus your own POP3 accounts. With the latest version of Mobile E-mail, you can also access your work e-mail thanks to Microsoft Exchange support. Mobile E-mail is free if you have a $9.99 or higher data plan--if you don't, you'll have to pay $5 a month for the privilege.