We found the five-row QWERTY keyboard extremely roomy, even with the navigation controls on either side. There are a dedicated number row, a large Space key, shortcut keys to the browser, a new text message, and a .com button. The keys are well-spaced, and each key is raised above the surface for quick and easy typing.
The features on the LG Genesis should be familiar to anyone who's handled an Android phone. You get the usual support for Google apps and services like Gmail, Maps, Latitude, Places, Google Talk, Voice Search, and YouTube. The Genesis also supports POP, IMAP, and Exchange protocols if you would rather get e-mail from a non-Gmail source. As the Genesis ships with Android 2.2, it also has a unified inbox that merges contacts with your social networks.
Other features on the Genesis include Bluetooth, GPS, speakerphone, voice dialing, text and multimedia messaging, and Wi-Fi. It also has mobile hot-spot support for up to five Wi-Fi-enabled devices. Aside from the usual personal organizer tools like clocks, calculators, and calendars, the Genesis has a few preinstalled apps courtesy of LG and U.S. Cellular. LG added the Facebook, Twitter, Home Selector, and ThinkFree Office apps while U.S. Cellular contributed the City ID, MyContacts Backup, ToneRoom Deluxe, and Your Navigator Deluxe apps. You are also free to get apps on your own from the Android Market.
The multimedia options are standard for most Android phones. You get a music app that has been prettied up to handle album art and playlists, and a 5-megapixel camera and camcorder. Picture quality is quite good on the whole. Images looked sharp, and colors are bright and vibrant. Lower-light photos did have an orange tinge to them, and the flash tends to wash out images, however.
We tested the LG Genesis in San Francisco using U.S. Cellular's roaming service. Call quality was decent on the whole. On our end, we heard our callers clearly, but volume was a little softer than we would like. We detected no hiss or background noise, though.
LG Genesis call quality sample
Similarly, callers said volume was soft on their end as well. Aside from that, they said voice quality was quite good. Voice clarity was great, with hardly any crackling. They did get more of an echo effect when we turned on the speakerphone, but that's not unusual.
The 3G speed on the Genesis was a little poky, but as we were using it on a roaming network, we're willing to forgive it. The CNET mobile page took around 30 seconds to load, while the full CNET page took about a minute.
The LG Genesis has a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, and we thought navigation was speedy for the most part. There was no noticeable lag when switching applications or swiping through home screens. However, we did notice a tiny shudder when scrolling down a long list of applications. We also noticed when opening and closing the phone that it takes a second or two for the display to refresh.
The LG Genesis takes on the dual-screen flip design of the LG EnV Touch but with a decidedly Android twist. It employs two touch screens, an amazingly roomy keyboard, and handy physical controls for the four Android shortcuts. Of course, it also has all the features a midrange Android phone would offer, like Wi-Fi, GPS, and mobile hot-spot support. Yet, the Genesis suffers from substantial bulkiness, and the internal touch-screen display is not entirely accessible from all angles. If you can see past these few issues, however, the LG Genesis is certainly one of the better Android options for U.S. Cellular if you want a physical keyboard.