AT&T has also included a slew of AT&T-branded apps on the Phoenix. They include AT&T FamilyMap, AT&T Code Scanner, AT&T Hot Spots (a hot-spot finder), AT&T MyWireless, AT&T Navigator (a turn-by-turn directions app), AT&T Radio, YPmobile (Yellow Pages app), and Live TV, an AT&T U-verse app that lets you watch live television if you happen to be an AT&T U-verse subscriber. We're generally not opposed to these apps, but we don't like it that you can't uninstall them.
Aside from the full HTML Web browser, the Phoenix has apps for Facebook and Twitter, and you can add widgets of both apps to your home screen that show you the latest updates from your friends and people you follow. Other apps on the Phoenix include a video player for WMV, MP4, and 3GP formats, plus a music player for MP3, WMA, and unprotected AAC/AAC+ formats, both of which are the standard Android media players. There's also DivX video playback, and you can transfer media via USB mass storage. It doesn't come with Amazon's music store, but you can get that from the Android Market.
Let's not forget that the Phoenix is also a phone. With that, it has a speakerphone, a vibrate mode, voice dialing, visual voice mail, text and multimedia messaging, and the typical PIM tools like a calculator and notes.
The LG Phoenix has the same 3.2-megapixel camera as the other Optimus handsets, and the quality is similar. Images look pretty good, though we think the colors could be more vibrant. You can shoot videos with the Phoenix as well. The phone only has 160MB of internal memory, but it can support up to 32GB microSD cards.
We tested the LG Phoenix in San Francisco with AT&T Wireless. Call quality was good, but not without its flaws. We could hear our callers very clearly, and enjoyed decent volume and voice quality on our end. There was a little bit of hiss, but it was not bothersome.
LG Phoenix call quality sample
Callers too heard us clearly. However, they said our voice quality was much muddier, with occasional fuzziness. It was very noticeable that the call came from a cell phone, and our voice sounded quite digitized and blown out at times. We could still carry on a conversation, but they did have to ask us to repeat ourselves if we spoke a little more softly than usual. Speakerphone calls were decent, though callers did say we sounded a touch more muffled.
We experienced rather poor 3G coverage in the San Francisco office. Loading the CNET mobile page took around 50 seconds, while the CNN mobile page took around 35 seconds. The full CNET front page took more than 3 minutes to completely load. While we don't think this is indicative of genuine 3G speeds, the Phoenix consistently showed us the 3G symbol at the top. Either AT&T's 3G speeds really are that slow here, or the Phoenix is not being truthful when it displays that 3G symbol. We'll have to do additional testing to find out.
As for the phone's performance, even though the Phoenix only has a 600MHz processor, we found the overall navigation experience to be quite zippy. There were few delays or hiccups when scrolling through menus or flipping through the home screen.
The LG Phoenix has a rated talk time of 7.5 hours and a standby time of 20 days. According to the FCC, it has a digital SAR of 1.23 watts per kilogram. Our tests showed a talk time of 7 hours and 30 minutes. .
Though it's not a high-end Android smartphone by any means, the LG Phoenix is still a pretty good option for those who want to dip their toe in the Android pool without spending a lot of money. Our primary gripes had to do with spotty AT&T coverage, but that could differ depending on where you live. As long as you don't expect anything too advanced with the Phoenix, it offers a really great bang for the buck for entry-level smartphone customers.