The QWERTY keyboard on the Rumor is also a lot better than the one on the F9200. The keys are much bigger, with a nice bumpy texture that makes it easy to thumb-type. Along with the QWERTY keys are a Symbol key, a function key, a shift key, a Back key, a small spacebar, and a Enter/Return key. The only thing we didn't quite like was that there weren't any dedicated keys for basic characters such as the period and the comma, so we had to press the function key each time we wanted to use them. Using the QWERTY keyboard to type out text messages is definitely easier than using the dialpad, though we do think a little more room to type would feel more comfortable. Another nice bonus is that when you slide the QWERTY keyboard out, the messaging menu immediately pops up on the display, letting you text with even more ease and speed.
Though the LG Rumor comes with a few multimedia features, its lack of EV-DO and Sprint Power Vision access means the Rumor isn't meant for power users. But before we go into that, let's start with the basics. The LG Rumor's phone book holds about 500 contacts with room in each entry for five phone numbers, e-mail and Web addresses, and a memo. You can save callers to groups, assign them a photo for caller ID, and pair them with one of 35 polyphonic ringtones. You can also assign one of 23 "text tones" for incoming text messages. Other essentials include a vibrate mode, text and multimedia messaging, an alarm clock, a calculator, a currency and unit converter, a notepad, a tip calculator, a stopwatch, and a voice recorder.
On the higher end, you also get stereo Bluetooth, a wireless Web browser, e-mail, and instant messaging (supports AOL, Windows Live, and Yahoo). You even get instant one-click access to Facebook via the messaging menu. There's also an application called Social Zone, which gives you instant access to social network communities like Vox, LiveJournal, and Xanga. Bear in mind, though, that in order to subscribe to these communities via Social Zone, you'll have to pay a monthly charge of $2.99, which we think is pretty steep. Also, the lack of EV-DO makes surfing the Web feel pretty poky and slow, much like dial-up speed. The LG Rumor also features GPS navigation via Sprint Navigator, which provides full turn-by-turn directions with voice and a map display.
The Rumor has a pretty standard music player that is not much different from other Sprint music handsets. The interface is generic, though you can create playlists, and there's a shuffle and repeat mode. Of course, since you don't have Sprint Music access, you'll have to use Sprint's Music Manager software to download songs from the PC to the Rumor via a microSD card.
Another big upgrade from the F9200 is that the Rumor has a 1.3-megapixel camera instead of the F9200's VGA. The camera takes pictures in three resolutions (1280x960, 640x480, and 320x240), three quality settings, and four color tones. Other options include a self-timer, a brightness setting, white balance, and the choice of four shutter tones (plus a silent option). There's also a camcorder that can record up to two resolutions (176x144 and 128x96), with similar settings and options with the still camera. Photo quality was surprisingly disappointing for a 1.3-megapixel camera. Images seemed pixilated and overcast with dull colors. Video quality did not fare much better.
There are a number of personalization options with the LG Rumor. You can customize it with wallpapers, screensavers, text sounds, and more. If you want to kill a little time, the LG Rumor also comes with a few games like demo versions of Midnight Pool, Ms. Pac-Man, Tetris, Tornado Mania, and World Series of Poker. You can download more via the wireless Web browser.
We tested the dual-band LG Rumor (CDMA 800/1900; 1xRTT) in San Francisco using Sprint's network. Call quality was pretty good with most calls. Callers reported hearing us loud and clear, and we thought voices sounded natural with good volume. There was slight static every once in a while, but it wasn't that bad. Speakerphone calls could be a little better, as we occasionally heard some muffled noises and echoes.
Music quality was OK, but nothing to write home about. The sound was a little tinny, and there wasn't a lot of bass. We would recommend using a headset for better quality.