LG Optimus 7 review:

LG Optimus 7

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3.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars 5 user reviews

The Good Reassuringly weighty; simple, attractive user interface; good on-screen keyboard; 16GB of storage space.

The Bad Wobbly buttons on the front; app store is just getting going.

The Bottom Line The LG Optimus 7 is one of the more affordable Windows Phone 7 handsets, yet it feels reassuringly solid and responsive. It could be some time before it offers the app-tastic pleasures of its competitors, though.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

7.5 Overall

LG has thrown its hat into the Windows Phone 7 ring with the Optimus 7 E900, a trim yet solid phone that benefits from a slick, simple user interface without any extraneous crud. The operating system still has a room for improvement, especially as regards the Marketplace app store, but we like its touchscreen-focused feel.

The Optimus 7 is available for free on a £30-per-month contract, exclusively from Vodafone.

Weighty beast

The Optimus 7 feels weighty, clocking in at 157g. That makes the phone feel well-built, an impression that's cemented by the metal back cover, which is held on by a substantial clasp.

Like almost every other Windows Phone 7 handset to date, the Optimus 7 has three buttons on the front. We like that they're the proper clicking kind, rather than the touch-sensitive type, as sported by the HTC HD7. But, on our sample handset, the plastic buttons looked slightly shoddy, and let down the rest of the phone slightly. On the plus side, the phone has a cool-looking camera on the back with a very appealing, retro-futuristic design.

The 5-megapixel camera can capture 720p video.

The Optimus 7 rocks a 3.8-inch, WVGA LCD display, with a resolution of 800x480 pixels. That's not as high as the resolution offered by the iPhone 4's screen, but we were impressed by the detail we could make out, and we didn't notice any blurriness. Colours were pleasingly bright and vivid. The size of the display means the phone is fairly large, but it can still fit in a pocket.

Lucky number 7

sextuplet of phones launched in conjunction with Windows Phone 7, and they're almost identical. Microsoft's strict minimum specs mean the six slices of smart-phone goodness all have around 8GB of memory, a 1GHz processor, at least a 5-megapixel camera, and a large screen. 

The Optimus 7 aims to stand out from the crowd, however, with its 1,500mAh battery and a handful of useful apps from LG. The battery is bigger than the HD7's 1,230mAh model, and we'll be updating this review after we've put both phones through a head-to-head battery-drainage battle.

We haven't been big fans of LG's user interfaces in the past -- they've tended to be cute and playful rather than useful. But, happily, LG has left the heavy lifting to Windows Phone 7 in the case of the Optimus 7, and Microsoft's new operating system is well up to the task. 

Since all Windows Phone 7 handsets have the same user interface, we've taken a deep breath and dived deep down into the new OS in our full Windows Phone 7 review. Paddle over to that review for the whole scoop on how Windows Phone 7 works. Our conclusion is basically that it's very finger-friendly and simple, but has plenty of room to grow. The Xbox Live, Zune music and Office features are already crave-worthy, but the app store has plenty of catching up to do.

Bespoke bundle

Neither networks nor manufacturers can do much to change the appearance of Windows Phone 7, and neither can you. You can add and remove tiles from the home screen, change the background to white or black, and change the colour of the tiles, but that's it. Besides choosing an image that shows on your lock screen, you won't be spending much time customising the Optimus 7, so, if you like to tweak your phone, an Android handset would prove a better option. But, if you prefer simplicity to flexibility, the Optimus 7 could, like the iPhone, be a good choice.

LG has added a few custom apps to the Optimus 7, but none of them set our world on fire. The panorama app makes it easy to snap photos of wide vistas, and, in our tests, it worked well, helping us line up five images and even firing off the shutter when everything was aligned. 

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