LG Optimus Chat review: LG Optimus Chat

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3.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

2.5 stars 5 user reviews

The Good Brilliant Qwerty keyboard; nippy user interface; great price.

The Bad Feels cheap; low-resolution screen; doesn't run Android 2.3 Gingerbread yet.

The Bottom Line The LG Optimus Chat looks and feels like a low-cost phone, but its Qwerty keyboard means it stands out from the horde of similarly priced Android handsets. If you're mad about messaging, it'll be worth a look.

7.5 Overall

The LG Optimus Chat aims to bring Qwerty keyboard goodness to the Android masses. It's not ashamed to wear its budget credentials on its sleeve, though, so don't expect a premium experience.

The Chat is available for £140 on pay as you go, exclusively from O2.

Keys to our heart

Physical keyboards on smart phones have become the exception rather than the rule, now that we live in the age of the touchscreen. Thankfully, the Chat's keyboard is excellent. The buttons are spaced out well, and they're a pleasure to prod and press.

The Chat's Qwerty keyboard is a delight when it comes to typing on the go.

The only drawbacks are the small space button, which can make high-speed typing problematic, and the rather flat profile of the buttons. They sit almost flush with the base of the keyboard, and this can make them hard to distinguish at times.

Keyboard aside, the Chat offers little in the way of surprises. It looks and feels very much like a budget handset, with a predominantly plastic casing and a 320x480-pixel, 2.8-inch touchscreen.

LG has used touch-sensitive buttons for the home, menu, search and back commands.

The touchscreen is less than ideal for browsing detailed websites, but, on the plus side, it uses capacitive touch technology, so it's more responsive than cheaper resistive screens. It also means that the Chat supports the pinch-to-zoom command, allowing you to enlarge Web pages, photos and Google Maps with a simple gesture.

Capture the moment

The Chat packs a 3-megapixel, fixed-focus camera that can record standard-definition videos at a 640x480-pixel resolution. Its photographs are unlikely to blow minds, but the camera's perfectly acceptable given the phone's price.

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