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LG Fathom (Verizon Wireless) review:

LG Fathom (Verizon Wireless)

If you're already a Windows Mobile 6.5 user, you won't see too many differences with the Fathom. You do get an improved Internet Explorer Mobile, Microsoft's MyPhone backup service, as well as the full Microsoft Office Mobile suite. Of course, you get the typical PIM services as well like a calendar and an address book with room in each entry for multiple numbers, e-mail addresses, and more. You can assign a photo, group name, and a custom ringtone for each contact. Other basics include a speakerphone, conference calling, voice command support, and text and multimedia messaging with threaded conversations. There's even a handy text-to-speech feature.

The Fathom comes with the typical messaging and email options, and it supports Microsoft's Direct Push technology that will work alongside your company's Exchange server to sync Outlook e-mail, tasks, and contacts. You can use your own POP3 and IMAP accounts as well. If you want, you can also opt for Verizon's own Mobile Email interface that makes it a tad easier to connect up to Web e-mail services like Gmail and Yahoo Mail. Considering that you would have to pay extra for that, though, we wouldn't recommend it.

Other apps that come preloaded on the Fathom include Adobe Reader LE, Bing, MSN Money, MSN Weather, Windows Live, Mobile IM, and VZ Navigator, Verizon's turn-by-turn navigation service. There's also VZ Navigator Global, which gives you direction and maps for more than 20 countries. If you want to get more apps, simply download them from the Windows Marketplace for Mobile, accessible from the Fathom itself.

The big selling point for the Fathom is that not only do you get access to Verizon's 3G EV-DO Rev. A network while you're in the U.S., but the phone is also compatible with quad-band GSM and UMTS/HSDPA 3G networks. Just know that these are only accessible while you're abroad--while in the U.S., you'll still have to use Verizon Wireless. It also includes Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP functionality wireless features.

As with most Windows Mobile smartphones these days, the Fathom also comes with a few entertainment options. You get the standard Windows Media Player, which supports MP3, AAC, AAC+, WMA, and MIDI music files, and MPEG4, WMV, H.263, H.264 videos. You can transfer media files using USB mass storage or load them up to a microSD card. The phone supports up to 16GB cards.

The LG Fathom has a 3.2-megapixel camera lens on the back.

The LG Fathom has a 3.2-megapixel autofocus camera with three quality settings, five still resolutions, and three video resolutions. Other settings include macro mode, night mode, ISO control, panorama stitching, continuous shot, five scene mode presets, brightness, white balance, shutter sounds, color effects, and a self-timer. After you take the picture, you can zoom in, rotate, resize, crop, and add frames or stamps to the image. You can record up to an hour of video to be stored on the phone, and it can be sent via MMS.

The LG Fathom takes average pictures.

The LG Fathom's photo quality is average. Though its images came out sharp, its colors look a bit dull with a slight pink tinge.

We tested the LG Fathom in San Francisco using Verizon Wireless. Overall, its call quality was great. We heard our callers clearly without distortion, though we thought they sounded a little on the tinny side. On their end, callers had nothing but good things to say about our audio quality. They said it was superclear and the volume level was perfect. As for the speakerphone audio quality, callers said they heard a bit of echo, but it wasn't too bad. For us, we could hear them just fine.

The LG Fathom is equipped with a 1GHz Snapdragon processor that results in a mostly smooth navigation experience. We managed to multitask with nary a hiccup and there was rarely a delay when launching an app. However, we noticed that it often took more than a second for the accelerometer to kick in, and the image refresh rate in Internet Explorer was rather poor, which resulted in a choppy page-scrolling experience.

As for surfing the Web, we found the EV-DO Rev. A speeds to be quite good. We loaded the CNET home page in around 20 seconds, and we experienced only a few seconds of buffering when watching streaming video.

The LG Fathom has a 1,500mAh lithium ion battery with a rated battery life of 7 hours and up to 20 days of standby time. It has a tested talk time of 7 hours and 23 minutes. According to FCC radiation tests, the Fathom has a digital SAR of 0.77 watt per kilogram.

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