The latest addition to LG's popular low-cost Cookie line is one of the smallest phones we've seen in years. The Cookie Lite, also known as the T300, offers a resistive touchscreen, microSD support and limited social-networking features, but lacks 3G.
The Cookie Lite is available on pay as you go for around £40. If you're looking to go SIM-free, expect to pay about £80.
The Cookie Lite's tiny size is clearly its strong point. This phone is so dinky you'd be forgiven for assuming it's some kind of kid's toy. That's perhaps deliberate, as it's unlikely to find favour with anyone but the very young.
From the imprecise, 2.4-inch, resistive touchscreen to the lacklustre 1.3-megapixel camera, the Cookie Lite feels tired and old. This impression isn't helped by the fact that it lacks 3G connectivity, making online tasks laborious.
Some respectability is clawed back by the inclusion of a microSD card slot and the ability to use your own headphones, thanks to the 3.5mm audio socket, but these features are less impressive now than they were a year ago. The playing field has changed, and it's now possible to pick up an Android-powered smart phone with far superior tech for around the same price.
If you've ever used the original LG Cookie or LG Viewty Snap, then the Cookie Lite's menu system won't hold any surprises for you. It's built around two home screens -- one for your contacts and one for your applications. Using the drawer icon in the bottom left-hand corner of each home screen, you can customise it with shortcuts and widgets.
The widgets are especially useful, as they allow you to view information quickly and easily, without having to dig deeper down into the phone's interface. For example, there's a weather widget that gives you temperature data and a messenger widget that shows how many unread emails and texts you have.
Along the bottom of the screen are four touchscreen buttons that access your dialler, contacts, messages and an application drawer. The first three are self-explanatory. The latter is a three-screen drawer that gives access to pretty much every aspect of the phone's functionality. Here you can access settings, email, the Internet, and games, as well as Google search, a Java-based social-networking app and the FM radio.
Out of the box, the Lite's interface feels rather childish. It can be changed in the settings for something more mature, but it serves as a good indication of exactly who this device is aimed at.
With overall dimensions of 96 by 50 by 12 mm and a weight of just 77g, the Cookie Lite certainly lives up to its name. It sits comfortably in the palm of your hand.
With its entirely plastic casing, the Cookie Lite also feels cheap. The glossy black plastic is hardly what you'd call sophisticated, although the red top and bottom break up the design quite pleasingly.
Three hardware buttons are located below the 2.4-inch touchscreen, allowing you to accept and end phone calls, as well as move backwards through the user interface. The 'call end' button also takes you back to the home screen, no matter where you are in the Cookie Lite's menu system.
Along the sides of the phone, you'll find additional features. There's a volume rocker and microSD card slot on the right, and a USB port on the left. This port is not only used for data transfer, but also for charging the phone's battery.
The Cookie Lite's 240x320-pixel TFT screen lacks detail and clarity, but the small size of the display does hide this shortcoming somewhat. On the plus side, it's reasonably bright and colourful, especially compared with other phones in this class.
The 2.4-inch touchscreen uses pressure-sensitive resistive technology, which is cheap but lacks the accuracy and responsiveness of capacitive screens, like the ones on the iPhone 4 and Samsung Galaxy S2. There's no stylus included with the phone, so you have to use your fingernail in order to make precise selections.
Resistive screens have a thin layer of plastic on top and are, therefore, highly prone to picking up marks and scratches. During our review, we noted that the Cookie Lite's screen collects cuts and dents with alarming regularity. Even though we treated it with the utmost care, the display acquired an unsightly scratch after only a day of use.
The Cookie Lite comes pre-loaded with a selection of Java-based games that are commonplace on most of LG's touchscreen phones. Thomsons & Touch is as old as the hills, yet it remains a pretty diverting way to waste a couple of minutes. Bubble Bash 2 and Diamond Twister demos are also included, but you'll need to shell out cold, hard cash to get the full games.
A 1.3-megapixel camera offers predictably disappointing results, and lacks a flash and autofocus. Still images are muddy and hopelessly washed-out, while video footage is so dire you should reserve it solely for sharing via MMS messaging.
On the audio side of things, the Cookie Lite boasts a decent music app and a 3.5mm headphone socket so you can use your own pair of cans. The FM radio is equally welcome.
The Cookie Lite is limited to 2G and Edge data transfer -- 3G and Wi-Fi are off the table, sadly. This makes online activities particularly irksome, as the phone takes an age to load up even the most rudimentary of Web pages.
The Cookie Lite offers only 20MB of internal storage, so you'll want to grab a microSD card as soon as possible, as there isn't one included in the box. The phone is capable of accepting cards of up to 4GB in size, which should be more than enough to satisfy the demands of casual mobile users.
Due to the absence of 3G and Wi-Fi, the Cookie Lite's power demands are relatively small. The phone is packed with a 900mAh battery, and this is good enough to last you a few days, assuming your usage is modest.
The Cookie Lite's lack of 3G data connectivity hampers its ability to provide a fast Web experience. The included Web browser is actually pretty decent, and even allows you to add RSS feeds. But the phone's low-resolution screen makes detailed pages a mess of pixels, and the resistive touch technology means that navigation is problematic.
The Cookie Lite comes pre-loaded with a smattering of Java-based apps. The social-networking application offers scaled-down versions of Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, but its usefulness is seriously dented by the aforementioned lack of 3G.
There's also a Windows Live Messenger app service that allows you to chat with others in real time. The only requirement is a Hotmail, Windows Live or MSN email account.
You can download and install other Java apps if you wish. We'd recommend the Opera Mini Web browser and the stand-alone Google Mail app.
The LG Cookie Lite is aimed squarely at young mobile users. It certainly won't tempt anyone away from the iPhone, HTC Sensation or Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc. No 3G means the device is less than ideal for online activities, and the resistive touchscreen is small and relatively unresponsive.
It may seem churlish to pick fault with such a low-priced device, but the fact is that the budget end of the smart-phone spectrum is changing. It's now possible to purchase a Samsung Galaxy Europa, an Android smart phone with a capacitive screen, for just under £50, and the excellent Orange San Francisco offers an even better package for £100 or thereabouts. As such, it's hard to recommend the Lite when the competition is so much more impressive.
Edited by Charles Kloet