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LG Cosmos 2 (Verizon Wireless) review: LG Cosmos 2 (Verizon Wireless)

LG Cosmos 2 (Verizon Wireless)

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Nicole Lee
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Nicole Lee

Former Editor

Nicole Lee is a senior associate editor for CNET, covering cell phones, Bluetooth headsets, and all things mobile. She's also a fan of comic books, video games, and of course, shiny gadgets.

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7 min read

Even though LG expanded its smartphone presence in the U.S. with phones like the LG Revolution and the T-Mobile G2X, the company still makes plenty of simple messaging phones for those who want something a little more basic. The LG Cosmos 2 is the latest member in this category for Verizon Wireless, and it's essentially a successor to the LG Cosmos messaging phone from last year. The Cosmos 2 is quite an entry-level handset even by feature phone standards, with only a 1.3-megapixel camera and no 3G. However, it does have a music player, Bluetooth, mobile e-mail, and quick access to popular social networks. It doesn't have too many improvements over its predecessor, but it is free with a new two-year service agreement and a $79.99 discount.

LG Cosmos 2 (Verizon Wireless)
7.0

LG Cosmos 2 (Verizon Wireless)

The Good

The <b>LG Cosmos</b> is a compact messaging phone with a sharp display and roomy keyboard. You get slight improvements over the original, like a 3.5mm headset jack and a music player. Features include a 1.3-megapixel camera, Bluetooth, Bing search, and a wireless Web browser. Call quality is fantastic and the price can't be beaten.

The Bad

The LG Cosmos 2's social networking functions are simply text messaging shortcuts. Overall design and features aren't dramatically different from the predecessor. It does not have EV-DO.

The Bottom Line

As long as you don't have high expectations, the LG Cosmos 2 makes for a well-built entry-level messaging phone for the budget-conscious Verizon customer.

Design
At first glance, the LG Cosmos 2 looks practically identical to its predecessor. It nearly has the same dimensions, measuring about 4.41 inches long by 2.06 inches wide by 0.63 inch deep, and has a similar compact candy bar look when closed. It's made out of matte black plastic, with rounded corners and a textured gray battery cover on the back for extra grip. One noticeable difference between the Cosmos 2 and the Cosmos, is that the Cosmos 2 slides open with the display going to the right, while it's the other way around for the original.


The LG Cosmos 2 has a compact slider design.

There isn't much difference between the display of the Cosmos 2 and the Cosmos. Both have a 2-inch color display, with 262,000-color support and a 320x240-pixel resolution. As far as feature phones go, we think the display looks great. Graphics are vibrant, crisp and rich with detail. The interface remains the same as before, with easy to navigate menus. You can adjust the backlight time, the brightness level, the display themes, the charging screen, the menu layout, the font type, the font size, and the clock format on the home screen.

Underneath the display is the navigation array and keypad, which look similar to the original Cosmos, except the layout is much smoother and curvier. The array consists of two soft keys, a four-way toggle plus middle OK key, a dedicated speakerphone key, a Clear/voice command key, and the usual Send and End/Power keys. The toggle can be mapped to any user-defined function, except for the right direction, which brings up a My Shortcuts dialog box. You can customize the My Shortcuts box with up to four shortcuts.

LG shrank down the navigation array on the Cosmos 2 just a touch in order to get a roomier number keypad, which we think is a good move. The undulating keys with peaks and valleys provide texture for texting and dialing, and they have a satisfying click when pressed as well. We would probably opt for the full QWERTY keyboard for texting most of the time, however.

As we mentioned, you reveal the keyboard by sliding the display to the right so that the keyboard appears on the left. The sliding mechanism is rather solid and locks itself into place each time. You are then invited to rotate the phone 90 degrees, as the display changes orientation from portrait to landscape mode. There are two keys to the left of the display that would now act as two soft keys in this position.

While the four-row keyboard might look small, we actually think it's quite spacious. Each key is raised above the surface in a slightly domed texture for speedy texting. It has a dedicated row just for numbers, and we like that there are arrow keys on the lower right side. Aside from the usual Shift and Function keys, the keyboard also has shortcuts for messaging, favorite contacts, voice command, the speakerphone, and social networks.

Back to the closed vertical position, the Cosmos 2 has a volume rocker and the Micro-USB port on the left spine, and a camera key on the right. A 3.5mm headset jack sits on the top, which is a welcome addition, as the previous Cosmos did not have one. The camera lens sits on the back. You'll have to remove the battery cover to access the microSD card slot, though you don't have to remove the battery.

Features
The LG Cosmos 2 has a 1,000-entry phone book, with room in each entry for five numbers, two e-mail addresses, a street address, an IM screen name, photo ID, and notes. You can organize your contacts into caller groups if you like, and you can customize them with any of 27 sounds for ringtones or message tones.

Basic features include a vibrate mode, a speakerphone, an alarm clock, a calendar, a calculator, a tip calculator, a to-do list, a stopwatch, a world clock, and a notepad. A slightly more sophisticated user will appreciate features like voice command, a document viewer, USB mass storage, a wireless Web browser, and an Info Search function that lets you find anything on your phone. The Cosmos 2 even has a few preinstalled Java apps like Bing, Mobile IM, City ID, Daily Scoop, V Cast Tones, Uno, Tetris, Backup Assistant, and Mobile E-mail. You can download and purchase more apps from the enhanced App storefront.

The Cosmos 2 has a number of different messaging options, including text and multimedia messaging, of course. You can choose to group messages alphabetically or chronologically. As we mentioned, the Cosmos 2 also has instant messaging plus support for Mobile E-mail. The app allows you access to popular Web mail services like Yahoo, Hotmail, and Gmail, plus your own POP3 accounts. With the latest version of Mobile E-mail, you can also access your work e-mail thanks to Microsoft Exchange support. Mobile E-mail is free if you have a $9.99 or higher data plan--if you don't, you'll have to pay $5 a month for the privilege.

Also included in the Cosmos 2 are quick access shortcuts to social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace. Before you get too excited however, these are not really dedicated apps--you won't have direct read access to your Twitter stream or Facebook wall on here; you'll still have to launch the browser to get to the mobile version of those sites. What the social network shortcuts on the phone do is provide a faster way to post updates. They're essentially pre-entered numbers that you can send updates to, and you'll actually have to set up your phone number on the services separately to do this. It's all a bit cumbersome, but it's at least the easiest way to send updates and photos with a simple messaging phone like this.

While the Cosmos did not have a music player, the Cosmos 2 does. It's pretty generic, with not much in the way of features, but it does the job. It arranges songs under artists, albums, and genres, and you're allowed to create and edit playlists on the fly. You can also set tracks to repeat or shuffle, and there's a Music Only mode that shuts off the phone's wireless frequencies so you can still listen to the player when you're on a plane. You can load up songs on a microSD card--the phone takes up to 32GB of additional memory.


The LG Cosmos 2 takes decent pictures for a low-megapixel camera.

The 1.3-megapixel camera is largely unchanged from before. Settings include three different resolutions, brightness, a self-timer, white balance presets, color effects, night mode, noise reduction, and three shutter sounds plus a silent option. Photo quality is OK for a low-quality camera like this. It takes acceptable photos due to the various noise reduction and night mode features, but colors are a little overcast, and low-light images do get rather pixelated.

Performance
We tested the LG Cosmos 2 in San Francisco using Verizon Wireless. Call quality was very impressive. We enjoyed full signal strength here in the CNET office, and we had no problems hearing our callers. They sounded loud and clear, with no distortion or crackling.

LG Cosmos 2 call quality sample Listen now:

Callers, too, said we sounded great. There was a tiny bit of hiss in the background, but it wasn't discernable for the most part. Most of the time, they said our voice sounded natural, warm, with plenty of volume. Speakerphone calls went well--there was a little bit more echo on our end, but that's not unusual.

As the LG Cosmos 2 only has 1xRTT and no 3G, Web speeds were predictably pokey. Loading the mobile CNET page took around 20 seconds, for example. The phone is clearly meant for occasional Web use at best.

The LG Cosmos 2 has a rated battery life of 6 hours and 10 minutes talk time and 34 days and 2 hours of standby time. According to FCC radiation tests, it has a digital SAR of 1.25 watts per kilogram.

Conclusion
The LG Cosmos 2 is not so much a sequel as it is a slightly improved clone. Indeed, the Cosmos 2 and the first Cosmos aren't that different design-wise and feature-wise. Still, we do like the Cosmos 2 as a beginner messaging phone. It has a great keypad and keyboard, a surprisingly sharp display, and a decent array of basic features. We also welcome the few improvements it does have, like a 3.5mm headset jack and a music player. The whole social networking angle is a bit dodgy, as the shortcuts are really just glorified text messages, but we appreciate the effort at least. Best of all is that the Cosmos 2 is free, as long as you sign for the two-year contract with Verizon Wireless and agree to the $79.99 discount.

LG Cosmos 2 (Verizon Wireless)
7.0

LG Cosmos 2 (Verizon Wireless)

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 7Performance 7
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