Contrary to its overselling name, the LG Cosmos 3 is anything but "out of this world."
True, it's just a feature device, and while it's good for anyone looking for a simple handset that's ideal for messaging, this phone brings little to the table that the Cosmos 2 didn't already offer.
And really, what's the point of making another iteration if it's nearly identical to its predecessor? Users still get the same 2-inch screen, same measly 1.3-megapixel camera, and same battery specs. It even sports the same look for the most part.
True, this phone is free, but so are a bunch of other devices (smartphones, even!) on Verizon. And if you're really adamant about a keyboard construction, well, the carrier has a better alternative for that as well.
Because the LG Cosmos 3 is a slider device, it won't be so slim that it'll fit comfortably in your pocket without a bulge. That being said, it's a relatively lightweight handset (at 4.58 ounces) that is easily maneuverable with one hand.
The phone measures 4.41 inches tall, 2.06 inches wide, and 0.63-inch thick. On the left are a small (and rather flush) volume rocker and a Micro-USB port that can be covered with a small attached door. Up top is a 3.5mm headphone jack and on the right is a hard key to launch the camera.
On the rear is a 1.3-megapixel camera (that isn't equipped with a flash). Below that are three small slits for the speaker. You can remove the battery door by a small indentation up top. Once detached, you can gain access to the microSD card slot, which is expandable up to 32GB, and the battery.
The 2-inch TFT screen has a 320x240-pixel resolution and can support up to 262,000 colors. Given the Cosmos' bright and vibrant menu user interface, the display is pretty respectable. It has a wide viewing angle and in addition to crisp icons and texts, the device surprisingly retains a lot of details with photos.
To the left and below the display are two pairs of soft keys (the former for when you turn the handset on its side to type with the physical keyboard). You'll also get a speaker, clear, send, and power/end buttons, plus a circular navigation button with an OK key in the center.
Below all that is an alphanumeric pad. All these buttons are slightly textured and angular for easy pressing, and while the numbers are a bit small, I didn't have any trouble with my accuracy.
The four-row keyboard includes four directional keys, a spacebar that also launches social networks for Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter, and shortcut buttons for things like the speaker, vibration, and messages. The snapping mechanism for the keyboard is sturdy and you can slide out the underside with little difficulty. In general, the keys are small and tightly spaced, but if you type with the tips of your fingers, you won't have any trouble messaging.
The phone can hold up to 1,000 contacts, and each person can have five numbers, two e-mail addresses, one geographical address, one screen name, one contact photo, and a note attached under his or her name. There's also a section in your contacts to add in In Case of Emergency data like favorite numbers and personal medical information. Lastly, you can send text, picture, and voice messages.
Basic task managing apps include standard and tip calculators, a calendar, a to-do list, an alarm clock, a stopwatch, a world clock, a notepad, voice commands, and a document reader that can read multiple file formats like word docs, Microsoft Excel files, and PDFs.
There are some rudimentary Web applications, such as an Internet browser, an e-mail client, and an app portal where users can purchase games, apps, and ringtones. Additional features include language support for Spanish, Chinese, and Korean, GPS capabilities, and Bluetooth 2.1.
The Cosmos 3's 1.3-megapixel camera isn't powerful by any means and comes with few editing options. These include a brightness meter, three photo sizes (from 320x240 to 1,280x960), a timer, three shutter sounds, five white balances, five color effects, a night mode, and a noise reducer.
As expected, photo quality wasn't anything to write home about. Pictures taken in dim lighting were very blurry, with ill-defined outlines and patchy rendering. Photos taken outside with ample lighting fared better, with objects appearing more sharp and colors more accurate.
On average, the camera takes about 2.5 seconds to launch, and I noticed a little lag between my moving of the camera and the feedback I saw. It also took a few moments for the device to adjust for lighting, and you'll need to wait a few seconds after you snap a photo before it will actually save. Note that the camera is not capable of recording video.
I tested the handset in our offices in San Francisco. Call quality was respectable. I didn't hear any extraneous buzzing or noises, though voices sounded a bit staticky and muffled during conversations. However, volume range was at a reasonable level, none of my calls dropped, and audio didn't clip in and out. Likewise, I was told that I could be heard fine as well, and that my voice came in clearly.
Speaker quality, especially on max volume, sounded slightly distorted, however. Voices would come off sharp and tinny, but conversations were still comprehensible and easily understood.
LG Cosmos 3 (Verizon Wireless) call quality sample
The phone runs on Verizon's 1X data network. similar to the carrier's other LG feature device, the LG Revere 2, browsing the Internet is sluggish and not worth the trouble. It takes on average about 40 seconds to open the Myriad browser, and loading stripped-down versions of sites like CNET and The New York Times takes about 30 seconds to finish.
In addition, if you want to visit another page, you can't just enter the URL at the top. Rather, you have to select from the menu that you want to go to input a new URL, and the browser will load another page that let's you type in the URL. As I said before, this could get pretty tedious and time-consuming
In general, the Cosmos 3 operates pretty slowly. It takes about 40 seconds to turn on, and opening the menu takes a hair of a second longer than I'd like. In addition, the handset will lag if you're scrolling quickly through messages, so you'll need to have a patient temperament when using it.
During our battery drain test for talk-time, the phone lasted 6.98 hours. It can last days on stand by (or with minimal use) and the 900mAh battery has a reported talk time of 6.17 hours and a standby time of 34 days. According to the FCC, it has an SAR rating of 1.25W/kg.
The Cosmos 3 offers nothing notable that the 2 didn't already have, so you're looking for any improvements between the two, you won't get any.
However, if you want something better for yourself (and why not, you deserve it), spring another $50 for the Samsung Intensity III. This handset has a better 2-megapixel camera that can record video, and a slightly bigger display and battery. Plus, it has a more rugged design and you'll still get a physical keyboard to text your heart out.