The sub-AU$200 smartphone range is a pretty drab-looking mob, a collection of small, plastic boxes with a fairly common, uninspiring aesthetic. LG is often the exception to this rule, offering handsets with sharp looks that disguise the lacking hardware beneath the chassis. The Optimus Me is a good example of this; its plastic body is moulded into a nice curved shape, with a steel-grey coloured strip dressing this unit up like a pinstripe along a sharp-looking suit. On the front of the phone, LG adds physical calling buttons in addition to the standard Android navigation keys, and on the back you'll find the handset's 3.2-megapixel camera lens.
Central to your experience with this phone is its 2.8-inch capacitive touchscreen, and we'll guess that whether you buy this phone or not is a decision based on your impressions of the display. LG opts for HVGA resolution in this already small screen, and the result is small icons, small text onscreen and a tiny QWERTY keyboard to compose messages with. LG does give you the option to convert this small keyboard into a more manageable T9-style keypad, but either way, using this phone for messaging has been a struggle for our stubby sausages.
If you get past the size and usability of the display, the Optimus Me delivers an impressive user experience and a range of features that you'd probably expect to pay a lot more for. This handset runs on Google's Android operating system (version 2.2) and LG keeps the customisations to a minimum. There are a handful of LG-designed widgets, but this is mostly a stock Google experience.
Most importantly, this is a fast, responsive experience. The touchscreen feels snappy and accurate, so navigating around the five user-customisable homescreens and dipping in and out of applications is fast and gives the appearance of a much more powerful machine than you are actually dealing with.
Mobile phones under AU$200 don't tend to offer the best in camera technologies, and the Optimus Me is no exception. The 3.2-megapixel camera is minus both a flash and an auto-focus, and the shutter speed is about a second too slow to take a picture with sharp focus. The colours in the images we took were over-saturated, though this is an effect that many people will appreciate rather than reject.