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Hands-on with Sprint's new LG Lotus

Sprint and LG announces the LG Lotus, a new QWERTY messaging phone. Plus we give it a hands-on first take.

The LG Lotus from Sprint in textured purple
The LG Lotus from Sprint comes in textured purple.

Sprint and LG have just announced the LG Lotus, a messaging phone with a foldout QWERTY keyboard. The Lotus is the official moniker for the rumored LG LX600, which we mentioned on Crave a few weeks ago. It's one of the first Sprint devices to offer One Click, a customizable user interface that lets you organize up to eight shortcut tiles right on the landing screen.

The LG Lotus will have EV-DO support, which means it has access to Sprint's broadband and entertainment services such as Sprint TV, the Sprint Music Store, and a host of other streaming applications like Sprint Radio. Other features include a 2-megapixel camera and camcorder, a music player (with external controls), a microSD card slot that supports up to 12GB of additional storage, Sprint Navigation, stereo Bluetooth, SMS voice and text messaging, plus the usual productivity tools and e-mail support. The Lotus also supports a background music mode that lets you listen to music while doing other things like texting or surfing the Web.

But the most interesting aspect of the Lotus is unquestionably its design. Its square and chubby shape first gave us pause, but once I saw it in person, I was surprised by how chic it looked. Sprint says the Lotus is the recipient of a Red Dot Design Award for its unique design, and it shows. Measuring 3.3 inches wide by 2.4 inches tall by 0.7 inch thick, the Lotus weighs around 3.7 ounces, and comes in both satin black and textured purple. The textured purple version has embossed flowers and flourishes on the front surface, and is meant to target the female audience. I'll admit that I did like the texture, though I'm still not so sure about the color.

The LG Lotus has a fold-out QWERTY keyboard.
The LG Lotus has a foldout QWERTY keyboard. Sprint

I was also impressed by the display on the LG Lotus. The external display measures 2.1 inches diagonally and supports up to 65,000 colors, but the internal display measures about 2.4 inches diagonally and supports up to 262,000 colors. The wide display makes it quite conducive to watching Sprint TV and is a nice showcase for the aforementioned One Click user interface.

Of course, the star of the show is its QWERTY keyboard. Bearing in mind that I only had a few minutes to play with the device, I rather like it. The bubble-like raised keys feel really nice and tactile, and we can see how this would be a great device for those who like to thumb-type messages. I dare say the keyboard is even better than the Blitz's, but of course I'll have to have it for more testing to really put it through its paces. All in all, I had a positive experience with the Lotus, and look forward to reviewing it.

The LG Lotus is said to debut in October and will cost around $149 with a two-year service agreement.