"Good bang for the buck!"4.5 starson by AV_Man_1
Pros: Loads of features and fairly intuitive user interface, good touch screen response
Cons: Battery life, Speakerphone volume, could stand a couple of minor updates
Summary: Had the device a week now, the learning curve was not too bad and I am fairly impressed. This is my first Android SmartPhone. Have used a BlackBerry Bold 9930 for the past year, so my review will compare this LG-S2 to the Bold (which I consider to be the benchmark for ease of use). I should note that part of my job is to assess and recommend the most appropriate and cost effective cell devices to our company users.Update- I just learned the hard way - a protective case is a MUST. My device fell out of my pocket, hit the parking lot from a 3 foot drop, I picked it up but too late - a fractured screen corner rendered all the fixed function buttons dead. I can still see the screen, log in, view event notifications and answer calls (with headset only) but that is it. This phone is VERY FRAGILE, and LG apparently skipped the Gorilla Glass which may have offered some protection, so take my advice and buy a rubberized case immediately for this, or any other smart phone with touch screen you have or plan to buy.
Phone use: These gadgets are getting more and more packed with features but let's not lose sight of the basics- voice phone calls. Without a dedicated hard answer key, the big 4.7" touch screen at least has big buttons for making, receiving and ending calls. And pleased to find that using a wired headset's call button lets you answer and end calls hands free, very important on the road. However, with the phone app on the screen, the headset answer button launches music playback instead of the voice dialing application - so you cannot make calls without pulling over and looking at the screen. Perhaps this is handled better using a Bluetooth headset, but what were they thinking? The Speakerphone volume is adequate for an office setting, but in a loud car a headset is the best option.
Ease of use is pretty good, much more flexible than the Bold because you can place and rearrange App icons and widget tool shortcuts on any of the main screens for quick access. You can drag Speed Dial and Text Message shortcuts, customized for one click access to your most frequent contacts!
The thing is a sleek rectangular slab with square corners. I think an optional case/belt clip is a necessity to avoid an accident from dropping it out of, or bending it in your pockets.
Camera/Video Resolution is excellent however the pics and videos seem to need a lot of light and careful adjustment of the white balance; thankfully you can turn the flash LED on while shooting video, something even a lot of HD camcorders don't have. You can also digital zoom while recording. With adequate light, HD videos are stunning on this nice big hi res screen. There is an optional USB to HDMI converter cable available on the web for HDTV hookup.
Battery life is an issue and much worse than the Bold, but probably in line with other big screen 4G phones. Count on recharging at least overnight but if you use it a lot you will need a charge after your work day. The screen shuts off when you place the phone up to your ear to save on battery.
Email integration: For business we use Lotus Notes and with its Traveler App installed, the integration is tight with good sync, pulling in contacts and prompt notifications. The only thing missing is a screen pop, making you open up the notification area before you can see the new mail or calendar alarm. You can get a screen pop of text messages however (on by default).
Preset Notification sounds can be changed at least for new emails and text messages- but if I recall, the Bold was more flexible in this area.
MP3 Playback: OK but I've heard better MP3 sound quality with my headphones. I plan to try a different music player to see if that helps and gives more EQ options. There is shuffle playback for all songs, to play your entire collection randomly.
You can customize your contacts - they initially all get the same "default ringtone" and it took me a while to figure out that editing a contact has to be done at its native storage location (applicable when you have contacts from multiple sources, such as local phone contacts and remote Lotus Notes contacts that were pulled in- in that case it will prompt you for what area you will edit your contact at). After you get the hang of it, you can assign a stored picture and custom ringer to any of your contacts.
There is no schedule to power down the device at night as on the Bold, however you can set a "quiet time" schedule which basically accomplishes the same thing but probably uses more power.
The GPS Mapping Application has spoken directions to get you from point A to B much like a dedicated GPS device, however the voice volume is extremely weak (but plugging in a headset provides ample volume). It has nearby attractions and traffic (which I assume are always updated), and you can layer Google map satellite imaging over your viewing area, something a dedicated GPS won't do. You can drag navigation widgets to one of your main screens for easy access to your favorite GPS destinations. Bottom line - for ease of use I'm keeping my workhorse Garmin.
Unexpected feature: A voice typing button on the keyboard launches a speech to text application that inserts your dictated words surprisingly well. But then again if we're going to be speaking into the phone, maybe we should just call them!
With a few minor shortcomings, this thing offers serious competition to the top rated Galaxy 3, Razr Maxx and the (over hyped) iPhone 5, for about half the cost. LG can easily address its few shortcomings through an update, giving buyers no excuse to pass up this otherwise competent business tool.
Updated on Dec 1, 2012