The front-facing camera, however, took much better photos than I expected. True, they're fuzzy and washed out, but the camera was still able to adequately capture my post-hike-disheveled self clearly enough.
As for the video recording quality, it was only subpar. Because there's no autofocus function, exposure cannot be adjusted. That means that every lightbulb and window is completely washed out, and every minor shadow or dark piece of furniture is completely underexposed and blacked out. And of course there's that inescapable bluish hue. There was also a perpetual low crackling noise that could be heard during my recordings that didn't get in the way of recorded voices or loud noises, but it was prevalent during times when silence was recorded.
I tested the quad-band GSM (850/900/1800/1900) MyTouchhere in San Francisco. Call quality is perfectly adequate. I noticed a low buzzing, almost crackling, sound whenever I was waiting for a call to pick up, but it was only very slight. Also, when people did eventually pick up, their voices were clear and came across fine with no problems.
T-Mobile MyTouch by LG call quality sample
I experienced a few dropped calls, unfortunately. Sometimes it occurred when I was on a call, but it became particularly annoying while I was performing the battery drain tests. The phone would hang up the call (even though reception wasn't lost) consistently around the 4-hour mark for no reason.
The speaker quality is nothing to brag about either. When I put calls on speaker, listened to music, watched streaming videos, or played games without my headphones, the sound quality was all kinds of bad. Especially at a high volume, sounds reverberated from the back of the phone, coming out muffled, grainy, and too sharp. This is due, I'm sure, to the fact that the speaker isn't fully exposed (it's partially covered by the phone's back cover). Which raises the question: if you can only show that much of a speaker, why not shrink it so it can at least be fully exposed and be heard clearly?
Furthermore, due to the position of the speaker--on the left, at the back--you're almost guaranteed to cover it up with your hand most of the time. This becomes bothersome when video chatting. I ended up holding the phone by its top half (which was awkward) or pinching it by its side at the bottom (which was difficult and made it prone to dropping).
Speaking of video chatting, when I used the Google+ app the video feedback from my phone was inexplicably turned on its side. Even when I switched from the front-facing camera to the back, my friend still had to tilt his head in order to make sense of what he was seeing. Aside from our sore necks, however, video chatting was fine. Some audio feedback cut in and out, sometimes longer than I'd like, but video remained consistent and voices were clear.
Because the MyTouch by LG runs on T-Mobile's HSPA+ data network (UMTS 1,700/2,100MHz), browsing the Web and downloading apps didn't take very long. Downloading the 8.33MB Google+ app, for instance, took 45 seconds. Fruit Ninja, at 18.34MB, took 1 minute and 17 seconds. Loading the CNET mobile site took 43 seconds, while loading our full site took 26 seconds. The New York Times full site took even less time, clocking in at 17 seconds, and its mobile site only took 7 seconds to load. ESPN's mobile site took 6 seconds, and its full site loaded in 41 seconds.
Unfortunately, the speed of the phone itself wasn't so impressive. I found it to be quite laggy, and noticed it especially when I clicked out of a few apps to go to the home screen, or when I switched the Web browser from portrait to landscape mode. Even though the phone probably took only a few nanoseconds more to do such tasks, if it's slow enough to even notice, then it's slow.
What wasn't slow was the response time of the touch screen. The sensitivity of the screen is up to par, as my sword chops during a game of Fruit Ninja were accurately timed and were not delayed at all. Texting using the Swype function was also swiftly responsive.
As far as hardware goes, the MyTouch has a removable lithium ion 1,500mAh battery. Its promised talk time is 4.02 hours and standby time is 312.5 hours (both when operating on a GSM network). If there's anything I have credit the MyTouch for, however, it has to be that it didn't go down without a fight. During the battery drain tests (the ones that had to be repeated multiple times due to randomly dropped calls), the phone took a whopping 8.58 hours to finally die. That's more than twice as long as its reported talk time.
Be careful, though; battery usage can be a mixed bag. If you research the phone a little more deeply, you'll find that some users complain that the battery didn't last long for them at all. I didn't have any problems in my model, but it's still something to keep in mind.
According to FCC radiation tests, the MyTouch by LG has a digital SAR rating of 1.30W/kg.
The T-Mobile MyTouch by LG is a good entry-level phone for people who are looking for an easy-to-use and simple first smartphone. Because of its lightweight and slim design, it's a breeze to handle while making calls and texting. In San Francisco, I found the network to be fast and zippy, and who can argue with such a low (that is, nonexistent) price?
Unfortunately, the devil is in the details. A lot of small things that weren't so intolerable by themselves added up quickly. The lack of a camera flash, the poor speaker, and the laggy interface turned me off. Then again, if you hardly see yourself taking pictures at night or blasting music from your phone, and and you don't mind a few nanoseconds of waiting, the MyTouch may be perfectly suitable for you (and I genuinely mean that). But if you do want a quality midtier phone and are willing to pay more than no dollars, perhaps it'd be best to look elsewhere.
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