The latest in LG’s Cookie jar is the GS290 or Cookie Fresh. It’s designed to offer the younger mobile users all that a mobile phone should, without having them break into their savings. But does it deliver on its promises as a budget social networking, multimedia handset?
The Cookie range of devices, although similar in features, does tend to make funky statements in the looks department. The Fresh is the same. It’s a well designed, comfortable to use handset. The 3-inch resistive touchscreen features a 240 x 400 pixel resolution with 256k colours. That makes viewing easy on the eyes and navigating the menus a breeze. A standard micro USB port is placed on the same side as the screen lock and camera button while a microSD card slot (2 GB card with preloaded media included) and volume/ zoom keys are on the other side.
A 3.5 mm handsfree socket is available on top and the bundled handsfree provided will be more comfortable if used with a set of sponge covers. The Fresh is available in silver, orange/ white, purple/white, and blue/ light silver colour
The Fresh runs on a Flash based UI that’s pretty standard for LG’s lower end touchscreen handsets. It’s got the look and feel of LG’s proprietary S-Class UI. Like the others, the Fresh also has multiple desktops designed to support widgets, LG’s Live Square quick access desktop for frequently used contacts and a third for Contact favourites. On the whole, the UI is easy to navigate but a bit sluggish. A QWERTY keypad can be accessed by a keypad switching option as this piece didn’t have an accelerometer function.
A fair amount of multitasking can be done without the UI speed slowing down any further. Gesture Functionality is very similar to what you’d find in a Samsung device. When the screen is locked you can draw out a character on the screen to access applications that you’ve assigned to that symbol.
The music player is loud and clear enough to enjoy anywhere in the city including inside the local transit system. A few EQ presets have been thrown in to add a little personalisation to the option. They help a little. The FM radio worked out quite well. The Fresh supports MPEG4 video formats but of the lower resolution variety. 3GP videos also played quite smoothly. Other media features include LG’s Muvee Studio application, a few games such as Try and Buy demos and an image editor.
The Fresh’s connectivity options include EDGE/ GPRS for Web access and Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP and USB 2.0 (micro) for data transfer, back up and Stereo wireless audio. The browser is comfortable for viewing and easy to use. The handset is very well equipped for social networking. It comes with a native Facebook application that has its very own desktop widget. LG has also included an application for Twitter and links to MySpace, Picasa, Orkut and Flickr. Setting up POP and IMAP email accounts is a simple procedure and LG has also included a Push Email application that makes setting it up even simpler. A Java based JustCricket application is also on board for all cricket fans. The News Hunt application is well designed and links to all the various online papers in a variety of languages including Hindi, Malayalam, Marathi and Tamil so you can stay up to date.
From the Organizer/ Calendar application, a memo pad, alarm and voice recorder to the Unit Converter, Calculator and other tools, the Fresh has all the basics covered. LG’s Data Wallet security application has also been preloaded. A Hindi to English dictionary has also been included.
The 2 MP camera comes with very basic features that include White Balance, exposure, Night mode, timer and continuous shooting of up to nine images. Processing is quick but image quality, although quite crisp for a 2 MP mobile camera, always ended up being quite dull. Colours were washed out and outdoor images, even in plenty of sunlight, always looked quite gray. Indoor pictures, when there was sufficient light available were quite good, though.
The average talktime of the Fresh was about 3 hours and 45 minutes. On a single charge, with social networking, calls, messages and music, I got just a little over a day-and-a-half of usage. That’s not too bad.