Is it a phone or a compact makeup case? That's the question you might ask the first time you see the LG Lotus. This smartphone, now available from Sprint, features a unique square shape and a clamshell-style folding design that's unusual to find on a smartphone. Under the hood, though, the LG Lotus offers a solid set of features, especially if you're in the market for a messaging phone.
The LG Lotus is available in two colors: black or purple. The purple version is the most feminine phone I've seen; not only is it bright, shiny purple, but it’s also etched with a curvy, floral design.
PROS: I like the square shape and folding design. When closed, the LG Lotus measures about three inches tall by two-and-a-half inches wide--it's compact enough to slip into a pocket nearly unnoticed. And when you flip it open, you still get a full QWERTY keyboard that's roomy enough to make typing easy. The square shape of the Lotus also allows for wider-than-average displays, both on the interior and exterior of the phone.
CONS: The keyboard is roomy enough, but the keys themselves are a bit slippery. Still, I found it very usable.
PROS: The Lotus is light and comfortable to hold next to your ear during calls. Overall, voice quality and volume were very good.
CONS: I noticed a slight echo on some calls and a hiss on others.
Browsing the Web
PROS: The Lotus supports Sprint's 3G EVDO network, which offers speedy access to most Web sites.
CONS: The Web browser is no match for the excellent desktop-like browsers you'll find on smartphones like the iPhone and the T-Mobile G1. Many pages are so stripped down that they're unreadable. You also don't get Wi-Fi support, so you'll have to rely on EV-DO availability for speedy surfing.
PROS: The LG Lotus is an excellent messaging device. The phone's messaging features are easy to access, thanks to Sprint's hand One Click interface. I also like how text messages are neatly displayed in a threaded view that allows you to read them as conversations. Setting up the Lotus's email client is very easy, too. You can access many common e-mail services (including AOL's AIM Mail, Hotmail, Yahoo Mail, and Gmail) by entering only your username and password. The Lotus also supports POP3 and IMAP account, and can be configured to access a business email accounts. The Lotus also supports Picture Mail and IM.
PROS: The LG Lotus features Sprint's new One Click interface. A bar runs across the bottom of the home screen; you can add shortcuts to applications and phone features to the bar for easy access. The Lotus also supports Sprint Navigation, which delivers turn-by-turn directions to your phone.
CONS: You won't find much--or any--true business applications on the Lotus. Sprint offers a several applications that you can download to the phone using the "Get it Now" menu option, but most of them are strictly for fun and are aimed more at tweens than at businesspeople. If you're using the Lotus as a business device, you won't have much use for an application called "Fast Flirting," for example.
PROS: The Lotus offers lots of multimedia features, including a 2-megapixel camera that captures still photos and videos; a music and video player; and support for Sprint's TV service, which delivers both live TV and pre-packaged video clips to your phone. You also get access to Sprint's NFL Mobile Live service, which offers audio broadcasts of most NFL games and TV broadcasts of all NFL games that are broadcast on the NFL Network. You also get access to Sprint's music store, which lets you buy songs from your phone, and have them downloaded right to your handset.
The Lotus is not the device for you if you're looking for a full-fledged business smartphone. But it does offer some excellent messaging and multimedia features at a relatively low price: Sprint is offering the phone for $150 when you sign a new two-year contract.