LG Cosmos 2 Review

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Introduction and Design
Introduction:

With so much attention given to smartphones by their manufacturers and wireless providers, you’d think those were the only devices available for purchase. Thankfully this is not the case, as there are still easy-to-use basic phones out there, and some even come with a full QWERTY keyboard for messaging, such as the new LG Cosmos 2 for Verizon Wireless.

Included in the retail package is the LG Cosmos 2 VN251 phone, 900mAh battery, wall charger with detachable microUSB cable, and user guide.

Design:

The LG Cosmos 2 is an updated version of the original LG Cosmos that came out last year, though both are about the same size and weight, and fit comfortably in the hand. However, the Cosmos 2 replaces the slipper battery door for one that is textured, thus allowing a better grip while holding the phone.



You can compare the LG Cosmos 2 with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

Both phones retain the same 2” TFT display with 240x320 resolution and 262K color support. Images and text look nice and crisp, though we do wish the screen size were larger this time around. The main keypad on the Cosmos 2 has been redesigned, as the numeric buttons are now a bit larger and easier to dial numbers with, though this did take away space from the upper softkeys, speakerphone and clear key, as those now feel smaller and cramped together.



One of the main features of the LG Cosmos 2 is the full QWERTY keyboard. It still comes in a 4-row layout, but this time the buttons are larger, which allows for a better tying experience, and they also provide a nice click response when pressed.


We are also glad to see a standard 3.5mm headset jack used, instead of a 2.5 mm one, though you do have to remove the back cover to access the microSDHC memory card slot.



LG Cosmos 2 360-degrees View:





Interface and Functionality:

One aspect that hasn’t changed much is the layout of the main menu, as it still shows categories for accessing the media center, messaging, contacts, recent calls, and settings & tools. There are some customizations you can make however, such as selecting one of the three visual themes (white, surrealism, and bookshelf), choosing their layout between tab, list and grid form, and even changing the grid icons' layout and location.


When the keyboard is slid open, the display will show a “quick menu” with direct links to messaging, favorite contacts, and social networking. While you are in the social networking menu, it shows options for Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter. We tested it on Facebook, and it is basically sending SMS updates which are posted to your Facebook wall, as well as receiving SMS messages to the phone when someone posts a comment on your wall. However, you still have to use the limited Mobile Web 2.0 browser to access the mobile Facebook site for most other features.


Composing a text or picture message can be done by using T9 predictive word entry with the front numeric keypad or, preferably, by sliding the phone open and using the QWERTY keyboard, which is our preferred method. The device supports threaded messaging and displays them as quote-bubbles on the screen, which is a nice touch, but it’s still rather basic in design. Other messaging options include Mobile Email, which will allow you to send and receive email through your standard POP or IMAP accounts, and Mobile IM for connecting to people in your AIM, Windows Live Messenger, and Yahoo! buddy lists.


Even though the LG Cosmos 2 still contains a 1.3MP fixed-focus camera, the images that we took outside on a sunny Florida day don’t look as good and eye-catching as ones from the original LG Cosmos, as colors are now dull and fine detail is lacking. When taking pictures inside, the phone again performs sub-par, as images are fuzzy and there isn’t a flash for capturing images in low-light. We’re also a bit bummed that video recording is still absent.




When we reviewed the LG Cosmos last year, one feature that was missing was a music player. We are glad to report that the LG Cosmos 2 now comes with a music player, which will list your files by playlists, artists, genres, and albums. Even though the music player is basic in design and can’t be run in the background, it has a nice layout and will display the album cover art on the screen. Playback was loud through the rear mono speaker, but can sound somewhat distorted at high volumes.


Another feature that has changed is the newly redesigned Apps menu that will list all of your installed apps and allow you to download new ones. We really like the layout of the Apps menu, as everything is easy to find, but there is some lag when using it, not to mention when downloading a new app, such as VZ Navigator that took almost 5 minutes. This is due to the fact that the data part of the LG Cosmos 2 is still stuck in the past, using the slower 1x data connection, instead of the faster 3G EVDO. This is also apparent when using the Mobile Web browser, which took 80 seconds to load the PhoneArena site in the limited “optimized view” that dissects web sites into multiple pages, but when we turned that off, it then took upwards to 5 minutes to load the site in a quasi-HTML mode, but even then some of the pictures were missing. Because of this, the Cosmos 2 is not recommended for those individuals who are looking for a mobile internet device, but is still OK to use on rare occasions.

With the pre-installed Microsoft Bing search app, you can perform searches on the Web, Maps, Local, VZW Media, and also get directions and movie listings. If you do a standard search, it will search the Web for results, where the Local search is good for restaurants, shopping, hotels, and other local places, while the VZW Media search will scan for matching Verizon ringtones, wallpapers, games, etc.


We were surprised to see that there is now a document viewer on the Cosmos 2, which can open MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Adobe PDF files. Some larger files did take longer to load, and moving between pages was a bit slow, but it is still nice to have.


The LG Cosmos 2 does come with increased internal memory, as there is now a total of 90MB, of which 48MB are used of out the box, compared to only 19MB of total memory on the original Cosmos. You can also install a microSDHC memory card up to 32GB in size.



Performance:

The signal reception on the LG Cosmos 2 and on the original Cosmos is identical, showing 2-3 bars in high-coverage areas, though we did see both phones drop down to 1 bar on occasion. Call quality was also similar, but we did notice that while using the Cosmos 2, voices on our end did sound a bit fuller and were more natural sounding through the earpiece speaker, though using the speakerphone will be distorted at higher volumes.

We’re not sure why the battery capacity was reduced from 950mAh on the LG Cosmos to 900mAh on the Cosmos 2, but what’s interesting is that during our testing, both phones were capable of the same 5.5 hours of continuous talk time on a full charge or about 7 day of standby time.

Conclusion:

If you have the original LG Cosmos, there’s really no major changes to the Cosmos 2 that warrant you to upgrade at this point (expect maybe for having a music player). But for new Verizon customers, or current ones with an older phone, the Cosmos 2 has an excellent price of Free with a 2-year contract, and has some nice features to offer, most notably the full QWERTY keyboard and good call quality. Just remember that it’s not a smartphone, and that the web & data on it are very limited.

Software version of the reviewed unit:
VN251ZV1

LG Cosmos 2 Video Review:




Pros

  • Decent QWERTY keyboard
  • Good call quality and signal reception
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Camera quality is sub-par
  • Slow data with 1x connection

PhoneArena Rating:

6.0

User Rating:

7.5
4 Reviews
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