LG Rumor Touch Review
The LG Rumor Touch brings with it a slightly reworked interface, including the all-new Hello UI for contact management (more on that later.) The home screen is almost bare; it simply features the typical status icons at the top with a small Home icon and bar at the bottom. Tapping that icon brings up a list very similar to the Favs tab on the Instinct. The user can choose from almost any menu item to place on the screen, and in the edit menu can re-organize the layout by dragging the items. From there the user can enter the full menu, which is basically the same menu layout we’ve seen from Sprint for a while now. In the past this menu has had 12 items, but the Rumor Touch pares it down to 10 by getting rid of History, Missed Alerts and Contacts and adding Social Networking.
The Social Networking options give you access to Facebook, Twitter and MySpace apps, as well as the paid Sprint Social Zone app. This app gives you access to Photobucket, Zanga, Black Planet, Asian Avenue, MiGente and GLEE. While it’s nice to see less mainstream sites get some exposure, we would very much like to see Flickr.
With Missed Alerts no longer being available via the menu the Rumor Touch has incorporated a Bubble system to alert you of missed events. When you miss a call or receive a text, voicemail or email a bubble will pop up on the main screen with a bit of detail. The user can choose to acknowledge the bubble and will be taken the appropriate media, close the bubble and get rid of it or to ignore the bubbles, which hide in the form of an icon along the status bar. It is a quirky alert system and while it offers no practical advantage, it is visually pleasing and a fun overhaul.
A more useful new feature is the Hello UI for contact management. Again similar to the Instinct, the phone button on the Rumor Touch gives the user four options: Hello UI, Missed Calls, Contacts and Dialpad. Hello UI takes the place of speed dials; there are four groups you can sort contacts into, with each group allowing for up to six people giving you a total of 24 possible quick contacts. Selecting a contact will bring up a quick menu to call or text the person, as well as bring up their message history, contact info or delete them from Hello UI. Contact icons can be arranged alphabetically in a grid, or the user can place them as they wish. Want to text part of or the whole group? Simply draw a circle around the ones you want to text and quickly compose a message to everyone. It’s a quirky interface and something we think the younger crowd will appreciate more than older users, but we like it nonetheless.
The screen will often give you feedback when pressed but then the software would not perform the action. Like with the LG Dare we found this to manifest itself most notably as inaccuracy with the on-screen keyboard due to these missed presses and we also found ourselves inadvertently choosing items while trying to scroll through a list. This last annoyance is most prevalent while scrolling through our Facebook and Twitter feeds. This definitely took away from the user experience, but is less of an issue with a mid-range device then it was with a flagship one.
The multimedia capabilities have received a big upgrade thanks to the addition of 3G. While the Rumor and Rumor 2 had a music player, it was very basic and not extremely usable. The Rumor Touch now has access to the Sprint Music Store, which is by no means perfect but is very usable. It also gains Sprint TV for access to more than 50 channels of live and on-demand programming.
The 2-megapixel camera performed slightly better than similar shooters in the Lotus Elite and LX370, but there was still noticeable graining and colors lacked vividness, though detail was better. Options are predictably sparse; the user can adjust brightness, white balance and color tone as well as use fun frames or the self-timer. Videos can be shot at a maximum QVGA resolution and we measured them at 13fps. Like other recent Sprint devices, the Rumor Touch has an Auto-Send feature that will automatically send your photos and videos to various sites like Photobucket, YouTube or Facebook as well as to your PC (via email.)
Data and Software:
The Rumor Touch is an EVDO Rev. 0 phone with Bluetooth 2.1. It runs a modified version of the Access NetFront browser to accommodate the touch screen. It’s not the greatest browser, and we’d recommend an immediate download of Opera Mini, which had no problems with touchscreen navigation.
As noted earlier there are stand-alone apps for Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace. Sprint Navigation is pre-loaded and included with Sprint’s family of Everything plans, and for nervous parents Sprint Family Locator allows tracking of up to four handsets for an extra charge. Sprint’s recent partnership with GetJar gives customers access to over 60,000 free applications beyond those available from the carrier’s deck.