LG Cookie Plus Gs500

The LG Cookie Plus Gs500 is my first touch screen phone, I know I am a little slow to join the crowd, but at least I joined right? Anyways the LG Cookie Plus Gs500 is the  revamped version of LG's successful LG Cookie KP500. Its refreshing design (ok so I liked the pink colored), and enhanced user interface from its predecessor (and my old mobile phone) was what made me interested in it (most importantly its price - being in the mid-range).

Made of rubberized plastic, the phone offers a pleasant feel (very ergonomic) to the hands with the size and size and look more appealing than its predecessor. At just 4.21 inches tall, 2.07 inches wide and 0.45 inches thick, this is the sleekest and slimmest phone I have so far.

The LG Cookie Plus GS500's 3 inch resistive touch screen has a resolution of 240 x 400 pixels, supporting 256K colors. The resistive touch screen makes it a little harder to navigate the phone because you would have to put more pressure with your fingernails. So if you are used to the sensitivity of the iPhone/iPod and the ease of use, you might want to skip this phone. It also has a built-in accelerometer which facilitates automatic UI rotation.

There are 3 round buttons below the screen: the Call button, Menu and Power. The volume button and micro USB slot (with an expandable memory of 8 GB maximum) are located on the left of the phone, while the camera button is on the right, and a 3.5mm audio port and a lock key are at the top. 

The LG Cookie Plus GS500's user interface is a refreshing change and truly innovative (well from my perspective anyways). The interface is very colorful with cartoonish icons, and offers lots of options for personalization. The icons and menu system are designed nicely and grouped into separate categories. Both kids and adults who like all things cute, will love the phone's animated icons and fun graphical interface, which has 18 colorful built-in themes.

The homescreen consists of 3 pages: one for widgets, one for favorite contacts and another for LiveSquare - LGs own feature connecting you with your loved ones which frequently records used contacts and messages graphically. What I found a nice touch was that the LiveSquare's background automatically changes when it is Christmas or New Year. That was a pleasant surprise. One of the coolest things that I have discovered it is that for every major holiday (New Year, Chinese New Year, Valentine's, Halloween, Christmas etc..) the Livesquare background actually changes according to the holiday and reverts back to normal the next day (super cute!)

There is a 1000 entry phonebook with room for five contact entries, notes, email address, photo and street address. As with all phones, you can search the contact either with given name or family name. The LG Cookie Plus GS500 offers full qwerty keyboard in landscape mode and an alphanumeric keyboard in portrait mode. Trying to type out a message with two hands is tiring and can cramp the fingers as the phone is small, the resistive screen makes it more challenging (but I can live with it..for now ^^). The best way to text is to use 1 finger or hold the phone in your hand and use your thumb to text.

Though the LG Cookie Plus GS500 is targeted at youths who want to stay connected, and has 3 built-in apps for accessing MySpace, Twitter and Facebook, they were a bit slow with limited functionality. Though the LG Cookie Plus GS500 supports 3G connectivity, complex WebPages take more time to load, and the soon scrolling becomes difficult. As with all phones nowadays, the LG Cookie Plus GS500 also allows you to transfer data through Bluetooth, GPRS and USB v2.0 connectivity. 

Camera and Multimedia
Equipped with 3 mega pixel camera, the LG Cookie Plus GS500 can capture images at 2048×1536 pixels. The camera application has a simple interface with finger friendly icons and the camera button is located on the right.  3 mega pixels might not much compared to the other phones who have cameras that are capable of taking photos of up to 12 mega pixels, but it does a pretty decent job.

Being an entry level phone, I guess that is why there is no flash included to keep costs down. Although at 3 mega pixels, the image quality is not stunning, but it is sufficient for taking decent photos. It can also record videos at 10fps, the maximum resolution for video capturing is just QVGA. Unfortunately, it played just H.263 quality videos and was unable to playback MPEG-4 quality videos. The one thing that I did not like was that I'm not able to mute the sound when taking a photo or video. The shutters sound is ever present.

Interface for video and audio is superb: simple, but offers standard features like forward, reverse, skip, pause, creating & editing play lists. Sound output from speaker, as well as the headphone is satisfactory. There is a FM radio with RDS feature.

Other essential features include Alarm, Calculator, To-Do / Tasks, Calendar, Photo editor, World Clock, Notes, PDF viewer, Document viewer, speaker phone, text and multimedia messaging, instant messaging, voice recorder and Organizer.

The most important feature would be clarity of the phone when making phone calls. The "in-call quality" is good with less distortion. Equipped with 900mAh Lithium ion battery, the LG Cookie Plus GS500 delivers 3.66 hours of talktime and keeps the phone for 400 hours on standby.
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When travel collides with a byte, a unit of information made up of bits, TravelBytez is formed: snippets of ramblings on travel, food, shopping, living and anything else that comes to mind.


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