LG Fathom: 6 Months in.


So, I’ve owned a Fathom for 6 months now. It’s been an interesting trip down the road of Windows Mobile in an Android and iOS world… but it isn’t half bad.

(I’ll try to get pictures of it all later… It’s not as easy as I thought it would be)

Let’s start with the first thing: Packaging.

When I got the Fathom at Christmas, the first thing I saw was the box. The first thought that went through my head was “Wow… that’s a small box”. The box that Verizon sells all phones in is a No-Nonsense box (Unless you buy the iPhone… then there’s all sorts of extra crap). The box is a simple white box with some product info and a picture. It just makes sense.

Next: Hardware.

The hardware is probably the best hardware in a phone that I’ve used in a long time. It feels like it is the spiritual successor to the HTC TouchPro 2. The best parts about this phone is the resistive touch screen (Which provides much more feedback than your typical glass capacitive screen) and the full keyboard. The small size of the phone also allows it to fit into your standard pants pocket without feeling awkward or worrying about your keys destroying the phone. The specs on the phone aren’t the greatest storage wise, with a max of 256mb of storage, but if you buy a 4GB or bigger card, you’ll be set for quite a while. (On that note, Don’t get a SanDisk card. Go with a Lexar. The SanDisk card controllers aren’t the best when used with Windows Mobile, and cause data issues.)

The processor, a 1ghz Snapdragon, is one of the best processors that you could ask for in a phone. It’s blazing fast and makes any older Windows Mobile phone (and alot of the Droid series from Verizon) (And even the iPhone 4) feel sluggish. You click on something and it loads. Granted, if you’re comparing the phone to phones from it’s time, it was the fastest phone on the market (Right beside the Droid Incredible)

The Display: Crisp, small, and responsive. I’ve watched whole movies on it (I wouldn’t recommend doing it without reason though. I’ve got a netbook too, but it’s battery was being used to keep my phone charged on a 8 hour trip) and wouldn’t complain one bit about the fact that it can keep up with anything you throw at it. With the right software (In my case: TCPMP or CorePlayer) it’ll even play .mkv files. The display has a decent pixel density and you can’t really tell that stuff is pixelated when you’re looking at it unless you start looking really closely.

The keyboard: Amazing keyboard. Types fast and I can actually feel what button I’m pressing. I can’t say the same about the 1st gen Droid, but compared to a Touch Pro 2, It’s pretty good. The only complaint that I have with it is the directional pad’s “OK” button feels a little loose and wobbly, but it hasn’t fallen off yet and I don’t think it will. My only other complaint is that the non-standard layout for punctuation means that typing in some programs that don’t directly interface with the input methods provided have issues with the FN key. (Opera Mobile 10 is a good example. And installing Swype or another keyboard replacement messes with the FN lock feature, rendering it useless and requiring you to hold the FN key while typing punctuation. Not worthy of a big complaint)

Battery life: Amazing. Playing around with the phone all day, I can pull it off the charger at 7:00 AM and still have enough juice to last about another hour by 2AM that night. Granted, your mileage will vary depending on how many phone calls you make per day and what you’ve all got running in the background, but for the average person, you’ll get along well with just plugging the sucker in every night and not worrying about how much battery you’ve got left at the end of the day. The 9 hours of call time advertised is fairly accurate, but remember that using 3G is comparable to talking, and it’ll eat your battery up if you’re having apps running that are constantly using data (Torrenting applications or firewalls)

Camera: I didn’t buy the phone to replace my digital camera, but it certainly isn’t too bad. The software is pretty easy to use and the pictures are of pretty decent quality. it’s a little slow, but it’s not designed to be a camera, it’s designed to be a phone. remember that.

Now… on to: Software

The software on the phone isn’t really half bad as stock. The V7 update gives you a new launch screen and some stability updates. It also gives you the Verizon 3G hotspot (Which doesn’t actually charge you anything extra. I haven’t yet) and some other fun little tidbits of joy to play around with. I personally turn off the new LG launch screen (Feels too much like they’re trying to imitate Android and dumb down the phone) and use Microsoft’s Titanium that ships with the phone (And respectfully called “Windows Default”). For the first two months of owning the phone, I used Arcsoft Messenger. That’s the crap that LG installs on your phone that also dumbs it down even more. It makes some shiny and “fancy” interface that really is pretty useless. As a result of this frustration, combined with the efforts of some people in the Windows mobile community, I developed the patch that I seem to post quite a bit about. It works. I install it as the first thing on my phone now. Windows Mobile as a whole is extremely stable when it comes to using it (I’ll make another post later about what I would suggest you install if you’re planning on seriously using the phone) and it honestly doesn’t need much tweaking aside from removing annoyances.

If you’re trying to decide between this phone and some Android thing or an iPhone, I’ll just say that if you’re waning a serious phone that works with Microsoft Exchange server, along with basically every other feature that your modern phone won’t offer (like being able to install whatever you want from wherever, no questions asked) then go with the Fathom. If you’re looking for a toy to show off to people and try to impress them with some random technobabble about qhd displays and 3d cameras, go with an Android phone or and iPhone. If you’re wanting the phone just so you get the apps and crap that your modern “Smart phone” has, go with Android or and iPhone. If you’re wanting a phone that can handle Email, Internet, Free 3G hotspot, and… yes, making calls and sending texts, then the Fathom is for you.

As a testament to how little I need Apps: I haven’t installed any games on the phone (I had Bejewled and FPSECE, but I CBA right now to re-install them). There aren’t even any fart apps for Windows Mobile (Although there is one that makes cowbell sounds). I have 4 email accounts set on this phone, 2 Twitter accounts (Which I’ve followed developers and other news sources on, not celebs or crap) and a Facebook account. I don’t need to play games on my phone. I’ve got a desktop, laptop, Palm T|X, PS2, and netbook for that. And my roommates iPod Touch if I really want to play Angry Birds on a tiny touch screen instead of a 26 inch hand-built one (but that’s another post)

All in all, It’s a great phone. I won’t complain about having it for the next 18 months, and that gives Nokia enough time to get a WP7\8 phone out on Verizon. Then we’ll talk about an upgrade.

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About Author
Someone who feels the need to help others using the information that I have discovered. If someone else finds it useful, I'm more than happy to have helped.

One Response to LG Fathom: 6 Months in.

  1. Oscar says:

    Well done, very good comparasion.

    Oscar

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