LG fathom: 1 year In


Here’s my 1 year review for the LG Fathom. (Disclaimer: about 2 months prior to this post, I had to get my first Fathom replaced under warranty. Because of that, i cannot comment on the longevity of the hardware, as it was my own fault that it wouldn’t work right)
Anyways, on with the review:
Hardware: considering that the only thing that showed wear on my first Fathom was the camera metal, I’d say that this phone holds up pretty well. The plastic digitizer means that if you drop it or apply pressure, it won’t splinter or crack (as my mother’s TP2 did) it also means that it is quite light and versatile. The keyboard held up well at the 9 month point when I had to send it in, and the new unit still works like a charm. I would advise getting a good screen protector for it (be sure that the description does NOT including anything to do with needing water to apply the protector. those kind don’t last more than a week or two.) I’ve had my current protector on my phone since I got the replacement unit and I’ll probably be able to stand it until I get back to school. I know you can pick up 3 of them for $4 on amazon, or you can hunt around and get 6 for $3 on eBay if you trust foreign sellers (If you’re really interested in the protectors that I suggest, let me know and i’ll post a link)
The physical Send\Start\End buttons are probably my favorite feature. I cannot stand on screen buttons or capacitive buttons. These just work. Along with the convenient placement of the reset switch (i’ll get to that later) and the other hardware buttons, it makes for a great phone physically. I will say that the camera not having a flash means that I miss that from my Moto Q9 days… but that is a minor inconvenience.
Software:
There’s a reason I had to get my phone replaced on warranty: ROM issues. I don’t have a spare phone to do all my ROM flashing with, and one small mistake cost me my phone a few months back. That being said, we’ll start from the beginning.
When I first got my phone, I immediately upgraded to v7 from LG. It seemed good and I liked Office 2010 on there. I used the custom UI for about a week before switching to Titanium (which I’ve used ever since). After a few months on V7, i started getting annoyed with some of the software that comes installed (mostly PowerMobia) and discovered a way to fix it all (whilst on vacation and with absolutely no idea what I was doing) That is where Arcsoft-Be-Gone was born.
The phone itself is quite stable if you leave everything standard and stick to Verizon. If you use a GSM carrier, you’ll need to remove PowerMobia to get MMS, and you’ll be wanting other features too. Modifying files that were supposed to be standard on the ROM means you run into headaches. if you have a large number of messages in your SMS inbox (with PowerMobia or using Windows Mobile’s standard messaging) it can take a few seconds (sometimes up to 30) for it to allow you to do anything else. It’s a common bug, but one that I’d like to fix somehow.
A couple of months later, whispers of custom ROMs being a possibility started floating to my inbox and I became interested. When the kitchen was released this past fall, I created a few different ROMs as tests and tried to flash one. when it all went south, I had the phone replaced and created some new ROMs that seem to work well (There are issues, but I haven’t found many yet.)
All in all, the two biggest complaints that i had were V7’s constant 3G disconnects (I went back to v5 for a while before going to my V6 ROM) and PowerMobia (which can be patched or flashed away now)
Battery life:
As with most smartphones, you won’t be expecting miracles. most days I can go about 16 to 18 hours easily without needing to charge it. That’s with the standard battery. If i start loading up plenty of cycle intensive of 3G using programs, I’ll be lucky to get 10 out of it. I’ve been considering either getting a second battery or an extended battery (extended sounds better in my mind) to combat this issue, but i am rarely away from a USB port and a Micro-USB cable is rarely too far from me.
Call quality:
I will agree with most of the sites that reviewed this unit and used it for a week at most. Call quality is AMAZING. You may think that I’m exaggerating, but it’s true. A Fathom to Fathom call (across networks too) shows just how well it is. There isn’t much of a crackle or volume peak anywhere. Just be sure you have the volume set properly or you might blow your ear out. (I also use a bluetooth headset, and it works just as well with my Fathom
Signal:
The Fathom isn’t a Blackberry when it comes to signal quality, but it is close. I have a slight feeling that my first Fathom was defective, because there were multiple issues with it finding signal and with it randomly hard-resetting. These are gone with my replacement and even at home (where most cell carriers have poor service at best) I am able to have 1-2 bars normally. when I’m away from home (ether at school, work, or driving) I’ll be 2+ bars nearly everywhere. I don’t even hit the dead-zone on my way to church (it’s a common dead zone valley between two giant hills in the middle of nowhere. Service is usually sketchy, but my phone hasn’t dropped a call there yet)
GPS:
Earlier this year I complained about how long it took to get a lock on the GPS. I dug up a simple AGPS addon that you can easily install (it’s for HTC devices but works great) and I seem to lock in about 15 seconds now instead of 2+ minutes. I’ll post about it later, but i will say that it works well. I don’t think it will work as well for non-verizon customers, but I haven’t tested much GPS wise with the T-Mobile variant so I’ll leave that as inconclusive.

Overall: this phone has an 8\10. one point off for sometimes poor battery life, one point off for being so difficult to get a custom ROM on. Other than that, it’s been great. I’m still fielding donations for a second Fathom to build ROMs on. If you either have a second Fathom or five bucks to spare, let me know. Money can go to my paypal where I bid on used Fathoms on eBay, and if you’ve got a used fathom you no longer need, I’ll get you my address and wire you the shipping cost.

Many thanks to my readers from 2011, and here’s hoping that 2012 results in stable ROMs and some proper dev equipment.

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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.

4 Responses to LG fathom: 1 year In

  1. Traxxion says:

    I’ve had mine for about 9 months and agree with almost all of what you said, except to comment on battery life. All recent ‘smartphones’ Android handsets and the iPhone’s that I have seen/used for any length of time are far worse than the Fathom when it comes to battery life. I can easily get 2 days without charge unless I am literally hammering the life out of 3G. All other feature phones I know of are 1-day only wonders, no matter what you do. My wifes Galaxy S is ALWAYS running flat. Its because of this that most people recharge each night and carry chargers with them these days anyway (a real ‘upgrade’ from smartphones of old isnt it?), but at least the Fathom will definitely get you through an entire day.

    • pizzaboy192 says:

      I didn’t even think to compare it to other platforms. I know it outperforms the iPhone with battery life, but I hadn’t really considered android since I haven’t had much experience with it. My parents have a HTC TouchPro2 and the battery life is pretty similar.
      Now that I think about it though, nearly all the android phones that were released around the same time as the Fathom (Droid, Droid Incredible) have horrible life compared to the Fathom. My CoWorkers have Droids as company phones and they are usually plugged in as much as possible. One of them was telling me last week that they get about 3 hours out of a charge right now. My other CoWorker’s Droid Incredible can last about 5.
      The fathom that I have access to that runs on T-Mobile’s network lasts about 2 days per charge since data services are disabled on the device. I’ve put some checks in place on my phone and switched my exchange service from Push to 10 minute sync and gained another 3 hours per day. (And that is with me leaving BlueTooth on all the time)
      I can’t really complain about battery life, but I miss my old basic phone (didn’t even have a camera, and a singular screen with a giant red light to let me know that it was charging) that I could get 2 days easy out of.
      Oh well… I charge my phone when it needs to be charged, and I doubt I’ll ever pick up an Android device because of how terrible the life is on them.

  2. trysomeothertime says:

    Hi pizzaboy192, could you please post what kind of screen protectors you recommend? I am currently using the factory one that the repaired device came with – I just removed the little tab and the glue that was under it. It holds up well, but is now scratched all over (clearly was not intended to be used as a screen protector daily and with a stylus).

    • pizzaboy192 says:

      the ones i use seem to be sold by a few different brands. the main brand is “EZGardz” but some off brands carry them too. the thing to watch out for and avoid is anything mentioning water. those ones do not stay for more than a week.
      the ones that do work have a plastic card and usually a cleaning cloth in the package. they also have 2 little tabs to help separate the front,, back, and the actual protector.
      when i get back from break i will scan one to put up so you can see it, if i cnnot find simikar ones online. i found them on ebay and amazn for about $1 each.

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