The LG GS500 Cookie Plus exists as a slight update to the GS290 Cookie Fresh with updates to the design and camera and inclusion of 3G support.
The Cookie Plus is an ever-slight move up in the ranks of LG’s Cookie’s line-up. Except for the 3G support, the Plus’ features still keep it sharply within the confines of the budget touchscreen segment with other phones such as the Nokia 5233, Samsung Corby, LG Cookie Pep and the Fresh and the Samsung Monte among others. It supports Bluetooth but not Wi-Fi or GPS. The Plus has a 3.15MP camera with no auto-focus or flash. It sports a 3-inch screen with 256K color output and 240x400 resolution. The GS500 has 40MB of internal memory and comes bundled with a 2GB microSD card and it supports cards up to 8GB.
It’s quite disappointing...considering that the Cookie’s S-Class UI was one of the first UI’s introduced for inexpensive touchscreen phones and LG still seems content with not honing its usability.
The Plus comes with a couple of pre-installed applications for social networking on Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. It also has some demo games and additional apps pre-installed which serve as simple time-wasters or offer some assistance in day to day activities like running or cycling.
Multiple apps seen running in the LG Cookie Plus' task manager.
Design & Usability
Like the other phones in the Cookie line-up, the Plus looks good. The review model we received had a silver matte plastic body which made it look a lot more expensive than it really was. The phone is also slim and light. The Plus’ 3-inch resistive touchscreen is sufficiently large enough for this segment and the screen also looks pretty good but unfortunately not so much under sunlight.
However, all the good marks that the GS500 earns thanks to its looks get thrown out of the window thanks to other build quality and usability issues. Although the LG’s build quality is solid, the Task Manager button located below the screen had serious problems and was getting stuck if I pressed it a little hard. This was particularly unseemly on a device from a reputed manufacturer like LG.
The Cookie’s S-Class UI is also really, really sluggish. Everything from the camera to the video and image gallery takes uncomfortably long to open. The touch accuracy is spotty at best and thanks to that the full screen QWERTY keyboard is rendered virtually unusable by anyone with thumbs larger than a 12 year old’s. Also, although I appreciate haptic feedback to enhance my touch experience on a device, the Plus’ vibrating haptic feedback is all over the place. In some cases the phone will continue vibrating even a second or two after I’ve pressed a button and in some, the haptic feedback will kick in a second or two late. It’s quite disappointing especially considering that the Cookie’s S-Class UI was one of the first UI’s introduced for inexpensive touchscreen phones and LG still seems content with not honing its usability.
Multimedia, Browsing etc.
Although the LG Cookie GS500 Plus’ camera doesn’t do autofocus and isn’t complemented by a flash, it manages to take decent outdoor shots. Indoor images lack details but noise levels are kept quite low. Videos shot by the camera look surprisingly decent but are choppy.
An image shot outdoors and indoors with the LG Cookie Plus' camera (click on the images to enlarge in new window).
Watching videos on the LG’s 3-inch display is a reasonable experience. However, the LG PC suite does a terrible converting and transferring videos and you will be better off scouring for third party converters.
Music playback is a much better experience. Bass heavy tracks sound really good on the Cookie Plus. However, even at the default EQ preset, the bass does seem a little overpowering when it comes to other genres and mids and highs tend to overpowered.
The LG’s browser does have some newer features like multi-window support but it also has rendering issues when it comes across full-fledged Web pages. Also, while browsing at EDGE speeds, the browser took forever to open pages.
When it came to call quality tests on the Cookie, there were some issues that presented themselves. First, the voices sounded somewhat muffled on both sides and secondly there was also some static audible on the line. Battery life is good and the Plus comfortably lasted more than a day without needing a charge.
The LG GS500 Cookie Plus is priced at Rs. 7,900, a price-point that puts it between the Nokia 5233 and the Samsung Monte. Granted, the Plus has the benefit of 3G support but it falls short on too many counts to brand it as a recommended product. If you want an inexpensive touchscreen, then you’d rather go for the Nokia 5233 or the LG Cookie Pep. If you are looking for a touchscreen phone below the 10K mark that doesn’t compromise on connectivity features, then the Samsung Monte (that supports Wi-Fi and GPS along with 3G) is a much better deal.
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