LG Optimus 7Q smartphone

LG Optimus 7Q review: The only Windows Phone 7 handset so far to feature a physical QWERTY keyboard

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LG Optimus 7Q
  • LG Optimus 7Q
  • LG Optimus 7Q
  • LG Optimus 7Q

Pros

  • 16GB internal memory, physical QWERTY keyboard

Cons

  • Questionable build quality, poor positioning of shift and function keys, video hard to keep steady

Bottom Line

LG's Optimus 7Q smartphone fails due to a clunky design and questionable keyboard layout. The Optimus 7Q performs as well as every other Windows Phone 7 device on the market, but lacks any real wow factor.

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The LG Optimus 7Q is one of five new smartphones launched in Australia that run Microsoft's new mobile operating system, Windows Phone 7. It is the only Windows Phone 7 device at launch to feature a physical QWERTY keyboard and also boasts a reasonably impressive 16GB of internal memory. However, the Optimus 7Q has a clunky design and questionable keyboard layout.

For a full verdict on the Windows Phone 7 platform, read our in-depth Windows Phone 7 review.

Check out our guide to the Best Windows Phone 7 mobiles.

Unlike past Windows Mobile devices, all new Windows Phone 7 smartphones are forced to adhere to a strict set of hardware requirements. These include a capacitive, multitouch display with a minimum 800x480 resolution, a 1GHz or better processor, at least 256MB of RAM, 8GB of internal memory and a GPS receiver. All Windows Phone 7 devices must also have an accelerometer and digital compass, an ambient light sensor, a 5-megapixel camera or better, an FM radio and seven physical buttons (back, Start, search, camera, power/lock, volume up/down).

This set of requirements means all Windows Phone 7 devices eerily similar to use and make physical design the main differentiator between models. The LG Optimus 7Q attempts to set itself apart from competitors with a physical, slide-out QWERTY keyboard. Because of the keyboard this smartphone that is far bulkier and chunkier than competing handsets, particularly the razor thin Samsung Omnia 7. Unfortunately, the extra bulk doesn't mean this is a better built phone: the LG Optimus 7Q's slider mechanism feels awkward and clunky, the rear battery cover creaks when pressed and the screen rattles slightly when the slider is open.

The LG Optimus 7Q has touch-sensitive back and search keys, but unlike the Samsung Omnia 7 these aren't backlit when pressed. We also weren’t a fan of the thin volume and camera buttons; the camera key feels spongy and does not click firmly like the volume keys do. The camera doesn’t have a lens cover, but a slightly raised ring surrounding the lens will help protect it when the phone is resting on a hard surface.

The LG Optimus 7Q's QWERTY keyboard is well spaced and each key is large enough to press comfortably. The keys are relatively flat, but possess good travel and emit a clicking sound when pressed. The keyboard has four rows; the number keys are shared with the top row of letters so you need to press function key to type them. This would not normally be an issue, save for the fact that both the function and shift keys are tiny, uncomfortable to use and awkwardly positioned on the far left of the keyboard, separate to all other keys. This is an odd design choice and one that makes the Optimus 7Q's keyboard awkward to use.

The LG Optimus 7Q has a 3.5in TFT capacitive touchscreen display, the same size as the iPhone 4. Text is crisp and clear, and multimedia files (such as photos and videos) are displayed without any issues. However, the screen lacks the 'wow' factor of many competitors. The Optimus 7Q's display also has poor legibility in sunlight and below average viewing angles.

LG has included Play To and ScanSearch apps on the Optimus 7Q. Play To lets users to wirelessly stream multimedia content from the phone to other electronic equipment (TVs, gaming consoles, stereos and PCs) via DLNA, while ScanSearch is a location-based search app that uses augmented reality and the digital compass to search for business in various categories: you simply point the phone in a particular direction. A nifty Optimus 7Q feature lets you use the camera to take five photos and produce a panorama shot. Photos are automatically added to the camera roll once they are taken.

The LG Optimus 7Q has just the minimum specifications required for a Windows Phone 7 camera: a 5-megapixel resolution, a single LED flash, 720p video recording and a physical camera button. The neat UI is the same across all Windows Phone 7 devices. The Optimus 7Q produces still photos with good colour reproduction, excellent detail and minimal noise. Video recording is a little disappointing; it's hard to keep things steady and video looks choppy, even when there is minimal movement. The LG Optimus 7Q includes a 16GB of internal memory, and like all first-generation Windows Phone 7 handsets, there is no microSD card slot for extra storage. Battery life is about what we have come to expect from the modern smartphone — the Optimus 7Q will quickly run out of juice if you use it frequently, though should last a full day. For better battery life, we recommend turning off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when not in use, keeping the screen brightness down and setting push e-mail and account updates (Facebook, Google, Windows Live, Outlook) to manual.

The LG Optimus 7Q will be sold exclusively through Telstra in Australia.

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