Virgin Mobile Prepaid CDMA Android LG Optimus Slider Review
Carrier Virgin Mobile USA
Release Date September 2011
You might also be interested in: LG Optimus Q - Straight Talk
LG Optimus Slider Specifications
Gingerbread Android version 2.3
4.5"x 2.3" x .6"
Touch Screen (Slide out QWERTY keyboard)
Screen Size and Resolution:
3.2" Diagonal, 320 x 480 pixels 256K color
Up to 4hrs talk time, Up to 10 days stand by
Micro SD card
Up to 32Gb support, 2gb included
LG Optimus Q Features
3G speeds on CMDA EV-DO network, Android Market, Full touch screen, Full HTML browser, Video, Camera, Bluetooth, Voice commands, Micro SD card, GPS navigation, Youtube, WiFi wireless networking, mp3 player, Virgin Mobile Live, Swipe Keyboard, Netflix, Angry Birds and lots more
The Optimus Slider is an atractive mid level Android that has a quality feel to it. A definite upgrade from the run of the mill entry level no QWERTY phone. Compared to other non QWERTY Androids, we found the Optimus Slider to have a bit more heft but this of course is due to the physical QWERTY keyboard. Despite the keyboard, it's very similarly sized to other non QWERTY 3.2" screen phones. You will only notice the slighly larger body when comparing thickness. Considering you get the full QWERTY, the increase in thickness and weight is no big deal. The Optimus Slider is still quite smaller than many of the large form factor Androids that have be come prevalent.
A tour of the phone, reveals a standard yet simple layout. The left hand side is home to the volume toggles and charge/data port. On the right, we find the camera quick launch. One thing to note on this phone are 4 standard Android buttons below the screen (Home, Menu, Back Search) because they are of the physical push variety which is common on LG devices of this caliber. While not as slick as the capacitive touch buttons, we find the physical buttons to be much easier to find without having to look down.
Moving on to the keyboard, we find an excellent 4 row keyboard with nicely sized buttons. The thing we really like about this keyboard is that it allows us to completely bypass the touchscreen interface and the 4 front buttons. In addition to directional arrows for navigating, the QWERTY also has the Home, Menu, Back and Search along the left hand side of the keyboard. This is a very nice feature since you can basically interact with the phone only with the QWERTY when desired.
Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed the Optimus Slider. We found the keyboard to be very user friendly and we really liked the fact that it can be used for all navigational functions without having to use the touchscreen or other buttons. As you would expect, the keyboard also makes for very effecient texting. LG also did an excellent job managing the size and weight despite the addition of the keyboard.
Usability and Features
The Optimus Slider ships with the newer 2.3 Android OS(Gingerbread). Version 2.3 is more of a slight upgrade from 2.2, so if you're an existing Android owner on 2.2 there will not be much of a learning curve on 2.3. Gingerbread comes with updated themes, modified keyboards, improved copy/paste options, better power management, and improved application management. We were quite happy and to be honest, impressed with the fact that this phone came with this OS version. We normally don't expect Prepaid providers to give us the latest and greates so this was a nice surprise.
As you would expect, the QWERTY keyboard is the star on this phone. The keyboard gives you the flexibility to interact with this phone by using your tactile sense versus always having to look at the touchscreen. Very cool if you aren't crazy for touchscreens but still want to experience the Android OS. As you would expect, the keyboard makes it a superior texting phone over it's touchscreen counterparts. It also makes things like getting the cursor just right on copy/paste functions a cinch.
Features wise, the LG Optimus Slider has all of the major functionality found on higher end Androids. The Optimus Slider provides full access to the App market straight out of the box. You also get lots of great apps out of the box including Youtube, Facebook , improved navigation via Google Navigation, Google maps, Gmail and more. Luckily, bloatware is limited to the Virgin Mobile Live app. Some people like it, some don't, we are indifferent.
The Optimus Slider is by far one of the better entry to mid level Prepaid Androids out there. You will pay a little extra for the QWERTY convenience. If QWERTY is must have for you, then we think it's a rather small price to pay. If the price tag is a little high, we recommend taking a look at the $99 Samsung Intercept that also has a QWERTY. Keep in mind that the Intercept comes with 2.2 though and does not have the full featured keyboard.
The Optimus Slider is an excellent choice tactile texters and touchscreen haters alike. The full featured keyboard offers yet another way to interact with the phone which we think you will really like. You can completely bypass annoying touchscreen quirks by simply using the keyboard. You do pay more over the other Virgin Mobile QWERTY offering but you do get a much better keyboard and newer OS. Overall, the LG Optimus Slider is an excellent choice.