Actor Genelia, in the LG Cookie Pep ad claims, "This is all you need." Ketaki Bhojnagarwala took a bite into it to see what the Cookie really had to offer
The LG GD510, or Cookie Pep as it is popularly known is essentially a young phone, which promises fun and exciting features like one touch access to social networking sites and photo-edit features.
Let’s start with the looks. At first glance, it looks very minimalistic; a few users might even find it too ‘boxy’ and plain Jane. The Cookie Pep has a 3-inch full touch screen, and boasts a ‘virtually frameless’ design. While that does give you a more compact looking handset, it compromises heavily on usability, because there’s no room to actually hold the phone without feeling too cramped.
We tested the screen in direct sunlight but apart from the menu screen, which has a black background, we weren’t able to distinguish much else.
At the top, there is a tiny round button that is the power switch, which can also be used to lock or unlock the phone. When you make or receive a call, the phone automatically goes into screen-lock mode, to prevent the touch screen from getting activated when you hold the phone close to your face. We thought this was a thoughtful feature on LG’s part, though the feature doesn’t work like in phones that have a proximity sensor. One downside though is that the screen gets locked when you receive a call, which means you have to unlock the phone before you can answer it.
The left side panel has a toggle switch for adjusting the volume, and a mini-USB port that can also be used to charge the handset. The right side has only a camera shutter button, located at the bottom corner.
LG has done away with multiple buttons, and apart from the touch screen, there’s just one button at the bottom right hand corner that serves as a tool to re-direct you to one of the three customisable home screens. The button also lights up red when you are making a call, and green when you are receiving one.
LG calls the home screens the ‘3-Way Fun User Interface’. The ‘Livesquare’ screen lets you assign little ‘avatars’ to your friends. Whenever you get a call or a text, the ‘avatar’ that you can customise to be either animal or human, pops up with an alert.
You can drag and drop these avatars anywhere on the screen and arrange them as per your liking, as well as call, text or email them.
The ‘Speed Dial’ screen lets you add up to nine friends at a time, and you can customise the contacts with photos or images.
The ‘Widget Screen’ lets you club together your favourite applications, such as Social Networking (which includes Facebook, Myspace and Twitter), Weather, Radio and Gallery. Switch between the home screens by simply swiping your finger across the screen, however, be wary because the touch interface tends to get confused and you often end up activating one of the icons instead of switching screens.
At the bottom of every home screen, there is a constant toolbar that gives you one touch access to your call history, contacts, messaging and the main menu button. The menu screen can be a bit intimidating, with four rows of icons. The icons are pretty small, and there are too many options, which tend to get a bit confusing. They are divided into communications, entertainment, utilities and settings.
LG has tried to simplify the menu screen by giving you one touch access to all your options, but the downside is that the screen tends to look crowded and you often end up pressing the wrong icon, as was the case with switching the home screens.
The camera is a decent 3-meg resolution. The picture quality was average and there wasn’t too much ‘graininess’, which is a positive performance factor. Further, LG has actually packed in a lot into the Cookie Pep’s camera functions.
You can adjust size, colour effect, white balance, mode and quality. While the camera button activates the shutter in camera mode, outside of this mode, when pressed, it pops up a screen of your favourite apps, which you can edit. There are a host of editing options for your photos; you can choose to insert text and a selection of frames, and once you’re done you can send the image as a multimedia text or email attachment or upload directly to Blogger.
Texting on the Cookie Pep can be a bit of a struggle. The built-in accelerometer changes the alphanumeric keyboard to a full QWERTY one when in landscape mode, but the keys are way too small, which results in a lot of errors while typing. We ended up hitting the ‘Send’ button a couple of times rather than the ‘Space’ key, which it was right next to. Browsing the net on the Cookie Pep wasn’t a great experience. The internet was slow and took a while to load. The same SIM card on a different phone yielded much better results, so this is an issue LG needs to sort out.
Under the social networking widget, you have access to Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. All three are applications, and were easy to use and navigate. We were quite impressed with the Twitter app which has a simple user interface.
Although there is an email icon, the only account you have access to is Google. For any other email providers, you’ll have to view the HTML site on the regular browser.
Call quality was very clear and crisp, and loud enough even in noisy surroundings. However, the person on the other end did mention that there was a bit of an echo, and the voice quality sounded a little soft from our end. The battery life was quite good, lasting us more than two days.
With an affordable price tag of Rs 7,099, the Cookie Pep comes into the same league as Samsung’s Corby and the Nokia 5233. Although the phone offers similar features, it loses out a bit on touch sensitivity. Nokia’s touch screen phones get ahead of LG on this feature.
We loved using the LG Chocolate and hope that they can incorporate similar touch sensitivity into their lower end phones too.
Love: Customisable home screens
Hate: Poor touch interface
Price: Rs. 7,099