What's hot: Full 5-line keyboard makes typing easier, Sprint services (Sprint TV, Navigation and Music) are on all here thanks to 3G.
What's not: Phone’s styling shows its age as does the 2 megapixel camera.
Reviewed April 23, 2010 by Tong Zhang, Senior Editor
The first two LG Rumor messaging phones were both big hits with Sprint customers thanks to the growing texting population, the very useable QWERTY keyboards and compact yet pleasing designs. Now the third-generation LG Rumor Touch hits the market adding the inevitable touch screen and EV-DO 3G. The new touch screen is nice but LG added that just to go along with the touch screen craze since the QWERTY is very capable at operating everything on the phone. The EV-DO 3G however adds a whole new world vs. the prior generation Rumors that didn’t have access to the Sprint Music store, Sprint TV and other services enabled by 3G. And the performance of Sprint Navigation and messaging has also improved thanks to faster data speeds.
While LG was busy adding 3G to the Rumor line via the new Rumor Touch, the cell phone landscape and Sprint’s lineup changed a bit. The LG Rumor Touch currently sells for $80 with a 2-year contract at introduction, and that’s a fair price for a mid-tier feature phone that does a lot. But Sprint has been doing a big push to attract smartphone users to sign up by lowering their smartphone prices. The Palm Pixi, the HTC Snap and the BlackBerry Curve 8530 are all cheaper than the LG Rumor Touch; and the HTC Hero and the Samsung MomentAndroid smartphones are just $10 more. We know that not everyone wants a smartphone, but the prices are tempting curious shoppers. For those who are at the crossroads, remember this: Sprint, like all US carriers, requires you to get data packages that cost more than the basic voice and messaging plans when you purchase a smartphone. That’s the flexibility the LG Rumor Touch offers here: you can get the basic voice plan and the unlimited messages plan for $50/month.
Design and Ergonomics
When LG and Sprint added the power of 3G and the attractive features and services enabled by 3G, they forgot to update the LG Rumor Touch’s styling. We like the youthful LG Rumor and the more modern updated LG Rumor 2 designs, and the popularity of those two phones owed something to the playfulness and ruggedness that spoke to its young audience. The LG Rumor Touch doesn’t stand out like its predecessors did in a sea of QWERTY sliders. But that’s not to say the Rumor Touch didn’t improve on form. It has a larger 3” touch screen, a full 5-line QWERTY keyboard which in turn makes the device larger and a 2 megapixel camera (also an improvement from the LG Rumor 2’s 1.3 megapixel camera). The LG Rumor Touch feels well built. The larger display does feel more luxurious and web pages and videos look good on the bigger screen compared to the last two Rumor phones. The display has both audio and haptic feedback when you touch it, but it looks washed out outdoors. If you take pictures outdoors on a sunny day the display isn’t very easy to see as viewfinder. The QWERTY keyboard feels very roomy and is very easy to type on. It has good travel and offers audio feedback for key presses. Backlight is effective in the dark.
With the keyboard slider closed, the LG Rumor Touch works as a touchscreen phone. There is a small Home button up front below the display flanked by the call send/answer button and the Back button. The Rumor Touch has a default list menu UI that you can control with your finger. The LG has a 3.5mm stereo headset jack. Other buttons and slots include volume buttons, camera launch button, screen lock/power button, charging jack and a microSD card slot for easy access.
Wirefly price (no rebate required):
Phone Features and Reception
The LG Rumor Touch gets good signal strength: full bars in well-covered areas and 50% in spotty coverage areas. It hasn’t dropped a call on us. Voice quality is good but not exceptional. The LG has a nice phone UI that includes four shortcut touch buttons for quick access to the phonebook, recent history, keypad and a cute group interface. The Rumor Touch supports up to 99 speed dial numbers in a phonebook that can hold 600 contacts. The touch UI also gives you quick access to actions such as Call, Send Msg, History and Contact Details when you touch a contact in your phonebook.
The LG comes with a full compliment of messaging tools and services including threaded text messaging, personalized picture and video mail and mobile email including AOL, Gmail, Windows Live, Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail. The Rumor Touch also includes applications for Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and Sprint’s Social Zone. The phone allows you to upload photos to Photobucket and videos to YouTube.
Web browsing is faster on the LG Rumor Touch compared to prior generation Rumor phones. The Rumor Touch has the NetFront browser that can display full HTML pages. The screen resolution isn’t very high at 240 x 400 pixels, and this means you won’t see a lot of a web page but pages are displayed in a readable font size. Sites with several columns can look disproportioned even in landscape mode. That being said, the browser does a good job of keeping formats and images intact. The phone doesn’t have an accelerometer, but if you want to see web pages in landscape mode just slide open the keyboard.
GPS and Sprint Navigation
The LG Rumor Touch has a built-in GPS, and Sprint Navigation has better performance and speed on the Rumor Touch than on the Rumor 2 thanks to the new EV-DO support. The Rumor Touch quickly acquires a GPS fix and Maps load with good speed. Turn-by-turn directions and maps also load quickly, and mostly accurately. The voice guidance is clear and on target. The phone has a loud speaker for voice directions. Sprint Navigation (powered by TeleNav) offers 2D and 3D maps, POIs (Points of Interest) searches, local listings and more. It’s a monthly subscription service that costs $9.99/month though you can get day passes to try it out or when you only need it occasionally. Alternatively if you go with one of Sprint’s everything plans, navigation is included at no additional charge.
If you are partial to mobile entertainment like mobile TV and music, the Rumor Touch offers strong performance in both services. Sprint has done some improvements on Sprint TV performance and the LG Rumor Touch shows it off nicely. In strong EV-DO coverage areas Sprint TV plays smoothly on the Rumor Touch in landscape full screen mode with occasional out-of-sync audio. In marginal coverage areas, the videos still play mostly smoothly with some frame drops that interrupt the playback. Sprint TV and radio have free channels that come with your data plan like the Simply Everything plans, and also offer premium channels for additional charges.
The LG Rumor Touch aims to please music lovers with access to the Sprint Music store for over the air buying and downloading music. The Sprint Music store still sells tunes for $0.99/track or less (if you buy multiple tracks) and navigating through the music store is fast and music download is speedy. Audio quality through the built-in 3.5mm jack sounds good and very loud, though the Rumor Touch doesn’t come with any headset. The built-in rear-firing speaker is very loud but a bit tinny. When you turn it to max volume the speaker sounds blown, though you don’t need to turn the volume that high for most applications including music playback.
The LG Rumor Touch has upgraded the camera to 2 megapixels from the Rumor 2’s 1.3 megapixel camera. For taking snapshots and sharing with your friends online, the 2 megapixel camera on the Rumor Touch can do the trick just fine. The images look clear enough with good color balance and saturation. But with competing devices like the LG enV 3, the Samsung Rogue and the upcoming Samsung Reality on Verizon Wireless all coming with 3 megapixel or higher cameras, the Rumor Touch loses the race. The photos exhibit the typical amount of noise you’d expect from a lower end camera phone. The Rumor Touch also doesn’t like lowlight conditions for photos and videos. Speaking of video, the LG takes smooth videos with audio in sync. You can take videos for MMS or storing on the memory card. The highest resolution for video is VGA.
The LG Rumor Touch has a beefy 1250 mAh rechargeable battery (LGIP-401N) that can put the phone through a week of standby. The claimed talk time is 7 hours, and our tests showed that the talk time was closer to a little over 6 hours. Playing Sprint TV and running Sprint Navigation drained the battery faster than music playback. The phone can last at least two hours playing Sprint TV videos over EV-DO 3G.
It’s good to see LG and Sprint add some 3G power to the Rumor line and the Rumor Touch offers competitive features such as a full QWERTY keyboard, a 3” touch screen, Sprint TV, GPS with Sprint Navigation and Sprint Music. The phone should please Rumor fans who are looking to upgrade while keeping their messaging needs, web surfing habits and storage options unaltered. We wish that LG had done some styling updates for the Rumor Touch and given it a better camera.
Pro: Full 5-line keyboard makes typing easier, Sprint services (Sprint TV, Navigation and Music) have good speed and performance, 3.5mm audio jack.
Con: Phone’s styling shows its age, so does the 2 megapixel camera.
Price: $79.99 with 2-year contract after mail-in rebate. $279.99 without contract.
Display: 262K Color TFT, 240 x 400 Pixels, 3", touch screen.
Battery: Lithium Polymer rechargeable battery, 1250 mAh. Usage time: Up to 7 Hours.
Performance: Phone book can store 600 entries.
Size: 4.2 x 2.2 x 0.6 inches. Weight: 4.7 oz.
Phone: Digital CDMA phone. 800/1900MHz. EVDO Rev. 0 for data.
Camera: 2 megapixel with night mode and self timer. Still image resolutions: 1600 x 1200, 1280 x 960, 640 x 480 and 320 x 240 pixels. Can take video with audio.
Audio: Supports Polyphonic ringers and MP3 music tones. MP3 player onboard to play music in MP3, AAC, AAC+ and MP4A formats. 3.5 mm stereo audio jack. Can record voice memo. Supports vibration alert.
Networking: Bluetooth v2.1 + EDR. Profiles supported: HSP, HFP, DUN, OPP, FTP, BPP, A2DP, AVRCP, PBAP, HID and MAP. USB 2.0.
Software: List menu UI. NetFront HTML browser and web-based email and IM on board. Client apps for Twitter, MySpace and Facebook. PIM tools include Contacts, Calendar, Calculator, NotePad, Document Viewer and World Clock.
Expansion: 1 microSD card slot. Supports SDHC cards up to 32GB cards. A 1 gig card included with an adapter.
In the Box: The LG Rumor Touch phone with standard battery, a 1GB microSD card with an SD adapter, AC charger and printed guides.