The LG Quantum, one of the first phones running Windows Phone 7, is a high-end model with a large keyboard, making it heftier than other phones, but it's still a good choice if you prefer a slider.
The Quantum is a heavy handset at 6.2 ounces, and the substantial weight corresponds to an equally substantial look. The premium shell -- with curved edges and rounded corners -- soft-touch finish and stainless-steel battery door all combine for an impressive-looking body. Fortunately, it's compact -- measuring a slim 4.7-by-2.30-by-0.4-inches -- so the actual size belies its weight.
The slider mechanism reveals a wide keyboard that's solidly-built, so the touch display doesn't feel loose when you hold the phone -- a problem with some lesser-built smartphones. The keyboard itself features well-sized rectangular buttons with good spacing for comfortable typing sessions. If you don't like it, you can use the virtual keyboard -- but texting is significantly more difficult, and it defeats the purpose of this phone. If that's the case you're better off looking for one without.
The compact size extends to the 3.5-inch touch screen. The 480-by-800 pixel capacitive display feels a little cramped. It's bright and sharp, but not as clear as other similarly-priced phones, like the Samsung Focus. In addition, the small size makes multimedia and Web use more of a chore than a treat.
Another issue comes with the limited landscape support Windows Phone 7 offers, which is no fault of the Quantum itself. Windows doesn't support all programs while in landscape mode. That means when you use the keyboard, the start screen stays in portrait mode. It eventually moves to landscape for photos, video, webpages and messages, but of course, it's an inconvenience that makes the phone harder to use.
The Quantum offers a 5-megapixel camera with an LED flash and 720p high-definition video capture. There are various shooting modes, brightness and white-balance settings, all helping you take bright, clear photos and the color is true-to-life -- though indoor shots are a bit dull.
The multimedia offerings especially stand out with DLNA technology, operating through a preloaded app called "Play To." By streaming music to stereo speakers, and videos and photographs to a television -- all must have DLNA, of course -- you can share and enjoy multimedia on a larger canvas.
AT&T also packs in several services, including Navigator, Radio and U-Verse Mobile, which lets you to download television shows via Wi-Fi. LG adds some great apps too, including Look n Type, which lets you see what's going around you while you type, Workout Tracker, which tracks your jogging, and Tool Box, which gives you handy unit conversions and a flashlight. It's a good thing both companies added pre-packaged apps, because Microsoft's app store, unlike Apple's and Android's, is still rather sparse.
The Quantum offers a generous 16-gigabytes of internal memory, so you'll have plenty of room for photos, videos and other high-level storage needs. However, the Quantum doesn't have anywhere to add a microSD card, so you're stuck with that much space -- a real issue if you're a constant downloader, or you like to load your phone up with music and movies. It runs on a powerful 1-gigahertz processor with 256-megabytes of RAM, so everything will move along smoothly.
Overall, the Quantum is a decent Windows device. Its smaller touch screen and heavier weight are drawbacks, but the solid keyboard, DLNA and multimedia make it well worth a look as a viable alternative to Android. ♦
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