LG Xpression Review: A Hot Mess
"Meh. Why is the screen blurry? Can I return this?" If you buy the Xpression expect to say those expressions. It makes calls and sends texts just fine, but it's cheaper than a Dolly Parton clothing line at Wal-Mart.
The Xpression comes in a bold red, and looks nearly identical to the Hotshot. They're both cheap-looking, with gaudy AT&T and LG logos slathered across the front. I don't know why the companies want to be so closely associated it, because it's one of the more inferior devices out there -- but there you have it. The generic, gently rounded shape is a little thick at 0.7-inches in girth, and average at 4.2-inches tall and 2.1-inches wide in size. The glossy red body attracts smudges and cradles a surprisingly small screen, given its height.
Maybe if LG reduced the massive font on the logos it could have fit a bigger screen. Then again, you won't want more of this screen -- I thought for a second my eyes need a check when I looked at the 3-inch display. The 400-by-240 resolution and a low 155-ppi pixel density is grainy -- it looks like squeamish network executives censored the entire screen. You can easily see the basics like texts, but abandon any hope of watching movies or viewing photos. It's that bad. But the real issue is the touch. When you press one button the display, another function will activate instead. It causes more trouble than it's worth and it takes forever to respond. You'll spend 10 minutes trying to dial a friend and then call the wrong number. Now, to be fair, it doesn't happen every time, but I had it happen a few times a day. I was, frankly, puzzled -- and my fingers were utterly bamboozled.
The useless screen should scare you off. But if you're still reading, here are a few good parts: the keyboard is a surprisingly functional and comfortable -- it's an oasis of competency in an otherwise insultingly flawed device. The slide-out mechanism responds well to touch, and buttons are ideally placed, so you can tap out messages quickly. It's a pleasure to type on, and the QWERTY feels sturdier than the plastic body.
That's it. Now for more downfalls: for starters, the 2-megapixel camera is a piece of junk. Yes, I know it's a feature phone, so you can't expect a high-quality lens. But it's not free either, and you can buy a better device at the same price. Regardless, the basic lens is especially poor. It snaps photos, technically, but the pictures aren't worth the space they take up. In addition, there's no flash and no auto-focus so low lighting means blurry photos. You won't see it on the awful display, but once you view it on a PC, you'll easily see how bad they look. You may as well be looking at a picture of Big Foot tearing through trees at dusk. I have no idea why LG included a laughable "night mode" when you can't see anything clearly, night or day.
The Xpression runs on Brew software. You have three simple home screens and it looks like a stale, more basic version of Android -- except it isn't an operating system. It's what my grandmother thinks Android should be. You can't do much outside of call and text, but that didn't stop AT&T from adding bloatware.
You won't have Wi-Fi, so if you want to jump on the Web, you have to pay an excessive amount for 3G. If you have any intentions to use data, just get a smartphone -- you can find a better one that's just as cheap, like the Samsung Exhilarate. I can't emphasize this enough: it's silly to rack up a bunch of data charges on this phone when there are better smartphones out there. Repeat: if you buy this phone, it will end up costing you more in the long run.
Since the Xpression comes with a microSD slot, you can add up to 32-gigabytes of memory, though I have no idea what you'd put on it. I suppose the MP3 player is fairly decent, and mercifully, LG included a 3.5-millimeter headphone jack. The 1,000 mAh battery, meanwhile, keeps you powered for just three hours of talk time. So on top of being an awful phone to use, it's an awful phone you have to keep recharging. If you leave it on idle, it'll last an average day at work.
Only buy the Xpression if you want to use it for calls and text. But I use it loosely. Really, I can't think of anyone that should buy it. If you like blurry things, it's for you. I suppose if you have kids, it's decent -- it's durable and you can block the Internet. But if you're over the age of 10, it's not worth it. Do yourself a favor and go with a better phone for the same price. ♦
Categories: Functional | Messaging
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May 23, 2012
Good for Teens
The Xpression isn't quite a smartphone, but more than a feature phone -- it's sort of an in-betweener that's ideal for people who like to text a lot but don't want a data plan. And that's exactly what I am.
Rather than Android, it runs a stripped-down platform, dubbed BREW MP. You can run some apps -- non-Android -- and use the touch screen and slide-out keyboard. For anyone who's a teen, it's a great device for the price -- free.
The keyboard makes texting a breeze. You can also sync with a PC to offload and import photos, music and files. It requires a microSD card, but it's pretty simple to use and works well.
Again, BREW MP is a simple platform, but it's not bad. You can load customizable "widgets," which are like mini-apps, and there is a basic browser and social media shortcuts for Facebook and Twitter. You'll need a data plan to go online, but AT&T offers a discounted package that you may want to look into -- with an Android smartphone, you'll have to buy a more expensive plan.
Overall, this is a phone geared towards teens -- everything from the red design and look to the plastic shell and curved back cover. If you're looking to buy this for a teen, it's a decent choice. But if you're an adult, take a look in the store before you take the plunge.
Texting is fine, but it could be better. The buttons are a bit flush, so it's hard to feel your way while typing. There's also a limit of 160 characters for texting. Most phones will break it up into multiple messages, but there's nothing like that here. You'll have to break it up yourself.
The apps are pretty limited. It's not a fully-functional smartphone, so you'll only have AT&T's app store to choose from. There are a few free programs, a few demos and paid widgets.
Probably the biggest drawback is the lack of features like Wi-Fi, GPS and a radio. If you only want a phone for texting, you won't miss it. But I wish LG added it.Was this review helpful to you?
42 out of 45 people found this review helpful.
May 26, 2012
Great Non-Data Phone
I'm a picky person and I read reviews with a bit of skepticism. So after using this phone for a few weeks, I've been pretty happy with it. I didn't want a data plan, so my options are pretty limited. Coming from a Pantech Link, I wanted another simple phone, and I wasn't too thrilled with the new line of Pantech devices, so that led me to the Xpression.
As for the functions, everything works as advertised. I can't complain. The touch screen is decent -- not iPhone-quality, of course -- but vibrant and sensitive enough. The volume for the ringers is nice and loud and the Bluetooth volume is great too. The slide-out keyboard is also nice and easy to type on. But the buttons aren't lifted, so it's not that easy to type without looking. It takes getting used to. I find I can type faster using the virtual keyboard.
Overall, I'm pretty happy with the Xpression. If you want a smartphone but don't want a data plan, this is a great alternative.Was this review helpful to you?
38 out of 41 people found this review helpful.
May 05, 2012
Good Phone Without a Data Plan
The Xpression is a nice slider with a solid build. The touch screen is responsive and the Brew menu is easy to navigate through. The touch screen is also very colorful and it comes packed with features such as a MP3 player, and tools like an alarm, calendar, notes, photo editing and icon dialing. The sound quality and reception is excellent, and the speakerphone is loud and clear.
If you want a phone that doesn't require a data plan, this is a decent option, and the slide-out keyboard is well-built. It doesn't compare with smartphones, of course, but for a non-data plan device, it's a great phone.
The fixed camera lens is fine but it's not as great as I thought. The buttons on the keyboard are also flat so it's hard to type without looking. I have problems with the phone locking too quickly too.Was this review helpful to you?
22 out of 26 people found this review helpful.
December 13, 2012
The LG takes great pictures and has great audio. It's ok if you want an MP3, besides the fact that barely anything can be on it.
This phone lasted about a month and then it wouldn't get reception. During talking, this phone starts to break up, or it hangs up altogether. I would not recommend this phone to anyone.Was this review helpful to you?
0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.
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