First Impressions–LG F6

(Update: Phone was returned due to unsatisfactory resolutions)

The LG F6 is a candy bar smart phone running Android 4.1.2 (current version is 4.3) which is available from T-Mobile for $290 or $50 down payment + $10 per month. The reason for this phone is to replace the back up phone which is now being provided for my brother’s girlfriend

This phone has a 4.5” LCD display with a physical home button, a capacitive back button, and a capacitive settings button. The phone has a 5MP rear camera, and a VGA front camera. There is a volume rocker, power button, and a dedicated Quick Memo button which will use the screen shot and allow for you to draw or write on the screen for saving.

The Good

The screen is a good size. It is very comparable to the Nexus 4, and while there are phones entering the 5.5” and higher, this of course increases the cost of the phone, and makes it harder to handle. The phone supports both HSPA+ (GSM 3G), and LTE (GSM 4G). The phone utilizes the more compact micro-SIM card, and offers a micro-SD card slot.

The phone also has a good battery at least from initial impression. When the phone was acquired yesterday morning, and Andrea used it to help her mother with some photos, they were able to take the pictures, and the phone continued to run even for some time before, and afterwards. While this may not sound impressive, keep in mind – most phones typically only have half battery when they come out of the box. I will expect it to last all day with normal usage. The battery is user replaceable. Considering many of the popular phones are coming with integrated everything, I consider this as a bonus.

The Bad

This phone is terribly bloated. Yes, I know – there will be some T-Mobile software, and considering this phone handles unknown callers, the T-Mobile Name ID app is actually a desired feature for this device. However, T-Mobile’s bloatware is nothing compared to the utter crap LG did with their UI overlay. Everything is essentially a big mess with almost no useful capabilities. Without a stylus and handwriting recognition, the ability to write on the screen is a gimmick. Every little piece of Android has been modified, and to make matters worse, it isn’t even an up to date version. The launcher was so much of a mess that I actually installed a launcher to try to make it a little more functional in my opinion.

Unforturnately, the launcher does nothing for the taskbar crap LG put on there. And there is very little one can do to clean it up. There are other also other things that made this phone’s UI a horrific mess, and about the only thing I can find that might be a benefit is that with a PC program, I can connect with the phone via Wifi. I would have given that up for a lack of at least most of the UI bloat.

The Ugly

With the phone costing $290, it is one of the more realistic values (at least for hardware) that T-Mobile offers (2013-10-01), however again the software is a mess. I am also willing to accept a $10 fee since a SIM card has to come with every phone. You would figure if you are paying almost $300 for a phone, they will throw in the 5¢ Micro-SIM card, but what do I know? The most repulsive thing is the $50 restocking fee. In other words, if you qualify for EIP, and you bought this phone with returning it, expect to not see most of your money back. This is the first time I came across this, so I am assuming it is LG doing it as they had too many returns (maybe because of the bloated UI).

Final Thoughts

The hardware seems good. The fact it is LTE means it will not likely be obsolete in a year (as for data). The screen size is just right, and while it could have been clearer, this is a midrange phone. However, if you are like me, and likes things pure, simple, and efficient run far away from this phone. It might be the best option as for Android phones under $300 from T-Mobile, but that is only if you have no other choice option.

Unless you need T-Mobile’s apps (such as Name ID or their TV app), you will be best to go with the Nexus 4 which has a cheaper down payment, but at an extra $7 per month payments. If T-Mobile would do the right thing and offer their apps to T-Mobile Customers to squeeze more money out of them, this would have been a no-brainer for me.

I will likely keep it. It is obviously a decision of whether the bloated UI is worth cost of sacrificing $50, however this will hopefully be a warning.

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