LG Cookie Fresh GS290

Full review Stylish and budget touchscreen handset

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Cheap and cheerful are the watchwords for this slinky LG number. But is it a touchscreen winner?

If you’re after a touchscreen phone with all the trimmings, we’ll be honest, the LG Cookie Fresh GS290 - successor to the massively successful five million selling LG Cookie - is not the phone for you.

But if you want a prod able panel, one-touch social networking access, a phone that won’t cause an unsightly bulge in your kecks and money’s a bit of an issue, then this is well worth a closer look.

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The LG Cookie Fresh GS290 isn’t loaded up with a swanky smartphone OS, something which is seemingly de rigueur these days. But it’s hardly an issue thanks to the inclusion of the ace LG S-Class user interface. This never quite did the business on older top-end handsets but is a great fit for basic blowers like this.

There are three easy to use homescreens which you can scroll through by sliding your thumb across the surprisingly responsive resistive touchscreen. You can assign contacts to the front page, so your favourites are always up front. Likewise, you can access Facebook directly from the main screen, so you don’t need to delve deep for your social networking fix. There's no 3G or WiFi either, disappointing, but not really a surprise at this price point.

LG Cookie Fresh GS290: Points for the panel

As well as being a decent screen to the touch, even when working through the S Class interface’s multiple widgets on underlying menus, the panel is a joy to look at. At 400 x 240 it’s not going to win any awards, but it’s remarkably bright for such a cheap phone and looks great in strong light. It’s better than smartphone rivals like the HTC Wildfire, make no mistake.

LG has made the wise move of eschewing a virtual QWERTY which would have been a real pain to use. Instead it’s opted for a standard numeric version, which is easy to get to grips with. Firing off texts and tapping out status updates couldn’t be easier.

LG Cookie Fresh GS290: Media savvy

Overlooking the ugly comic sans font which dominates the LG Cookie Fresh GS290’s media player, as a PMP it’s surprisingly effective. Music and video is kept on an SD card, with the phone taking up to 16GB. That’s ample and although video support does not stretch to DivX and Xvid, it’s still decent enough for watching back short clips when you’re on the morning commute.

As a replacement MP3 player, it’s great if you’re on a budget and don’t want to shell out on two separate gadgets. LG has done a pretty good job considering the phone’s £40 PAYG price.

LG Cookie Fresh GS290: Swish camera skills

The 2MP camera is pared down from the original Cookie’s 3MP effort, but the level of control for such a basic snapper is exceptional. You can tickle white balance, set a timer and play with colour effects and exposure easily in a menu system that’s utterly foolproof. The lack of flash is annoying though and you’ll need to be in good light to get a decent shot off.

The battery lasts a good two and a half days before you need to find a power source, making it a winner for those who value longevity alongside decent functionality. This is not a phone for tech fanatics after the latest specs. But in undercutting the T-Mobile Pulse Mini and HTC Wildfire – we’ve seen it for £40 online - it’s an option for those looking to save a few pennies.

The LG Cookie Fresh GS920 is out now, find out more from LG

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SPECIFICATIONS

Processor: 312Mhz OS: LG S Class
Storage: Micro SD
Screen: 3-inch 240x400
Connectivity: Quad band, EDGE, GPRS, 3.5mm, Bluetooth
Camera: 2MP
Video: 640x480
Talk time: 5 hours 30 minutes
Dimensions/weight: 108x53x13mm/89g

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