LG IQ review

December 23rd, 2009

LG IQ front

I was very excited when I first saw the LG Eve and IQ. They represent LG’s first really attempts at Smartphones. As a person who loves phones I hoped that the Eve and IQ would be competitve entries in the marketplace.

While I liked aspects of the Eve ultimately I found it came up short. Here’s the IQ, let’s see how I like it.

Let’s talk specs; the IQ has a WinMo6.5, 1Ghz processor, WVGA display, 4 row QWERTY keyboard, 5mp camera, WiFiBTMicroSDHC, etc, etc. It also has a fingerprint reader/optical mouse plus an optional projector that attaches to the battery cover. I tried the projector in my hands-on video a while back.

It’s not very good but it’s still a really cool accessory.

LG IQ profile

The touchscreen is the resistive variety so it works best if you use your finger nails or a stylus. I found it slightly small for it’s resolution; 800×480 on a 3.2″ display so I found it hard to tap certain UI elements like the  icons across the top of the screen – even when I used my fingernails (which aren’t super short) – best to stick with the stylus. The stylus doesn’t fit inside the IQ so you’ll have to bring the included stylus around with you. There is an on screen keyboard when you’re using the IQ in portrait mode. Like I just said the little small (actually it’s too narrow) to type effectively with your fingers.

The keyboard is quite nice. The keys have a great feel when you press them in. I like how it has shortcuts to open up the messaging client, browser, calendar and main menu. I also like how it has directional keys.

There is predictive text entry when using either keyboard. If it guesses the wrong word you can choose the right one by moving left or right. I just leave it off since I used the physical keyboard all the time.

When the screen’s closed up there are send, end, back keys plus an optical mouse/finger print reader. The optical mouse really works more as a scroll wheel. You can use it to scroll vertically or horizontally. While it doesn’t work poorly or anything I don’t see how it’s better than just scrolling with your finger. I would have rather LG had just put a navigation pad there – too bad they’re going out of style on WinMo devices.

Like I mentioned before you can also use the optical mouse as a fingerprint reader. You can set the phone up so you have to swipe your finger before you can use it – I didn’t test this.

There is also an LG interface but it’s a bit of a disaster. LG calls it their S-class interface – they should have picked a better name, S-class has already been taken.

First off LG has their own today screen. You scroll the screen left or right. Scrolling left brings up your favourite contacts, right brings up your favourite media files. The center screen has some program shortcuts along the bottom, you can scroll those left and right to see more programs. There’s a link to bring up the main menu. You can bring up a menu that allows you to open the wireless manager, activate flight mode, change and change the ringers/alert or themes. While a bit of a mess I didn’t mind the today screen.

The main menu has 4 categories; communication, multimedia, applications and settings. Each category get’s it’s own row with 4 icons. To view more options you can scroll each row left and right.

At this point you can open the keyboard. There are still 4 categories but now you can see 8 icons on each one. Each icon is just a picture, there’s no text which makes this menu view pretty pointless – it’s really more for show (notice how I used it in my IQ picture – it sure looks impressive).

If you’re already in a program and the keyboard is open, pressing the menu button brings up shortcuts to messenger, internet explorer, search, schedules, write new message, message invbox, write new email and email inbox, call history and your contacts. What really irks me is that I can’t figure out how to bring up the S-class interface when the keyboard is open.

If I wanted to be mean I’d say the ‘S’ in S-class stands for something but I’m a nice guy and won’t.

The IQ does have one saving grace – the multitask button. Once you have the programs you want open you can bypass the LG and WinMo menus completely.

Besides the S-class interface LG has their own contact manager, SMS client, music player, photo album, plus another program named ‘my multimedia’ FM radio, camera, video recorder, calendar, alarm clock,  weather, calculator, tip calculator and stop watch. LG even has their own settings menu. I didn’t mind these LG programs.

If you don’t like the LG programs the equivalent WinMo 7 apps can still be accessed via the WinMo 7 main menu (just tap the top left). You can also turn off the LG applications and use the WinMo ones.

The LG programs resemble the ones you find on LG’s non-smartphones. One thing I’ve noticed about them is that they use relatively large fonts – this is a good thing since text on the IQ’s 800×480 display can be kind of small at times.

Unlike some of the IQ’s competitors the IQ doesn’t come with Opera so browsing is handled solely by Internet Explorer. While it doesn’t support tabbed browsing it was able to load my test page (www.howardchui.com/speedtest) in around 15 seconds – not bad at all.

For some reason the IQ wouldn’t show up on my computer whenever I connected it to my computer. While the IQ would charge it wouldn’t show up under mobile device center. I tried multiple computers. Maybe there’s an option I missed under LG’s messy interface – but at the same time, I’m quite thorough and tried everything.

There is a music player and a photo program plus a program named ‘my multimedia’ which appears to be the same program as the photo program only you can choose which folder to look for media – it’s kind of confusing. One thing I liked about the picture viewers is that you can choose favourite pictures to show up on the home screen. It’s nice to see that they’re integrated.

To test video playback I transcoded some video from my high definition camcorder. My camcorder captures video at 1440×1080 at 60fps interlaced at around 15 or 20mbps (sorry I don’t remember off hand) as AVCHD files. I transcoded them using handbrake as 1920×1080  h.264 inside a mp4 file container (basically they’re mp4 files). To make a long story short I was able to play files which were 1920x1080p with a bitrate of 4mbps with no skipping or hiccups in the video. While it’s true there’s little point to being able to play high definition on a 800×480 display it’s still amazing that the IQ can handle it. I tried doing this on a Samsung Omnia 2 which a 800Mhz processor and it would not playback the file properly.

I should point out that I had to use Windows Media Player to play the file smoothly. The LG video player was choppy.

As far as music goes the IQ uses a micro USB connector – and you don’t get a micro USB to 3.5mm adapter in the box (at least I didn’t). The built in speaker is average sounding – it’s not terrible loud and kind of thin.

RF performance is lacking, TELUS and Bell share the same HSPA network. In areas where I can use a Blackberry Bold, Samsung Galaxy/Omnia, Nokia N97 just fine the IQ won’t work even though the signal meter says there’s signal.

It was hard to test the battery – I have very weak TELUS/Bell HSPA signal in my house (even in my office which faces forward and is on the top floor) so the IQ spends most of the day searching for signal.

I felt the IQ was better on paper than it was in person. That said on paper it brings a lot to the table.

In the end the IQ does have it’s problems. First and foremost it has questionable RF performance. It has a confusing menu system (though you can always disable it,  and no 3.5mm headphone jack. Despite these flaws as far as WinMo phones go the IQ wasn’t bad. I’m sure the USB connectivity problem is just my unit.

As far as WinMo phones go the IQ isn’t a bad choice it has a decent nice feature set, fast processor, a nice keyboard, high resolution display a 5 megapixel camera, finger print reader (if that sort of thing floats your boat) and even a pretty nifty projector that fits on the back. Let’s not forget the multitask button.  Another thing to consider is that the IQ is currently $100 on a 3 year on TELUS. While I don’t think any phone is worth it on a 3 year contract the IQ is relatively speaking a good deal.

Howard Chui 12.20.2009

Entry Filed under: LG,Phones,Reviews,Telus Mobility

22 Comments Add your own

    Rob  |  December 24th, 2009 at 8:12 am

    Hey Howard,

    Great review! I was really excited about picking one up for myself, but now have my doubts. Do you think the poor rf performance is a hardware issue? I noticed you had the same comment about the lg eve which leads me to believe it will not be remedied with a software update.

    Howard  |  December 24th, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    I’m also working on a LG New Chocolate review right now. It also has below average RF performance… based on those 3 phones (eve, iq and new chocolate) I’d say LG HSPA phones in general have poor RF performance.

    WarRaven  |  December 27th, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    I picked this up Xmas eve day, Had same connectivity problem,for me it was fingerprint lock was relocking every 15 mins an dropping active sync.

    Processor, what a blessing,a reboot is mere seconds back to where you were, it handles video well an the screen is sweet.

    Keyboard is decent, requires a little breaking in, but does so well.
    Camera, is very good for my tastes, flash is pretty bright.

    Handset feels well built, good heft to it, nice feel open or closed.

    Desktop pics should be sized 800×800 annot 480×800 for the screen rotates an will show the short pic in landscape in start menu clipped.

    Placed a pack of calls, only one, was garbled an only for a few seconds, rest were clear, good RF in my home an basement, better then the CDMA handset this one replaces for me atleast.

    Note: might be wise to pick up a travel charger, this unit with its media an wifi an abbilities can drain a battery down pretty quick if you use it to its ability.

    Last word, I like it more an more i use it, being a former HTC user for last couple years i was worried, but i don’t think theres any quality lacking to it, an should hold up a coulpe years alright.



    Vie  |  January 8th, 2010 at 11:38 pm

    Great reviews and comments! I am actually looking to get the LG IQ. I have a HTC touch for the past 2 years and it was a nightmare. I prefer to stick with a WinMo phone but would be willing to try Iphoe, Blackberry or LG IQ. Of those 3, which brand what specific model would you recommend?

    To be honest, i don’t need the fanciest features. I use it more for texting, web browsing. But I do like the cool apps that Iphone has.

    Any comments?

    CowWarrior  |  January 21st, 2010 at 11:28 pm

    Hey great review!

    I just got the IQ today and so far I like that device way better than the BlackBerry world edition. As far as the USB connectivity is concerned; on Win7 you need to enable device driver updates from Windows Update and it will download the necessary drivers to let you manage your phone over Windows Mobile Device Center.

    And a quick not to tell you that in the packaging there is an adapter from micro USB to regular earphones jack with a mike built-in.

    Great review it helped me make my decision over which phone to buy.

    Monty Weinbender  |  January 22nd, 2010 at 6:21 am

    I purchased the IQ when it first came out, and it went back. I found the keyboard too wide and difficult to type on. I’m a huge text messaging fiend, and I didn’t like the way this unit managed text messages. I ended up downloading a 3rd party menu so I could text the way I wanted. Thirdly, the battery life was HORRIBLE. I live in an area where reception isn’t an issue, and i had to charge the phone phone half way through the day. I took it back, waiting for the Motorola Milestone. Cheers.

    Doug Irwin  |  January 22nd, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    After two years with a HTC Touch phone as well, I really enjoy using my IQ phone. So far I have had no real issues with it. I have used it in my basement apartment and have had good reception and clear calls. Battery life is good, lasting up to three days between charges. I use my phone a fair bit during the day. My phone synced immediately with my PC (running Windows 7). I love the camera, the pictures compare pretty good with some digital cameras. I am not a great fan of the LGidle menu and leave it on the Windows default. Not sorry at all I chose this phone.

    shelby  |  February 28th, 2010 at 11:32 am

    I got the LG IQ about two days ago, its a pretty nice looking phone but when you slide it open quickly the screen will turn all green but other then that it’s a great phone

    linda chen  |  March 3rd, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    Message to Monty: i too hate the text msging – in particular the way it can’t handle long messages and breaks them up. can you let me know what third party app you used? much thanks

    Matthew  |  March 6th, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    i dont have the LG IQ but i plan on getting it next week, i have read so many reviews and i have no clue how the battery life is? how many hours can this phone last?

    Matthew  |  March 6th, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    and the phone also has features like fm radio and wifi etc. do you need to pay extra in your plan or does it just work with the phone?

    Tara  |  March 7th, 2010 at 12:12 am

    I bought the LG IQ today. Nowhere in the manual does it say how long to charge it the first time. Most new phones you need to charge for 8-12 hours. Does anyone know?

    linda chen  |  March 8th, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    Tara – i just charged it the first time until it was full, but maybe i was supposed to do something longer. in general, you should not charge cell phones for longer than necessary (i.e. overnight).

    Matthew — the battery life does kinda suck. i have to charge it every day. to go from empty to full is 2-3 hrs i think.

    Anyone – if you know of a third party app that deals with LG’s annoying inability to receive long texts in an unbroken message, please let me know. thanks!

    Michele  |  March 16th, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    I had the LG Chocolate and went through 3 units in less than 2 months. The Telus cell store is offering me an IQ as an improved solution, but from some of the comments on this page, I’m worried I will still encounter poor performance and hardware issues. With the Chocolate, it was difficult to download email and internet was so slooowww. Would you recommend the IQ?

    Bg stuff  |  April 29th, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    how is this phone for a heavy texter/light caller who doesnt use apps or anything of that sort?

    Jenn  |  May 3rd, 2010 at 10:18 pm

    A couple of outstanding quesitons:

    Can a different browser (FF?) be downloaded to the phone?

    Am I right in assuming this is uniquely a PC phone? No chance of synching with an Apple?

    Do all apps require data or are some built into the phone?


    Brad  |  May 12th, 2010 at 6:00 am

    I got the LG IQ. I love it, no connectivity issues, much better then CDMA. You can get Opra Mobile 10 from the Opera site, which I did and like better then Internet Explorer

    Chris  |  August 4th, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    I’ve had this phone since March 2010 and I absolutely HATE it. I have had no end to the problems: it thinks I’m in a different time zone and I’ve been told to live with it. I have to remove the battery every time a cross the US/Canada border to kick start it to work. The sound is awful and I hear my own conversation back at me drowning out the person on the other end. I find it very user unfriendly in its lay out and simple things like texting require extra steps. The keyboard is awesome and the camera but thats it. And I’m stuck in this contract for 2.5 more years. Can’t wait till I can swing an offer for a different phone.

    Cell phone lover  |  August 13th, 2010 at 11:11 am

    IS the lg iq a smartphone or a mobile phone?? i am a representative of ACN which is a business to make extra cash. on the acn telus website, the lg iq is underneath the mobile phones tab. then when i check on the regular telus website, the lg iq is underneath the smartphone tab.

    I appreaciate your help!!

    LG IQ user  |  September 6th, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    Worst phone ever! My ‘a’ key sticks all the time, and i get an echo when talking. when I turn it off and turn it back on (because it freezes constantly), all of my texts delete. It also randomly will delete my texts or turn off. It is extremely slow and the internet speed sucks.

    agkorecki  |  September 13th, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    I have the problem of restarting my LG IQ. After charging the phone (off) I turned the phone on, and now it is locked on the Windows screen. I tried your suggestion and I do see the lights flash different colours, however, this does not fix the problem. Taking the battery out also does not help.

    Any suggestions?

    Theresa  |  November 21st, 2010 at 7:53 am

    I’ve had it for a year and it sucks :)
    Don’t even bother getting it especially if your with telus.
    It freezes, randomly turns off, doesn’t hold a battery for more then one day. etc :) i went to go get it fixed, it came back & it’s doing the same thing.

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