Living With A Legend: The LePhone (Part 2)

Author xlxmarketing 6.10.2010. | 14:00

Living With A Legend Part 2: The LePhone

 

In Part 1 of the LePhone review, I looked at the LePhone’s stats, body, screen and interface.

This time lets look at the apps, internet, watching and listening to media and calling and texting.

 

Night Of The Bloody Apps

The main menu (below) is the typical Android list of apps that you simply pull left or right to access more screens of apps. Tap them to open them.

Apps are a huge part of the Android experience. If you have no knowledge of apps then a smart phone may be a bit of a shock for you as they allow you to personalise your phone with as many functions as you like! If you want to install a cooking recipe app then go ahead, or maybe a lightsaber is more for you? Either way, there are apps for all purposes; so like all smart-phones the LePhone will require a possible change in your habits.

Just think of your LePhone as a tiny computer that you can put new programs on, same as your laptop, because that’s exactly what it is!

We have upgraded your LePhone with all of the apps you’ll want to start off with because the Chinese version has many Chinese apps which are useless outside of China or just impossible to understand. Instead the LePhone starts off with such treasures as:

  • Real player
  • Angry Birds
  • Google Talk
  • Gmail
  • DataViz Documents
  • Android Market
  • Barcode Scanner
  • Facebook
  • Fring
  • Google Translate
  • Google Goggles
  • Google Maps
  • And many more!

I can tell you that I spent many a happy bus journey destroying green pigs in the now legendary ‘Angry Birds’ and seeing how high a level I could get to in ‘Robo Defence.’ As a portable gaming system the LePhone easily rivals expensive rivals such as the PSP or DS in my opinion because its screen makes games look great, it is fast enough to open them quickly and play them smoothly and best of all, GAMES ARE USUALLY FREE! You can’t argue with that!

Android Market means that you will be able to download your own apps to suit yourself, but you can use the web browser to look for apps in different places. Here is an Android apps blog to give you some ideas of where to look.

 

Surfing T’Internet

Smart-phones and the internet go together like Lindsey Lohan and rehab, so you’d better be ready to do all of your online activity on the move!

The LePhone, like most Android phones, makes it very, very easy to get online as when you use your LePhone for the first time Android will prompt you to enter a Gmail account for it to use as its designated email address. This will allow you to use Android Market, Gmail and the other useful Google Apps automatically. You will also be able to import all of your contacts from your Gmail account to your new phone, so this saves time over typing them all in individually.

The web browser is just like on your computer. Just type in the website in the window and go there. You can also save favourites and access your browsing history just like any other browser.

Pages load quite quickly due to the phone’s powerful processor and are easy to read and navigate around thanks to the large screen and sensitive screen. You don’t want to have to keep moving the screen left and right just to read a line of text and with the LePhone you can avoid this annoyance thanks to it’s jumbo-sized screen! Youtube videos load promptly and play well, as does Facebook.

I’m quite dubious about a lot of today’s tablets because, in my opinion, they’re just too big to be practical. I felt that the LePhone was fine for a bit of browsing while on the bus or the metro. Would I want to browse all day with it? Honestly no, I prefer a nice big computer monitor, but I would definitely use the LePhone for checking social networking pages and my email every day while I’m out and about!

One thing to watch out for which is usual for most smart-phones is their habit of connecting automatically to the internet to update your emails, weather reports etc. The LePhone is no different, so you should be careful to keep control of its data usage (unless you are very rich or have a plan with huge amounts of data). Fortunately this is very easy, there are just two things you need to do to make sure that the phone won’t connect to the internet without your knowledge thus draining your bank balance and battery! Just go to your home screen and push the butterfly (I know) which will bring up this actually very useful ‘desktop’ screen (which is a place where shortcuts to your most-used functions are stored and can be changed by you):

You’ll need to push the button which looks like a big arrow to turn off the push email (this updates your email automatically) and the button which looks like the radio waves (which is WiFi) to turn them both off.

That’s it! Now you are the master of your Android and it is working for you, so to connect to the net when you want just reverse the steps as and when necessary!

 

*I’m just going to add a quick aside regarding the Butterfly ‘desktop’ menu that you can see above. Get used to using this! It’s a very quick way to access commonly used functions (you can add and take away functions at your convenience by holding them down and dragging them into the bin which appears at the bottom of the screen, or holding a blank area which makes a menu of functions that you can choose to place there appear) like WiFi, Bluetooth, Push Email and Screen Brightness without going into the settings menu, but you can still get all of these functions in the settings menu too which is shown below (the blue cog).

Don’t Believe Everything You Hear In The Media

As I mentioned before the LePhone is ideal for watching movies, TV and Youtube clips as it has a huge screen which is very sharp and bright. It is also an excellent music player, so along with everything else it really can do it all.

Music Player

For music I just used the default ‘Music’ player that comes with Android. It’s simple, yet effective as they say. Many people have argued that Android phones don’t do music as well as iPhones as there is no direct sync from iTunes. It’s true that they don’t work via iTunes, but in my opinion it’s no bad thing. Android phones just require you to drag, drop and play (whereas in iTunes you need to add the music, convert it and then sync it…drives me mad).

There are seemingly a million and one different file formats for music and movies, but you need to know which can be uploaded onto your Android phone. The files types that are acceptable are: MP3, AMR, WMD (8), MIDI, WAV, OGG Vorbis, and M4A. iTunes uses M4A files(so you can get music from your iTunes), but if they have a digital rights management-protection they must first be converted or they will not play on your Android phone.

All you need to do to get started is make sure that your files are compatible with the LePhone. Here’s how:

  1. Connect your phone to your computer via its USB cable, once it’s connected it’s known as being ‘mounted.’ Choose to ‘mount’ the phone and it will be ready to receive files onto its SD card.

 

  • The phone will probably be displayed as a removable drive on your computer. When you open that folder it may have a folder ready for music; here is where you want to move your music to (or you can create a music folder if there isn’t one).

 

 

  • Find the music you want to put on your phone on your computer, be it in iTunes or another folder, highlight it and literally just drag and drop it into your phone’s ‘music’ folder. Unmount your phone by turning off USB storage (right-click the little USB icon in the bottom right of your screen to get the option to turn it off) and you are good to go.

 

 

  • Select your music player from the main menu and off you go. Enjoy!

 

Now you can listen to music, search for artists and tracks as you would with any iPhone or MP4 player.

I really liked that the LePhone has a 3.5mm jack, so you can just plug in your usual headphones directly. No need to mess around with fiddly little headphones that you usually get with phones (although the LePhone does come with a free pair of course!).

Video Player

There are different options of video players available with the LePhone including ‘Real Player’ which most people will certainly have heard of and used in the past.

 

Playing videos is a doddle on the LePhone. The only thing to keep in mind is that the LePhone can play these formats: .rmvb, .rm, .3gp, .3g2, .mp4, .wmv, .rv, .avi, asf, .mpg, .mov, .flv, .f4v, .m4v

To be fair these are mainly pretty standard formats, so you shouldn’t need to do much, if any, converting. Get your video from whichever source, transfer it to the LePhone’s micro SD card or internal memory from your computer and then when you open the media player or Real Player you’ll be given a list of available videos automatically. Press play and enjoy…it’s that easy.

 

Hold The Line

Have you used an Android phone before? If so then you’ll find calling and texting is exactly the same here as you’re accustomed to!

If not then although I don’t need to teach you how to enter a phone number and press call or send (one hopes!), there are a couple of cool touches with Android that you might like:

Calling

You can set up voice dialling for your contacts as well as the usual hot keys. It’s small touches like this that show that Lenovo has tried to make the LePhone stand out and be a convenient users’ tool.

Texting

When you text with Android your text ‘conversations’ are recorded exactly as that, a conversation.

Do you remember in the past when you’d been having a long text conversation with someone you’d have to go back through the old texts individually to check what had been said while writing your next witty offering (or is it just me)?

Well, Android sorts this out for you by listing the entire conversation by person in the same kind of style as MSN messenger or skype. So just click on the person’s name and then you can see your entire text conversation. Trust me, you’ll love this!

I also like that the QWERTY keypad automatically becomes larger if you tilt the phone to landscape. This makes pushing the buttons much easier!

 

Leaving Wonderland

So how was living with the LePhone for me? In a word: Captivating.

Historically I am rather sluggish to change, but the LePhone really encouraged me to embrace the mobile revolution.

Not only did I feel that it is a cool item to possess, but also enjoyed its substantial feeling in my hand.

I like the way you can customise it with apps of your choosing, but where I really thought the LePhone distinguised itself was with its power. It has the power to eat through whatever you throw at it easily, something that some cheaper phones can’t do. It runs games, movies and the internet effortlessly and one of its most impressive functions in my opinion was its ability to multitask (as discussed in Part 1 of the LePhone review).

It is convenient indeed to be able to do everything online without sitting at a computer or carrying a bulky notebook or netbook.

Like all smart-phones the LePhone is quite battery hungry, but this can be alleviated by deactivating stuff you don’t need on all of the time, like Bluetooth for instance.

Some people may argue that its price isn’t as cheap as Chinavasion’s now legendary cheap mobiles; this is fair, but if you compare the LePhone’s costs over buying a new HTC, iPhone 4 or Samsung smart-phone off-the-shelf, you’ll find that you’re still making a solid saving for a device that can easily rival them for quality, power and usability!

Android takes a bit of getting used to at first, but it is built to be intuitive and user-friendly so you’ll soon be whizzing through its functions like a pro! Because the LePhone has no QWERTY key pad included, typing numbers in and texting can be a bit slower then with older phones, but you do honestly get used to it and speed up the longer you use the phone.

I would however strongly recommend an external QWERTY keypad, like this Mini Bluetooth Keyboard for Smartphones [CVDH-K114] if you’re buying a smart-phone of any description. You’ll find it’s a Godsend for texting and surfing the net!

The LePhone also has a very Lenovo ‘flavour’ to it which can be slightly odd at times. Who would know that the butterfly icon leads you to the ‘desktop’ screen for example? This isn’t a deal-breaker though, and once again it’s just one of the phone’s eccentricities that you’ll come to love, as other Android phones generally all behave and look exactly the same as each other!

The LePhone is a strong and cheaper alternative to other big name brands and its quality has to be seen to be believed. I think one of the best points is that this really is a special offer from Chinavasion as it’s not often that you can truly be one of the first people to have new technology these days, but the LePhone IS NOT RELEASED IN THE WEST so you can stand apart from the crowd with an unusual and cool-looking phone indeed.

If you’re buying a smart-phone, stop and take a second look at the LePhone and be a trend-setter, unless you want to be like the guys below!

 

Author xlxmarketing 6.10.2010. | 14:00
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5 Comments

  1. Nick October 6, 16:47

    does it has a built-in GPS?

  2. Adrian October 6, 17:37

    Hi Nick,
    As with most Android phones the LePhone can be a GPS, but you need the right app to use it as one.
    Actually with its lovely big screen it does a good job as a GPS.
    You can try this app: http://andappstore.com/AndroidApplications/apps/GPS_status
    This one should work fine and is an electronic compass to boot!
    If you aren’t sure, check out different GPS apps until you find one that suits you. You can try sites like ‘Android Market,’ ‘Andappstore’ and ‘Appbrain.’
    Hope this helps!

  3. Nick October 6, 19:50

    Adrian, thank you !
    I initially did not find in a description of telephone GPS module availability. Asked the staff of Chainavasion. They received the answer that it has no GPS module inside. I hope my ordered phone will have GPS.

  4. Adrian October 7, 11:14

    Hi Nick,
    To be clear – yes, the LePhone has a built-in GPS receiver. I used GPS through the Google maps app which comes included, but have also used the app I linked to in my prior reply.
    If you have any other questions please let us know, although after you play with the LePhone for a while a lot of functions become clearer as I found it while I was using one to write my review: https://blog.chinavasion.com/index.php/7213/living-with-a-legend-the-lephone-part-1/
    Cheers!

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