Pros: Improved keyboard; Threaded text messaging; GPS navigation; Good call quality
Cons: No 3G data; Doesn't support Sprint Music Store or Sprint TV; No video recording option; Expensive for its features
Verdict: With an improved backlit QWERTY keyboard, the Rumor2 is a satisfactory messaging phone with GPS navigation.
The LG Rumor2, the follow-up to LG'soriginal Rumor, is a very good messaging phone with plenty of style and a good keyboard. However, unlike some other phones in the Rumor's price range, this handset doesn't offer 3G data or access to the Sprint Music Store or Sprint TV.
The piano black LG Rumor2 (also available in blue) has a similar design to the original Rumor. The whole unit is made of plastic but feels well built and sturdy, and comes with two covers, one gray and the other with stylish floral swirls. It measures 4.4 x 2.0 x 0.7 inches and weighs 4.2 ounces. The Rumor2's screen is still small at 2 inches, but the resolution has bumped to 320 x 240 pixels from a measly 220 x 176 pixels.
Little has changed in terms of physical features from the original Rumor. Like its predecessor, the Rumor2 sports an alphanumeric keyboard on its front face, and a full QWERTY keyboard slides out from below. The five-way directional pad is now a square instead of a circle, but the rest of the keys remain in the same place as before. Volume controls and the camera quick-launch button are on the left side, and a microSD Card slot and proprietary headphone jack are on the right.
LG updated the keyboard on the Rumor2, adding white backlighting, a row of dedicated number keys, and four arrow keys for moving through menus or gaming. The keys are rather stiff, but we were able to type easily and got used to the stiffness over time.
With the Rumor2, Sprint ditched its easy-to-use One Click user interface for a standard list-based menu. That's a bit of a disappointment; it felt like a step back from the previous model, especially compared with devices such as the Samsung Rant and LG Lotus, both of which sport One Click. Instead of pressing just one key to launch an application, you'll find yourself digging through menus. For example, you'll have to hit Menu > My Stuff > Applications just to get to anything you've downloaded over the air.
As is expected from a messaging device, the Rumor2 has a bunch of messaging features, including Email (AOL, AIM Mail, Gmail, Hotmail, PCS Mail, Yahoo Mail, or your own IMAP/POP account), and IM accounts (AIM, Windows Live Messenger, and Yahoo Messenger). We were able to set up our work Gmail account and our AIM IM service quickly. Our Gmail inbox was displayed clearly, and our inbox synced well, but the text size was small.
The Rumor2 features a new threaded SMS inbox, which means your conversations are displayed much like they would in a chat window. It's much easier to view chat history this way, and the presentation was very good on the Rumor2. When you take a picture, there's also the option to send your image to a social network. It's a bit hidden, though. You have to click Options > Post to Service > and then you can choose between Facebook, MySpace, Photobucket, YouTube, or request a retail pickup.
The Rumor2 doesn't offer 3G data speeds. Still, we loaded m.CNN.com in 10 seconds, m.ESPN.com in 18 seconds, and m.NYT.com in 14 seconds. That's not bad for a phone without 3G data, but it uses a basic WAP browser that provided a subpar browsing experience. If you click Options you can perform a Google Search from any Web page, but the browser had trouble dealing with multimedia. When we tried to load a video at m.YouTube.com, the browser told us that a Content Handler was needed to play the video file. When we clicked "Get Handler," it took us to Sprint's download page with random applications on it, none of which was our appropriate content handler.
Media playback is also an area where the Rumor2 could have excelled more. While the device can play back MP3s, you'll have to load them onto a memory card first, which you'll have to provide yourself. Also, because this is not a 3G handset, it doesn't offer access to Sprint's over-the-air music store or Sprint TV, two features offered on a multitude of phones in Sprint's lineup.
The Rumor2 doesn't come with headphones, and it has a small 2.5mm headphone jack as opposed to the standard 3.5mm one. Pepper's "Ambition" sounded decent over its single speaker, albeit a bit tinny. You can also listen to tracks using a stereo Bluetooth headset or with a set of Bluetooth speakers.
The Rumor2 comes installed with Sprint Navigation, which you can use for voice-guided turn-by-turn directions. Due to the Rumor2's small screen, this isn't something you'll want to be using if you're driving, but a passenger could use the phone for you. The phone was able to create a route from a train station to our house in 15 seconds, and accurately guided us there. We were impressed that the Rumor2 was even able to display our location when we were inside our office, a feat most phones aren't able to do.
The Rumor2 has a 1.3-MP camera that snaps stills but cannot record video. Most cell phones nowadays can, so it's strange that LG decided to omit that functionality; the identically priced Samsung Rant offers that option. Pictures taken of a stone lion outside the New York Public Library were crisp and colorful for a 1.3-megapixel camera, but there was distortion in the image when viewed on a PC.
A shot of a bowl of Skittles came out pale; deep colors didn't come through as accurately as higher-megapixel cameras with better image sensors. The Rumor2 lacks autofocus, so the lettering on each Skittle wasn't sharp, though acceptable. Unfortunately, the Rumor2 doesn't come with a USB cable, so getting the images off of the phone is a bit of a challenge unless you have your own microSD Card and adapter.
Call Quality and Battery Life
The Rumor2 provided decent call quality in our tests. We noticed a bit of fuzziness every few minutes, but were pleased overall. A call left on our voicemail sounded excellent and never cut out, despite cars driving in the background on a busy Manhattan street.
Considering that it isn't intended for much beyond calling and messaging, the LG Rumor2 had decent battery life. We used it to browse the Web and place a few phone calls over the course of a weekend, and the Rumor2 was able to last the entire time before dying on Monday morning. If you're playing back music from a memory card, you can expect it to last a shorter amount of time.
The $49.99 LG Rumor2 is a compelling device for messaging fans, and we like the enhanced keyboard and e-mail support. Having GPS onboard is another plus. Overall we prefer the Samsung Rant because it offers 3G data and a better interface for the same price, but if you could care less about using the Sprint Music Store or Sprint TV service the Rumor2 is a solid choice.
|Memory Expansion Type||microSD Card|
|Display (main)||2 inches (240 x 320 pixels)|
|Bluetooth Type||Bluetooth Stereo|
|Camera Resolution||1.3 MP|
|Talk / Standby Time||Up to 5.5 hours|
|Size||4.4 x 2.0 x 0.7 inches|