LG optimus 7

The LG Optimus 7 implements the basics of Windows Phone 7 well, and the software extras – plus a doubling of the standard 8GB of built in storage – are enough to help it stand out from the crowd.

We liked

The super-sharp and highly responsive screen is a joy to use for typing and sweeping through photos.

The web browser works well on the large screen, and it's a pleasure to see – and use – pinch to zoom.

The headphones provided are higher quality than we're used to and delivered punchy sound.

16GB of internal storage is enough for plenty of data and nearly (but not quite) makes up for Microsoft's refusal to allow the user to add removable storage on Windows Phone 7 handsets.

The Play To DLNA feature worked really nicely for sending stuff to our laptop computer. We can see this being used to show off holiday snaps quite a lot.

We disliked

The camera needs a bit of attention. Panorama mode works well, but images are washed out overall.

This is a Windows Phone 7 gripe, but we hate that you have to use Zune to transfer photos and videos to and from a PC. What's wrong with drag and drop?

The chassis design has its good and bad points. While the metal backplate is a plus, the odd Windows Start buttons is rather bizarre.

Verdict

With Windows Phone 7 devices sharing an awful lot in terms of base specifications and button placement, it's arguably a challenge to get differentiation. LG has chosen to up the basic memory quota and add some apps.

On the whole we like what has been done.

But, we've really taken against some aspects of Windows Phone 7, not least being locked into Zune and not being able to expand on internal memory. Microsoft may have shot itself in the foot a couple of times there, and poor old LG (and Samsung, HTC and Dell) have just had to make the best of it.