Whereas the Optimus G for AT&T is awash in mostly useless carrier apps, Sprint's version is rather restrained when it comes to carrier bloatware. Most of it is concentrated in two apps, Sprint Zone and Sprint ID.
Sprint ID is an odd little application that allows you to make your Optimus G unrecognizable very quickly. The app lets you choose from sets of "ID Packs," which load up all your Android 4.0: Ice Cream Sandwich home screens with pre-made selections of apps, widgets and even wallpaper images.
With packs titled DisneyJr., OWN Network, Country Music Television and ABC News, most of the apps are shopping or entertainment related. Even innocuously named ID Packs like Android Basics load up your home screens with links to Gap, Groupon and Amazon. While it does dole out some essentials, like CNN, Twitter and Angry Birds, the icons themselves are quite dated.
Since it can't be uninstalled and it's so commercially driven, it's the definition of bloatware, but Sprint was actually rather polite to wrangle all the junk into one easy-to-avoid app. Also, once you download an ID you can customize it, stripping out all non-essential apps and adding ones you want. You can then use Sprint ID to jump between unlimited sets of fully customized ICS home screens, but we can't envision even the most meticulous of power users ever doing this.
Once again, it's bloatware, but inoffensive bloatware, considering the eleven carrier apps jammed into AT&T's Optimus G.
Sprint Zone, however, is a far more typical carrier app. It collects your account details, bill pay, data usage and shortcuts to technical support, all in one place. It also has an interesting Security & Privacy tab, which lists all the apps that you've allowed to access your location, mobile number and other information. It looks sort of like Facebook's App Settings. It's not terribly useful since you can't adjust those settings from within the app, but it's a nice bit of transparency to see them all laid out as such.
Thanks to the Optimus G's massive screen and powerful specs, it's a real pleasure to game on. Fast moving, graphically intense titles like Asphalt 7: Heat were no problem for the phone's peppy processor and ample RAM. The racing game loaded with enviable speed and handled smoothly throughout.
Rayman Jungle Run, a new game with particularly nice art direction, looked just plain stunning on the Optimus G's display. A fast moving "runner" game full of surprisingly intricate animations, nary a frame was dropped while we played.