LG is looking to reinvent multitasking and texting with the Doubleplay, available on T-Mobile. This is a mid-level phone priced at $99 with average specs. If you are looking for something unique this might be the phone for you.
When you first put the Doubleplay in your hands you will right away notice that it’s a solid phone, however it’s heavy. It comes in at 192 grams. A similar phone, the Samsung Stratosphere comes in at 164 grams. It’s also rather thick as it comes in at 16mm, but the Stratosphere comes in at 14mm.
The Doubleplay has a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, but what sets this phone apart is the 2-inch screen that sits right in the middle of the keys. You can use this screen to quickly check messages, emails, or play songs while still running something on the main screen. It’s cool enough, but I really didn’t find it useful. If anything, it got in the way of typing. Because of this secondary screen, the keyboard is split into two sections and over time I did get used to it, but it really wasn’t natural. I also found myself tapping the second screen by mistake more often than not.
The complete specs for the Doubleplay includes a 3.5-inch (480 x 320) main display, 2-inch (320 x 240) secondary display, four-row QWERTY keyboard, 1GHz single-core Snapdragon processor, 512MB of RAM, 2GB internal storage with 2GB provided via microSD (upgradable to 32gb), 5MP rear camera with 720p video recording, 1500mAh battery, Bluetooth, WiFi, and Android 2.3.4,
Battery life on the Doubleplay was average. This phone is not for the hardcore user so the average person should be able to get through a day without a problem. Let’s put it this way – There are definitely reasons to not buy this phone, and the battery isn’t one of them.
This phone performed very well. I would say it was on par with the Samsung Stratosphere and Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray, which have similar specs. Surprisingly the dual screen didn’t slow things down at all as one might expect. It’s your basic 1GHz single-core phone so there really isn’t much to say.
The Doubleplay comes with Android 2.3.4 and LG’s own UI skin. The main screen has 7 home screens, while the secondary screen is used for icons or opening an application. For the secondary screen, you can set up to Eight applications that you can open while running something else on the top screen. Once an app is opened, it can be quickly switched to the main screen. I found it to work very smooth, however I didn’t find it useful. One thing that was nice was that when opening the keyboard the home screen on the main screen switched to landscape mode.
For UI enhancements, when long pressing on the home screen, you get a nice launcher that is scrollable for your choice of widgets, shortcuts, folders, or wallpapers. I found this to be very nice and I show this in the hands on video. The launcher allows for 3 custom applications and the app drawer can be configured for custom categories (scroll vertically), by page (scroll horizontal), or list format (scroll vertically).
T-Mobile free WiFi calling is included as well which worked really okay. I used it a little and my voice was slightly distorted for the caller, but I tend to be in a lot of areas with poor T-Mobile coverage so it was nice to have.
LG also threw in Group Text and Cloud Text. Group Text allows you to create groups to send messages to multiple people and Cloud Text lets you use your PC or tablet to send and receive messages.
One last note is that it was a little bit of a pain connecting the Doubleplay to my computer for simple file transfers. It didn’t automatically install the driver and I was forced to download it. I don’t know why some of these manufacturers can’t get this straight.
The camera is average. I found it to be quick with a very minimal shutter lag. If you’re the occasional photographer, you won’t have any complaints. One nice feature is right after taking a photo, you will see an optionto “rename,” which gives you the ability to save your photo under a different name instead of the standard IMGxxx.jpg format. Here are some example shots:
The LG Doubleplay definitely falls into the unique category, but many times these types of devices just aren’t useful. The secondary screen is cool, but it takes away from the QWERTY keyboard. I would liked to have seen a screen-free 5-row keyboard than a more cramped 4-row that’s split up with a screen. Overall, the Doubleplay performed well, but it could have been lighter and thinner. If economical is what you are looking for, I would go with the LG myTouch or myTouch Q, which will also save you $20.