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LG Optimus F3 delights in being an average budget phone

Hayden Dingman | Aug. 21, 2013
The LG Optimus F3 is a no frills budget phone for people who only want to make phone calls.

I did like that LG included its QSlide multitasking feature in the F3 (limited as the multitasking is). You can launch five QSlide "apps" from the notifications panel: videos, browser, memo, calendar, and calculator. These apps launch above whatever you have open currently and follow you from screen to screen, allowing you to use the browser while another app is open. It's convenient to have any sort of multitasking, even when limited to these five apps, and I hope more devices follow suit.

The F3's removable battery is fantastic. Even with Google Field Trip pinging my GPS all day long, the phone easily lasted until I got home every night—sometimes late at night—with battery to spare. But while I was impressed with the F3's battery life, its internal storage left me wanting. The phone includes little more than a gigabyte of internal storage out of the box which means you'll need to have a microSD card if you want to install apps or carry your music with you.

Calls made over Sprint's network were clear, with minimal amounts of static and background noise. In short, you shouldn't run into any problems using the phone as a phone unless you live in an area that isn't covered by Sprint.

The Sprint factor
The F3 is a Sprint exclusive, with all the baggage that entails, and so it's perhaps most galling to see the bold, oversized "4G LTE" branding on the F3 box. Listen, Sprint, it's all well and good to say the F3 is ready for 4G LTE speeds, but first you need to actually build an extensive LTE network. If you're thinking of purchasing the F3, please do your homework and check your coverage first. Here in San Francisco there is one narrow strip of the city with Sprint LTE coverage, and even 4G coverage is far from ubiquitous. In fact I'd say the F3 ended up running on 3G more often than 4G during my review period, which, especially in such a tech-heavy city, is downright cruel. Just make sure you're hooked up to WiFi if you're trying to download apps or browse the web.

The bottom line
If you haven't upgraded since the last time the Yankees won the World Series (yes, it was that long ago) and you're looking for a mid-tier phone at a superb price, the F3 might be right for you—sign with Sprint and the device will cost you the low, low price of free.

On the other hand, the F3 does little to stand out from its competitors. It's a solid phone, but ultimately forgettable. Not everyone needs the latest and greatest hardware, of course. The F3 is a fine phone for people who just want a phone, as foreign a concept as that might seem these days, and it's good of LG to provide those people a low-priced option.

But that doesn't necessarily make the F3 any better than average.

 

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