What's Good: Nice design, coupled with a good QWERTY keyboard makes the LG Fathom a nice mid-range smartphone.
What's Bad: Windows Mobile is a bit long in the tooth (even though it's 6.5.3).
The Verdict: If you're a Windows Mobile fan, or you have to have it for your job, the Fathom is the one to go with. Otherwise, there are better alternatives on the market.
On looks alone, the Fathom is a winner. Though it's made of plastic, the top is engineered with slight lines in it, giving it a metal look. The Fathom sports a 1 GHz Snapdragon processor, making it relatively snappy in most applications. The device is sturdy, and the hinge opens with a noticeable "click," revealing a four row QWERTY keyboard. Though there's a D-pad in the same place as on the Motorola DROID, the device is much shorter, making it easier to type on the keyboard. Keys are tactile and easy to use, and I found myself typing messages with ease.
The Fathom is packed with all sorts of exterior buttons and ports. On the left side, the 3.5mm headphone jack, volume rocker, and microUSB charging port can be found, while the microSD card slot, stylus, shortcut key, and camera button can be found on the right side. The power button is on the top, and the 3.2-megapixel camera is on the back. With an included SIM card slot located under the battery, the device joins Verizon's lineup of world-capable devices. It's not available for use in the States, but when traveling internationally, it gives you the ability to keep your phone number while dialing back home.
I've been working with the LG Fathom in the Charlotte metro area, and in testing, call quality has been on par with other Verizon Wireless devices. Despite the Fathom showing a lower number of "bars," quality was equal across the board. I took the phone to a Verizon dead zone yesterday, and had no problems making a phone call. Speakerphone is on par with other devices, and I paired a Bluetooth headset without a problem. The phone in an EVDO Rev. A device, so browsing is relatively quick. The mobile CNN homepage loaded in nine seconds, and data-centric applications like VZ Navigator and Windows Marketplace worked flawlessly.
Packing a 1500 mAh battery, the Fathom has an estimated talk time of seven hours and standby time of about 20 days. I'm still working with battery numbers, but thus far, they've been relatively average for a smartphone. On a full charge, I was able to make it through the day with moderate use (texting, calling, occasional Bluetooth use, and use of the web).
It's Windows Mobile 6.5.3, and from a software perspective, there's really nothing new (save for button placement and a few minor things). But Fathom's hardware is nice, and the QWERTY keyboard performs well. Battery life has been surprisingly decent to date, and signal strength is in line with other Verizon devices. Full review coming soon!