For most people, the era of flip phones has passed. Some would assume that the good, old days of this retro, light weight devices has gone by. If you have trouble remembering one of those handsets, maybe the mention of Moto Razr series could bring back some memories. But that really isn’t the case. Flip phones were cool, and believe it or not, they still have a potential for bringing in a revolution in the smartphone industry.
Not very long ago, LG unveiled the Wine Smart (known as Gentle in the South Korean market), an Android-based flip phone with a small screen and limited camera capabilities. Although it was pretty much clear that the device wouldn’t be able to compete with the more sizeable smartphones floating in the market at that time, it was nice to see something fresh emerging in the market. Aimed at users who wouldn’t compromise when starting trends, the LG Wine Smart was launched in the third quarter of 2015 and has a significant fan following to this day.
Being a flip phone, let’s start by saying that it is sleeker than any Android handset manufactured of late. It stands at a mere 16.6mm thickness and is made of plastic that looks like brushed aluminum. However, considering the price, that is certainly not an area we could complain about. The device is available in two colours – burgundy red and dark blue, both glossy. There is no display on the exterior, and the rear panel of the device features the camera, two tiny speakers, and the LG logo right below it. However, there is a LED light at the left bottom corner of the screen that indicates missed calls and other notifications the device receives.
The main display is an IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, although only 3.2inches. It supports a maximum resolution of 480x320 pixels and a calculated pixel density of 180ppi. Now, it goes without saying that the display performs like an average device, and the screen is just large enough for you to look at the text (emails) and reply, and quickly glance at images.
The LG Wine Smart does not score much when it comes to hardware, sadly. The presence of Snapdragon 210 as the processor (a quad-core chip clocked at 1.1GHZ) coupled with 1GB of RAM does not give it enough power to perform simultaneous tasks seamlessly. Switching through a few open applications causes lag, despite the fact that the phone contains a very limited amount of bloatware.
The device uses an Adreno 304 as its graphical processing unit, but the images on-screen lack clarity. The inbuilt 4 gigs of ROM also appears insufficient, given the fact that user memory is limited to 1.4GB. The memory can be extended, though, and the phone also gives you the option to transfer applications to the Micro SD card.
The main camera is a 3.2MP unit, which offers decent colour reproduction, but not much detail. Undoubtedly, this is not the phone you are looking for if capturing images and videos is an essential part of your regular phone use. But if you are amongst those that enjoy clicking a quick picture occasionally, the camera does its job pretty well. Low light images are handled well too, but the camera app misses a few features, though that would not be a deal breaker.
The secondary camera is a 0.3MP unit but performs similarly to a VGA camera. Selfies taken from this unit are below the mark, and there’s no other practical usage for it.
In addition to the micro USB v2.0 and the 3.5mm audio jack, the LG Wine Smart does not feature any other physical input port. However, it does have support for all major wireless protocols (802.11 b/g/n) and Bluetooth v4.1, but it lacks Hotspot and Wi-Fi Direct. Nevertheless, it comes equipped with a GPS and the FM radio.
The device also houses a 1700mAh Li-Ion battery unit, which is thankfully removable. Although not much, it stands a day of moderate usage with a single cycle of full charge.