By August 31, 2010

LG Cookie Fresh (GS290) Review

CookieFresh-main So here we have the latest addition to the ‘Cookie’ range of mobile phones from LG, now we all know how popular the first LG Cookie was so how will the new one cope with the stiff competition out there? And can it really be better than its predecessor?

Read on to find out more.


The 10 Second Review:

  • Product: LG Cookie Fresh (GS290)
  • Price: From between £49.99 and £59.99 at various stores across the UK and from £109.99 SIM Free in the UK.
  • Summary: A different little handset that packs a few really cool features but overall doesn’t really give anything that would make it stand out from the crowd.
  • Best of: it’s very cheap to buy, simple to use user interface, good little music player.
  • Worst of: Feels cheap, lacks 3G and Wi-Fi, poor FM Radio.
  • Buy it now from: Various


What’s in the Box?

  • GS290 Handset
  • USB charging adapter
  • MicroUSB Sync/charge cable
  • 3.5mm Headphones/hands free
  • User Guide

Don’t forget to check out Matt’s Cookie Fresh unboxing video too.


LG GS290 Cookie Fresh specification:

  • 2G Network: GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
  • Dimensions: 108 x 52.9 x 12.5 mm
  • Weight: 89 g
  • TFT resistive touchscreen, 256K colors, 240 x 400 pixels, 3.0 inches
  • Flash UI
  • Cartoon UI with Live Square
  • Gesture shortcut
  • Accelerometer sensor for UI auto-rotate
  • Handwriting recognition
  • 3.5 mm audio jack
  • 1000 entries, Photocall
  • microSD, up to 16GB (verified)
  • GPRS: Class 12 (4+1/3+2/2+3/1+4 slots), 32 – 48 kbps
  • EDGE: Class 12
  • Bluetooth v2.1 with A2DP
  • USB v2.0
  • Camera: 2 MP, 1600×1200 pixels
  • SMS, MMS, Email, Push Email
  • WAP 2.0/xHTML, HTML
  • Stereo FM radio with RDS; built-in antenna
  • Java MIDP 2.1
  • Social network integration
  • Facebook native client
  • MP3/WMA/AAC player
  • MP4/H.263 player
  • Organizer
  • Voice memo
  • T9



On the top of the handset there is a standard 3.5mm headphone jack where users can use the provided headphones or their own if they preferred. There is also a place for a lanyard or charm to be placed.



On the right hand side there is a dedicated camera button, a lock key and a USB 2.0 connector.



On the left hand side there is an up/down volume rocker and a micro SD slot.



On the front of the handset there is the 3.0 inch TFT 240 x400 pixel resistive touch screen display, below the display are a number of buttons: these are the call button, multitasking button and end call button.



On the back of the handset there is a 2.0 Mega Pixel camera with the removable back cover which covers the length of the phone.




So here I am again with another greatly anticipated entry level handset from LG, the GS290 Cookie Fresh is the follow on handset from the extremely successful LG Cookie and I think that the reason for this handset being so popular is simply because it was different and people really like the different these days so I guess the question that most people will ask first of all is ‘what’s different about the new Cookie compared to the old one?’ well the answer to that is basically not a lot at all because as far as I am personally aware the software is much the same and the hardware is much the same as the older Cookie so it begs to differ why LG have called this a different phone to be honest. As I have no doubt that you will judge this for yourself I will now move onto the full review.



The first thing about this handset that I noticed was how light it is I mean it feels as though you aren’t even holding it when in the palm of your hand at times, I personally prefer a little weight behind my phones so this was a negative for me but I’m pretty sure that lots of people will like the featherweight feel to the phone.

I have noticed that the build quality isn’t particularly good to be honest and the reason that I think this is because the materials that LG have used although they feel solid the overall feel of the handset is of a cheaply made entry level mobile and I don’t like that about this phone at all.

This handset in my opinion though is designed in a brilliant way because everything is accessible with ease and also without the need to remove the back cover for anything else apart from to insert the battery and SIM card, the way that the phone is designed is in my opinion the way that all handsets should be designed today with the MicroSD memory card slot situated on the outside of the device, so basically I think that all of the buttons and slots on the handset are placed perfectly to be honest so I have nothing negative to say about this.

Moving onto the phone’s software now and I will start off by saying that I would have brought you a picture of the device’s lock screen but unfortunately the brightness of this particular screen was just too dark but hopefully you will be able to gain a good idea of what the Interface is like with my other pictures.

The user interface of the Cookie Fresh is LG’s very own and I must say that it’s very different but really cool at the same time, the reason that it’s different is because there are 3 home screens but only 1 of which can have dedicated ‘side widgets’ on it, this particular screen is not only customizable with the addition of widgets but the user can also change the pages theme to various different pictures and layouts, the reason that I mention this feature is because of what the different themes bring with them. You will have noticed that earlier on in this section I called the user interface different well here’s why:

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Basically as you can see above I have chosen a theme with an empty tree blowing in the wind (this is a still image) and it has widgets in little boxes, now this is a really clever feature on this phone because it limits the amount of widgets that you can place on the screen to however many boxes there are available, so the picture above is what I have chosen to give the best example to you guys so that you are able to see what is possible with these types of screens. Altogether there are a combined total of 19 different screen themes to choose from all of which have a different picture and a varied amount of spaces on screen for widgets, overall I do think that this is a super cool feature that the youngsters will love to play with.

The second of the 3 home screens is called Livesquare, this is the section where all the users recent contacts automatically turn into little avatars of people or animal pictures called Livecons, this feature is really clever because it enables users to easily call, text or edit the contact by simply pressing the livecon once and it then makes the icons at the bottom of the screen highlight to give you a choice of what to do.

Finally the 3rd home screen is basically the speed dial page where you can drag and drop a speed dial icon and then add your contacts to the icon and this is another way of easily accessing the call, text features of the handset.

Below are the 2 other home screens just to give you an idea of what they look like in action:

DSCF6491 (2) DSCF6482(2)


To many people how simple a mobile phone’s menu is, is sometimes the most important thing about the handset so you will all be very glad to know that menu navigation is so simple on this device, the reason for this in my opinion is because there are 3 different menu layout options and they are: zigzag, scrolling and screen by screen, I will tell you before I carry on that I preferred to use zigzag because 1-it’s the best looking layout and 2-it’s the easiest to navigate around so that’s the layout that you will see in the below picture. Anyway the zigzag layout has 4 horizontal columns filled with 4 different categories and they are as follows, Communication, entertainment, utilities and settings this is the main reason that I believe it’s the simplest layout for anyone as everything is set out into categories that are clearly marked and easy to access, the best thing about this particular menu theme is that all of the columns scroll across to reveal more icons which is a really cool and simple way to display a menu I think.

DSCF6493 (2)


The section in particular that I find to be a little odd though is the settings section, the reason for me thinking that it’s odd is because of the amount of different ‘settings’ there actually are when I would have said that the more sensible thing to do would be to put all of the settings into 1 easy to access screen icon but LG have chosen to do this very differently and have a different icon for things like screen settings, touch settings, phone settings and connectivity, now I’m not sure what people will make of this but I personally dislike it as I am very used to just going into 1 settings menu and sorting everything out that way but instead on this phone I have to choose different icons? A little weird if you ask me so below I will show you what I mean with a few pictures.

DSCF6499 (2) DSCF6498 (2) DSCF6497 (2) DSCF6496 (2)


There are a total of 3 social networking applications on the LG Cookie Fresh and they are Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. Of the 3 applications I was only able to use facebook and twitter as I don’t have a MySpace account but I would imagine that this application will work in much the same way as the 2 that I will talk about so I wouldn’t worry too much about it. I will point out first of all that if you are really into your social networking on portable devices then I would seriously suggest that you check network coverage for all of the mobile carriers here in the UK as signal strength plays a massive part in whether these applications work well or even work at all, because of the lack of 3G and Wi-Fi I found it increasingly difficult to use both of these applications as I always seemed to find myself getting annoyed because something wouldn’t load properly or even load at all and then if something such as a facebook post did refresh it took an absolute age to properly display the information on screen. The applications themselves are quite basic but get the job done as they say and are very simple to use, apart from the fact that you have to manually refresh to receive new posts on both facebook and twitter which can be annoying but it isn’t that much of a big deal to be honest. However I have managed to take a few screenshots of the facebook and twitter applications to show you what their interfaces are like.

DSCF6508 (2) clip_image034


I would like to move onto the internet browsing of this device now, let’s face it without 3G or Wi-Fi on a mobile phone these days there’s not really much point browsing the internet on your mobile to be honest as the length of time for it to load a page is just too slow and not everything loads properly to add to that. With this LG these problems are certainly there unfortunately, the browser itself isn’t too bad at all to be honest but it could really do with 3G or Wi-Fi then it would definitely be worth using but as this device has neither I found it very difficult to use indeed so I don’t have a screenshot of this feature to show you, overall the browsing experience even with full network signal just isn’t good enough even if this phone is a basic entry level handset so I was far from happy to use the browser for anything really.

One thing that really did disappoint me also is the lack of a YouTube application on this handset, other handsets around this price tag have one so why doesn’t this? Seems to be a little illogical because even though the phone lacks a proper source of network connection it would have been nice to see an application so I wasn’t happy, and I am pretty sure that the younger population who will most likely be interested in buying the Cookie Fresh because of its great price tag would also be unhappy to see the lack of a YouTube app as it is such a popular source of video footage on the internet and has been for quite some time now.

Next I shall talk about the phone’s media aspects like the music player, FM radio, voice recording and camera/video recording and playback to try and give you an overall idea about how the phone performs with certain things.

Onto the music player first then and I do have to admit that this is the one feature that I used so much! Now I am literally a music crazy person, music can at times be my life if I get low so you can imagine that I listen to a lot so when I first tried this music player I was immediately blown away with the sheer awesome sound, now this impressed me so much I was thinking to myself well how the heck can a phone of this type be this good at playing music? My answer to myself was because it is mainly geared towards being a fun and exciting phone to use which with the music player being this good it certainly is fun to use! The sound output with decent headphones resembles iPod sound output which as you are more than likely aware, is the brand to beat when it comes to music playback.

The player’s interface is quite good also as it shows the album artwork providing that it has been added to the memory card/phone memory along with the music, also shown on screen is the track name that you are playing, artist and album name, a shuffle button, repeat button for repeating track or album and a menu button which shows you, there is a drop down menu which lets you add the track you are listening to into your own created playlist. There is always information about each file so things such as: name, file size, date, time, title, artist, genre, track number, album and duration are present which can help to identify what you are listening to at any time. Another feature in the menu I found useful was you could turn the music player into sleep mode which I found handy as it saves your battery. The provided headphones are of decent quality but aren’t fantastic at all, so the sound quality that the headphone output is a little echoed but this depends on background noise and also what equaliser is active at the time, so if you are really passionate about your music and really want to listen to solid audio output then I strongly suggest that you use your own headphones.

Now I know that with a mobile phone it isn’t always a necessity that 1-it has an FM radio and 2-that the FM radio is any good, but with this handset it does have an FM radio but I wouldn’t recommend using it unless you are right next door to a radio transmitter as signal strength is a major issue with this feature, the area that I live in has pretty good radio reception and can usually get the local station and others from around the country such as Radio 1 but when I searched for stations on the phone it found only a couple and the interference was so bad that it wasn’t listenable at all.

The camera on this little handset is actually pretty good and provides a more than adequate picture quality for users to utilize. It is a 2.0 megapixel fixed focus camera with no flash but somehow those things just don’t matter that much because the camera lens is pretty good for a 2 megapixel, not having autofocus in the camera does pose a problem with close up shots as everything is just blurred as you will see in the below picture:


The picture around the flower isn’t too bad at all but if you take a closer look at the flower it is relatively blurred which does make it hard to appreciate the flower. The camera performs at its best when the lighting is very good, the pictures below are prime examples of pretty good pictures taken directly on the phone just to give you an insight as to what you will receive if you were to buy the phone.


The camera features a self timer just like any other camera and gives you the choices of 3 seconds, 5 seconds and 10 seconds. Another feature I tended to use was the exposure. I also find this useful on cameras especially if you’re in low or high lighting. You are able to select between the range of -4.5 – +4.5, I have added a few pictures below to show you what a photo would look like if you have it selected on -4.5, 0 or +4.5.

P250810_14.54 P250810_14.55 P250810_14.55_[01]

There are quite a few settings built in such as colour effect, white balance which will make the colours in the photo quite vibrant, there is also night mode which I found didn’t work very well as the photo quality was lowered quite considerably and also the pixilation was quite clear to see too.

In the camera settings there is an option to choose video recording and as soon as I had chosen to record a video and pressed record I was immediately disappointed as the video recording quality wasn’t good at all, it wouldn’t play the recorded video in full screen and showed a lot of pixilation plus when shooting video there are only 2 resolution options 320 x 240 and 176 x 144 which to be honest makes the playback woeful. The sound however was pretty good as it picked up even the sounds that I found it hard to hear clearly but still this doesn’t make the video recording very good to be honest.

As well as recording a video via the camera settings there is the option to put videos onto the handset themselves, I was quite excited to try the playback on this handset but found that the file formats that are supported is very limited which means that it prefers files of a small size and low frame rate and declaring others as being an unrecognized format, this I found to be so annoying because I do tend to watch a lot of video types on my personal phones so to have to watch only specific file formats of a specific size isn’t good at all.

Finally in the software I tried the voice recording feature which I found to be extremely basic but it does pick up a wide variety of sounds and levels of sound with ease, so good news for concert goers as the voice recorder on this device will perform admirably for you, however I personally wouldn’t be using it regularly as it is really basic.

Now that I have gone through the phone’s features with you I might as well talk about what you really want to know.the voice calling and texting qualities.

I will first talk about voice calls, on the LG Cookie Fresh I found that first of all signal on a total of 3 different networks was nothing short of fantastic I always seemed to have full signal so when it came to calling a friend or partner I could hear them so clearly and they could also hear me very clearly too, so this feature of the handset was something that really impressed me a lot and for this reason alone the phone is a worthy entry into the market for call quality at least. To actually call a contact is an absolute breeze as contacts and the keypad are within easy reach as both shortcuts are on the home screen constantly which is a nice little feature indeed. There is an even easier way of calling someone on this phone as when you have placed a call to a person it will automatically be placed in the recent history page which as you can see in the picture below is easily accessible from the keypad.

Below you will see a picture of the keypad to show you what I mean:


To text someone is also a breeze mainly because there is a choice of a numerical keypad or a full QWERTY keyboard with the press of an on screen button! Finally an entry level handset that has QWERTY, as you can guess by my excitement that I have been waiting for a long time for this seemingly simple feature to arrive in such handsets, and now it has so I was so happy to text my friends on this phone as by having the QWERTY keypad it actually makes using the touch screen a much more fulfilling experience as I personally found it easier to press the letters and numbers.

Below are 2 photos, 1 is of the numerical keypad and the other is of the full QWERTY:

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As I come to the end of my review of the LG Cookie Fresh I’d like to mention the incredible battery life that the handset has no matter how much the phone is used it manages to keep battery for around 3 and a half days without turning it off! I’ve never had a phone do that for me! Certainly a pleasant surprise I’m sure you’ll agree.




Here we are again at the end of my review and overall I have been pleasantly surprised with the performance of such a cheap to buy handset, yes the phone has it’s negative things but it also has a lot going for itself but I wouldn’t purchase it for myself or for anyone that I know as I know that they would have mostly the same views as me on a few things.

I would think as I think I have mentioned once or twice in my review that the device is primarily designed for the youngsters of this world as it lacks features that older generations have grown to care a lot about such as 3G and Wi-Fi.

As the conclusion to my review I will say a closing statement that unfortunately my opinion is that as a ‘follow on’ handset from the extremely popular original LG Cookie the LG GS290 Cookie Fresh just isn’t a worthy successor to be honest.


Review by: Chris

[ Post Tags: LG Cookie Fresh, LG, LG GS290, ]

Posted in: Reviews

About the Author:

More than 20 years in the IT industry. Blogging with a passion and thirst for new technology since 2005.
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