When Google came out with its own mobile-phone operating system called Android and licensed it for free, it gave handset companies with spotty software a chance to redeem themselves. One such phone that (thankfully) makes use of the free OS is the Torque G88.
Compared to the design and ergonomic atrocity that was the Torque DTV100, the G88 is a big step up based on first impressions. The phone is a simple slab of metallic brown casing, with dotted black plastic on one side for a good grip. On top is the power button, and under the screen are 3 buttons to navigate the phone’s interface. Volume buttons on the left and a camera-shutter button on the right comprise the rest of the G88’s sparse controls.
The Android OS on the G88 runs rather well even though it’s the older Donut version (ver. 1.6). It’s far from a speed demon, and there’s lag from the moment your fingers touch the screen to the time it responds, but not enough to harp strongly about. No word if Torque will come up with upgraded versions any time soon.
To gauge Android as an operating system, it would be between the functionality of Windows Mobile and the ease of use/eye candy of the iPhone OS. Anyone who has owned a phone with a touch-screen interface before will adapt to the Android-powered G88 quickly. As is becoming standard for smartphone software, SMS messages are threaded in conversation format.
The screen is terribly smudgy, though. Bring a cleaning cloth if you’re the type who wants your phone presentable at all times. And because the handset doesn’t have an Apple logo, best of luck finding a case that’s a perfect fit.
A microSD card expands the G88’s memory. Interestingly, it’s not an option if you want to use the 3.2-megapixel camera. Attempting to activate the camera without a memory card will prompt a message that asks for a microSD card.
The success of a touch-screen phone hinges on the quality and functionality of its screen. If the screen is bad, it will cripple the ability of the user to interface with the mobile. At first, the G88’s screen – notwithstanding its passion for attracting fingerprints – was okay. It wasn’t friendly to big thumbs, but it obeyed most of the time. Up until a few days into the review. The lower part of the screen just stopped responding to input, disabling the phone’s ability to respond to text messages.
The G88 could have succeeded in the budget smartphone niche, doing battle with the Samsung Corby line. Instead, a crucial component failed mid-juncture. Torque has improved a lot, but it’s playing with the big boys now. Go for the HTC Tattoo instead.
Better luck next time, Torque.
Click here to see the Torque G88 in the Buyer’s Guide.
Note: This may be a lemon unit. We’d have to borrow another one of this and see if the writer would still have the same experience. The rating may change based on that. – Editor