Sunday, January 26, 2014

LG 420G glitches

I've noticed a fair share of glitches in the LG 420G phone I've been using, and looking around on the internet it looks like others have noticed them too.  Here's what I've noticed, along with commentary, and where available, workarounds.  Since it's probably applicable, the phone I have is using the firmware version LG420GHL_V10f.  You can find this by going to the main menu, then Settings, then Phone Information.
  • The main menu's scrollbar shows up in the middle of the screen rather than on the right side where it belongs - This seems to be caused by closing the phone while it's booting up, and/or having it closed when it finishes booting.  In my tests, if I leave it open until it finishes booting, the scroll bar shows up correctly 100% of the time.
  • Free incoming text messages if received via the outer display with the phone closed - yes.  If you open the phone, then you'll have to spend minutes, even if you close it again and wait for another message.
  • Signal occasionally drops to zero in areas where it shouldn't - I don't know what causes this, but a reboot seems to fix it.  Maybe the radio is turning itself off for some reason?  Side note, this happened to me no fewer than four times on Thursday at MAGFest.  I know I wasn't out of range of any signal because I was in the Gaylord, and the Gaylord has money.
  • Displays not turning off after the alarm goes off - This seems to only happen if you open the phone to deal with the alarm.  At this point the only way to get the displays to turn off is to turn the phone off and back on.  If you use the outer display to deal with the alarm, the displays will turn off properly according to your settings.  Also notable: the alarm clock works when the phone is off, making it quite suitable for a backup alarm to your regular alarm clock, in case you lose power.  Doubly notable: if you have an alarm configured but not turned on, the phone "wakes up" briefly at the configured time, even though the alarm isn't turned on.
  • Not receiving calls despite being in perfect signal - this happens occasionally, to fix it either reboot the phone or make a call yourself.  People have noticed that a lot of RF activity is happening on the phone during the time of the missed call, this is audible if you hold the phone near your computer speakers.  Perhaps maybe the reason why I don't experience it much is because I have Twitter mobile notifications turned on, so I'm getting text messages fairly regularly?
  • Related to Twitter mobile notifications and using the outer screen to get free incoming text messages, if you have the phone off for a period of time and then turn it back on, there will likely be a stream of text messages waiting for you.  The phone and/or network is usually quite insistent about getting one message nearly instantly after the phone boots.  You'll have little choice but to induce the scroll bar bug and close the phone while it's booting up so you can get the message on the outer screen.  Once all the messages have come in, you can safely reboot to fix the scroll bar bug.
People also claim the phone's battery life is bad, but it ships with BlueTooth turned on and these people likely don't notice that it's on.  If you turn off BlueTooth, the battery life is quite reasonable.  BlueTooth is something you should only have on when you're going to be using it anyway, it's essentially an extra wireless radio to chew through your battery.

Also worth noting is that there are plenty of applications available for the 420G, but TracFone of course employs a rudimentary means of blocking any application they didn't make.  This can be worked around easily, though.  Open the application's .jar file in an archive program like 7-zip.  In the MANIFEST folder, extract MANIFEST.MF and open it in a text editor.  Add the following two lines to this file, save, and drop your modified MANIFEST.MF back in to the MANIFEST folder.  Now, transfer the .jar to the phone and it will gladly install the application for you.
Author: TracFone TracFone-price: 0.0
Is there much use for this?  Probably not, most applications for the 420G kind of suck.  At first it looks like there are a wide variety of free games available, but every single one of them is a crippled demo that rudely interrupts you at some point with a message saying "buy the full game!", and the full game generally isn't worth it.  However, you can download Opera Mini and use it instead of the phone's built-in browser.  Not only is Opera Mini more visually appealing, but you can easily set it up to not immediately start charging you for data as soon as you launch it, unlike the built-in browser.

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