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Former F3 User, Detailed Tribute Review After 1 Week

Discussion in 'Android Devices' started by larrytxeast, Nov 7, 2014.

  1. larrytxeast

    larrytxeast Member
    Thread Starter

    Last Friday, exactly a week ago, I changed my F3, which I'd had since a week after the past Thanksgiving, over to the Tribute. I had pondered getting a Volt, but as I'm a cheapskate, I hadn't done so yet. I learned of the Tribute, and decided to go for it as a "compromise" of sorts.

    Since many F3 users (and I was one) seem to be considering the Tribute, but there is no LG Tribute forum, I thought I'd post my detailed "after a week of usage" impressions for any considering it. (There is a CNET review and they give good remarks on it, for what that's worth.)

    Short answer--unless the KitKat SD issue is huge for you, I'd go for it if you're ready to move on from the F3 but you don't want to spend $150 on the LG Volt.

    Now, for the details.

    It Feels More Refined and Smoother
    The LG F3 had never been a phone that I had issues with in terms of its "lag" or whatever, but over time that had changed, even after wiping the phone. This seemed to happen after the system updates that you are relentlessly nagged about, but I won't say for sure (nor can I determine which version was the point when I started noticing this). It did start to improve a bit when I installed an app called "App Cache Cleaner" by INFOLIFE, but by that point, my feelings about the phone had become "tainted" I guess you could say, even though the app helped things somewhat. I'll elaborate on that here for a bit.

    GPS is Faster
    In particular, the GPS, which had always been rock-solid, started becoming more iffy. Understand--I keep GPS functionality turned off until I need it, and expect the phone to "get a lock" quickly upon enabling it. (Location services sans GPS is typically always on, though.) The F3 always had been quick to do that, but now it would take a good 2-odd minutes or so, versus the 5-10 seconds it had previously required.

    With the Tribute, the GPS locks on QUICKLY, even with me having GPS disabled until I need it. This is a HUGE deal for me.

    UPDATE, November 14th--I've now had the phone for 2 weeks, and I can say, in my experience anyway, this phone has the fastest GPS I've ever seen, perhaps even beating ones like the LG Optimus V. I typically leave GPS functionality turned off until I need it, I then turn GPS on, fire up Maps, Waze or GPS Status, and look for a quick lock despite the fact that it's "waking up from hibernating" as it were. This phone has not disappointed, it locks on INSTANTLY. If you are like me and want a phone with fast and sure GPS, this will not disappoint.

    One observation, I may be repeating myself--GPS is not as much of an off/on as before. Before, with Jellybean on the F3, you had quick access in the notifications area to switching GPS off/on quickly. Now, if you do that, using the "Location" bubble that's now where GPS was (in the notifications area)you will also turn off all location services, goofing up apps like Weatherbug which depend on having at least "network" location services operating. To turn off GPS but without turning off "network" location services, you have to go to the main settings.

    Fortunately, I found a "widget app" called "GPS On Off Widget" that gives you quick homescreen access to these settings, and it also shows you Off/On with respect to GPS status. This has helped a lot with quickly engaging GPS when I need it but also quickly turning GPS ALONE off when I'm done.

    Also, with respect to "lag," when I back out of apps or go home etc, it doesn't "lag" as much doing that as the F3 had been doing as of late (although, again, the App Cache Cleaner did help somewhat).

    Maybe it's the KitKat software, maybe it's newer specs, I don't know, but overall I find the Tribute to be "smoother" and considerably less "laggy" than the F3 had been as of late.

    Battery Life
    So far, battery life seems about the same as my F3. I can get through the day, BARELY so. I carry "power bank" batteries on me, on most days a single 2600mah one (or something like the PNY T2200) is enough to ensure it lasts all day with plenty to spare.

    At first, I was disappointed at how the on-screen buttons of the Tribute (vs capacitive/physical of the F3) ate into the screen real estate of this newer phone. I still feel that way somewhat. It means that the 4.5" size is not as much of an improvement over the 4" as it could be at times.

    Still, it is an improvement. It seems a bit crisper and "punchier," and I can get more icons on the home-screen than before (apparently the screen is wider). I use Apex launcher, and on the F3 I could manage a 5x4 layout. On the Tribute, I can squeeze in a 5x5 layout. That amounts to 5 extra icons on the homescreen. (I still have 6 icons in the "dock" on the bottom, as before.)

    Speaking of Apex, on my F3, often-times it would "forget" I wanted to use Apex and would return to the "stock" LG home screen, and I'd have to call up Apex again. That isn't happening on my Tribute, and I much appreciate not having to constantly remind it that way.

    I didn't notice the presence of a notification LED (the F3 had one located around the physical home button). No matter, I use the NoLED app (madmack) for those purposes anyway.

    I Love "Knock-On" For Waking Up the Screen
    At first, I missed having the physical home button for one major reason--it was how I "woke up" my F3 without having to mess with that tiny, hard to reach (and prone to wear, I figure) power button on the side. Now I was apparently going to having to mess with the power button on my Tribute, and I wasn't caring much for that.

    Not to worry, Totally by accident, I discovered that you can "wake up" the screen on the Tribute simply by tapping on it twice quickly (sometimes it takes a second try). That was a big relief for me, I not only don't have to fiddle with a tiny power button as I thought I'd have to on my Tribute, I also prefer it to pressing the physical home button as I did on my F3.

    I did change the unlock method from the "knock-code" style to "draw pattern," the same as on my F3.

    On-Screen Buttons Vs Capacitive Buttons
    Also, over time, I've come to prefer having a non-physical home button in the general sense, it's smoother vs having to press the F3's button quite so hard. (That said, off-screen capacitive buttons could've done the same thing.)

    At first, I missed the absence of a dedicated menu button. However, I learned from a previous posting {link} a really important thing--that "long-pressing" the recent apps button activates a menu button.

    That was a huge help for me with many apps. For instance, I use Opera Mini a lot, and I have always set the navigation bar to the "off" setting, as I can call it up with the menu key when I need it and this saves screen real estate. Initially, I was having to change the settings to have the navigation bar on display at all times, eating up screen real estate. Once I realized this trick, I was able to revert back to hiding the navigation bar. This pleased me greatly.

    Also, in the Facebook app, one of the first things you will want to do is turn off the video auto-play feature. Getting to those settings without a menu button requires quite a trip (I can't even recall where exactly). However, again, long-press the recent-apps button--there you go. In Dolphin Mini, there are certain settings you can only get to via a menu button, I saw no way to get there as there is no "gears" icon. Again, long-press recent apps, there you go.

    Quick-Settings Under Notifications Not As Good To Me
    One thing they changed for the worse was the LG quick settings bar located under the notifications area. On the F3, it was more customizable and had more options. I could turn GPS off yet still have location services on, for one. On the Tribute, that button is now "Location," and turning it off turns off ALL location services, when all I wanted to do was turn off the GPS part. I thus now have to use the Quick Settings APP I also have installed (I used it on my F3 also) to change the GPS settings. However, I can still use the Locations icon under navigations to quickly enable GPS when I need it, I simply have to go the longer route for turning off GPS without also turning off all location services.

    Also, I prefer the brightness BUTTON of the F3 to the "slider" on the Tribute, as the "slider" eats up too much screen real estate. Again, I now use the "slider" on the Quick Settings APP.

    The "quickslide" apps is gone now, oh well, I didn't use it, and that frees up screen real estate in the notifications area.

    The Big Gotcha--KitKat and microSD
    You guessed it, and somehow I forgot about this when I bought the phone. (I don't regret my purchase, though, despite this issue, because the phone is smoother and thus doesn't inflame my temper that way.)

    Yes, with KitKat, you now have a major crippling with respect to microSD support. On other phones which are supported for root, you can work your way around this, but the LG Tribute, at the time I write this, is not yet supported for rooting, hence the issue.

    This may be more of an issue with other people than it is with me. In my case, I don't have a lot of media on my phone, I still use a stand-alone MP3 player, and the few video files I do have on there are .mp4 files which came from my computer, and I'd be apt to upload those to the phone via the card reader route anyway.

    I use microSD mainly for having "File Expert" create .apk files of my apps, and for having my favorite resized photos synced via Google Drive. With the former, I can still do this simply having having File Expert write the files to internal memory initially and then use the STOCK file manager (not ES File Explorer any longer) to move them where they need to ultimately go.

    That is an important point to make--you still can move files to the microSD, or from one spot on the microSD to the other, with the "stock" file manager program.

    The main thing that's broken for me, besides now having to use the "stock" file manager vs ES File Explorer for many things, is that now the auto-syncing of my favorite photos from PC to phone now will have to reside in internal memory. (If I subsequently move the files to microSD, the app, "Autosync For Google Drive," will mistakenly resync all the photos again unnecessarily.) I suppose I could set it up this way and then have the "stock" file manager instead COPY the photos to the microSD (vs moving them), after all, the photos only add up to about 200 megabytes total.

    Regardless, it does mean that it's another thing to mess with if I have to "wipe" my phone, I've always taken comfort that I had all of that on the microSD before, safe from any "wiping."

    That Said (Apps to SD Card)
    UPDATE November 11th--one thing I forgot, the Tribute, unlike the F3 as I understand it (unless you root the F3), lets you move apps to the microSD card. This can be of much help with making sure the internal memory has plenty of breathing room. In my case, it would allow me room for having Autosync for Google Drive sync the resized JPEGs to the internal memory, as there would now be plenty of room for this. (I could still always make backup copies to the microSD so if I wipe the phone it wouldn't take as long for it to re-sync etc.)

    In Closing
    Unless the KitKat SD issue is a huge one (again, I don't like it, but I work around it using the "stock" file manager, and I don't have tons of media files I'm moving around all of the time), I would go for the Tribute if you have the F3 and want something else but don't want to spend $150 on the LG Volt. Compared to the F3, it's smoother, apps don't stutter/stick/lag as much, the display is better even if not as much as 4.5 vs 4 would suggest, the GPS locks quickly, and the issues I thought would be a problem (no physical home button for "waking" up the phone, no visible menu key) all worked themselves out very well.

    Also, I was concerned because, due to the fact that the LG Tribute has only been on the market about a month when I'm writing this, I couldn't find a case for my Tribute like the one I had for my F3. It was a "rigid" case with a kickstand for VERTICAL usage (I do not like using my phone horizontally except when watching a video clip etc). When I looked, initially they were all showing as being only available as a pre-order due to ship out on Nov 28th. I found one available immediately for $8 {link}.

    My F3 now resides in the drawer, simply there in case this one gets lost or broken. Other than using "Colornote" on it in the kitchen for looking up recipes without exposing my new Tribute to "kitchen chaos," or for having on hand so if my Tribute gets lost or broken I can immediately have a working phone right away, I am totally switched over and am happy for doing it. As long as I can curb "LG Volt lust" (or doing something really rash and going to Verizon so I can get an LG G3 or such), I am good now, and glad to have retired my F3.

    NeoZiggy, daffyducknj and bkttk2 like this.

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  2. bkttk2

    bkttk2 Android Enthusiast

    I've experienced the same as what you identified. I like the Tribute just dislike the SD issues.

    Great summary.
  3. larrytxeast

    larrytxeast Member
    Thread Starter

    Yes, I felt inclined to post that "mini review" if you will for anyone who has the F3 and is considering the Tribute, which I sort of sense is a decent amount of people. Having just used the F3 right up until Friday of last week (Oct 31st), I figured I could provide some perspective.

    One slight change I might observe--battery life may be a bit LONGER than the F3. I went to work today with it and I didn't need to use a "power bank" at any point, it made it home. Typically I will invoke the usage of a power bank if it slips below 50%, which the F3 typically did pretty early into my shift (which is typically at night). My Tribute didn't dip below until maybe an hour before my shift was over, rather than doing it perhaps 5 hours before my shift was over. I therefore didn't feel any need to invoke the power bank.

    Then again, the battery life may be longer simply because the battery has less usage on it, I don't know.

    Also, many of the "soft" cases for the Samsung Galaxy S3 will sort of fit it. I picked up a "wallet case" for it at Dollar General, it was one with a "skin" case attached to a wallet case that covers the screen; that way I'd have something until the case I ordered came in. It was for a Galaxy S3. The Tribute actually fits into it at least good enough to get me by for awhile until the case I ordered arrives.
    daffyducknj and bkttk2 like this.
  4. robaho

    robaho Well-Known Member

    how are you using so much battery at work? don't you work? or is your phones sleep mode broken?
  5. daffyducknj

    daffyducknj Android Enthusiast

    I had larry's issue with the battery when my rooted F3 began overheating uncontrollably. I'm chalking it up to a manufacturing defect on my phone. I never used my F3 constantly, and even removed a lot of programs that I thought contributed to my overheating issues, like social media apps, and even turning off auto sync. I even tried to leave my F3 off for extended periods a few times... still didn't do anything to correct the problem! Never used an overclock kernel, or did major system tweaks like altering the build.prop file.

    So far, the battery on my Tribute is great. It usually lasts me the whole day before bedtime, and I can even leave auto sync on. I have a portable power pack like larry's in case it's needed.

    Because of memory issues, I've chosen to put web links to some social sites like Pinterest and twitter on the home screen. I have facebook, gmail and messenger installed; these are a few of the apps I have installed that use auto sync. My Tribute never gets too warm, even when watching flash video for a few hours. I could never say that about the F3; mine overheated after an hour's worth of video!
  6. daffyducknj

    daffyducknj Android Enthusiast

  7. robaho

    robaho Well-Known Member

    I think you misunderstood my point ...
  8. roadkill42

    roadkill42 Android Expert

    there is an app that partly the ext SD card called nextapp sdcard fix
  9. larrytxeast

    larrytxeast Member
    Thread Starter

    Also, Tribute Lets You Move Apps to the SD Card
    I will have to check on that (not sure if it requires rooting). Also, one thing I forgot--the Tribute lets you move apps to the microSD card. That would help clear up room so the internal memory could, I suppose, now be used for hosting the resized JPEGs synced from Google Drive (with them, again, also having COPIES backed up to the microSD). I haven't gotten around to doing it yet, but will soon.

    Someone mentioned the overheating thing--yes, the Tribute is better than the F3 with respect to that. The only time I had the issue was the day I got it, and even then I had it charging while laying in direct sunlight on a very warm and sunny day. That was the only time. It's so nice to be able to turn the screen onto full bright and not have it dim it a bit and nag you about the "overheat" issue. That got on my nerves with the F3.

    I appreciate the link about the case, although I wouldn't want that one because the kickstand is only for horizontal usage, I much prefer vertical. The one I linked to arrived yesterday and works great, and allows vertical usage. But hey, more options are always good.
  10. hiwatt

    hiwatt Android Enthusiast

    Don't both of these phones have the same amount of ROM, 4GB? Am I missing something here? Does the Tribute utilize that better than the F3? Because my phone is running outta memory and this doesn't seem like an upgrade, unless I am really missing something.
  11. larrytxeast

    larrytxeast Member
    Thread Starter

    Why The Tribute Seems Faster
    The specifications do seem similar, but my Tribute does seem quite a bit less laggy than my F3.

    Now, understand several things.

    (1) It seems like my F3 had been laggy (the GPS being a large part of that) after the 3-odd system updates had installed over the past year, but not as much earlier on. Had I bothered to root and installed a custom ROM that was composed of the earlier firmware, that might have fixed that somewhat. Also, as I mentioned, that "App Cache Cleaner" app (which quickly deletes all cache data) did help also.

    (2) What I've read about KitKat is that it's more "lightweight" vs previous OS systems in Android and that it's observed to be "smoother." So it may be the change from Jellybean to KitKat which accounts for this.

    (2) I am not a pro tester of sorts, I'm mostly an "everyday user." I may be a bit of what one would call a "power user," or maybe a "Jr Power User," insomuch that I know what file managers and apk files are and I'm not one of those you see who is surprised at the PDA Palm Pilot-era functions that smartphones inherited (you know, those who still write down their appointments and scribble notes in notepad when PDA functions can do that much better). However, I don't fancy myself someone with hard-core knowledge of phones either.

    Appendix to Earlier Observations (GPS)
    A couple of PS observations about the Tribute, sort of an "appendix" to my 1st posting.

    I mentioned earlier about the GPS on the F3 getting to where it lagged, when it hadn't been that way before. I've used the GPS on my Tribute more since writing that up a week ago, and that has got to be the fastest GPS I've ever seen with respect to "getting a lock" quickly even if I'm somewhere different and I've left GPS off until that moment, as I typically do. I typically leave location services on but in the "battery saving, networks only" setting to where GPS functionality is turned off (that's how KitKat does it if you have location services on but GPS off). I will open those settings up, re-engage GPS, then open Maps or GPS status, and--while moving, mind you--the device will lock-on to my current location often-times in less than 5 seconds, even faster than models like my LG Optimus V which were solid and fast.

    Now THAT is how it should work. (My F3 used to take maybe 10 seconds, totally acceptable, when I first got it, but in time, until I started doing the cache-clearing thing, it could take 2-odd minutes to lock.)

    As a quick aside to that--since GPS on this phone is not a simple off-on (due to KitKat changes I'd imagine), tapping "location" off turns off ALL location services not just GPS, I installed an "widget app" called "GPS On Off Toggle Widget" that provides a homescreen shortcut to the location services settings, to make changing those settings quickly easier than it would be otherwise. (The GPS section of the "Quick Settings App" does that, but it takes more taps, especially for backing out when you're done, I wanted very quick access for that particular setting.)
    daffyducknj and bkttk2 like this.
  12. daffyducknj

    daffyducknj Android Enthusiast

    F&*;, for some reason I want to find a cheap used F3 or Volt...

    I WANT ROOT!!! *burp* :D

    OK, don't worry, not about to throw my Tribute down a river in SoCal. Still loving it, just miss root access a little. Anyone have any luck trying to root this thing? I tried SRS Root on it yesterday, and of course, it didn't work. I also found out that there's no su file in the system. I think most of my previous phones had su (F3, Kyocera Rise and Event) before I rooted them. Might be wrong on that.

    Gherkaul seems to be right about LG patching a lot of the current exploits out in the cyber wilderness... DURNIT! :rolleyes:
  13. retroviral

    retroviral Lurker

    I am new to the whole rooting/flashing thing, but I bring with me experience of custom flashing different OS roms to apple products. I cannot count the amount of times, since I switched to Android, that I wished there was a Rockbox app for this platform. Sigh... Anyhow, I recently upgraded phones to the LG Tribute (it was a promotional giveaway at Boost Mobile.) and I love the phone. But I hate, hate, LOATHE the whole microSD crap. I can't even use PodKicker because the stock RAM is so low and KitKat won't allow PK to save 'casts to the SD. I have been waiting patiently for a root exploit for this phone, but I am afraid that not enough people are going to use it, and no Root will ever be found. I don't have the necessary skills to develop an exploit myself, so I have to sit around and wait on the nerdier nerds to do so for me. I am tempted to wait until an upgrade to Lollipop is available and cross my fingers that Android has rectified the whole SD debacle in that iteration.
  14. retroviral

    retroviral Lurker

  15. retroviral

    retroviral Lurker

    Nevermind, it's one of those "you have to complete a survey to download" scams.
  16. masterchief3k

    masterchief3k Well-Known Member

    Making sure your wifi turns off automatically when the phone sleeps is the number 1 fix for overheating and unnecessary battery usage. The data radio sips power in comparison, oddly enough. My phone would be a fireball if i left it under my pillow at night with wifi always on. It was cool and had barely touched the battery through the night when it was set to turn off during sleep (only when plugged in it is always on)

    When I had been rooted, and used the advancedstock 20 rom, it gave me amazing performance and battery life, but for some reason, if i let the battery die, it slowly corrupted my phone to the point using recovery wasn't helpful, so i had to use the unbrick method..
  17. daffyducknj

    daffyducknj Android Enthusiast

    D'oh... I used to do just that with my optimus v. My Tribute doesn't overheat when I leave wifi on though. It's a better piece of hardware compared to my fried f3. It's also much better in battery life with or without WiFi /3g on. Turning them off does improve battery further.
  18. masterchief3k

    masterchief3k Well-Known Member

    Sort of off topic thought: I never had heat issues with an iPod touch, but i've heard iPhones can uncontrollably heat up and even explode if left under a pillow, and charging all night. But all Apple products have lame battery life.

LG Optimus F3 Forum

The LG Optimus F3 release date was June 2013. Features and Specs include a 4.0" inch screen, 5MP camera, 1GB RAM, Snapdragon 400 processor, and 2460mAh battery.

June 2013
Release Date

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