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Review GSM phone LG B2100
LG strives for varying its model line as much as possible. Reasoning from this, many devices are manufactured on the base of the old platform. The LG B2100 is one of them; this is a successor of the LG B2000 different in the presence of an integrated camera and lacking FM-radio. It's a typical 100-150 USD segment device with a thin design that is getting so popular among all the manufacturers now. An important moment concerning the B-series by LG is replacing the models manufactured by third companies with own ones. That allows controlling the quality of the phones.
The model is interesting for its size of 105.5 x 44 x 15.9 mm, while the weight is 73 grams. The device lies well in a hand and is thin. There are several colour solutions different only in the color of the front panel. The back of the device is made of a dark plastic.
The screen is 65K STN and has the resolution of 128x128 pixels that allows showing up to 5 text lines and one service line. The quality of the picture and its brightness are average. The model is comparable with the phones by LG but evidently loses to Siemens (CF62, С65, for example). The quality of the colurs is better than in Motorola C380, C650. The differences are not as significant and in general we may say the models are comparable in this parameter. The screen fades in the sun greatly but if to find a necessary viewpoint you will make something out.
The keypad has a terrace-like disposition with averagely sized buttons. Despite their close disposition, the buttons are comfortable to work with. The backlighting is blue and even, the characters are well-seen on all the buttons. The navi button is 4D and an OK one is absent.
There is an interface connector on the bottom end and a strap hole on the top one. A headset connector closed with a rubber shutter is on the left-side surface. The shutter is thick, it peels off and, that's a pity, gets deformed with time. The connector is placed not very comfortably, since as a rule there are no cuts in a holster in that place. A separate camera button is on the right, it is distinguished with colour and made of rubber as different from all other buttons.
A back panel hides a 780 mAh Li-Ion battery. According to the manufacturer the phone is capable of working for 250 hours in the standby mode and up to 3.5 hours in the talk mode. In Moscow the device worked for about 4 days in case of 45 minutes of talks and 25minutes of using other functions and up to 2 hours of listening to the radio. Full recharging takes a bit more than 1.5 hours.
You can change profiles and call the most frequently used menu items with help of navigation key (to press to the left or to the right). The main menu is presented as a number of items of menus, and all the submenus are lists. Left deviation is assigned to the radio, traditionally, there is a Favorities item where you can set the most frequently used functions. There is a shortcut number navigation.
Phonebook. There is a possibility to save up to 200 names in internal memory, up to 5 fields for a name (4 numbers, one e-mail address). Also you may choose a users' group and an icon. The icons are preset pictures of people faces and animals, they vary the appearance greatly. During a call the chosen picture will be displayed besides a name on the screen.
When entering your data you'll have to choose the main number and only then add others one after another, by the way, some of them may be missed. The total list may contain both numbers from SIM-card memory and from the internal one.
There are 7 users' groups and it is possible to set a personal melody and a picture for each one (that is another set of pictures).
Messages. There is a support for EMS that allows attaching melodies, pictures to messages, format text and sending concatenated messages. The phone supports predictive text input in various languages including Russian. There are up to 11 editable templates, 6 of them are preset.
The device supports MMS and the company made it possible to format several pages, insert several pictures instead of one.
All the messages are stored in the internal memory, first SIM-card memory is filled with SMS and only then the internal one is used.
Call lists. Here one may view standard lists of outgoing, incoming and missed calls. Each one contains 15 numbers, for some entries date and time of the call are specified. Similar numbers are summed up but not displayed in order.
There is a general call list, 20 last entries from all the lists are summed up there. And it is this list that is displayed when pressing the Call button from the standby mode.
Profiles. All the sounds may be adjusted from here, from a call signal to a key press sound and alert type. Everything is traditional.
Settings. Here are the device settings, for instance, screen and call. Automatic keylock is also here.
Organizer. It is possible to save up to 20 events in the organizer and a date and time for the alert are set. You also may set it recurrent (every day, week, month, year). Calendar displays the whole month, the dates with set events are distinguished with another colour and a sign indicating the type of the event (meeting or a memo) appears in the bottom. The main minus of the organizer is a limited number of entries.
Also here are alarm clocks. Each of the 5 alarm clocks may be set once, daily or weekly. The presence of these alarms will satisfy even the most demanding user.
Camera. A VGA-camera typical for LG phones is integrated. The photos look not very good and all their delight get dubious due to impossibility to assign them to users. Anyway, you can set the photos as wall-papers. So, the device is quite comparable to other representatives of this class in picture quality.
An integrated camera allows to take photos with several resolutions, they are 160x120, 320x240, 640x480 pixels. File format is JPEG, it is possible to choose a compression level and quality (high, medium, low) for all the resolutions except the maximum one. The quality for 640x480 is only low.
The screen serves as a viewfinder in the shooting mode. There is a tool panel on the left and there you may choose the main parameters for shooting, it is particularly comfortable to do that using a side button for volume level adjustment. Not all the chosen settings are saved till the next shooting, one has to adjust them again and it is a slight disadvantage.
The photos may be black and white, colour and also Sepia effect may be applied. There are 5 light levels and x4 zoom.
One of the preset frames may be used when shooting.
Fun&Tools. Let's traditionally start with games, there are two of them in the device and they are written in Java. Halloween Fever is a game for logics, Action in Life is a foolish game where you need to throw monitors over a distance, use a mini scooter and so on.
In My Folder you can store your own melodies and pictures. One can set them as ringtones or wallpapers. All downloaded files, except applications are kept here. About 1336 KB of memory are available to a user.
Unit converter is quite convenient, the same is calculator concerned.
Besides, you can view world time for selected cities.
All voice records are stored here too; you can rename, play back and delete them. The dictaphone doesn't work during a conversation, records are 19 in duration.
Internet. The phone supports GPRS (class 10), so, we recommend you to set wap over GPRS, it's cheaper. The phone is equipped with a wap-brower version 1.2.1 (AU Browser 4.1). The device doesn't understand pages with Java programs, for instance with automatic productivity text uploading, that's a disadvantage.
Java. Totally up to 1.3 MB of dynamical memory is available in the phone. You can download new applications if you use wap and then you'll need programs specially written for LG device. The device supports MIDP 1.0 and we can surely say the speed of application execution is not high (JBenchmark 1.0), the device looses almost to all the rivals in this parameter.
The connection quality is the most arguable point in the model. Considering the fact the device is based on a proved platform we could expect a reliable connection and no problems. Even the same B2000 has no cavils in this parameter, everything is within the acceptable bounds. But the B2100 shows some worsening of speech transmission, strange noises appear, wheezes in loudspeakers. The parameter may be improved later but now it passes no criticism and looks negative against a background of rival solutions. I'll note, having found this problem we tested new phones in some shops and observed the same problems everywhere.
Call signal is 40-tones sounding not bad, the sound is more saturated opposite to the B2000. It seems the loudspeaker was changed, since the models sound differently. The signal is heard badly in a noisy room or in the street. The power of the vibracall is average.
Now the price forms 135-140 USD, and the company positions the device as the cheapest cameraphone in its line. Considering the fact the phone is a copy of Motorola C650 or Siemens C65 no any evident advantages over the rivals may be pointed out. The thin design is attractive but the absence of mp3 support makes it not quite up-to-date, there is too little of memory. The price of 100-110 USD is quite appropriate for the device. At the same time, the device is rather good as an assortment offer; it will be demanded among those who prefer buying LG phones and considers them optimal in the price/quality ratio. On the other hand, now the LG B2100 is not such a model, the company tries to position its products as fashion solutions and takes extra charge for it.
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Published 7 June 2005
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