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Review LG G3100
LG’s biggest sales have historically come from the younger end of the mobile phone market. The LG W3000 was very popular model and created enough interest to justify this latest iteration – the LG G3100. This new phone reminds me very much of the LG G5310, and uses the same software as its predecessor. The elder model has a very similar function set and screen specification, but a great deal of emphasis here has been placed on the styling of the handset, with its strong looks even continuing into the advertising campaign. Placing the phone next to various jewelry items in their advertising may however, create the illusion that this inherently unisex phone is for girls only.
The phone’s case is oval, and slightly more rounded at the bottom than the top. Black glossy plastic is used around the screen, which turns the upper part of the phone into something of a black hole when the screen is inactive. In contrast to this is the silver keyboard and back of the handset.
The screen has a resolution of 128x64 pixels, with up to 4096 colors supported (STN). In direct sunlight, this screen looks rather washed out, and blends in with the shiny plastic used in the fascia, making it difficult to read. Four text lines and two extra lines for service indications can be displayed at once.
The keyboard looks stunning, with large, comfortable call and end call buttons. The soft-keys below however look like part of these buttons, which can lead to a frustrating learning curve. Whenever instruction text appears at the bottom of the screen, pressing those big call/end call buttons is the first thing that comes to mind. The other disadvantage of these soft-keys is that you have to press them in the lower part of the button, otherwise they don’t work.
The digit keys are aligned in rows, with nice large buttons, and we encountered no problems with these during testing. The backlight’s green tint is pretty dim – in an apartment with a small amount of light it is great, but in complete darkness it can be quite difficult to read.
The usual system / power connections are at the base of the unit, with the handsfree connector at the top, next to the hole for the wrist strap. The phone also has a speaker, which is located on the back of the unit.
The phone uses a 760 mAh Li-On battery, which LG claims is good for 230 hours in stand-by mode, and 3 hours of talk time. In our tests, we got 3 – 3.5 days of usage out of the phone, using it for around 30 minutes of talk time and 15 minutes of other functions. Fully charging this battery takes an hour and 45 minutes.
The phone is very portable, with dimensions of 84x44x20.5 mm and a weight of only 83 grams, making is small and light enough to slip into a pocket or handbag easily.
The main menu is presented as a vertical list with icons, and the sub-menus are smaller, non-graphical lists. Shortcut number navigation is supported through these menus.
Phonebook. Up to 200 names can be stored in the phone’s memory, with each entry having 4 fields (3 numbers + e-mail). The phone also has the capability to store contacts in groups.
In order to add a contact to a group, you must first select a default number which will be used for identification, although this is re-definable later. The unit lists contacts stored in the SIM and phone memory together and any combinations of these may be added to the groups (totallt 7 groups are available), which can then have custom ring tones and icons associated with them.
Voice Dialing is supported, but only up to a maximum of 10 contacts.
Messages. The phone supports EMS, which allows receiving and sending messages with simple pictures, melodies, formatted text and long messages (up to 918 characters). LG have decided to replace their predictive text input system (eZi) with the common T9 method. 11 customizable messaging templates are supported.
All messages are stored in the SIM, which then overflows into the phone’s memory once full. Working with messages is a breeze with this phone – the input and management features are up to date.
Call list. Here you can see basic lists of missed/dialed/received calls. Each list can store 10 numbers, and of course time/date are available for every entry. Multiple entries for the same numbers are grouped together, instead of being listed separately.
The common calls list (20 last entries of all calls) was a nice surprise. This list is displayed if you press the call button during stand by mode.
Profiles. Here you can setup all sounds that the phone uses, from selecting the ring tone to choosing the alert type.
Settings. The main settings for the phone are located here. You can setup the phone’s display, call options, and alarm clock feature, which is limited to one-off alarms only.
Organizer. The phone can store 20 entries can be stored in its memory. Date, time, notification text and recurrence can be specified for each of them. The calendar is seen in a month-to-view format, with dates having entries being marked out with colors and icons. The biggest disadvantage of this organizer is the frustrating lack of space for entries.
Fun & Tools. With regard to entertainment features, the phone is found lacking, with only one game installed. Multimedia is handled with a user folder on the phone, where downloaded content (ring tones, pictures, etc) is stored.
The unit converter is pretty handy, as is the built-in calculator.
The phone also has a nifty World Time function.
The built-in melody editor enables users to edit ringtones using a series of specialized codes.
Internet. The phone supports GPRS (class 10), with the version 1.2.1 of their wap-browser.
The 16-tones polyphonic ring tones are loud enough to hear whilst walking down the street, and the vibrate function is slightly stronger than the average. The memo functionality also worked without problems; it’s a typical representative of LG’s latest phone generation.
This phone costs 150-160 dollars; its main competitors are the Siemens C60, Alcatel 535, and Samsung C100. If you’re a LG lover – then you’ll like this phone, but its features and styling more than hold their own against this company. The LG G3100 doesn’t have any serious problems, and if LG repeat the pricing strategy it used for the LG W3000, then there will be a price drop expected pretty soon. As a direct competitor to the Siemens C60, the LG has quite a few aces up its sleeve.
Published 17 December 2003
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