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Review GSM phone LG M4410
Now the company of LG started an active advertising campaign promoting its current leading model LG M4410. The thing is they had lacked a real leader till recently. Judging by functionality and the price, LG F1200 played this role, but relatively weak characteristics and similarity with other company products prevented from considering it a valuable leader. And LG M4410 shows quite another thing - this is the first time LG's phone is equipped with EDGE, has a memory slot, and the screen is QQVGA. Judging by paper specifications, the model is interesting and can compete with many similar solutions by other manufacturers. However the fact they are present shows some lag of LG in introducing new models. And maybe that was the reason why the ads tell about not any specific characteristics, but its design. Both TV-clip and posters stress its similarity with a sport car. And a slogan calls the device a "high-speed phonomobile". Certainly, some likeness is present, the loudspeakers placed on sides resemble car headlights, and the front panel looks like a race bolide. Even more, this automobile theme is kept on at start up, when you see a speedometer and hear an engine roar. Preset pictures also are concerned with cars. Such approach is quite interesting and new for mass products. No doubts, some manufacturers have released product lines concerned with some theme both with design and internal appearance, but they were not serial models. Such phones acted as some kind of an addition to a similar model with usual design, and the series usually was called Limited Edition, which stressed its originality. And LG decided it vice versa, they created a mass model and endowed it with a special idea. The step is interesting and deserved attention, since in some time all the manufacturers will have to offer similar solutions due to strong competition. Mobile phones turn into an everyday accessory with plenty of various functions including social, and here cooperation with various social areas is possible. For instance, nobody will be surprised at the appearance of a phone for faviourite sport teams, and similar models for NASA worshipers are still waiting for their turn, as well as for skin-divers and so on. The market is now mature, and the manufacturers face a need to offer mode segmentation to a user, still mass products prevail, but niche solutions appear. And thus, we can consider LG M4410 an intermediate solution, which is not Limited Edition still, but not a mass model with its special attributes already. Though, this approach can hide danger, since this allusion to sport bolides can push away some customers.
The phones' dimensions are more than average (94x48x25 mm), the device suits men hand better. The weight is 116 gram, which also stresses it's not for women. We expect the owners of the phone to divide as 99 percent of men and 1 of women, both design and size tell about it.
The front panel holds a megapixel camera objective; a non-impact flash is also here. A backlighting lamp can be activated as a torch in the standby mode pressing the volume button. The buttons responsible for an MP3 player are under the external screen, this allows changing songs without opening a clamshell, which is comfortable.
The external screen is 128x128 pixels 65K. That is OLED with a picture looking well, bright colours, but rather artificial, which is typical of this screen type. A caller's photo is shown fullscreen and his name and number. The display is readable in the sun, though a picture is fading. Generally, we consider it quite up-to-date, on the mid level. Unfortunately, the screen turns off in the standby mode to save energy. That means you'll have to activate the screen backlighting by side buttons to see the clock. This makes a serious difference from similar Samsung's products. The last have a part of the screen always active and showing time with a line of icons.
The left of the phone holds a coupled volume button, at the same time the right side is equipped with a camera one and an earphone connector. It is closed with a plastic shutter fixed to the body. The slot itself is miniUSB identical to those used in Samsung's phones. So, the devices are headset compatible. This very side has a miniSD expansion slot. The latch has a hollow; however it's hard to hock the shutter with a hand, since it's sunk into the body. As a rule, that is easier to do with a paper-clip or something like that. Hot memory card change is supported, which is an undoubted advantage and characterizes the device as up-to-date.
An interface connector is held by the bottom side, the slot coincides with the ones in other company models. A service indicator is also here, thus this unusual place has become customary for LG's phones.
Sides show grooves that help in opening the device. The opening process is not very comfortable, the hollows are not very ergonomic, and the fingers touch the edges.
Opening the device we see an internal screen taking the most of the upper part. The display shows 262K and has the resolution of 176x220 pixels. The model is the best by LG and one of the best on the market as for the screen quality. Despite it still looses to the ones integrated into Sharp's models and Motorola's triplets, it still deserves the praise - rich colours, and colour conversions are seen, as well as tints. The picture remains readable in the sun, though looses its brightness. The screen holds up to six text lines and three service ones. Unfortunately, the company has not changed fonts, which got smaller due to the grown resolution, but there are no principal changes. If the fonts had been redrawn, the perception of the interface could have become different. But anyway, the visual components of the device are good.
The keypad is full-size, due to the body dimensions. Number keys join each other closely, though their size is more than average, they are comfortable in work. The navi pad has an OK one inscribed; there are special buttons for calling an MP3 player and a digital camera. An uneven blue screen backlighting lights up the central vertical row much worse. However, the characters are always well-seen.
The back cover hides a battery compartment. The cover has a slight backlash, which makes a careless impression of the phone in hands, low creaks appear. I'd specially mention the backlash appear in two-three weeks of phone use, a new phone is clear. We advise to attach small foam-rubber rollers to reduce the cover mobility.
A 1000mAh Li-Ion battery is used as a standard for the phone. As the manufacturer claims, it can provide with up to 200 hours of standby time and up to 3 hours of talks. In Moscow networks it worked for about 3 days with an hour of talks and up to 30 minutes of using other functions. Average battery life dispersion depending on the functions used and the talk time forms from 2 to 4 days. You should understand, it's hard to reach 5 days battery life, and the low border is for those who speak much. Full recharging takes about 2 hours.
Using the device as an MP3 player with a headset shows a medium battery life forming 2 days at 8 hours of listening to the music and 30 minutes of talks. If using integrated loudspeakers for listening to the music, you'll have the battery life 40 percents less, which is quite logical, since the energy consumption is almost twice higher. Bluetooth work tells upon the battery life not as significant, it takes only 15 percents of the total time (Bluetooth is constantly on, the phone is connected to the headset).
The grown screen resolution left an imprint on the M4410's interface. The menu ideology doesn't differ from the previous LG's phones, but another resolution allowed a 3x4 matrix in the main menu (earlier 3x3 items). The icons are well drawn and look nicely.
The need in 12 main menu items resulted in the fact the Screen item was transferred from the Settings submenu to the main one. No other menu view is available, but fast navigation using number sequences is at your disposal. Pressing the navi button up, you call Favourities, the most frequently used functions are to be added here. Horizontal pressures call hot menu with the most necessary functions, which is also traditional for LG phones.
There are 8 MB of memory, and a memory card is at your disposal.
Phonebook. Up to 250 names with completely filled fields can be saved in the phone's memory. The process of entering a new name is changed - you see a horizontal list of all the items and can enter it one after another. And separate fields for Name and Surname are absent; only a general field is available. That can cause troubles synchronizing with PC or other device. The length of the name field is 40 characters, which is both enough for a name and a surname.
At the first data input you see only a phone number field, here you can change the phone type at once (home, work, mobile). After the first number is entered, the second field is shown, and a third one after the second. Totally you can save up to 3 numbers for a name and set a type. E-mail addresses are entered into two fields, you can select users' group (one of the six or other). A contact also can correspond with a photo (only low-resolution photos, no automatic transformation is provided, they are not even shown in the list).
General list both shows numbers from SIM and phone's memory. You can select of several general list views - only a name, name and a number, name and a photo. The last case shows only 7 characters of the name, which will confuse you if the surnames are similar. A status bar for each name is shown on the bottom, it represents a default number, and other data may be leafed through by horizontal pressures.
Personal call melody is possible only for groups, not separate numbers. Also a personal icon for groups. A full search by name is present in a general list.
In capabilities the phonebook looses to the ones integrated into Nokia, Siemens, Sony Ericsson, Motorola, Samsung devices. This one will suit undemanding users.
Messages. There is a support for EMS that allows attaching melodies, pictures to messages, formatting text and sending concatenated messages. The phone supports predictive text input T9 (a possibility to add your words to the dictionary). There are several dictionaries for different languages and up to 6 editable templates.
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 (up to 250 messages). In general it is comfortable to work with messages, the device is up-to-date.
Call lists. Here one may view standard lists of outgoing, incoming and missed calls. Each one contains 10 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. Phone settings excluding the screen ones are adjusted from this menu. You can set GPRS, select a menu language and adjust redirection.
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.
Text notes can hold up to 100 characters each; they are saved to the same type of memory (up to 20 events).
Tools. Here is a standard calculator, a unit converter, world time function. Bluetooth settings are also here. Besides headset profiles the device supports ftp, which allows requesting the phones' memory directly. Bluetooth work doesn't rouse cavils; however the headset mode provides an unreliable connection sometimes. The connection may break for no reason.
Alarm clock. Totally there are 5 alarm clocks, and each one can be set once, daily and weekly.
Screen. Wall-papers for both internal and external screens are to choose from here, as well as one of the four interface themes. You can set work time for backlighting for each of the screens - 10, 30 and 60 seconds.
Games. The device supports Java MIDP 2.0, only one game is preinstalled - MR.Crane. This is a combination of Tetris and a logic game.
My Stuff. Uploaded images, melodies, videos and programs are stored in separate folders. External memory is viewed separately. This is a plain file manager, which allows copying one file to another memory type in a unit of time (several files can't be transferred at once).
Service. The device supports GPRS (class 10) and EDGE of the same class, that's why I'd advise to adjust WAP-browser using batch communication, which would be cheaper. The thing to add to our description is wap-browser is of version 2.0. The absence of history in the browser really disappointed - so, you'll have to reenter the address you've already attended. Uploading new melodies and pictures makes no troubles, and the same for applications.
Multimedia. Various functions are mixed here, for instance, the camera is neighboring with the dictaphone records and karaoke. Karaoke function copies the other company models - that is a program that plays music and scrolls the text. No marks are given, so, it's of low interest.
MP3 player. Tracklists are supported, but an evident disadvantage is you have to add tracks to certain folders in the phone memory or a card. If you've put the melodies in a root folder of the memory card, the device won't see them and add to a tracklist. That is serious for those who plan to use the device as a musical player. Own samples can be added to the tracklist by putting a tick in the general list. And the list is only one, you can't add personal tracklists.
You can use several pictures for the player appearance, one of the five equalizers is set (they are not adjustable, and personal equalizer is impossible to set also), random track playback is supported, as well as repetition. General quality of music playback is good, but the player capabilities are in their infancy. In some way they can be compared with the 75-th Siemens' series. The functions are present but uncomfortable to use.
The dictaphone allows 30 second records and works during a conversation.
There is a Silent Movie item is the menu. The manufacturer means a capability of video recording with no choice whether with sound or without it. The max clip duration is 20 seconds and it can be saved only into the main memory. Later this clip is impossible to transfer to another device or use in the phone (for instance, set as a screen wall-paper). The quality of the records is middling, so, this phone is weak in this parameter. We couldn't understand what the need in such clips is. A clip takes 391 KB of the phone memory, which is rather poor anyway.
The phone camera is 1.3 MP, the following resolutions are supported - 1280x960, 640x480, 320x240, main screen, external screen, contact. Three compression types - Super Fine, Fine, Normal. Photo brightness is adjusted (from -2 to +2, a step of 0.5), white balance (auto, sunny, cloudy, indoors), a timer and a night mode are present. The effects to mention are Sepia and BW. You can choose the type of memory where the photos will be saved. The flash may work both automatically or you can control it manually.
Fun Frames is a separate menu item, this is five various frames for photos. All the other settings are standard.
The quality of the photos is middling, the model is not the winner, though, check yourself. All the photos were taken with the max resolution and quality.
The quality of connection rouses no cavils, not the best and not the worst among other manufacturers. The volume of the 40-tones polyphonic alert is high; it is well heard in various conditions, especially if an MP3 file is set as a call melody. The power of the vibracall is average.
The presence of a qualitative internal screen is an advantage, as well as the presence of a memory card. However, the last one works with some drawbacks. In particular, only a strictly preset folder structure is supported, you can't create own folders, the device won't see them (that is mainly disappointing in the mp3 player). The card is sometimes incorrectly read on a PC, and sometimes you'll have to change it several times to finally make it read (it feels like the device formats the cards incorrectly, since even normal cards often were impossible to read after use in the device). As for me, the problem is solvable and will be corrected in the nearest future. Using the device without a memory card seems impossible due to little phone memory.
In the end, we have a model with average characteristics, which is not a top one on the market. The presence of EDGE is not very interesting to the target group, the camera doesn't amaze with the photo quality, and the absence of normal video seems an anachronism. And also 20 possible notes in the organizer seem the same anachronism and make the function optional.
The functions are partly bound, which makes the device loose to many models and resembles Sagem myX-8 at its launch moment. For instance, memory cards seem a separate makeweight, sending via Bluetooth is possible only from some menu items (video and a dictaphone record are impossible to send).
Having the price of 400-420 USD the device nevertheless looses to Motorola v635 in functionality, the last one if the closes copy in this form-factor (the price is 80 USD less). Samsung E720/E730 are possible alternatives (no memory cards, that is a restriction for those who use them, but about 90 MB of internal memory).
It seems that LG grows a muscular system for both morally and hardwarily outdated platform. Adding new functions looks perfect on the paper and leaves much to desire in reality. At the price of 300 USD and all the functions well realized the M4410 could have become a competitive product now. But considering it, its development will take about half a year, and by that time it will have become irrelevant. We should admit the device is not very well-taken, though the concept of its promotion is curious and will yield its fruit as extra sales.
Published 2 August 2005
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