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Review LG W5300
LG company mainly produces folder type phones and it offers only classic low-end models. Though recently it unveiled phone aimed to youth market - W3000. And soon one more model will supplement the line of phones - LG W5300. It will be a new product, which surely increases the supply in the middle sector of the market. New phone is not an innovation, but engineers added a colour screen that gave a second birth to an approved set of old features.
Traditionally you can purchase a phone of different colours, for example our sample was blue. Different colours mean different colours of keypad and side insertions. White luminodiodes, which are located under these insertions, illuminate a keypad from beneath. Backlighting is not always sufficient in artificial lighting conditions, sometimes all characters are merged. But there are no problems in sunny weather. Keys have unequal backlighting, such buttons as 7 and 9 are almost invisible. Luminodiodes on the phone sides play only aesthetic role, since the screen has its own backlighting. We can't judge whether it is a good decision but apparently power consumption doesn't increase considerably.
A rear part of the phone, where a loudspeaker is positioned, is made of dark-grey plastic. Lower part of the phone simultaneously serves as a battery. Peculiarity of the phone construction is that a battery has a vertical backlash but you don't feel it while using the phone, a handset doesn't creak. So, don't pay attention to this little defect. By the way, phone dimensions are 102x44x19 mm and weight is 92 g. Such compact size allows to wear a handse in the pocket of a shirt.
A portable handsfree connector and a strap hole are placed on the upper phone side. On the contrary system connector is positioned on the bottom of the phone.
Let's look at the front side of LG W5300. Screen seems not large, it looks like a dark spot on the light background. But first impression vanishes when you press a key and switch the display backlighting. The phone is equipped with STN display, which has a resolution of 128x128 pixels and can show up to 65000 colours. Physical size of the screen is not large and the picture is more accurate. The display contains up to 7 text lines and 1 service line in SMS mode and up to 3-4 lines of information in other modes.
Keypad is made of plastic, soft keys and a vertical scroll button with C key inside are placed right up to alphanumerical keys. Sometimes it's not comfortable. Firstly, it's difficult to press soft keys as a finger touches the phone. Secondly, there are problems with C button, it is very small and deeply placed in the phone. Finally, alphanumerical keys have an average size and they are closely spaced, so, you touch other keys while using the desired ones. To say the truth we can't say that the keypad is not handy, all these shortcomings become insignificant when you practice a little bit.
The phone has a lithium-ion battery of 850 mAh capacity. According to the manufacturers it has up to 110 hours of standby time and up to 3 hours of talk time. In reality the phone worked about 3 days, in case of 30 minutes of talking and 30 minutes of using other applications. It is a standard autonomy for the phone with a colour screen. Time of full charging is a little bit more than 1.5 hour.
Menu structure is classic: main menu items with animated icons are situated in the main list. Submenus have their own lists. Each menu item is numbered, what allows to use shortcut number navigation. Besides you can call a quick menu if you press an arrow down in the standby mode. This quick menu allows to access some other menus. Unfortunately, in contrast to other models, it's impossible to change profiles here; not so frequently used items appeared instead. Before we turn on to the features description I would like to pay attention to the menu navigation. A loud click sounds when you move through the main menu. It diverts in the beginning but at last this sound is irritating. It is disappointing that there are no settings which allow to switch it off in the current version of software. Functions of the phone resemble those of the younger model - W3000. Some capabilities are absolutely the same.
Phonebook. It's possible to store up to 200 phone numbers in the phone memory. You can add up to 4 phone numbers to one contact (home, office, mobile and fax) and one e-mail address. The phone has a serial data input, you can't skip one field and fill in the other. Anyway, only two lines are displayed on the screen.
The phone numbers from both memories (SIM-card memory and phone memory) are shown on the display. Each name is indicated by the icon, which shows type of memory (phone or SIM-card). Only two names can be displayed simultaneously in the total list. You should scroll it especially if there are many names, which have the same first letter in your phonebook. There is also a problem if you decide to view all phone numbers which are added to one name. If you really want to do it you should enter a special menu and only after that you'll be able to do it. There is a search by names and cell location. All your names can be sorted in 7 caller groups. A special ringing tone and a special nice icon (one of the 7) can be associated to each caller group. Voice tags can be added to some phone numbers (up to 10). The voice dialing is realized great in this model (it's typical for LG). You can't create equal voice tags, the recognition is good even in noisy places. The user also can assign a phone number (up to 8) to one of the speed dialing keys (2-9). So, that's all about phonebook capabilities.
Messages. Up to 110 messages can be kept in the phone memory of W5300. The phone has 11 templates, 6 of them are pre-default. The handset supports concatenated messages (up to 918 characters). Among interesting features there is one, which allows to change wallpapers in this mode. There are two types of them, for example, a picture with a cat on the snowy road is rather unusual. By the way, there are many (more than one hundred) pre-defined black-and-white graphic pictures in the phone, which can be used in SMS message. There is a possibility to create a business card and to send it via SMS. Other features are common. A predictive text input, both English and Russian is available.
Call lists. There are traditionally 3 lists here: missed, received and dialed phone numbers. Each list contains up to 20 phone numbers with date and time indication. If you press a send key you can view a total list of the last 20 phone numbers.
Profiles. There are several profiles in the phone. Each profile can be personalized (a ringing tone, its volume and vibrating alert). You can choose a standard tone or a vibrating alert for short messages. There are no other variants except silent mode.
You can set a type of incoming alert. Besides the ordinary ones two more mixed types of incoming alert are available: a vibrating alert and a ringing tone afterwards, and vibrating alert with a ringing tone simultaneously.
Settings. An alarm clock (daily, weekly, monthly and alarming at once) can be setup here. It works when the phone is turned off, if you select this option while setting. Among other interesting settings we can choose screensavers (up to 4). Frankly speaking there is no sense to use them because you see nothing when the display backlighting is turned off. Contrast adjustment doesn't change anything, the screen is too dark. Animated wallpapers, which can be set, are more interesting. There are also 4 pre-installed types of them. Two of them are really nice: a winter house with a falling snow and a small puppy, which turned his head. Settings which allow to change colours of the menu interface are not available, you can use only a standard pallete of the manufacturer.
Call divert. Nothing interesting here. All functions are described in the menu.
Organizer. You can store up to 20 appointments in the phone memory. A calendar has a monthly view but there is again no go-to-date feature and you should scroll the calendar to view it. However, it's possible to view all appointments in one list, the events of one day can be displayed in one list too. Two types of notes are supported by the calendar: Event or Note (a small text). A reminder can be set only for Event, not for Note.
Fun&Tools. World time, calculator and unit converter (length, weights, squares) are placed here. You can also find 3 games in this submenu: Mobile hawk, Crazy Race, Stone Axe. We've already seen all these games in the other models. But now first two games became more interesting because of the colour screen.
For the first time a built-in graphic editor and a musical composer appeared in the phone from LG. Stave is absent, all melodies are represented as a set of characters.
Internet. WAP-browser (version 1.2.1) is positioned in this submenu.
Sound quality is good, volume of the loudspeaker is sufficient to hear a subscriber. 16-tones polyphonic ringing tones are pure and loud, they can be easily heard in the noise places. Vibrating alert is average, but it is quite enough if you wear the phone in the pocket. Quality connection is similar to other modern phones from LG.
There are some mistakes in the current version of software, probably, the explanation is in pre-commercial version of the phone. Later we'll take a commercial sample and check its functionality. Nevertheless, we decided to describe mistakes that we found. When we tried to send SMS message to one of the phone numbers from the call list, a phone number which began from the sign # instead of + appeared on the screen. And of course our attempt to send an SMS, using such phone number, failed. Sometimes a display backlighting didn't work while incoming calls or other alerts (alarm-clock, reminder). Even after peering at the screen we could see the phone number of the caller. Rarely there was a mistake of picture displaying, it became indistinct in the corners. That's all, mistakes are not very important and it's not much for the phone of the middle class. Earlier, simpler phones from LG had many more serious problems.
An expected price of the phone is 300-330 USD. We can recommend it for those, who are interested in polyphony and a colour screen, and don't pay great attention to other features. It is aimed to consumers, who value the design features of the phone and don't use many functions. This model is far from advanced phone; it's not for those, who like innovations in everything. There are many consumers of such kind. We think that the phone wouldn't be a popular model but it finds its customers. If it launches before the New Year it can be very successful. Because it's doubtless that other similar phones (with a colour screen in this class) will appear soon, they are not expected yet
Published 06 December 2002
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