LG U8150 review
Review Date: 18 Feb 2005
Price when reviewed: with contract. Contracts from £30 including 200 any time minutes and 50MB of data
After a head start, mobile operator 3 is no longer the only 3G network service provider, as Orange and Vodafone have joined in.
We asked both companies to submit their exclusive phones to see how they compare. First, we looked at Orange's LG U8150.
Typically for a 3G device, the U8150 is a clamshell phone. As with other models, it's thick compared to most GSM phones, although it still slips comfortably into a pocket. As users can send video over a 3G network, the U8150 has a camera mounted in the hinge. You can rotate this to film yourself for video calls or point it away to take photos. The camera has a resolution of 640x480, so shots are quite poor and grainy. This is particularly noticeable during video calls, as it generates a blocky picture with a lot of artefacts in it.
This is a shame, as the 176x220-pixel colour screen is very good. The sharp image makes it great for viewing text and pictures. A second, 110x88 colour screen on the outside of the phone displays incoming calls, battery life and a clock.
The phone is fairly easy to use. A short cut menu down the side of the screen provides access to all the common functions, and the keypad has dedicated buttons for internet and video calling.
The U8150 comes with the usual applications, including an address book, video and MP3 player, web browser and email client. It also includes a USB cable, enabling you to synchronise your data with a PC. However, it only synchronises with LG's software, so you'll have to import your Outlook data manually if you want to use it.
Unfortunately, the phone lacks a couple of features that we'd like to see. First, there's no memory card slot, so you can't increase the phone's 64MB of memory. Second, there's no Bluetooth, so you have to use the USB cable if you want to access the internet from your laptop. For PDAs, this leaves just the IrDA port, but the practicalities of lining it up make this harder to use than Bluetooth.
You can use your 3G data connection through the phone. As with other service providers, Orange has a 3G portal. The biggest attraction is likely to be the Premiership goals, which are available at 50p each. Download speeds and quality are remarkably good. Orange also offers news through its portal.
There's nothing special about the service, and the video downloads are not worth the higher monthly contract fees. The pure data service is of greatest interest, as it makes mobile internet access fast enough to be viable. Orange's service works well and comes with free data (50MB a month with the £30 per month contract), which is the best data deal you'll get with a phone at the moment. However, LG's U8150 isn't the ideal phone as the lack of Bluetooth means it's not as flexible as it should be. We recommend that you consider one of Orange's other handsets.
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