LG M6100

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LG M6100
  • LG M6100
  • LG M6100
  • LG M6100

Pros

  • Size and Shape, MP3 Player

Cons

  • Small Controls and Screen, Keypad Issues, No Expandable Memory

Bottom Line

The M6110 just doesn't offer enough for us to recommend it. It's lacking some more advanced features and you'll find it difficult and frustrating to operate.

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The LG M6100 MP3 phone is a compact handset that breaks the standard design tradition of current mobiles. LG are pushing this as a worthy replacement for a stand alone MP3 player and it wins points for this function thanks to playlist and equaliser support. Unfortunately it is let down by a small screen, lack of memory expansion slot and significant problems with the keypad.

Music

The M6100 is marketed primarily as an MP3 phone. To date, we haven't seen a mobile phone that would enable you to throw away your iPod. The reason for this is primarily due to two main factors: storage capacity and interface. Motorola tried with the ROKR E1, however no company has released an intuitive interface like the iPod click-wheel on a mobile phone.

The MP3 player on the M6100 is commendable, but we still can't recommend the phone for this functionality alone. It includes a four-band equaliser, play-mode functions such as repeat and shuffle, and cool visual effect settings. You can create playlists and listen through an external speaker as well, but the latter isn't recommended if you want quality sound.

The biggest drawbacks of the M6100 (considering it's an MP3 phone) are the lack of a standard 3.5mm headphone jack and the fact that there is no expandable memory support on the handset. Both of these functions are critical for any multimedia player and mobile phones aren't an exception. The 128MB of included memory is generous for a mobile, but is simply not enough for a digital music player. Simply put, this phone is great as a basic backup MP3 player, but is missing the elements to make it your portable music device of choice.

Design

The M6100 is a very small handset and weighs a mere 90 grams. Rather than continue with the theme of thin handsets such as Motorola's RAZR V3, LG has opted for a thicker casing but a shorter and narrower look. This design does have its advantages, but it causes problems as well. The screen has been cut to a very small size and both the keypad and controls have been sized down considerably. We struggled for comfort when operating the basic functions of the phone because of the small nature of the screen and buttons.

The phones graphite grey finish does look durable and we were left with an impression of a solid handset. The sliding mechanism worked without any problems and the phone doesn't seem to attract many fingerprints or smudges. The M6100 controls are fairly standard: there are two selection keys, a 5-way navigational pad with shortcuts, answer and end Call keys and a clear button. The user interface is a fresh looking 3 x 3 grid layout, but a larger display would have enhanced the user experience. As it stands the M6100 display is one of the smallest we've seen; even when compared with the Nokia 7380.

The M6100 keypad features small black buttons with a soft white backlight. Unfortunately, the buttons are cramped and not every key press registers on the handset - even when you think you have pressed the keys properly. This is especially evident when you are messaging with T9; it's a frequent occurrence that slows messages composition. This is definitely the biggest drawback of the M6100.

LG has equipped the M6100 with a fair list of features for such a compact phone including plenty of multimedia functions. There's a 1.3 megapixel camera with flash, a video camera and a voice recorder. The images the camera produces are lacking in colour and image noise is a problem. It does have a flash and self-timer mode though, with 4x digital zoom also a notable feature. The slide show function was unique, but on such a small display, we can't help but feel this feature is a bit of a waste.

The M6100 also includes calendar, memo, calculator, unit converter, world time, Java and WAP functions and Bluetooth and a USB cable for connectivity. According to LG figures, battery life is rated at 285 minutes of talk time and up to 155 hours of standby time. This isn't outstanding but for average usage (a handful of calls and SMS's per day), we found we only had to charge the phone every three days.

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