- HSDPA connectivity, pocketable form factor, sturdy construction, external stereo speakers
- Limited internal memory, memory card not included, mediocre camera
If you want a slim, lightweight phone that can access Telstra's Next G content portal but is otherwise light on frills, the TU500 is a good candidate. Heavy multimedia users should look elsewhere.
Price$ 679.00 (AUD)
A brushed metal face, matching metallic keypad and sleek, clamshell construction give LG's latest mobile phone an attractive yet conservative appeal. The TU500 forms part of Telstra's Next G-compatible handset line-up, and as such offers high-speed access to the Next G content portal.
The TU500 is pitched as a 'multimedia mobile' and, for the most part, it does a good job at living up to this title. The external stereo speakers provide excellent sound quality at a decent volume, and A2DP Bluetooth support means you can connect to Bluetooth enabled wireless headphones. The multimedia player supports a range of music formats, including MP3, AAC and WMA, and video playback (encompassing the WMV, MP4 and 3GP formats) is smooth, with decent frame rates.
Unfortunately, the limited internal memory is far from multimedia-friendly. The unit is advertised as having 14MB of storage, but much of this is taken up by system files that you can't manually delete, leaving you a paltry 8MB to play with. The TU500 is expandable via microSD, but it's not hot-swappable as the slot is located underneath the battery. Worse, Telstra doesn't provide a memory card in the sales package, so you'll have to either spend more of your hard-earned on one, or content yourself with two music tracks or a handful of photos stored on the phone at one time.
While the selection of streaming content available on the Next-G network is not as diverse as found on their competitors' portals, Telstra does have a formidable ace up its sleeve with FOXTEL by Mobile. This isn't the full-fledged FOXTEL, but one to three hour segments of twelve FOXTEL channels, all of which are specially produced for the mobile channel and refreshed periodically throughout the day. Subscribing to the service costs $12 a month, and channels include Sky News headlines, CNN, MTV, FOX8, The Comedy Channel and Disney Channel.
The high-speed HSDPA connection really comes to the fore when streaming bandwidth-intensive multimedia. While the standard has a theoretical maximum speed of 1.8Mbps, we only achieved real-world speeds closer to 500Kbps; more than enough to ensure little to no buffering pauses when streaming video. The TU500's 2.4in 262k colour screen (with 176x220 pixel resolution) is a good size for watching the occasional clip, but the screen orientation doesn't automatically switch to landscape to make the most of the viewing area. This needs to be done manually each time, which gets progressively more annoying the more you stream video.
The handset itself feels sturdy and durable with just the right amount of resistance in the hinge. The 2.5mm audio jack and USB connector are protected by rubber stoppers, and a slim 95mm x 48mm x 15mm footprint is ideally-sized for back pocket travel. Standard for a clamshell is an external screen for displaying useful info like time, battery life, missed calls and caller ID. This measures 1.2in, with a 96x96-pixel resolution. Below the display are multimedia keys, handy if you use the TU500 as an MP3 player.
Nestled in the hinge is a 1.3 megapixel camera can be used for both video calls and photographs. This multi-tasking is made possible with the 180-degree rotatable bezel which faces towards you for video calls or self-portraits and away from you for snapshots. However, picture quality isn't one of the TU500's strong points. In addition to having a fixed focus lens and no flash, photos are grainy with poor colour reproduction. 15-second video clips (in 3GP format) can also be taken with the camera, but these have similarly poor quality.
The menu system prioritises functionality over attractive design and is easy to navigate, using a standard 3 x 3 grid with animated icons. The keypad is one of the best we've seen, with large, well-rounded keys and excellent tactile feedback. We had no major complaints with call quality and reception, but one notable quirk was that volume for voice calls wasn't consistent. During testing, we noticed that callers' voices would repeatedly fluctuate in volume.
Interestingly, the TU500 doesn't provide any UMTS 3G support, offering only tri-band GSM and 850MHz WCDMA. The latter is Telstra's particular variant of HSDPA, which is incompatible with the HSDPA on the other networks.
With three hours talk time and 250 hours standby time, battery life is below average when compared to other 2G phones, but average for a handset in this class.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Smart LED Bulb LB130
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Google Daydream VR headset
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Acer Swift 7
Lexar® Portable SSD
Huawei Mate 9
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Surface Pro 4
HP Pavilion x360 13”
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei Mate 9 full in-depth smartphone review
- 2 ZTE Axon 7 review: Is ZTE dumping old stock on Australia?
- 3 Oppo R9s smartphone full review
- 4 Huawei Nova Plus smartphone review
- 5 Google Pixel XL full, in-depth smartphone review: Phones just got smarter
Latest News Articles
- Android's next destination: Untethered VR headsets with Snapdragon 835
- MWC 17: What's coming, what's not, and what we really want to see
- Xiaomi planning second version of its revolutionary Mi Mix ‘bezel-less’ phone
- 5G progress at Ericsson could help enterprises work worldwide
- Apple smartphones outsold Samsung's in Q4
PCW Evaluation Team
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Huawei Mate 9 full in-depth smartphone review
- Time to ditch Foxtel and the iQ3: How to replace Foxtel packages with cheaper alternatives
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTSenior Web DeveloperNSW
- CCNetwork EngineerNSW
- FTClient Delivery ManagerSA
- TPICT Contracts Compliance ManagerWA
- FTJunior ITIL Service AnalystVIC
- FTConsultant Business AnalystQLD
- FTSenior Business AnalystNSW
- TPProject Support OfficerQLD
- CCProject / Portfolio SchedulerNSW
- TPSenior Project Manager - ReinsuranceNSW
- TPMicrosoft Dynamics DeveloperNSW
- FTIT Project Coordinator - Mascot/AlexandriaNSW
- TPSenior Business AnalystVIC
- CCFirewall EngineerNSW
- TPInformation Management SpecialistVIC
- FTNodeJS DeveloperNSW
- CCIT Senior Business AnalystNSW
- FTSenior Functional Consultant - Data Analytics - TelcoVIC
- FTSenior Full Stack .Net Developer - Internet of ThingsNSW
- CCDesktop Engineer l WollongongNSW
- CCCommercial Contract AdministratorNSW
- FTData Conversion LeadNSW
- TPTest AnalystQLD
- FTEnterprise ArchitectQLD
- FTDigital Strategist - Global Consulting FirmACT