- Dual Display, Design, Solid features list, Price
- Control layout, Flip mechanism, Camera design
At this price, the U300 offers excellent value. It won't blow you away but it's a solid, entry level 3G handset that should suit many users.
Price$ 349.00 (AUD)
The LG U300 is an entry level 3G handset available exclusively on the 3 Mobile network. It combines a sleek and attractive flip design with a number of features including a 1.3 megapixel camera, dual displays and a microSD slot for extra storage space.
Employing a fairly standard design, the U300 only differs to most other handsets due to its curves. When flipped closed, the sides and front of the handset are curved downwards, with the bottom lip slightly exposed. It also ensures the U300 is extremely sleek and attractive. It measures just 96 x 49 x 21.9 mm and weighs only 93 grams, so it is on the small side for a 3G capable handset.
The front of the U300 features an external monochrome display. It is capable of 96 x 64 pixels and, although it's not colour, it is more than adequate for displaying caller ID information, time, current profile and reception. Our review unit was finished in metallic black, but the U300 is also available in orange or grape. Our only complaint with the surface is its tendency to attract smudges and fingerprints. Also, the flip mechanism isn't as polished as it could have been. The hinge doesn't feel smooth, nor is it easy to open with one hand.
Once flipped open, the U300 reveals a standard keypad with rounded, white backlit keys. The keyboard is quite responsive, but those with large fingers may find the keys too small for their liking. We also felt the keys could have been raised slightly to improve comfort. Overall though, we found the keypad average for SMS messaging and general phone use.
Unfortunately, the U300 is let down by its other controls. There are two selection buttons, clear and back keys, answer and end call keys, as well as dedicated menu, music and video calling keys and a standard five-way navigational pad. We feel there are just too many buttons and the poor placement of the menu and back keys in particular makes browsing the phone a frustrating experience. Once again, most of the keys are also too small.
Above the controls is a solid, if unspectacular display. The colour TFT screen is capable of 256 thousand colours and performs above average for photo viewing and video playback. We were pleased to discover it is also quite clear in direct sunlight.
Also included with the U300 is a 1.3 megapixel digital camera, mounted on a 180 degree rotatable hinge. This means the camera serves a dual purpose: video calling and taking photos. The photos taken are good enough to use as phone wallpapers or sending via SMS messages. The camera design is practical but it isn't perfect. It is on its own hinge, and can be rotated to face both inwards and outwards, however when facing out it does not sit flush with the rest of the unit, meaning you have to take shots at an angle to get them straight.
The camera has plenty of features including image resolutions ranging from 1280x960 to 96x96, 2x digital zoom, a self timer, exposure settings and white balance presets(Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Illuminate, Indoors). Unfortunately there isn't a flash, instead just night mode. This is barely useable without some sort of light, so it's not really an adequate replacement.
The U300 comes standard with Bluetooth and USB connectivity and a USB cable is included in the sales package. There is no infrared connectivity. The U300 also includes polyphonic ring tones, a hands-free speakerphone, SMS, MMS and e-mail messaging (with T9 predictive text input), WAP 2.0, Java games and a microSD (previously known as TransFlash) slot for increased memory options.
The speakerphone is activated by holding down the Clear key for about two seconds and it worked well although the volume could have been louder at its highest setting. Despite the presence of the microSD slot, the U300 still includes a respectable 10MB of internal memory.
According to LG, the U300's battery is rated at 230 hours of standby time and approximately 165 minutes of talk time. During testing we found ourselves charging the handset about every three nights, which is pretty impressive. The U300 is available exclusively through the 3 Mobile network in Australia and is a solid entry into the value end of the market. It provides a reasonable list of features in a stylish package - all for a very competitive price.
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