LG U310

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LG U310
  • LG U310
  • LG U310
  • LG U310

Pros

  • Price, features, solid design

Cons

  • Limited memory, unnecessary navigational controls

Bottom Line

The LG U310 is a good entry-level phone with 3G capability

Would you buy this?

  • Buy now (Selling at 4 stores)

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The LG U310 is nothing special, but its simplicity could very well be the basis of its appeal. Featuring a solid clam-shell design and user-friendly software, the U310 offers an intimidation-free first look into the world of 3G.

A simple, intuitive user interface provides a gentle introduction to the surprisingly application-laden phone. Besides the usual address book, calendar, e-mail and SMS functions, the U310 includes cute -- and potentially useful -- organisational features like a world clock, a "dateulator" that counts down to future events, and "secret memos", which allows the user to lock each note with the phone's four- to eight- digit PIN code.

The U310 is available in black, white, and hot pink. Answering and terminating phone calls is as simple as a fashionable flip of the lid. Call quality is sharp and clear, and the screen performs well even in sunlight. Like its sister the U300, the U310 features a 1.3-megapixel camera that rotates 180 degrees for self portraits and inconspicuous photo-taking, which doesn't always produce the best of photos, but image quality is sufficient for an entry level phone.

Inside the phone, a flurry of navigational buttons awaits. On top of the regular number pad are 14 buttons that provide unnecessarily convenient access to videos and music. In fact, there are so many buttons that the U310 features not one, but two keys to allow users to backtrack to a previous screen. Perhaps it may have been wise for LG to use any one of these controls to allow easy access to silent, vibrate and general profiles; for now, switching between profiles is achieved via a two-step process from the general menu.

When closed, the U310 displays essential information such as the date, time and battery life, on a small, 96 x 96 pixel screen. Underneath this display are three navigational buttons for music playback; however, these controls seem unnecessary considering the lack of inbuilt memory to support the storage of MP3 files.

The U310 features a meagre 11MB of internal memory. This can be expanded via microSD cards; however, these are not included and users hoping to use the phone for MP3 playback should be aware of the added costs of buying one. With such memory limitations and no FM radio, it seems the phone's multimedia functionality is primarily intended for streaming. Music aficionados read: hello, top 20.

Marketed by the 3 mobile network as the "Big Brother" phone, the U310 comes equipped with basic audio and visual capabilities to provide users with a fix of voyeurism on demand. Entertainment value aside, video streaming via the phone's 176 x 220 pixel display and inbuilt speakers is not an entirely pleasant experience. Sound is distorted and jarring when using the speaker at the higher end of the phone's volume setting, but is much improved through the included headset.

Network connectivity could be another annoyance, especially when navigating Planet 3's news, music and video feeds in areas with patchy coverage, such as when on the train. Otherwise, the phone navigates intuitively through 3's offerings, and even first-timers to 3G functionality should have no problems.

PC connectivity allows users to back up address book and calendar details. This is achieved via Bluetooth or a proprietary USB cable. Oddly, the latter is not a standard inclusion of LG's starter package and must be purchased separately.

The U310 is charged via a proprietary wall plug, and, as the LG advertises, it takes about 3.5 hours to charge a completely discharged battery. Moderate users can expect the phone to last about two days in between charges, with about 2 hours of talk time and 160 hours on standby.

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