So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Pre-paid clamshell with a long list of PIM features
- Size, light, basic but intuitive interface, handy list of PIM features
- Design of keypad and controls, no external display, status light doesn’t notify you of missed calls
If you need a handset to do the basics then the KG370 will suffice, but the keypad and controls are a slight annoyance.
Price$ 59.00 (AUD)
A bare-as-bones handset offered on both pre-paid and post-paid plans, LG's KG370 is a mobile phone with minimal features. Although this stylish clamshell does the job, the poorly designed keypad and controls are a turn off.
The first aspect of the KG370 that stands out is its size. This tiny clamshell is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and its lightweight frame means that it almost goes unnoticeable in your pocket. This has advantages and disadvantages — on one hand, the light weight means less bulk, but on the other hand the KG370 feels a little flimsy. The small size also means that this handset is very easy to lose.
The all-plastic frame of the KG370 is finished in a metallic grey and gloss black colour scheme. It won't turn heads, but the colour does give it a soft, subtle look. Unfortunately, despite being a clamshell, there is no external display for viewing caller ID and other details. Instead, the KG370 has a flashing status light for incoming calls or messages; this light annoyingly doesn't notify users of missed calls.
Flipped open, the handset reveals a small and basic display in addition to the keypad and controls. Unfortunately, although the layout of the keys looks intuitive at first glance, the design is quite poor. Each key has a soft rubber feel, but they are sunken slightly into the handset so you'll need to press them firmly. On the positive side, the keys are well spaced, so accidentally pressing the wrong one shouldn't be an issue.
The KG370's user interface is as basic as they come, but it's fairly intuitive. The main menu consists of a 2x3 grid layout of coloured icons; a simple list format is used for submenus. Our only complaint is the speed of the interface — holding down a directional key, for example, doesn't scroll through selections quick enough for our liking. The inevitable result is more presses on the frustrating keypad.
The features list is as basic as they come. SMS messaging with T9 predictive text input is standard, but there is no MMS or email messaging. The standout feature is an FM radio, with headset included in the sales package. Sound quality isn't outstanding, but this is to be expected considering the asking price.
Surprisingly, the KG370 is well equipped with PIM features. In addition to two games, LG offers a calendar, alarm, voice memo, calculator, stopwatch, unit converter and world clock; Bluetooth connectivity is absent.
Virgin Mobile offers the KG370 for $59 on a pre-paid account, or $0 on a Free to V $20 cap. The latter includes $50 worth of credit per month, in addition to free calls and messages to Virgin Mobile numbers.
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