- 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 newsletter!
Apple iMac Pro
Ballistix Tactical Tracer RGB 3000
Bang and Olufsen Beoplay A9 Speaker
Samsung QLED 8K TV
Ballistix Sport AT
Cartier Calibre de Cartier Diver Watch
Toys for Boys
ESET Cyber Security Pro for Mac
ESET Internet Security
Little Bits DROID Inventor Kit
Tivoli PAL BT
Nix Pro Colour Sensor
Osmo Coding Awbie Game
Oregon Pro WMR500 Weather Station
ESET Smart Security Premium
TimeFlip Magnet Simple Time Tracking Device
Ikea RIGGAD work lamp with wireless charging
SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3
Naztech Xtra Drive Mini + 256GB microSD Card
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Bluetooth Speaker
Need to buy a gift for somebody who loves technology but you can’t afford the big ticket items?
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo R17 Pro review: Oppo's thriftiest flagship yet drives a hard bargain
- 2 Tenda Nova MW6 review: A gateway drug for mesh Wi-Fi
- 3 Huawei Mate 20 Pro review: Expensive, but probably the best phone you can buy right now
- 4 Apple iPhone XS review: Astonishment at a price
- 5 Huawei Nova 3i review: All Sell, No Soul
Latest News Articles
- PC World 2018 Editor's Choice Awards Nomineees Announced
- Sony Xperia XZ4 Release Date, Price, Specs and More
- Boost Mobile boosts data inclusions
- Cygnett introduces new Armoured Cables
- Kogan Mobile offers new data upgrades and discounts on plans
PCW Evaluation Team
I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)
It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!
The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.
I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.
If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.
If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.
- Razer Phone 2 review: One for the fans
- Huawei Mate 20 Pro review: Full, in-depth, Australian review
- Oppo R17 Pro review: Full, in-depth, Australian review
- Everything you need to know about Smart TVs
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?