Why virtualise your NAS environment?
- Good external screen, Respectable swiveling MegaPixel camera, Memory expansion option with Transflash slot
- External antenna, Overcrowded and Confusing button layout, No standout features, No standard headphone jack
The U8360 doesn't offer much different from the very similar U8380. An average handset without any standout features.
Price$ 249.00 (AUD)
The LG U8360 is very similar to the LG U8380, offering a different bright colour but with the same confusing control layout and list of features.
The U8360 is, once again, fairly average in the size and weight stakes, measuring 92 x 49 x 24 mm and weighing a fairly heavy 132g. It's bright lime green and silver finish won't appeal to everyone, but if you want to stand out in a crowd then this may be the handset for you. Unfortunately, the U8360 contains an external antenna, which was a surprise as most new handsets make use of a hidden internal antenna to provide reception. This adds to the already notable bulk of the design.
In the same problem that plagued the U8380, the U8360's controls are once again confusing and cramped. There are far too many buttons - thirteen if you include the 4-way navigational button. This is simply too many keys and unnecessarily complicates the phones navigational experience. Thankfully, the keypad is well spaced out and quite comfortable, with raised buttons providing extra support on the fingers.
The U8360 uses the same 262K colour screen as the U8380, and the excellent viewing angle remains. The handset also continues with the successful external screen which displays a great deal of information including battery life, reception indicator, time and date as well as full colour wallpaper. At 96 x 96, the external screen is slightly smaller than that of the U8380, but it is still admirable.
The U8360's menu is a pleasure to use and is laid out in a simple 3 x 4 grid, complete with animated icons representing each menu. LG have struck a winner with this interface and a unique feature of the handset is that the reception meter, battery life, current profile and missed calls and messages information is shown in a small bar at the top of each menu screen. The menus themselves are a basic list layout, with a number corresponding to each selection for quicker access.
The U8360 contains only 20MB of internal memory but LG have continued with their Transflash slot (which also accepts MicroSD cards) seen on a range of their handsets. The slot is located on the right hand side of the U8360 and is secured by a small plastic swivel cover which is easily opened and closed. Transflash cards can be purchased in sizes of 128MB, 256MB, 512MB and 1GB sizes which means those wishing to store music or take plenty of photos are well covered.
The U8360 also doubles as an MP3 player and the application produced respectable sound quality. The remote control seen on the headphones with the U8380 isn't included on this model (although a volume slider is provided), nor is a standard headphone jack.
The U8360 also includes a standard 1.3 megapixel camera, which takes fairly respectable pictures. The camera operates on a swivel mechanism, which makes it easy to switch to self portrait mode. The camera has a fairly good list of features including multiple resolutions from as small as 128 x 160 up to 1280 x 960, Super Fine, Fine and Standard quality settings and Normal, Black and White and Sepia image effects. A 3, 5 or 10 second timer was also included. Surprisingly, the quality of the images we uploaded to our PC were fairly good for a camera phone, most photos crisp and clear.
In the connectivity stakes, the U8380 boasts Bluetooth, WAP and USB via the supplied Data Cable. It supports standard SMS, MMS and e-mail messaging and of course, has T9 predictive text input. Battery life is average, rated at up to three hours talktime, and 220 hours of standby time.
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