- Excellent external screen, respectable megapixel camera, good battery life, memory expansion option with Transflash slot
- External antenna, overcrowded and confusing button layout, headphone jack in way of camera lens, no standout features
The U8380 is an average phone with fairly standard features. It doesn't break any new ground, but then again, it doesn't have any major problems or issues.
Price$ 279.00 (AUD)
The LG U8380 is an admirable 3G phone with run of the mill features, but it is let down by a difficult to grasp and confusing control layout.
The U8380 is fairly average in the size and weight stakes, measuring 95.7 x 49.5 x 23.7 mm and weighing 130g. Our review unit was finished in red and silver trim, which looked quite sleek. An external antenna was an unpleasant surprise as most handsets have internal antennas.
The U8380 keypad is well spaced out and easy on the fingers for messaging, but the same can't be said about the multiple confusing and cramped selection buttons. There's a 4-way pad with an OK button in the middle, two selection keys, Back and Clear buttons, Answer Call and End Call buttons, a Menu key, a Recent Calls key and finally an Online button. As you can tell, there's simply too many buttons in too small a space to make navigating the U8380 an enjoyable experience.
The 262K colour internal screen was notable and has an excellent viewing angle. It is large and viewable under most lighting conditions, although the resolution could have been improved. However, much more impressive was the eye-catching 128 x 160 external colour screen. As well as displaying key information like battery life, reception meter, current profile and time and date, the U8380 external screen also displays full colour wallpaper, just like the internal screen. As well as being the U8380's best feature, the external screen is the best on any mobile we've come across.
The U8380 only contains 22MB of internal memory, but thankfully a Transflash slot (which also accepts MicroSD cards) on the right hand side of the handset allows for expansion. Transflash cards are available in 128MB, 256MB, 512MB and 1GB sizes and this will be welcome news to those planning to use the U8380 as an MP3 player. The MP3 application itself produced respectable sound quality and although the remote control on the headphones was a nice touch, the earphones themselves weren't of the best quality. Unfortunately, LG have failed to include a regular headphone jack, which means you can't use any set of headphones with the handset. To add insult to injury, the camera can't be used while the headphones are plugged in because the jack blocks the view of the camera lens.
The U8380 also includes a standard 1.3 megapixel camera, which takes respectable pictures. Images can be shot in resolutions from as small as128 x 160 up to 1280 x 960. Super Fine, Fine and Standard round out the quality settings, while Normal, Black and White and Sepia effects are available. A nifty feature is the ability to swap cameras and take shots using the internal camera, which is usually reserved for video calling. The timer also worked well, with 3, 5 and 10 second setting options.
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 above average, rated at three hours talktime, and six days of standby.
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