After rolling out a series of flashy handsets such as the and the , LG gets back to basics with the LG C2000. The modest design signals that the C2000 is a simple, functional cell phone designed for making calls. You get a couple of higher-end features, such as a speakerphone and a VGA camera, but the C2000 tries hard not to put on airs. Though the keypad buttons were smaller than we'd like, and the battery life was a bit short, call quality delivered on most fronts. At a very reasonable $89, this Cingular Wireless phone is also fairly priced. You should be able to find it for even less with service. From the outside, the LG C2000 looks like a run-of-the-mill silver flip phone. Despite its external antenna, it is relatively compact, measuring 3.5 by 1.8 by 0.9 inches. At 3.4 ounces, it's light, too. The flip mechanism was slightly loose, but the phone was solidly built overall. The postage stamp-size external display shows date, time, battery life, signal strength, and caller ID (where available). Though the text is monochrome, a color backlight makes the screen much more readable. The color remains active as long as the phone is open, but it turns off shortly after the flap is closed. You can always turn it back on, however, with a flip of the volume rocker on the left spine. The camera lens is above the display. There's no flash, but you get a mirror for self-portraits. A camera shutter is on the right spine, and the speakerphone grille is on the rear of the phone. In a poor design decision, the rubber plug covering the charging port isn't hinged to the phone; if you're not careful, you'll quickly lose it.
Inside the LG C2000 is a 1.75-inch-diagonal internal display. Supporting 65,000 colors, it worked fine for viewing photos and the user-friendly menus (available in two styles). That said, its resolution wasn't particularly impressive. It was also overly bright and disappeared in direct light. You can change the contrast and the backlight time but not the brightness or the font size.
Below the screen are the stylish navigation controls. A four-way toggle doubles as a shortcut to text messaging, contacts, downloads, and instant messaging. The button in the center of the toggle functions as an OK key but only when you're inside a menu. In standby mode, it opens the Web browser instead. The other navigation controls consist of two soft keys, a camera shutter, Talk and End/power buttons, a Clear key, and a shortcut key to the photos menu. Slightly oval shaped and raised just above the surface of the phone, the keypad buttons were rather small for our tastes; we misdialed a few times as a result. The buttons are, however, backlit in blue.The LG C2000 comes with all the basics you'd expect, plus a couple of sweet extras. Its phone book is rather small, though, with room for just 250 names (the SIM card holds an additional 250 contacts). Each entry can take three phone numbers, an e-mail address, and notes. You can also assign callers to groups and pair them with a picture for photo caller ID. However, the picture doesn't show up on the external display, and you can't associate contacts with previously stored images--only with new pictures. Another quirk is that you can assign any of the 18 polyphonic ring tones to only a caller group and not an individual contact. The phone's other features include a vibrate mode, text and multimedia messaging, an alarm clock, a calendar, voice dialing, a calculator, voice commands, a unit converter, 30-second voice memos, a world clock, a tip calculator, and a notepad. Surprisingly, though, all the organizer functions are buried under the My Media menu. The C2000 comes with support for AOL, Yahoo, and ICQ instant messaging. It also has a half-duplex speakerphone, though you can't activate it until after you've made a call.
The LG C2000's VGA camera is nothing special, but it's adequate for on-the-go shots. It's only a still camera, so you can't record video. You get 640x480, 320x240, 160x120, and 128x160 resolutions; a 3X zoom; a multishot option for taking up to nine shots in a row; a self-timer that you can set to 5 or 10 seconds; brightness and white-balance adjustments; three shutter sounds, as well as a silent option; and three color effects. When finished with your snaps, you can save them to the C2000's 16MB of shared memory or send them in a multimedia message. A handy memory meter keeps track of the available storage. Photo quality was what you'd expect from a VGA camera: fine for displaying online but nothing you'd want to print out.