The LG CE500's VGA camera is a little disappointing when compared to megapixel models, although it does come with a slew of features that impressed us, despite the low picture quality. They include a flash; a 4X digital zoom; camera resolutions of 640x480, 320x240, and 128x160; customizable shutter tones, as well as a silent option; brightness and white-balance settings; color effects; Economy, Normal, and High quality settings; three fun frames; a multishot adjustment (up to six shots in a row); and a self-timer for either 3 or 10 seconds. The photos can be used as wallpaper and for photo caller ID. As with most VGA cameras, the photo quality was mediocre at best. There's also a camcorder option, which allows you to record similarly poor-quality video in either 176x144 or 128x96 resolution for 15 seconds. The phone has only 32MB of shared memory, but it also comes with a 64MB TransFlash memory card, which is helpful. You can always purchase larger-capacity cards for extra storage, but TransFlash cards cap out at 512MB. The photo and video gallery were hidden away in the My Stuff menu as well, and we wished it were easier to reach them via the main menu.
The music player on the LG CE500 isn't too shabby. Not only does it support MP3s, but it also accepts AAC and AAC+ file formats. There are dual speakers for 3D stereo sound, which goes nicely with the MP3 player. You can organize your songs in a personal playlist, place it on shuffle or repeat, adjust to six different preset EQs (Classical, Pop/Alternative, Jazz, Dance, Country, and 3D Effect), and customize the graphic equalizer and player skin. As mentioned earlier, there are also three player buttons on the front flap of the phone--skip back, play/pause, and skip forward--which make it easier to enable the player without opening the phone. However, you have to press the play/pause button twice in succession quickly in order to turn it on. And even then, you can play songs only from your personal playlist and not from your entire collection--which you can do if the phone is flipped open.
The LG CE500 has Java 2.0 support for game and application downloads, though the only game that comes with the phone is Tetris. Downloadable games have a fee, up to $5.99 per game, which can be pricey for some people. Personalization options are plenty with this phone. You can customize the internal and external display with two different types of wallpaper, add a banner or an information box, and change the menu style to either icon view or list view, as well as the overall theme. And as expected, you can get more ring tones if you want them.We tested the triband LG CE500 (GSM 850/1800/1900; EDGE) phone in San Francisco using Cingular's service. Call quality was great, and callers on the other end couldn't tell we were on a cell phone. The 3D stereo speakers sounded all right, although we would rather use the included headset when listening to audio. The music sounded sharp and clear, and we found no recognizable quality difference compared with listening to it on our computer. The included headset has a built-in microphone, as well as a button that answers incoming phone calls and pauses the music player if it's on. We downloaded a King Kong game, and it was surprisingly fast, taking mere seconds, thanks to the speedy EDGE network.
Our battery tests show a talk time of 7 hours, 10 minutes, compared with the rated time of up to 7 hours. The rated standby time is 9 days, 4 hours, and we got 10 days in our tests. According to FCC radiation tests, the LG CE500 has a digital SAR rating of 0.9 watts per kilogram.