In the last six months, LG and Cingular have gotten to know each other well. Beyond just dabbling in GSM phones as it has done in the past, LG introduced seven new Cingular handsets this year, including the LG F700; the carrier's first push-to-talk phone, the LG CU320; a 3G-equipped model; and the basic LG C1500. But now in an effort to increase its lineup even further, LG has rolled out yet another Cingular phone, the LG CG225. Offering a midrange set of features in a fairly standard design, the CG225 comes with a VGA camera, a speakerphone, world roaming, and instant messaging. Call quality was clear but volume was a bit low in our tests, and we weren't in love with the washed-out display. The CG225 is priced fairly, however, at $99, but you should be able to get it for free with service.
Despite its black color scheme, the CG225's design is roughly similar to the LG C2000's. Both have a stubby external antenna, but the CG225 is slightly smaller at 3.4 by 1.9 by 0.9 inches and 3.3 ounces. The CG225's postage stamp-size external display is identical to the C2000's. It shows date, time, battery life, and signal strength. Phone number caller ID is supported as well, but the screen does not show picture caller ID. 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 unlike in the C2000, there's no self-portrait mirror and since the display doesn't act as a viewfinder, you're out of luck for those vanity shots. On the upside, the phone is solidly constructed and feels comfortable in the hand.
The CG225's internal display is a bit small (1.5 inches), and though it supports 65,000 colors, the 128x128-pixel resolution gives it a dull effect. Colors are washed out and the screen is overly bright on the whole. Personalization options are limited as well. You can change the backlighting timer and the contrast but not the brightness or the font size. The navigation keys, on the other hand, are well designed. The tactile four-way toggle acts as a shortcut to the contacts list, the messaging menu, a folder for downloads, and instant messaging. Shortcuts like these are always useful but be advised that these can't be changed. Inside the toggle is an OK button, but it opens the Web browser only when in standby mode. Surrounding the toggle are two soft keys, dedicated shortcuts for the camera and photo folder, a Clear/Back button, and the Talk and End/power keys. A camera shutter is on the right spine, while a volume rocker and a covered headset jack sit on the left spine. 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 lose it. The backlit keypad buttons are flat with the surface of the phone, but they're large and tactile.
Features on the CG225 are roughly comparable to the C2000's. The phone book holds 255 contacts, with room in each entry for three phone numbers, an e-mail address, and notes (the SIM card holds an additional 250 contacts). You can also assign callers to groups and pair them with a picture for photo caller ID. But it's worth noting that the picture doesn't show up on the external display, and 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, a unit converter, a world clock, a tip calculator, and a notepad. The CG225 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, and there's no speaker on the phone's exterior.