As hands-free calling laws go into effect around the country, Bluetooth headsets are slowly becoming a must-have accessory for those who wish to continue chatting on the phone while on the road. Even now, Bluetooth headsets have reached a critical mass, with many people opting to wear headsets even when walking around the office. But if you're not the kind to wear your headset all the time, you might encounter a few problems. Headsets can be a hassle to find in a hurry, especially if you have to fish around in your bag to get at such a tiny device (which isn't such a good idea when driving). They're also easy to misplace, and most people don't remember to charge them until it's too late.
Well, LG has come up with an incredibly ingenious solution by building a Bluetooth headset directly into the phone. That's right; the LG Decoy is the first ever cell phone to have a built-in stowaway Bluetooth headset. It's conveniently docked in the back, and you can pop out the headset when you need it, and just snap it back in when you don't. As gimmicky as it may seem, we absolutely love this idea of having two devices in one. We did find the headset quality to be rather lacking, and the Decoy's surface is a little too reflective for my liking. In the end, however, if you want to get a cell phone and Bluetooth headset in one convenient package, the Decoy is definitely the device to get. It's currently available for $179.99 with a two-year service agreement and a $50 discount.
At first glance, the Decoy looks like one of the glossiest phones we've ever seen. Indeed, its entire front surface positively gleams with a reflective mirror finish, right down to the navigation keys and the steel-tinged joystick toggle. Measuring 4.01 inches high by 1.97 inches wide by 0.67 inch thick, the Decoy is not a very compact phone, but it has a nice enough size to accommodate its large 2.2-inch display. It does weigh about 4.05 ounces, which makes it feel very solid in the hand. Though we can appreciate the glittery appeal of such a shiny surface, we found that it is very fingerprint prone, and that it's difficult to see the display especially on a bright and sunny day.
As we mentioned, the Decoy has a generous 2.2-inch 262,000 color display front and center on the phone. It's bright, vivid, and shows off the colorful menu interface very well. You can adjust the font size as well as the backlight time, but not the brightness or contrast. Thankfully, you're not subject to Verizon's clunky old menu interface--the Decoy offers tab, list, and grid menu interface options so you can arrange it how you like.
Underneath the display is the navigation array, which consists of two soft keys, a center joystick, a dedicated speakerphone key, and a Clear key. On standby mode, the center joystick also leads to three user-defined shortcuts (to the bottom, left, and top). If you toggle it to the right, it will lead you to a My Shortcuts folder, which can also be customized to your liking. Though we found the keys to be quite slippery, they had enough definition that they were still easy to find and press. We also found the joystick toggle to be very responsive. We could be quite gentle in pushing it around, as it is sensitive to even the slightest of gestures.
You slide open the phone by pushing the bottom lip of the front surface up. That will reveal the full alphanumeric keypad, as well as the Send, voice command, and End/Power keys at the very top. These topmost keys were the hardest to get to, since they're positioned right up against the bottom of the slider. Otherwise, we found the keypad to be very pleasant to use. Unlike most slider keypads which are flat, the Decoy has keys with curved textured bumps that we could easily find by feel. The volume rocker and charger jack is on the left spine, while the microSD card slot and dedicated camera key are on the right.
But the most important aspect of the Decoy lies on its back. When you turn the Decoy around, you will see a rectangular bump jutting out from the top part of the phone. This is actually a built-in Bluetooth headset, stowed away in a custom built dock. Press down on a tiny latch at the top, and the headset will pop out. The headset itself is incredibly slim and flat, measuring 1.6 inches long by 0.8 inch wide by 0.2 inch deep, and weighs less than an ounce. It has a multifunction button on the front, which also houses an LED indicator light, and the volume rocker sits on the right spine. On the back is a simple springy ear piece that actually fits quite comfortably in the ear, resting just outside the ear canal.
Pairing the Decoy with the headset couldn't be easier. When the headset is first removed, you will be automatically prompted to pair the headset by pressing down on the multifunction button for a few seconds. After that, you're connected and ready to go. From then on, whenever you remove the headset from the dock, you will automatically be in headset mode. And whenever you snap it back in the dock, headset mode will be turned off as well. If you like, the Decoy also comes with a plastic "cavity cover" to cover up the dock when you're using the headset. Even though you can charge both the headset and the phone simultaneously, there's also a separate headset charging dock if you want it.
We have to say we loved this idea. The built-in Bluetooth headset is certainly not the best Bluetooth headset we've seen--the volume rocker is really skinny, it feels a little chintzy and lightweight, and you don't get fancy noise-canceling technology. But the convenience factor simply can't be beaten. You no longer have to worry about losing your headset, and you don't have to worry about it having a low battery, since it simply charges with the phone.