The LG dLite has a 1,000-entry phone book with room in each entry for two numbers, an e-mail address, a messenger ID, a Web address, a company name, a street address, a birthday, an anniversary date, and a memo. As always, you can add a contact to a caller group, pair it with a photo or an image, and with the dLite, you can also customize each contact with one of 35 polyphonic ring tones and message alert sounds. You can also use your own MP3s as ringtones. You can also customize each contact with one of 12 different LED matrix animations, as well as a custom "Secret Lighting" pattern.
Other phone essentials include a vibrate mode, a speakerphone, an alarm clock, a calendar, a notepad, a calculator, a world clock, a tasks list, a stopwatch, a tip calculator, and a unit converter. More advanced features include voice command, stereo Bluetooth, T-Mobile's Web2go mobile Web browser, and instant messaging. You can also send audio postcards, which are voice messages sent with a framed photo. Of course you also get text and multimedia messaging, which is conveniently organized via threaded conversations.
For e-mail, you can either choose AOL, Gmail, Hotmail, or Yahoo Mail as your e-mail provider, or go your own route by entering your provider's POP3 or IMAP4 server settings. There's GPS with the dLite as well, plus location-based apps such as TeleNav, Google Maps, and Where. Like a lot of T-Mobile phones these days, the dLite also has a Social Buzz application that is designed to house all your social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace into one interface. You just enter in your log-in information and then you can tab through your different social networks and get quick status updates in a mostly text-only interface.
The dLite has a music player, and you can load songs via a USB cable or a microSD card. The player interface is pretty straight forward. You can set songs on repeat or shuffle, create and edit playlists, and you can choose from four preset equalizer settings. There's also a visualizer if you want to add flair to your music listening experience, and you can minimize the player to the background as well. Another nice entertainment option is a YouTube app that comes with the phone.
The dLite has a 2-megapixel camera that can take pictures in four resolutions, three quality settings, five white balance presets, and four color effects (with an option for none). Other settings include a night mode, a timer, brightness, and a shot mode. There's a camcorder on here as well, that can record in either 320x240- or 176x144-pixel resolutions. After taking a photo, you can save it or send it via MMS, Bluetooth, e-mail, or to an online album (Flickr, Photobucket, Snapfish, and Kodak are the phone's defaults). Unfortunately, its picture quality was rather dismal. Not only did it suffer in low light, but also its colors looked dim, dull, and had an overall reddish tint. Video quality wasn't much better-they were choppy and pixilated for the most part.
Aside from the beautiful wallpaper that comes with the phone, you can customize the LG dLite with your own graphics or sounds if you wish. You can download games and apps from the T-Mobile store as well-in fact, you get a few that come with the phone. They include demo versions of Pac-Man/Ms. Pac-Man, Guitar Hero 5 Mobile, Bejeweled, and Where's Waldo. You also get full versions of Bubble Bash 2 and Photobucket Mobile.
We tested the LG dLite in San Francisco using T-Mobile. The phone's call quality was very impressive. On our end, we didn't hear any static or interference, and the people on the other end sounded crisp and crystal clear. Its call volume was good too. The voice quality did sound a tad harsh, but nothing out of the ordinary.
When we first called our callers, they said they could hardly tell we were on a cell phone. They didn't hear any static or background noise, and said we sounded just like we had called them on a landline. Calls made with its speakerphone were positively received as well. For us, our callers did sound a bit tinny and echo-heavy, but that is pretty standard for most speakerphones. Our callers said we sounded good and natural on the speakerphone as well.
As for audio playback of music, the dLite did acceptably well over the phone's tiny speakers, but it was still very flat and tinny on the whole. While we wished the phone had a 3.5mm headset jack, the dLite comes with a wired headset that plugs into the Micro-USB jack, and you can use a stereo Bluetooth headset too. We would certainly use the headset for listening to music when possible.
We were pleased to see that the dLite has support for T-Mobile's 3G network, which we found nice and speedy. We loaded YouTube videos with only just 4 seconds of buffering, though the video quality was terribly pixelated and blocky. CNET's mobile Web site loaded in 11 seconds, and BBC's mobile site loaded in just 8 seconds.
The LG dLite has a rated battery life of 5.5 hours talk time and 15 days standby time. We were impressed with the dLite's tested talk time of 6 hours and 1 minute. According to FCC radiation tests, the dLite has a digital SAR of 0.67 watts per kilogram.