There's a volume rocker on the left side, while you'll find a microSD slot, a multitasking button, and a camera activation-capture key on the right side. The multitasking key is particularly usefully as it brings up page that shows you thumbnails of all your open apps and lets you easily switch between them or exit out of an app completely. On top of the device, there's a power-lock button and a microUSB port that doubles as the power connector and audio jack, which means, yes, you have to use an adapter if you want to plug in regular headphones. To its credit, AT&T throws in an audio adapter in the box but it's still a cumbersome solution. Hopefully, LG will consider adding a 3.5mm headphone jack on its future devices.
In addition to the audio adapter, the LG Expo ships with an AC charger, a USB cable, a stylus, and reference material. Also though AT&T advertisements show the projector pack, it is not included in the box. You'll need to dish out an additional $179 if you'd like to be able to make presentations from your smartphone. For more add-ons, please check our cell phone accessories, ringtones, and help page.
As we've already mentioned, the LG Expo is a Windows Mobile 6.5 phone running the Professional Edition. The updated OS doesn't bring any revolutionary changes, but it brings a handful of enhancements, such as Microsoft's My Phone backup service and an improved Internet Explorer Mobile. Of course, you get the full Microsoft Office Mobile Suite from which you can give PowerPoint presentations, as well as photos and videos, right from your phone using the optional pico projector. We're really hoping to get the accessory in to see if it's actually a viable solution, so stay tuned for more.
Other apps that come preloaded on the Expo include Adobe Reader LE, Sprite Backup, MSN Weather, MSN Money, Mobile Banking, and more. You also get your standard personal information management tools such as a calculator, an alarm clock, a notepad, a stopwatch, and so forth. Don't see an app that you want? No problem. Just head on over to the Windows Marketplace for Mobile right on the Expo, there you will find a healthy catalog of apps in various categories, including entertainment, productivity, and travel, to download to your phone.
As a phone, the LG Expo brings quad-band world roaming, a speakerphone, conference calling, voice dialing, and voice command support, and text and multimedia messaging with threaded chat view. The phone book is limited to available memory, with the SIM card capable of holding an additional 250 contacts. There's room in each entry for multiple numbers, e-mail addresses, instant-messaging handles, birthdays, notes, street addresses, and more. For caller ID purposes, you can assign a photo, a group ID, or a custom ring tone. The full gamut of wireless options is also available to you--3G (UMTS/HSDPA 850/1,900/2,100MHz), Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1, and GPS--along with AT&T's complementing 3G and navigation services (AT&T Navigator, AT&T Music, and AT&T Video).
Messaging and e-mail on the LG Expo is much like any other Windows phone. There's support for Microsoft's Direct Push Technology for real-time e-mail delivery and automatic synchronization with your Outlook calendar, tasks, and contacts via Exchange Server. In addition, you can configure the smartphone to access POP3 and IMAP accounts as well. AT&T also provides instant messaging clients for Windows Live, Yahoo, and AIM.
Rounding out the smartphone are several entertainment features. You can choose from the standard Windows Media Player, which supports MP3, AAC, AAC+, WMA, and MIDI music files, and MPEG4, WMV, H.263, H.264 videos, and LG also includes its own media player, which isn't visually stimulating, but it gets the main job done. The Expo has 256MB RAM (512MB ROM) and is expandable up to 32GB via the microSD expansion slot.
Last but not least, the Expo offers a 5-megapixel camera with 3x digital zoom, flash, and video-recording capabilities. You get all the standard editing options (image size, scene modes, white balance, effects, and so forth) and we really like the camera's menu layout, more so than competing products from Samsung and HTC. All the various settings and tools are readily accessible and easy to understand. Unfortunately, the Expo's picture quality was a little disappointing. Even though images came out clear, its photos colors were a bit dull and gray.
We tested the quad-band (GSM 850/900/1,800/1,900MHz; UMTS/HSDPA 850/1,900/2,100MHz) LG Expo in New York using AT&T service and call quality was good. Aside from some slight background hissing during lulls in the conversation, audio was very clear on our end and there was no voice distortion whatsoever. Our callers also had high praises for the sound quality and didn't report any major issues. Its speakerphone quality was impressive as well. We didn't hear any of the hollowness or echoing that some speakerphones exhibit, and there was enough volume to hear the conversation even in louder environments. We had no problem pairing the phone with the Logitech Mobile Traveller Bluetooth headset or the Motorola S9 Bluetooth Active Headphones.
We didn't experience any dropped calls during our review period with the LG Expo; however, there were several times when we couldn't connect to AT&T's 3G network. Thankfully, it wasn't a persistent issue and we enjoyed swift 3G speeds. On AT&T's 3G network, the Expo loaded CNET's full site in 46 seconds, while CNN and ESPN's mobile sites loaded in 5 seconds and 8 seconds, respectively.
The Expo is equipped with a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, one of the first Windows phones to rock the new Qualcomm chip. Though we weren't blown away by any blazing speeds, we do have to say that the Expo was a smooth machine and much more responsive than past Windows Mobile devices were. There was hardly any delay when launching or working in multiple apps, and again, LG's multitasking window is quite handy for managing all your running programs. The only problem we ran into was when watching a video and switching from portrait to landscape mode. The clip started out fine in portrait mode with smooth playback, but when we rotated the phone to watch the video in landscape mode, it stopped playing all together. Fortunately, it didn't freeze the phone and we didn't have to reboot the entire system, but annoying nonetheless.
The LG Expo has a 1500mAh lithium ion battery with a rated talk time of 3 hours and up to 10 days of standby time. In our battery drain tests, we were able to get 5.75 hours on continuous talk time on a single charge. According to FCC radiation tests, the Expo has a digital SAR rating of 1.05 watts per kilogram.