LG's first foray into the GSM market, the G4010, offered by Cingular, really gives you what you pay for. With a minimalist design, this decidedly unflashy flip phone is similar in appearance to but trails it by a few steps. Its screen is monochrome, its features are basic, and its call quality could be better, but the G4010 is worth its $39.99 price tag.
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Barely bigger than a pack of bubble gum, the LG G4010 is ultracompact.
The G4010 is so slim and light (3.2 by 1.7 by 0.8 inches with cover closed; 2.9 ounces in weight) that we frequently had trouble finding it in a bag or a coat pocket. Considering this phone's petite dimensions, it's surprisingly comfortable when held to your face during conversation. Additionally, the 0.75-inch external antenna was barely noticeable.
For such a small handset, the G4010 gives you plenty of room on the keypad for dedicated hot buttons that let you set the ring type, access messages, and launch the phone book. Additionally, an OK key provides one-click access to the browser, and menu navigation was straightforward.
The eight-line, 128x128-pixel monochrome display is rather dull, though a choice of six wallpapers is included. You can adjust only the contrast level and backlight time but not the brightness. The blue-backlit keypad, however, is sufficiently bright for dark environments, and the buttons, set flush against the phone's face, are well spaced.
The silver handset's clean lines are disturbed by only a small volume button on the side of the mobile, and since the power cord connector doubles as a cable connector, the unit is free of extra ports. Drivers, take note: That also means you can't charge the phone and use the headset at the same time. Unlike some other LG models that come with a clunky desktop charger, the G4010 takes a travel charger--a definite improvement.
Because this is an entry-level handset, the G4010's feature list is pretty basic. Included are a unit converter, an alarm clock, a memo pad, a calendar/scheduler, bilingual menus (English and Spanish), a calculator, a world clock, and one game (Blackjack). Additional Java games can be downloaded for a fee from Cingular's Wireless Internet Express service, and the G4010 can be personalized with sounds, graphics, and ring tones, though 13 polyphonic tones and a vibrate mode are included.
Because there's no external caller ID screen, you can disable the Active Flip function, which will allow you to open the cover and view the display without automatically answering the call. You can also assign ring tones to callers. An optional Minute Minder function beeps every minute so that you can keep tabs on the length of your conversation, and a 100-entry phone book handles up to three phone numbers and one e-mail address per entry. You get only eight speed-dial spots, but callers can be divided into seven groups, and adding new contacts is easy.
The integrated WAP browser is serviceable, but menu navigation takes some acclimation. Upon selecting a chat room, for instance, you must first hit Options, then OK to enter the room. One-click access would have been more convenient. The G4010 also supports SMS text and EMS enhanced messaging, to which you can attach downloaded animations ($2 each, plus airtime).
We tested this (GSM 850/1900; GPRS) phone using Cingular Wireless Service in the Chicago area. Because the G4010 had difficulty maintaining a consistent signal, even when we were sitting in the same spot for long stretches of time, call quality was erratic. We encountered frequent dropouts--often for as long as 10 seconds at a stretch--during conversations. Even when we had a strong signal, we heard considerable background hiss. And the earpiece doesn't boost the volume enough to hold extended conversations outdoors.
As for battery life, we reached 3.5 hours of talk time, easily beating the rated time of 2.5 hours. The five days of standby time, however, fell short a day short of the maximum rating.