The LG Helix has a 1,000-entry phone book with room in each entry for five numbers, two e-mail addresses, and a memo. You can then organize them into caller groups, pair them with a photo for caller ID, and add one of five polyphonic ringtones or one of two message tones. Other basic features include a vibrate mode, a speakerphone, text and multimedia messaging, a calculator, an alarm clock, a calendar, a tip calculator, a notepad, a calculator, a world clock, a stopwatch, and a unit converter. You also get Bluetooth, voice command, and a basic WAP wireless Web browser.
There's also a 1.3-megapixel camera, which can take pictures in five resolutions (1,280x960, 640x480, 320x240, 176x144, and 160x120 pixels). Other options include three quality settings, zoom, brightness, a night mode, a self-timer, five white-balance presets, four color effects, multishot mode, templates, and four shutter sounds, plus a silent option. Photo quality was actually rather decent for a 1.3-megapixel camera. Colors looked good, and images were just slightly blurry.
You can personalize the phone with wallpaper and alert tones. You can download more from Cricket's online store. The Helix comes with a few games, like Super Street Fighter and Where's Waldo. There's also a few applications like MyBackup, a service that backs up your phone's address book remotely, and MyPerks, a service that lets you know about deals and discounts from national retailers.
We tested the LG Helix in San Francisco using Cricket's roaming service, because the Bay Area is not part of Cricket's home coverage. Call quality was not as good as we had hoped. On our end, we encountered some occasional choppiness where we couldn't hear every word clearly. When we could, it was nice and loud, but we wish the quality was more consistent.
On their end, callers reported inconsistent quality as well. Audio was a little crackly at times, and our voice did not sound natural, callers reported. Still, they could hear us well enough to carry on a conversation. Speakerphone quality, however, was not so good. Callers said we sounded quite muffled and fuzzy, even when we spoke loudly. On our end, the speakerphone quality was predictably tinny, but we still heard clearly.
The LG Helix has a rated battery life of 5 hours talk time and 18.3 days standby time. We got a talk time of 6 hours and 34 minutes from our tests. According to the FCC, the Helix has a digital SAR of 1.24 watts per kilogram.