LG has established a reputation in the United States for making functional, quality cell phones that don't go out of their way to be too flashy. While that is beginning to change with such models as the , the majority of the company's handsets don't sport anything beyond the standard VGA camera. Along those lines, the LG L1150 has a fairly standard feature set that places it well in the middle of AT&T's lineup. Though it suffers from rather mediocre performance, first-time mobile buyers might want to give it a look. At $219, it is pricey, but you should be able to get it at a discount with service. The LG L1150 scores high marks for a compact, if slightly quirky, design. At 3.4 by 1.7 by 1 inches, it slides into the front pocket of a pair of Levi's with ease, while its trim weight (3.4 ounces) makes it comfortable to hold while you're talking. Much like the , this mobile is wider at one end, so it stands out among conventional-looking flip phones--a scallop among clamshells, if you will. This design tweak adds a little bulk, but the handset is still compact overall. We liked the navy-blue and silver color of the plastic shell, but its construction wasn't as solid as that of other phones we've tested.
The phone features an external monochrome display that shows the time, signal strength, battery life, and caller ID (where available). Upon opening the phone, however, we were greeted by a bright, 2-inch-diagonal screen capable of showing 65,000 colors. Just below it are the camera lens and a small mirror for self-portraits. A 2.5mm headset jack on the side accepts universal hands-free headsets, which must be purchased separately.
The L1150's simple but animated menus are easy to navigate via the spacious controls. A five-way circular touch pad provides one-touch access to the address book, text messaging, the sound menu, AOL Instant Messenger, and AT&T's mMode service; the button can also be configured to connect to ICQ and Yahoo Instant Messenger. Additionally, there's a dedicated camera button and a key that opens the picture gallery. Another camera button is on the right side, while a thin volume rocker lies on the left. The keypad buttons are also well spaced, but since they are set flush with the surface of the phone, it's difficult to dial by feel. The star key activates voice dialing.Although affordably priced, the LG L1150 comes packed with midrange voice features as well as a VGA-quality camera (see below). The LG can store 255 phone-book entries with room in each for three phone numbers, an e-mail address, and notes. This probably isn't enough for a veteran salesperson, but it should more than please casual users. Callers can be assigned to groups or be paired with a picture for photo caller ID, though images won't appear on the external screen. For ringer options, the mobile supports 10 polyphonic (40-chord) ring tones with group ring tone ID only.
Other features include a vibrate mode, voice dialing, a calendar, a calculator, a world clock, a memo pad, an alarm clock, and a unit converter. You can send organizer info to your PC using the built-in infrared port, and you get three 30-second voice memos. Text and multimedia messaging are also included, and while the AOL IM features are nice, composing text messages is slow going without a keyboard.