Turn the phone 90 degrees to your right, slide the phone up, and you'll find a full QWERTY keyboard. The screen will automatically change orientation from portrait to landscape mode. The keyboard has two soft keys on the far left and right side, an orange Function key, a Symbol key, plus an OK/Back button on the bottom right. Even though the keys are laid out in only three rows as opposed to the four rows of keys on the LG Xenon, the Neon keyboard still felt spacious with plenty of room between each key. The keys are all raised above the surface and feel easy to type.
The LG Neon has a generous 1,000-entry phone book with room in each entry for four numbers, an e-mail address, a memo, and an anniversary reminder. You can then assign your contacts to caller groups, a photo for caller ID, or one of eight polyphonic ringtones. Other basic features include a vibrate mode, speakerphone, text and multimedia messaging, a calendar, an alarm clock, a notepad, a calculator, a world clock, a unit converter, and a stopwatch. The Neon also has Answer Tones, where your callers will hear a song or a phrase when they call you.
More advanced features include instant messaging (AIM, Windows Live Messenger, and Yahoo Messenger), a wireless Web browser, and stereo Bluetooth. There's also mobile e-mail, but it only supports a few service providers. They include AOL, Yahoo, AIM, Windows Live Hotmail, AT&T Yahoo, Bellsouth, Comcast, Earthlink, Juno, Mindspring, and NetZero. We weren't able to use Gmail because it doesn't support POP or IMAP.
The LG Neon comes with a simple music player that supports AAC, AAC+, MP3, and WMA. Even though the Neon only has EDGE and no 3G, it still supports AT&T Mobile Music, where you can purchase and download music courtesy of Napster. However, because it takes so long to download a song, we would recommend loading music via a microSD instead. There's also Shazam--a song ID service, access to XM Radio Mobile, MobiVJ, and a ringtone maker. The music player interface is a bit boring, but there are still the typical music player controls like repeat and shuffle mode, plus you can create and edit playlists. The Neon has 14MB of internal memory, but it can also support up to 4GB of expandable memory via microSD cards.
The Neon has a simple 2-megapixel camera. You can take pictures in four resolutions (1,600x1,200, 1,280x960, 640x480, 320x240), three quality settings, five color effects, and five white balance presets. Other camera settings include 4x zoom, a self-timer, brightness, and the choice of three shutter tones, plus a silent option. Photo quality is average. Images seemed overcast, especially in low-light situations, and they're not as sharp as we would like. There's also a camcorder, which can record in two resolutions (320x240 and 176x144) with similar options to the still camera. You can record in either short or longer lengths--shorter clips are for MMS, and longer clips are for saving to the microSD card.
You can personalize the LG Neon with a variety of wallpaper, display themes, alert tones, and more. The LG Neon also comes with a Mobile Banking application, and games like Ms. Pac-Man and Bubble Bash. You can always get more options from AT&T's Media Net online store.
We tested the tri-band (GSM 850/1800/1900, EDGE) LG Neon in San Francisco using AT&T's service. We were impressed with the call quality. We experienced no static or interference on our side, and callers said they could hear us loud and clear as well. They said they could still we were on a cell phone due to the slightly robotic quality to our voice, but that's nothing unusual.
Speakerphone quality did not fare as well--their voices sounded tinny over the phone's speakers, and callers said there was a lot more echo effect in this mode. Music played over the phone's speakers weren't good, either--the audio sounded tinny and light on bass. We would recommend using a stereo headset for listening to music instead.
Even though you can download music over the air, we wouldn't recommend it. It took around 12 minutes just to download a 1MB song. Loading Web pages was quite slow as well.
The LG Neon has a rated battery life of three hours talk time and 10.1 days standby time. We were very impressed with the 8 hours and 41 minute talk time in our tests. According to the FCC, the LG Neon has a SAR rating of 0.998 watt per kilogram.