LG PM-325 (Sprint) review:

LG PM-325 (Sprint)

The phone book on the LG PM-325 stores a respectable 199 names with room in each entry for five phone numbers, an e-mail address, and notes. Contacts can be assigned a picture and any of 18 polyphonic or 6 monophonic ring tones. The mobile also comes with a number of call management features, including caller groups, multiple call timers, three-way calling, auto-answer, speed dial, voice dial, and a vibrate mode. Still more features include a voice memo, a notepad, text and multimedia messaging, a tip calculator, an alarm clock, a calendar, and a world clock. For data services, the phone supports Sprint's PCS Vision service, which uses Openwave's WAP 2.0 wireless Web browser and offers access to Web-based e-mail and support for AOL Instant Messenger.

Unfortunately, you don't get a speakerphone--a curious omission--but the addition of Bluetooth sets the PM-325 apart from most mobiles in its class. With a Bluetooth headset, which will cost you an additional $50 to $100, you can answer calls and carry on conversations without the hassle of a cord running from your ear to the phone. Sprint deserves some praise for putting the feature in a midrange phone, but users should know that Sprint limits its use. Although you can connect to a wireless headset, it cannot be used to connect to your PC or other Bluetooth devices. This follows a distressing trend we first saw with Verizon's Motorola V710. Though the companies say otherwise, some carriers are hobbling Bluetooth to force users to pay for their data services to move files off their phones. While some might say some Bluetooth is better than none, the whole effort is a cheap move.

Say cheese: The LG PM-325 has a mirror for self-portraits.

The mobile comes with a decent VGA camera that can take pictures in 640x480, 320x240, and 160x120 resolutions. You also get a choice of four color tones (Normal, Sepia, Black and White, and Negative), three quality settings (Fine, Normal, and Economy), and three shutter sounds; there's also a silent option, or you can record your own sound. Other controls include adjustable white-balance and brightness settings, a self-timer, and an 8X zoom, the last of which is usable at only the lowest resolution. When finished, you can send your shots via a multimedia message; you can also store 20 images at the highest resolution or 96 at the lowest. On the downside, we weren't terribly impressed with the photo quality. There is no flash, and even stationary subjects were washed out and blurry. In fact, if you look at your small distorted image in the self-portrait mirror, that is pretty much what you will get when you click the shutter.

The PM-325 had average photo quality for a camera phone.

When connected to the Web, the PM-325 can play demos of streaming video from MobiTV, the Weather Channel, and ESPN. You can purchase full access for $9.99 per month, but the jerky clips are barely watchable as the phone operates on Sprint's present 1xRTT (2.5G) network. You can personalize the mobile with a variety of color themes, screensavers, and sounds, and you can download additional options, applications, and ring tones from Sprint. As for games, you get only demo versions of Ms. Pac-Man, Jamdat Solitaire, and Tetris Deluxe, but you can buy the full versions if you so desire.

We tested the LG PM-325 on the Sprint PCS network in the New York metropolitan area. We were able to consistently find a clear steady signal, and callers remarked that our voice was exceptionally clear. There is no headset included with the phone, but it would make sense to acquire a Bluetooth set. Enabling the Bluetooth transmitter on the PM-325 is a simple process, and we were impressed with the ease with which it recognized our Jabra FreeSpeak BT250 headset.

We managed to coax a relatively meager 2.5 hours of talk time on a single charge. That's more than a half hour short of the rated time of 3.2 hours, but even that is not great. The standby time was approximately 6 days, compared with the promised time of 7 days. This isn't terrible, but if you are a heavy phone user, you should plan on recharging your phone almost every night. According to the FCC, the PM-325 has a digital SAR rating of 0.95 watts per kilogram and an analog SAR rating of 0.9 watts per kilogram.

What you'll pay

    Visit manufacturer site for details.

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