But of course, it's far easier to just use a physical QWERTY keyboard. Slide the phone to the right, and you'll reveal a full four-line QWERTY keyboard on the left. When you do this, you'll get a special home screen in landscape mode. This home screen features five rotating shortcuts to a new text message, a new picture message, the Web browser, U.S. Cellular's EasyEdge portal (on the U.S. Cellular version), and the notepad. The keyboard itself is quite roomy and easy to use--all the keys are raised above the surface, which makes for quick typing as well.
On the left side of the LG Tritan are the volume rocker, a screen lock key, a microSD card slot, and a charger jack, while the dedicated camera key sits on the right spine. A 3.5-millimeter headset jack sits on the top of the handset, which is always great to see on a phone with a music player. On the back of the phone is the camera lens plus external speaker grille.
The LG Tritan has a 1,000-entry phone book with room in each entry for five phone numbers, two e-mail addresses, a memo, and a URL. You can assign contacts to caller groups, a photo for caller ID, and one of 26 ringtones or one of eight message alert tones. Essential features include a vibrate mode, a speakerphone, text and multimedia messaging, voice command, an alarm clock, a calendar organizer, a world clock, a calculator, a tip calculator, a unit converter, a stopwatch, and a notepad. There's also a drawing panel application that lets you use the touch screen for sketching doodles and sending them to friends. More advanced users will like the GPS navigation, the voice recorder, USB mass storage mode, stereo Bluetooth, and a document viewer that lets you view Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and PDF documents.
You do also get mobile e-mail via U.S. Cellular's EasyEdge service. The mobile e-mail is compatible with Hotmail, Gmail, AOL Mail, AIM Mail, Yahoo Mail, and any other provider with POP or IMAP access. EasyEdge also provides you access to a turn-by-turn Navigator service, the EasyEdge online app store, and City ID, an enhanced caller ID that displays city and state information of incoming calls.
The LG Tritan comes with a pretty nice music player. It divides the tracks into albums, artists, and genres, and also has a recently played playlist. You can also create and edit your own playlists on the fly. It has a simple music player interface, with the album art in the middle and the player controls at the bottom. You can set the music on repeat or shuffle as well. To add songs to the music player, you'll have to transfer them via USB or to a microSD card. The LG Tritan supports MP3, AAC, AAC+, and WMA file formats. You can minimize the music player and send it to the background while you're in other parts of the phone.
The LG Tritan has quite a fancy 3-megapixel camera. It can take pictures in five resolutions (2,048x1,536, 1,600x1,200, 1,280x960, 640x480, 320x240 pixels), three quality settings, five white balance presets, and seven color effects. Other camera settings include a self-timer, a night mode, a macro focus mode, an auto focus mode, three shutter sounds plus a silent option, brightness, a multishot mode, and nine fun frames. Photo quality is quite good, with decent color and sharp images. Images had a slight pink tinge to them, however. There's also a video recorder option that can record in 320x240 and 176x144 resolutions with similar options to the still camera. The length of recording time depends on whether you want it for MMS (shorter), or if you want to save it (longer).
You can personalize the LG Tritan with a variety of wallpaper, alert tones, and more. If you don't like the built-in options, you can download more from the U.S. Cellular EasyEdge store. The Tritan also comes with games like Pac-Man, and if you want more you can also download them.
We tested the LG Tritan in San Francisco with U.S. Cellular on a roaming service. We were very impressed with the call quality overall. On our end, we could hear them clearly with hardly any static. Their voices sounded natural with plenty of volume.
On their end, callers said call quality was excellent. They couldn't hear any background noise at all. There was plenty of volume, and voice quality sounded natural, almost that of landline quality. Automated voice response systems recognized us without a problem. Speakerphone quality wasn't too bad either. Though we thought they sounded a bit tinny and distant, callers said they could hear us just fine. They said the quality was about the same, except a bit softer.
As for music playback, the speakers definitely don't do the songs justice. The bass is weak and the overall tune sounds harsh. We would recommend using a stereo headset for better results.
We weren't able to get full EV-DO in our area, but we did get 1xRTT speeds--but it certainly wasn't as fast as we would have liked. Loading a big Web page like CNET.com took about a minute, for example. Similarly, while the Tritan will play a YouTube video just fine, buffering can take several minutes before the video will play. Performance will vary depending on the speed in your area.
The LG Tritan has a rated battery life of 3.5 hours talk time and 8.5 days standby time. Our tests resulted in a longer talk time of 5 hours and 18 minutes. According to FCC radiation tests, the LG Tritan has a digital