Not everyone needs a fancy megapixel camera or a built-in music player in her cell phone. A lot of people just want a basic phone for making calls, and having a few extras like a simple VGA camera and Bluetooth are nice bonuses. The LG VX5500 is not the most advanced phone by any means, but its simple design and features are good enough for those who just want the basics. The VX5500 is also quite affordable at only $49.99 with a two-year service agreement and a $50 mail-in rebate.
There isn't much to say about the VX5500's design. Measuring 3.56 inches long by 1.84 inches wide by 0.73 inch thick, the VX5500 has a pretty boring rectangular shape clad in black and gray tones. It feels quite lightweight at 3.05 ounces, and its smooth plastic back makes it comfortable in the hand. The clamshell hinge has a solid feel and opens and closes smoothly.
Even though it's small, we appreciate that the VX5500 comes with a 1.04-inch, 65,000-color external display. It shows basic information like battery life, signal strength, date and time, as well as photo caller ID when available. It can also act as a self-portrait viewfinder when the camera is activated. You can adjust the screen's backlight time, the wallpaper, and the clock format. The camera lens sits on top of the external display.
Flip open the VX5500 and you'll find a decent-size, 1.76-inch, diagonal display with support for 262,000 colors. The screen looks pretty good for a more basic phone like this--images look sharp and colors look bright and vibrant. You can adjust the backlight time, the menu style (tab, grid, or list), font type, font size, and, of course, the wallpaper and clock format.
The navigation array underneath the display consists of two soft keys, a round navigation toggle with a middle OK key, a dedicated speakerphone key, a Clear key, and the Send and End/Power keys. The up, left, and down keys on the toggle double as shortcuts to three user-defined functions. The right key brings up a My Shortcuts submenu, which leads to four more user-defined applications. The keys on the navigation array are of a decent size and yield easily to pressure. The number keypad was also pleasant to use; it's spacious, and the keys have slight ridges that make them easy to dial by feel.
The left spine has a headset jack, a volume rocker, a voice-command button, and a charger jack, while the dedicated camera key is on the right.