Underneath the display is a navigation array that consists of two soft keys and a circular toggle that act as shortcuts to the contacts list, Axcess Apps, the browser, and the music player. There's also a dedicated speakerphone key, a dedicated camera key, a Back key, and the Send and End/Power keys. We thought the keypad felt rather slick and slippery, with a rather crowded array as well. That said, there was enough textured delineation between each key so you could dial by feel if you wanted.
The LG Wave has a number of features that would please anyone looking for a midrange phone. The address book holds about 5,000 contacts with room in each entry for five phone numbers, a couple of e-mail addresses, and a memo. They can also be categorized into groups, paired with a photo for caller ID, or one of 36 polyphonic ringtones. Other basics include a vibrate mode, text and multimedia messaging, a speakerphone, a memo pad, an alarm clock, a tip calculator, a notepad, a calculator, a stopwatch, a world clock, and a unit converter. For those who want a little more out of their phone, the LG Wave also has stereo Bluetooth, a voice recorder, voice command, PC syncing, USB mass storage, a wireless Web browser, and EV-DO support. The LG Wave also has built-in GPS for location access support.
The built-in music player is fairly basic, with a generic interface that displays the typical music controls plus an option for playlist creation. There's a music library, where songs are immediately organized by artist, genre, album, and recently played. We did like that it has a customizable equalizer with 6 preset equalizer modes. You can transfer music onto the phone via a microSD card. Other multimedia features include Alltel's Axcess TV and support for XM Satellite Radio.
Personalization options include a variety of wallpapers, screensavers, and the customization of the home screen with calendars and clocks. You can also download more graphics, alert tones, and sounds via Alltel's web browser.
We tested the dual-band (CDMA 800/1900; EV-DO) LG Wave in San Francisco using Alltel's service. Though call quality was pretty good, callers could still hear slight background noises, and reported that our voices sounded a little tinny. Speakerphone volume level was fine, though there was still an audible metallic echo effect. That said, we could still hear each other clearly. We paired the LG Wave with the Plantronics Voyager 520 without any problems.
The LG Wave has a rated battery life of 3 hours of talk time, which seems rather low. However, our tests did reveal a talk time of 4 hours. It has a rated standby time of 8 days. According to FCC radiation tests, the LG Wave has a maximum digital SAR rating of 1.08 watts per kilogram.