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HolidayBuyer's Guide

Hands-on with the LG Xenon

The LG Xenon is a touch-screen handset with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard.

LG Xenon
LG Xenon Nicole Lee/CNET
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My first stop this morning at CTIA was to the LG booth, particularly to take a closer look at the LG Xenon, which was announced earlier this week. The Xenon is quite svelte at 4.16 inches long by 2.11 inches wide by 0.62 inch thick, and it has a nice 262,000-color 2.8-inch QVGA touch-screen display. Underneath the display are three physical keys; the Send, task manager, and End/Power keys. The task manager key brings up a list of open applications that you can toggle through. The touch screen has vibrating feedback, and there's an internal accelerometer that will rotate the screen from portrait to landscape mode in certain applications.

On the bottom row of the home screen are four shortcuts to the phone dialer, the contacts list, the messaging inbox, and the main menu. You can also toggle between three different home screens--one that lists your favorite contacts, one with just the standard home display, and one with your favorite shortcuts. The menu interface is similar to that of the LG Vu, with separate tabs for entertainment, settings, and so forth.

One of the highlights of the Xenon is its slide-out QWERTY keyboard. The keyboard has four rows of keys and is quite roomy. The keys are also sufficiently raised above the surface and are easy to type, at least in the brief few minutes I had to try it out. There are dedicated messaging keys on the keyboard, a dedicated emoticon key, an @ symbol key, and a dedicated .com key for entering URLs in the Xenon's full HTML browser.

Features of the Xenon include a 2.0-megapixel camera, a camcorder, stereo Bluetooth, threaded text messaging, instant messaging, mobile e-mail, quad-band GSM, 3G/HSDPA speeds, and, of course, access to AT&T broadband services like Cellular Video and AT&T Mobile Music. It will be available for $99.99 with a two-year service agreement on April 8 2009.