Immediately below the screen are the spacious navigation buttons. A five-way toggle acts as a shortcut to the Web browser, the address book, AIM, My Media, and text messaging, and there are two soft keys. Other controls consist of a Clear button and the traditional Talk and End keys. Above the display is the barrel-like camera lens that swivels 180 degrees. You can point the lens toward you for a self-portrait (the display acts as a viewfinder) or point it away from you to take pictures of others. The flash swivels as well, but it is more of a steady light; once you turn the flash on, it stays on until you're finished with your picture. We are sure this hurts the battery life, but as any frequent subway rider will tell you, it is always nice to have an extra flashlight on hand just in case you get stuck underground.
Once open, the phone's buttons can all be operated with one hand. The keys are backlit and well spaced. On the side of the phone is the infrared port, while a volume rocker and a camera button are also within reach.The LG A7110 comes loaded with a plethora of features in addition to those needed for making voice calls. The 250-name contact manager can store entries for phone numbers and e-mail addresses, and you can pair contacts with a photo or a ring tone for caller ID. The phone comes with just 10 polyphonic ring tones, but of course, Cingular will be happy to sell you more online. Other goodies include a vibrate mode, text and multimedia messaging, a calendar, an alarm clock, a memo pad, a calculator, a world clock, 20-second voice memos, and a unit converter. Notable omissions are Bluetooth and a speakerphone, but an infrared port is included. It's a nice touch, and it can be used as a data/fax port, but we would have preferred to see Bluetooth capability for data syncing and wireless headsets.
Though it's only VGA quality, the A7110 has one of the better cameras we have seen on an entry-level phone. The camera can store images at three resolutions: 128x160, 320x240, and 640x480. The other camera features include a multishot capability, a self-timer, a 4X zoom, five multiple white-balance settings, three color effects, a brightness adjustment, and four image quality choices. The camera can also capture video at either 128x96- or 176x144-pixel resolutions. Because the phone has a relatively robust 32MB of memory, you can capture as many as 360 photos at VGA quality and as much as 30 minutes of video. Still, a phone such as this is begging for a megapixel of resolution. When done with your shots, you can send both pictures and video in a multimedia message, but the messages are capped at 100Kbps (or five seconds of video).
According to LG, the A7110 is capable of downloading and playing MobiTV streaming video clips over Cingular's EDGE Class 10 network. Yet when we actually found the MobiTV application, which is hidden away in the menu for Cingular's MediaMail, we received a message that it's not yet available for the phone. In any case, top speeds for EDGE reach 236Kbps. This is a big improvement over streaming video with Cingular's older network, but it's still slower than Verizon's V Cast service.
The A7110 comes loaded with Web and Internet features, the most notable of which is the built-in AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) client. Right out of the box, users can launch an instant-messenger session on their phone. Although the lack of a QWERTY keyboard means you have to do a lot of tapping, it should be a boon for users who want to quickly send and receive IMs. The WAP 2.0 Web browser and built-in Java engine let you quickly get online and download games and applications. Unlike with many phones, you can store you purchased content directly on the phone and access it via the MyMedia folder.
You can personalize the A7110 with a variety of wallpaper and color schemes or download more options and ring tones. The mobile comes with one game, SpaceBall, but you always can get more if you want them.We tested the triband (GSM 850/1800/1900; EDGE) LG A7110 in the New York metropolitan area and found the call quality to be excellent. We had no problem finding a clear signal and were always able to hear callers clearly. Even on crowded streets, the phone was able to block out much of the background noise.
Battery life was less than stellar. The talk time was an underwhelming 2.75 hours, 15 minutes short of the rated 3 hours. Standby time was an equally mediocre 6.5 days on a single charge, compared with the promised time of 8.3 days. According to the FCC, the A7110 has a digital SAR rating of 0.71 watts per kilogram.