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LG Apex (U.S. Cellular) review: LG Apex (U.S. Cellular)

You can, of course, download more apps from the Android Market, which now has a catalog of more than 100,000 apps. Since the Apex is still running Android 2.1, you can only save apps to the phone's main memory (Android 2.2 supports app storage on SD cards), which is only about 102MB, so keep that in mind as you go about downloading apps.

As a phone, the LG Apex has a speakerphone, speed dialing, voice commands, conference calling, and text and multimedia messaging. Bluetooth, 3G, GPS, and integrated Wi-Fi are also all onboard, but there's currently no voice-dialing over Bluetooth. The smartphone offers support for a number of e-mail accounts and social networks, including Gmail, POP3 and IMAP, Microsoft Exchange, Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter, and merges contact information from your various accounts. Calendar appointments and e-mail are also combined into a unified view, though you can opt to keep your various inboxes separate.

When you're ready for some down time, you can use the smartphone's standard Android media player to listen to your favorite tunes. The interface is pretty basic, but it can handle MP3, WMA, AAC, AAC+ files and supports on-the-fly playlist creation, album art, and shuffle and repeat modes.

Picture quality was a bit dark and grainy.

Finally, the Apex has a 3-megapixel camera with an LED flash and autofocus. There a number of editing options available, such as various scene modes, ISO settings, white balance controls, color effects, and a self-timer. The camera can also record video up to 640x480 in size. Picture quality was OK--clear enough that we could make out all the objects in the image, but slightly on the darker, grainier side.

We tested the dual-band LG Apex in New York using roaming U.S. Cellular service and call quality was decent. Audio was slightly tinny our end, but without distracting background noise so we had no problems carrying on a conversation. Friends had similar comments. They said there wasn't anything distracting about the call quality, but did mention that the audio wasn't as full or rich as some of the other phone's we've tested.

LG Apex call quality sample Listen now:

Speakerphone quality was good. Though there was a bit of that hollowness that often plagues speakerphones, the sound was clear and there was plenty of volume to hold calls in noisier environments. We paired the smartphone with the Logitech Mobile Traveller Bluetooth headset and Motorola S9 Bluetooth Active Headphones with no problem.

With roaming 3G coverage, CNET's full site loaded in 26 seconds, while the mobile sites for CNN and ESPN loaded in 5 seconds and 7 seconds, respectively. YouTube videos loaded within several seconds, and you have the option to switch to high-quality clips, which took a little longer to buffer, but played back without interruption and with synchronized audio and video.

Powered by a 600MHz processor, the LG Apex struggled in the performance department. There were slight pauses with even simple tasks, such as launching apps and switching between screens, and though there were never crippling, the delays were noticeable.

The LG Apex ships with a 1,500mAh lithium ion battery with a rated talk time of 7.5 hours and up to 14 days of standby time. We are still conducting our battery drain tests but will update this section as soon as we have final results. During our review period, however, we noticed that battery life wasn't the greatest. Even with minimal use, the battery drained faster than most, so it's definitely a concern. According to FCC radiation tests, the Apex has a digital SAR rating of 1.38 W/kg and a Hearing Aid Compatibility Rating of M4/T4.

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