It's not uncommon for U.S. Cellular to rebrand an existing phone from a different carrier to make it its own. For example, the LG Apex is essentially the same as the LG Ally except for a few differences. The same goes for the LG Attune, which is U.S. Cellular's version of the LG Cosmos Touch. It has a similar basic messaging phone design, and the overall features are largely unchanged. Yet, it's not a complete clone; there are a few minor differences. In this review, we'll mostly focus on what sets the Attune apart.
Like the Cosmos Touch, the Attune measures 4.05 inches long by 2.08 inches wide by 0.65 inch thick. As such, the Attune has a very small footprint and cradles comfortably in smaller hands. The surrounding plastic shell is smooth and matte, with curved corners and soft sides. At only 4.37 ounces, the Attune can be easily slipped in a pocket or bag without it weighing you down. One noticeable difference between the Attune and the Cosmos Touch is that the Attune has an attractive red band around the display.
The Attune has a rather small 2.8-inch resistive display. Since it is not a capacitive touch screen, it requires a bit more pressure and patience when navigating the phone. Scrolling through the home screens can often take a few tries, for example. Still, the display is colorful enough for a basic handset, with 262,000 color support and a 240x400-pixel resolution. You can adjust the backlight timer, the wallpaper, the charging screen image, and more.
It comes with three home screens, two of which are customizable. You can populate the main home screen with a variety of different applications and widgets, and the other is focused more on favorite contacts or groups. The third home screen is dedicated to messaging, and will display all messages sent to or received from your contacts in chronological order.
Beneath the display are three physical keys; the Send, Clear/Speakerphone key, and the End/Power key. The keys are a little smaller than the ones on the Cosmos Touch, and the Clear/Speakerphone key is a small circle instead of a larger geometric shape. The middle key on the Cosmos Touch was also a Clear/Voice command key instead. The rest of the phone's exterior mirrors that of the Cosmos Touch.
The Attune's sliding keyboard looks the same as the one on the Cosmos Touch at first glance, but there are a few differences if you look closer. For example, the locations of all the symbols are completely different. You also won't get shortcuts to the favorites list, and there are no shortcuts to social network applications, either. The navigation keys on the right are also missing the center OK key. Despite these changes, though, the keyboard is still quite roomy for such a small phone. Each key has a nice domed surface that makes it easier to text by feel.
The features on the LG Attune are very similar to the Cosmos Touch, so we won't spend too much time here repeating the same information. Instead, we'll focus on what's different. For example, you won't get Verizon features like VZ Navigator, Mobile E-mail, and Social Beat, which is Verizon's central social networking hub for your Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace accounts.
Instead, you'll get access to Easyedge, which is U.S. Cellular's online store for apps, Tone Room Deluxe, which is a ringtone store, My Contacts Backup, and Pac-Man as one of the preinstalled games. It's unfortunate that the same e-mail and social networking functions on the Cosmos Touch are not preloaded for the Attune.
We tested the LG Attune in San Francisco using U.S. Cellular's roaming network. Call quality was quite good, though not without a few flaws. On our end, we didn't experience many problems. Callers sounded clear for the most part, and quite loud, too. There was the occasional blip of static, however.
Callers didn't have too many issues, either. They did say our voice had a slight bit of distortion, but it wasn't severe. They detected random crackling at times, however. Speakerphone calls had about the same quality.
LG Attune call quality sample Listen now:
The LG Attune has a battery life of 6 hours talk time and 20 days standby time. It has a tested talk time of 4 hours and 56 minutes. According to the FCC, it has a digital SAR of 0.84 watt per kilogram.
The LG Attune serves as a simple entry-level phone with the usual text and multimedia messaging features that should please most texting fans. We're also happy with its compact design and handy QWERTY keyboard. Though it doesn't have the best multimedia options, they're at least there if you want to eke out a tiny bit more functionality out of the basic Attune. Yet we're sorely disappointed by the finicky resistive touch screen and the lack of e-mail and social networking options. If you can live with these deficiencies however, the Attune is very affordable at only $49.99 after a two-year agreement and a $50 rebate.