The compact LG C1500 is lightweight (3.3 by 1.7 by 0.9 inches; 3.0 ounces) and fits comfortably in the hand. It comes in a basic charcoal with a small, stubby antenna that isn't too obtrusive. On the front flap is the external screen housed in a silver border and a dot-pattern background. The external screen is monochrome in standby, but when the phone is active, it lights up with a color filter (96x64 pixels) that shows a blue sky and greenery. The 1-inch-diagonal screen shows the time, signal strength, battery life, and caller ID.
When the phone is flipped open, you'll note the internal 128x28-pixel, 65,000-color display, which measures 1.6 inches diagonally. The screen is bright and saturated with color, and even though you can't change the font size, you can alter the contrast. Underneath the display are the navigational controls. There are two soft keys along with dedicated Tools and ring-tones buttons. In the middle is a five-way navigation toggle that doubles as a shortcut to text messaging, instant messaging, the address book, and the My Media menu. Unfortunately, these shortcuts cannot be changed. The Talk, End, and Cancel buttons are located in the same area as the dial pad. Buttons are nice, roomy, and tactile, and the dial pad's beveled texture makes it easy to dial by feel. The keypad layout is clean, simple, and straightforward. On the left spine is a headset jack covered with a plastic plug and a volume rocker that can be set to silent or vibrate.
The LG C1500 comes with a 255-contact address book, and each entry can store multiple phone numbers, an e-mail address, and a memo. You can organize your contacts by caller groups and add up to eight of them to a speed-dialing list. You can also assign your contacts with any of the 10 polyphonic and 10 monophonic included ring tones; in addition, the C1500 supports MP3 tones. The LG C1500 has a built-in speakerphone for hands-free conversation, though you can't turn it on before you make a call. Additionally, you can use instant messaging (AOL, ICQ, Yahoo, and Cingular's own IM service) and send text or multimedia messages to your friends. There's no camera, but you can still receive picture messages. There's also a vibrate mode and a WAP 2.0 browser that connects to Cingular's Media Net, which you can use to check weather, news, or sports scores. You can select from three answer modes: flip phone, hit any key, or hit the Send key. Organizational tools include an alarm clock, a calendar, a calculator, memos, a world clock, and a unit converter.
You can also personalize the phone with customizable wallpaper on the internal display, a backlight timer, and contrast/brightness controls. Java (J2ME) games included with the phone are Tetris and Downtown Texas Hold 'Em. Cingular's Media Mall offers ring tones for purchase, as well as additional graphics, games, and applications.
We tested the triband GSM (850/1800/1900; GPRS) LG C1500 in the San Francisco area using Cingular's network. Calls sounded great despite a little fuzz, and even though callers could tell we were on a cell phone, it wasn't too bad. Accessing Cingular's Media Net service, however, was a pain. On the 2.5G GPRS network, the WAP 2.0 browser was slow and clunky, and it took forever to shop for new ring tones and applications.
The LG C1500 has a rated talk time of 2.5 hours, compared with our tested talk time of 3 hours. The rated standby time is up to 9 days. According to FCC radiation tests, the LG C1500 has a digital SAR rating of 1.34W/kg.