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LG Candy review: LG Candy (GU285)

If you're looking for a cheap phone, and it just has to be pink, you'll find what you're looking for in the LG Candy.

Joseph Hanlon Special to CNET News
Joe capitalises on a life-long love of blinking lights and upbeat MIDI soundtracks covering the latest developments in smartphones and tablet computers. When not ruining his eyesight staring at small screens, Joe ruins his eyesight playing video games and watching movies.
Joseph Hanlon
3 min read

Design

Like an oversized musk stick, the LG Candy has a fittingly playful design to match its fun-loving title. Three tones of pink are offset by white trim in this AU$99 budget wonder, the top of which slides forward to reveal a flat-as-a-tack T9 numeric keypad below. Around the edges of the phone you'll discover a few common buttons missing, there's no volume rocker (that task is taken by the up and down nav-keys during calls) and the dedicated camera button resides under the slider. There is, however, a micro-USB port for charging and plugging in headphones, and a microSD card slot on the opposite side for bulking up this mini-music phone's internal storage.

7.0

LG Candy

The Good

Cute musk-stick design. 3G connectivity. Good for basic use.

The Bad

No volume rocker. Flat keypad will be tricky for some users. No memory for storing music. Headphone adapter not compatible with most headphones.

The Bottom Line

If you're looking for a cheap phone, and it just has to be pink, you'll find what you're looking for in the LG Candy. Just don't expect much more than that for AU$99.

On the back of the phone you'll find an exposed camera lens in front of the Candy's 1.3-megapixel shooter and beside an external speaker. There's also a secondary front-facing camera that cam be used for video calling.

The user interface is pretty standard for a phone of this calibre, but that said, it's attractively designed with a choice of a moody black menu theme, or a glitzy white one. Moving around the phone is fairly intuitive, with the major elements clearly labelled and the mechanical keys laid out nicely.

Features

Beyond the basics of calling and messaging, the Candy packs a few simple extras. There's a Facebook icon on the main menu linking you to its mobile site, a Google logo that acts as a shortcut to its search function and a few pre-installed EA game demos.

The real surprise for us is that the Candy is a 3G phone, meaning it's capable of faster web browsing than most phones priced at under AU$100. This would be great if LG had also installed a more sophisticated web browser, but as it stands, the web surfing is a pretty slow and frustrating affair, even with the 3G hardware under the hood.

Available exclusively through Boost Mobile in Australia, the Candy comes with a pair of Sound Surgeon headphones; over-the-ear cans with a built-in hands-free microphone for taking calls while you're head-banging along with your favourite tunes. Considering they bundle for free with a AU$99 mobile phone (they apparently retail for AU$49.95 on their own) you probably won't be surprised to hear that these are pretty rubbish headphones. They look cute, depending on your style, but the sound you get out of them will make you think it's time to clean out your ears — the audio is so muddy and muffled that the music we played sounded significantly quieter than the headphones we compared them to. On the upside, they do a pretty decent job of reducing noise so they are a good option if you just want to chill out and not listen to anything, or anyone, at all.

The headphone adapter is only compatible with hands-free connections (white jack) not standard headphone connections (black jack).
(Credit: CBSi)

To plug the Sound Surgeons into the LG Candy you'll need to use the micro-USB-to-3.5mm headphone adapter. The inclusion of this adapter should be cause for celebration, opening up the possibility to toss the Sound Surgeons in the bin to use your favourite headphones instead. Unfortunately, the adapter only seems to work with headphones that include a hands-free microphone. Adding a mic changes the 3.5mm connection on headphones slightly, and the adapter is only compatible with this style of connection.

Performance

If you're just after a basic phone that is pink, then the LG Candy will do the trick. The earpiece speaker isn't fantastic, but we managed to make calls that were clear enough to get by. Texting is fine if your tiny fingers can comfortably navigate the flat keypad — we found it a bit tricky with our chunky digits. Its tiny 900mAh battery did a good job too, lasting several days even when we punished it with several hours of music playback each day.

The camera is exactly what you should expect from an AU$100 phone.
(Credit: CBSi)

The camera is as good as you might expect from a $100 phone, or a $100 camera for that matter. Even under the best lighting conditions the pictures are soft in focus and the colours are almost always washed out.