Most of the recent LG phones from AT&T have either been fancy touch-screen handsets (like the LG Incite) or slim models that can stream live TV (The LG Invision, for example). The LG CF360, on the other hand, takes the midtier approach, much like the LG Shine of two years ago. The CF360 is a slim slider that is easy on the eyes and the hands, and while its feature set isn't that exciting, it's not that bad either. The LG CF360 is available for a very affordable $29.99 after a two-year service agreement and a $50 mail-in rebate.
The LG CF360 has a simple slim slider design, and though it looks quite ordinary, we like it all the same. Measuring 3.97 inches long by 1.89 inches wide by 0.66 inch thick, the CF360 is wrapped in a soft-touch black surface that gives the phone a nice grip and makes it feel comfortable in the hand. The slider mechanism feels solid, and requires a firm push to slide up or down. You can get the CF360 with either a blue or red stripe along its sides. The navigation keys are either blue or red as well. The CF360 weighs about 3.5 ounces, which won't weigh you down.
On the front of the phone is the 2-inch QVGA display with support for 65,000 colors and a 240x320-pixel resolution. Though it doesn't have support for 262,000 colors like we would prefer, the display still looks colorful and images look quite sharp. You can adjust the font size, the color of the dialing font, the screen's brightness, backlight timer, color schemes, and the menu style.
The navigation array consists of two soft keys, four directional keys, a middle OK key, a Call and End/Power key, plus the Clear/Back key. The four directional keys are raised above the surface, while the other keys are a bit flusher to the surface. Slide the phone open and you'll find the number keypad. The keypad is roomy, and though the keys are not as tactile as we would like, there are still enough delineations between each key so it's easy to dial and text. All the keys have a nice give to them.
The volume rocker is on the left spine, while the microSD card slot is on the top. On the right spine are a dedicated camera key, a task menu key, and the charger/headset jack. The task menu key lets you tab between open applications. On the back of the CF360 are a camera lens and a speaker grille. There's no self-portrait mirror or flash, though.
The LG CF360 has a generous 1,000-entry phone book with room in each entry for two phone numbers, an e-mail address, and a memo. You can assign contacts to caller groups, a photo for caller ID, and one of 20 polyphonic ringtones. Other basic features include a vibrate mode, a speakerphone, text and multimedia messaging, an alarm clock, a notepad, a calendar, a calculator, a world clock, a tasks list, a stopwatch, a tip calculator, and a unit converter. Slightly advanced features include voice command and voice dialing support, a wireless Web browser, a voice recorder, instant messaging (AIM, Windows Live, and Yahoo Messenger), stereo Bluetooth, and mobile e-mail. The mobile e-mail is limited--it only supports Web-based e-mail like Hotmail and Yahoo Mail, plus a few select ISPs like Comcast and Earthlink. The CF360 also has A-GPS, and it comes with AT&T Navigator, AT&T's turn-by-turn location-based service.
Since the CF360 has 3G/HSDPA support, it is compatible with AT&T's array of broadband services. They include AT&T's Cellular Video, which lets you watch streaming video clips from sources like CNN and CBS, AT&T Video Share, which lets you stream live one-way video to another Video-Share-compatible phone, plus AT&T Mobile Music, a music portal with an online music store courtesy of Napster. You can also download applications like MobiTV, which lets you watch live TV.
The music player is housed within the AT&T Mobile Music menu. It has a very plain interface, with the typical music player controls, a repeat and shuffle mode, and the capability to create and edit playlists on the fly. The music player supports MP3, AMR-NB, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, and WMA files, and you can transfer songs via a USB cable just by dragging and dropping or just purchase them over-the-air via the aforementioned Napster music store. AT&T Mobile Music also offers XM Radio Mobile, which will stream satellite radio provided you have an existing account, Music ID, a song identification service, and access to music news, plus a music fan community. You can also watch streaming music videos and shop for ringtones.
The LG CF360 comes with a 1.3-megapixel camera. Photo quality is mediocre, with blurry images and overcast colors. You can take pictures in four resolutions (1,280x960, 640x480, 320x240, 160x120), three quality settings, 11 color effects, and five white balance presets. Other settings include brightness, a night mode, a self-timer, and three shutter tones plus a silent option. There's also a video recorder. You can record video clips in two sizes (320x240 and 176x144) with settings similar to the still camera's settings.
You can personalize the CF360 with a variety of wallpaper, color schemes, clock and calendar formats, alert tones, and more. The CF360 comes with a few applications like MobiTV, Mobile Banking, MobilePix, and WikiMobile, plus games like Block Breaker Deluxe, Ms. Pac-Man, and Tetris. You can download more options from the CF360's MediaNet browser.
We tested the quad-band (GSM 850/900/1800/1900) LG CF360 in San Francisco using AT&T's service. Call quality was very good. Callers could hardly hear any static or background noise, though they could still tell we were on a cell phone. We could hear them loud and clear as well. Speakerphone calls were a little lower in quality. They said we sounded a little muffled, and we thought the sound from the speakers was a bit hollow and tinny. Still, we could hear each other just fine.
As for audio quality, the small external speaker on the CF360 doesn't do the songs justice. The bass is weak, and as we said, it was a bit tinny. We would recommend using a headset for better quality. The video quality from AT&T's Cellular Video wasn't great, with a lot of pixelation. That said, thanks to the 3G/HSDPA speed, there was hardly any buffering time. Simple WAP Web pages loaded quickly, and we downloaded a song in under a minute.