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The large 1.8-inch display is one of the first things you notice on the phone, but we're disappointed that it supports only a 65,000-color palette with 128x160-pixel resolution. As expected, it displays signal and battery strength, date, time, caller ID (where available), and your choice of wallpaper. The backlight time is adjustable up to 3 minutes, but you can't alter the contrast, brightness, and font size on the display.
Underneath the display, the phone's controls are laid out in a curve; the two soft keys, Talk and End buttons, and the Cancel key are positioned on a silvery curved border, whereas the four-way navigation toggle and middle confirmation key is displayed in an eyelike shape in the center. This results in a very sleek look, but we didn't find it to be the most functional. The buttons were a little small and narrow, and they might be a problem for larger hands. Also, the two soft keys are located too far to the sides, which led to us to try to press nonexistent buttons underneath the screen. The navigation toggle doubles as shortcuts to text messaging, instant messaging, the address book, and the My Media folder, whereas the middle confirmation key serves as a shortcut for Cingular's Media Net portal. Slide the phone open and you'll be presented with a smooth, slightly domed keypad that is textured enough so that you can dial by feel. The asterisk acts as a vibrate-mode toggle, whereas the pound sign doubles as a voice-tag button.Other than the obvious PTT function, the LG F7200 doesn't have many other features aside from the basics. The phone comes with a 255-entry address book that stores up to three phone numbers, an e-mail address, and notes for each contact. You can assign contacts to one of seven predefined groups: Family, VIP, Friends, Colleague, Group 1, Group 2, and Others. Each group can be assigned a personalized ring tone and a group icon. Buried in the My Media menu is the Tools submenu that lists all the organizer features: alarm clock, calendar, voice memo, calculator, notepad, world clock, and unit converter. Both text and multimedia messaging are enabled, and the F7200 supports four instant-messaging networks: AOL Instant Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, ICQ, and Cingular's own IM service. As is common with most Cingular phones, the F7200 provides access to Media Net, Cingular's mobile Internet portal that provides access to a WAP 2.0 browser as well as various Internet services such as news, weather, and e-mail. There's a handy speakerphone that is supereasy to use, thanks to the dedicated button on the side, although you can activate it only during a phone call. The F7200 supports numerous other call features: caller ID, conference calls, voice dialing, speed dialing, call waiting, and call forwarding.
The main feature of this phone, of course, is the PTT functionality. There's a separate list for PTT contacts, but since Cingular uses the same number for both regular phone calls and PTT calls, you can easily copy contacts to and from the address book. Before you can connect to someone using PTT, you have to send out a PTT invitation, which the other person can accept or reject. Cingular also offers Quick Group Calling, allowing you to place a PTT call to a group of people that you can assign on your phone. You can easily tell who on your contacts list is available by the icons next to the name. There are also icons for Do Not Disturb, Invitation In Progress, and Silent/Vibrate mode. You have to hold the PTT key down while you talk, and you should make sure not to speak until after you hear a tone. Any time during a PTT call, the call originator can convert the call to cellular by going to Options and selecting Convert to Cellular; callers need not press the PTT button to talk. Other PTT options include a Call Me Alert, which can be sent to any of your PTT contacts; voice messages; call waiting; and contact alerts, which let you know if one of your contacts is available.
The F7200 has Java 2.0 support for game and application downloads, though the only game that comes with the phone is SpaceBall. Downloadable games cost up to $6.99 per game, which is far too pricey. There are plenty of personalization options with this phone. You can customize the display with four different wallpapers (or none) with an option to buy more and change the menu style to either icon or list view. You can also customize the ring alert types with ring only, ring and vibrate, or vibrate and ring. You can also choose from three message alert tones, two key tones (beep or voice), and three slider tones, or you can turn it off altogether.There are 10 polyphonic and 10 monophonic ring tones included in the phone, as well as an option to buy more. There's also a vibrate mode and a silent mode.The LG F7200 is a dual-band (GSM 850/1900) phone. We tested the phone on Cingular's network in San Francisco. Even though callers on the other end could tell we were on a cell phone, call quality was satisfactory. Speakerphone calls were loud and clear, while PTT calls sounded good.
In our battery tests, we coaxed a solid nine hours of talk time out of the LGF7200, far surpassing the rated time of up to four hours. The rated standby time is 6 days; we got 5.5 days in our tests. According to FCC radiation tests, the LG F7200 has a digital SAR rating of 0.87 watts per kilogram.