One of the defining features of the Glimmer is its EV-DO support and therefore access to Alltel's stable of broadband services. For example, there's Axcess TV, which offers made-for-mobile programming in partnership with MobiTV. Channel partners include VH1, MTV, ESPN, as well as our very own CNET. However, Axcess TV costs $11.99 a month on top of your regular monthly plan. Axcess TV On Demand also offers on-demand viewing of hit shows such as The Office and the Daily Show for a premium (the Basic package is $3.99 a month, and the Premium package is $5.99 a month). As for audio, you can opt for Axcess Radio, which streams live music, or if you have an existing XM account, there's also a XM Radio Mobile application you can download.
The one downside to the Web experience, however, is the Glimmer's dialed-down Web browser. It doesn't offer the full HTML browsing experience of the iPhone or the LG Voyager, and is just a simple mobile browser with mostly text and links. Though this is common in most cell phones, we were expecting a little more from the Glimmer because of its large touch-screen display and EV-DO support that would be conducive to a better browsing experience.
The Glimmer has a pretty standard music player, but it does support MP3, WMA, AAC, and AAC+ formats. You can sort your music with playlists, as well as the typical album, artist, and genre categories. There's also a repeat and shuffle mode. The Glimmer comes with 128MB of internal memory, which is alright for a short list of songs, but you should consider getting a microSD card for additional storage. The Glimmer supports microSD cards of up to 4GB.
We really like the Glimmer's camera. Not only is it a 2-megapixel camera with a variety of settings and options, but it also has a really nice user interface, all managed via the touch screen. You get a choice of four resolutions (1,600x1,200; 1,280x960; 640x480; 320x240), and you can choose from three quality settings. Other features include a night mode, a self-timer, five color effects, an adjustable brightness and white balance setting, multishot, and shutter sounds. Photo quality was very good--images appeared sharp, with good lighting and accurate colors. They still appeared slightly hazy and smudgy, but it wasn't that bad. It suffered a little bit under low-light conditions, but the flash helped to make things brighter. There's also a built-in video recorder that shoots clips in two resolutions (320x240 and 176x144) and three quality settings. Record time varies from 15 seconds (which is typical for multimedia messages) to an hour, or as memory allows. Other settings include brightness, white balance, color effects, and cue sounds.
The Glimmer can be personalized in a number of ways. There's a variety of wallpaper, color schemes, banners, and ringtones to choose from. There's even a shuffle mode, where you can frequently change up your ringtone or wallpaper randomly if you like. The LG Glimmer doesn't come with any games.
We tested the dual-mode, dual band LG Glimmer (CDMA 800/1900; EV-DO) in San Francisco using Alltel's roaming service. We were really impressed with the call quality. There was very little static, and callers could hear us loud and clear without a lot of distortion. We had no issues hearing them as well. Speakerphone experience was another matter, though, as voices sounded a lot more muffled. We managed to pair the LG Glimmer with the Iqua Sun Bluetooth headset without a problem.
Music quality was decent. The phone's speakers produced tinny sounds but loud volume, so we suggest using a headset for better quality. EV-DO performance was surprisingly sluggish at times, and buffering time for videos took a while. The quality of the live video itself was all right: slightly pixelated but watchable.