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The phone features an external monochrome display that shows the time, signal strength, battery life, and caller ID (where available). Upon opening the phone, however, we were greeted by a bright, 2-inch-diagonal screen capable of showing 65,000 colors. Just below it are the camera lens and a small mirror for self-portraits. A 2.5mm headset jack on the side accepts universal hands-free headsets, which must be purchased separately.
The L1150's simple but animated menus are easy to navigate via the spacious controls. A five-way circular touch pad provides one-touch access to the address book, text messaging, the sound menu, AOL Instant Messenger, and AT&T's mMode service; the button can also be configured to connect to ICQ and Yahoo Instant Messenger. Additionally, there's a dedicated camera button and a key that opens the picture gallery. Another camera button is on the right side, while a thin volume rocker lies on the left. The keypad buttons are also well spaced, but since they are set flush with the surface of the phone, it's difficult to dial by feel. The star key activates voice dialing.Although affordably priced, the LG L1150 comes packed with midrange voice features as well as a VGA-quality camera (see below). The LG can store 255 phone-book entries with room in each for three phone numbers, an e-mail address, and notes. This probably isn't enough for a veteran salesperson, but it should more than please casual users. Callers can be assigned to groups or be paired with a picture for photo caller ID, though images won't appear on the external screen. For ringer options, the mobile supports 10 polyphonic (40-chord) ring tones with group ring tone ID only.
Other features include a vibrate mode, voice dialing, a calendar, a calculator, a world clock, a memo pad, an alarm clock, and a unit converter. You can send organizer info to your PC using the built-in infrared port, and you get three 30-second voice memos. Text and multimedia messaging are also included, and while the AOL IM features are nice, composing text messages is slow going without a keyboard.
Like so many phones these days, the L1150 comes with a built-in VGA camera. Shots can be taken in five resolutions (640x480, 320x240, 160x120, 128x160, and 45x80); mostly, they are par for the course, but there are a number of image-control settings. You get a multiple-shot (up to nine pictures in succession), white balance, brightness control, image effect, and a 2X digital zoom. These options are a nice way to tweak photos on the handset, but as with most camera phones, the overall picture quality wasn't anything we would want to print out. There's also a choice of three shutter sounds, plus a silent option. Once finished, photos can be saved to the handset's memory, stored as wallpaper, paired with contacts, or sent via a multimedia message.
Web access and applications come through via AT&T's mMode service and WAP 2.0 wireless Web browser, which delivers GPRS data transmission. The phone isn't loaded with any games or applications, but you can download them from mMode for a fee. The screen can be customized with five built-in wallpaper choices, or you can download more, along with ring tones.We tested the triband GSM (850/1800/1900; GPRS) LG L1150 in New York City on AT&T Wireless's network. The service and call quality were only so-so. Several times, our service was limited to emergency calls because of poor signal quality. What's more, it was hard to hear callers when we were talking on crowded streets, even with the volume set to maximum.
Talk time on the mobile was 3.5 hours, effectively meeting the rated 3.6 hours. On standby, the phone lasted six days without requiring a recharge, well short of the promised nine days. Although previous LG models, such as the VX4500, use a docking station, the LG L1150 comes with an easy-to-manage travel charger. According to the FCC, the L1150 has a digital SAR rating of 1.45 watts per kilogram.