With more manufacturers including them in their new cell phones, integrated cameras are becoming the "in" feature for 2004. Not to be left out, the LG LX5450 combines a feature-packed CMOS camera with a high-resolution color screen, USB compatibility, and a solid flip-phone design. Though it offers improvements over the similarly sized for Sprint PCS, the newer model is for Alltel, which has a smaller service footprint. Still, at $99.95 with a two-year contract, the LX5450 is a good deal for a camera phone. As the successor to the , the LG LX5450 largely resembles its predecessor, with almost the same size and weight (3.5 by 1.8 by 1.0 inches, 3.88 ounces). This handset is a bit wider than most current flip phones, but it still fit in our pocket. The two-tone silver shell comes in a simple yet attractive style. The phone's solid construction made it comfortable to hold while we were talking. The postage stamp-size, blue-backlit external display, which shows the time, signal strength, battery life, and caller ID (where available), is easy to see in low light.
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The LX5450 isn't small, but its size is not excessive.
Opening the LX5450 reveals the high-resolution, two-inch internal LCD that resembles the one found on the LG VX6000. The icon-driven menus are easy to handle, and we like that you can scroll sideways between the primary options without returning to the main menu screen. You also can move through the menus using the volume rocker key on the phone's left side, while a separate unmarked button activates the voice-dialing feature, switches between ring modes, and acts as a camera shutter. The camera lens and the mirror are on the top rear of the phone, just next to the extendable antenna.
Both the navigation keys and the dial buttons are generously sized and well spaced, so people with larger fingers should have no problems dialing. A four-way key gives one-touch access to the wireless Web browser, messages, Alltel's Axcess Apps service, and one user-defined shortcut, while two soft keys open the menu and the phone book. We especially appreciate the OK/camera button in the middle of the four-way key. The blue-backlit controls are easy to see in the dark, but because they're set flush against the phone's face, dialing by feel takes some acclimation. The LG LX5450 has a 499-name phone book with room for five numbers and three e-mail addresses for each entry. You can organize contacts into groups and assign specific ring tones or pictures for use with caller ID, though the images don't appear on the external monochrome display. The mobile can also speed- and voice-dial 99 and 30 contacts, respectively. Other features include a calendar, an alarm clock, a notepad, a four-minute voice memo, a calculator, a world clock, USB connectivity, text and multimedia messaging, a vibrate mode, and 31 polyphonic (32-chord) ring tones, with more available for download. Surprisingly, the handset does not have a speakerphone.
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Take a look: The mirror next to the camera lens aids in self-portraits.
The highly functional CMOS camera offers a resolution of 330,000 pixels. Pictures looked crisp on the phone's display, but we were unable to send them via MMS because we did not have Alltel data coverage in our area. Nonetheless, you get a wealth of options, including a 4X digital zoom, four color effects, three resolutions, a brightness adjustment, a multishot option (for up to five shots), three quality settings (High, Normal, and Economy), five Fun Frames, a self-timer, and three shutter sounds, including a silent mode. As noted previously, you can take pictures using the OK key or a button on the phone's right side, and the small mirror next to the camera lens works well for self-portraits. You can store up to 20 images taken at the highest resolution.
The LX5450 can be customized through a choice of wallpapers and colors, in addition to menu, clock, and font styles. Via its 1xRTT networks, Alltel's Axcess service offers more choices for download, as well BREW-supported games (none are included) and other applications. We tested the triband (CDMA 800/1900; AMPS 800) LG LX5450 in San Francisco using Alltel's service. Though we were roaming on Alltel's network, we had no trouble getting a signal. Callers sounded clear and loud, and for the most part, they couldn't tell we were using a cell phone.
Battery life was average. Though we beat the rated talk time of 2.5 hours by an hour, we managed only 4.5 days of standby time, short of the promised standby time of 6.25 days. Compared with our tests on the , we got an extra hour of the talk time but 3.5 fewer days of standby time.