The definitely seems to be the mobile design du jour, and the LG MM-535 for Sprint PCS is at the top of the heap when it comes to both style and substance. Not only does the LG MM-535 turn heads, it's packed to the gills with high-end features, such as a 1.3-megapixel camera, an amazing display, and the ability to play MP3s. Call quality also was good, though at $379 (or cheaper with service), this mobile should have included Bluetooth and better battery life. Sporting an attractive blue and silver design, the LG MM-535 is somewhat bulky at 1.9 by 0.9 by 3.9 inches and 3.9 ounces, but we had no problem fitting the phone into a jeans pocket. With the slider closed, the vast majority of the MM-535's real estate is dedicated to the large 2-inch-diagonal screen that displays 262,144 colors and a changeable font size. Above the screen are the stereo speakers that get plenty loud when you're playing music or using the mobile as a speakerphone. The screen was bright indoors but was often difficult to see in direct sunlight. As with other slider phones, the display is always exposed, and after a short period of time, ours began to acquire scratches. Below the screen (when closed) is a five-way toggle, with an OK button in the center. To the right of the toggle is a soft key, and below that is the End (power off) key. To the left of the toggle is an additional soft key, which sits atop the Talk key. Below the toggle is the Back key.
When the slider is closed, the LG MM-535 locks the screen after a few seconds, but you can unlock the display one of two ways. With the slider closed, you can hit the right soft key, then the OK button to navigate the phone's simple menu system. Additionally, opening the slider itself also unlocks the display. The slider design is a nice touch, and users can customize the phone to answer calls when the slider is opened, or they can simply hit the Talk key. Also, if you place a call with the slider open, closing it ends the call; you can change this, though.
Navigating the device's menus is easy with the five-way toggle. Also, the toggle can be customized to launch frequently used features such as the Web browser and messaging. On the left side of the device are the headset jack, a volume rocker, and a dedicated voice-dialing button. On the right side of the phone sits the dedicated camera button, and on the top, you'll find a flap concealing the Mini SD slot. The rear face of the phone hosts the camera lens, the self-portrait mirror, and the flash.
Sliding the top half of the mobile upward not only increases its length nearly 50 percent, it exposes your standard number pad. Because of the low profile required by most slider phones, the buttons have to be flush with the device. While this makes for difficult dialing with many phones, the backlit buttons on the MM-535 are quite tactile. It's relatively simple to dial by feel, and misdials were rare. You can adjust the backlighting on the keypad for anywhere from 8 to 30 seconds, or you can choose to turn it off. You'll need to be careful with the LG MM-535's extendable antenna, as it's somewhat flimsy.As we mentioned before, the LG MM-535 is packed with high-end features. It sports a 500-contact phone book with room in each entry for five phone numbers, e-mail and Web addresses, and notes. Contacts can be assigned to caller groups, paired with a picture for photo caller ID, and assigned any of 16 polyphonic and 6 monophonic ring tones. Like other high-end mobiles, the LG MM-535 sports a vibrate mode, text and multimedia messaging, voice dialing, a scheduler, a calculator, voice memos, and an alarm clock. The speakerphone can be activated only once a call is placed, but we didn't mind. We were disappointed that a phone of this caliber didn't ship with support for POP3 or IMAP 4 e-mail. It also lacks an infrared port and Bluetooth. It does, however, have dedicated menu items for launching Yahoo, AOL, and MSN Messenger within the WAP 2.0 wireless Web browser.
You don't have to open the slider to access the 1.3-megapixel camera, which also has a flash. You can take pictures in four resolutions (1,280x960, 640x480, 320x240, and 160x120) and select from three quality settings. There's a self-timer, controls for white balance and brightness, and several color tones from which to choose. The LG MM-535 sports a 20X zoom, and you get a choice of five shutter sounds and a silent option.