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.
The LG MM-535's MPEG-4 video recorder shoots 15-second clips with sound and has adjustable settings for brightness and white balance. It also has a useful video light that's great for shooting videos in dark situations. Once you're done recording videos or shooting stills, you can send them via multimedia message or save them to the phone's 20MB of integrated memory or to a Mini SD card. The LG MM-535 doesn't ship with a USB cable, so the only way to get multimedia files to and from the device is by sending them via MMS or transferring files a Mini SD card. Photo and video quality was good, though not printworthy.
Like other Sprint multimedia phones (look for MM in the model number), the LG MM-535 lets you download and play videos from Sprint PCS. The mostly 1- to 2-minute, for-pay videos average about $4 per clip and range from breaking news from CNN to segments from Fox Sports, the Weather Channel, E Entertainment, Cartoon Network, and AccuWeather. Compared to the clips from Verizon's V Cast service, these snippets are pixelated and shaky. Remember, though, that V Cast runs on a 3G EV-DO network, as opposed to Sprint's 2.5G 1xRTT service. Data speeds are between 50Kbps to 70Kbps, compared with to 300Kbps to 500Kbps on Verizon's V Cast, and video clips play at 15fps, whereas a normal television set comes in at 30fps.
As expected, the LG MM-535 can be personalized with a variety of wallpaper, sounds, and color schemes, with more options are available from Sprint PCS. You can also download more selections and ring tones via the WAP 2.0 wireless Web browser. Our handheld came preloaded with several games, including Galaga, Jamdat Bowling 2, and World Poker Tour.We tested the triband (CDMA 800/1900; AMPS 800) LG MM-535 in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Audio quality was good and conversations clear. If not for background noise, callers reported that they couldn't tell we were using a cell phone. The speakerphone quality was amazingly loud through the device's stereo speakers.
Battery life phone wasn't the best. Though we matched the rated time of 3.4 hours, that's not terribly long. Standby time was five days on a single charge, or two days less than the promised time of seven days. According to the FCC, the MM-535 has a digital SAR rating of 0.36 watts per kilogram and an analog SAR rating of 0.45 watts per kilogram.