LG U890 review: LG U890

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The Good Slim design. Good screen for video. Decent battery life.

The Bad Camera sits at odd angles. Keypad can be tough to activate. Low internal memory. Delicate battery latch.

The Bottom Line LG's U890 offers a decent mid-range 3G phone package.

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7.0 Overall

Is imitation the sincerest form of flattery? If so, then Motorola ought to be feeling extremely flattered when looking at LG's U890. Flip open the U890 and show it quickly to someone else, and we'd be willing to bet that they'd pick it as the Motorola RAZR V3i. That's primarily due to the U890's adoption of a very Tron-like keypad interface that closely mimics that of the RAZR line. Like Motorola's well-recieved phones, there's a downside to all this stylish adoption, and that's in keypad responsiveness. It can be very hard indeed to correctly pick when you've pressed down on the correct area of the keypad when it's all essentially just one flat surface. In most other respects the keypad is entirely what you'd expect; the usual array of number and dialling keys sit below a five-way selector and navigation buttons that will also launch set applications, including contact lists and phone ring settings. As the U890 is an exclusive to the 3 network in Australia, there's also a direct link to 3's mobile TV platform built in.

Like many flip phones, the U890 features an external display screen; the U890's is an average 96x96 pixel, 65,000 colour display that shows signal strength, local time and battery capacity, along with a small picture determined either by user preference or theme. External buttons also control music playback via a simple interface. The internal screen is a 262,000 colour, 176 x 220 pixel screen with very good clarity and brightness.

As a consumer-oriented phone, the U890 features an inbuilt 1.3-megapixel camera built into the rotating hinge of the flip, although it sits on its own rotational axis, letting you use it both for video calling and simple photography. One catch here is that while it'll sit straight when facing you for video calls (and presumably any self-portrait photography), the external angle of the camera only extends to around 45 degrees, so there's no way to simply take a straight photograph. With a little handheld patience you can hold the camera accordingly, but any quick snaps tend to resemble badly framed music videos if you do forget.

The U890 is a 3G phone, locked to the 3 network. It supports the usual raft of 3G/GSM technologies, including SMS, MMS, Video calling, WAP 2.0, JAVA 2.0, and downloadable content, ranging from games to video and especially music. Like the U880, the U890 ships with a measly 70MB of onboard memory for music playback. Thankfully there's support for microSD cards, so you can beef this up a touch if you're not fond of listening to the same selection of songs endlessly. On the subject of music, the U890's musical support extends to stereo Bluetooth headphones, although the set provided in the box is of the wired variety.

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