LG Wine II UN430 review: LG Wine II UN430

LG Wine II UN430

Nicole Lee

Nicole Lee

Former Editor

Nicole Lee is a senior associate editor for CNET, covering cell phones, Bluetooth headsets, and all things mobile. She's also a fan of comic books, video games, and of course, shiny gadgets.

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Even though LG makes plenty of high-end phones like the LG Expo, it still provides lower-end entry models for those who don't need too many fancy features. Last year's LG Wine for U.S. Cellular is a good example--even though it had a megapixel camera, it had a really solid keypad plus dedicated shortcut keys that made the phone easier to use. The LG Wine 2 continues that tradition, but with a slightly more advanced feature set; now it has a music player and a camcorder. Still, it's as easy to use as ever before, and we think it's an excellent handset for beginners. The LG Wine 2 is available for $49.95 after a two-year agreement and a $50 mail-in rebate.


LG Wine II UN430

The Good

The LG Wine 2 is a slim and lightweight flip phone with a bright display, dedicated shortcut keys, and a very roomy keypad. It has a 2.0-megapixel camera, a music player, an FM tuner, stereo Bluetooth, and more.

The Bad

The LG Wine 2 doesn't come with the browser or e-mail application preinstalled.

The Bottom Line

Despite a few shortcomings, the LG Wine 2 has a really nice design and a solid feature set, especially for the price.

The LG Wine 2's glossy plastic shell doesn't have quite the sheen of its predecessors--it certainly doesn't remind us of any wine we've ever tried. Still, it retains a practical rectangular shape with curved corners, and the matte surface on the back makes it pleasant to hold. Measuring 3.97 inches long by 1.97 inches wide by 0.62 inch thick, the Wine 2 is slender, and at 3.6 ounces it won't weigh you down.

The LG Wine is a simple rectangular flip phone.

On the front of the phone is a 1.77-inch screen, which is quite large for an external display. It shows the date, time, battery, and signal strength information plus incoming caller ID. It supports 262,000 colors and works well as a self-portrait viewfinder for the camera. You can adjust the display's wallpaper and clock format, but not much else.

The camera lens sits above the display, while the 2.5mm headset jack, volume rocker, and charger jack are on the left spine. On the right are the microSD card slot, the camera key, and the voice command key.

The phone flips open with ease to reveal a 2.4-inch 262,144-color main display. Images look vibrant and colorful, and the text looks crisp as well. You can adjust the backlight time, the menu style, the color schemes, and font settings for style, color, and size. Underneath the display is the navigation array, which consists of a square four-way toggle, two soft keys, a speakerphone key, and a Clear key. The toggle doubles as shortcuts to the Bluetooth menu, U.S. Cellular's EasyEdge shop, a customizable My Menu where you can add up to 12 shortcuts, and the calendar.

Though the LG Wine had four dedicated shortcut keys under the display, the LG Wine 2 has them under the navigation array instead. This new position makes them far easier to access. The shortcut keys correspond to a widget interface, the alarm clock, the photo gallery, and the EasyEdge online store. You can customize the widget interface with shortcuts to the calendar, the notepad, the calculator, the FM radio, the music player, and up to four contacts. The interface is a more visual and hence easier way to access these functions, just in case you don't want to dig around the main menu to find them.

Beneath the aforementioned hot keys are the Send and End/Power keys plus the number keypad. Like with the LG Wine, the Wine 2 has a really roomy keypad with large keys and digits, which would be great for those who have bad eyesight. They're slightly raised above the surface as well, so it's easy to dial and text by feel.

The LG Wine 2 has a 1,000-entry phone book with room in each entry for seven numbers, two e-mail addresses, and a memo. You can organize your contacts into caller groups, pair them with photos for caller ID, or you can customize them with any of 24 polyphonic ringtones. You can also add a message alert tone from one of six choices.

Basic features of the phone include a vibrate mode, a speakerphone, text and multimedia messaging, a calendar, a note pad, a calculator, an easy tip calculator, a world clock, a stopwatch, and a unit converter. It also has voice command support, stereo Bluetooth, and PC syncing. You get location-based services via U.S. Cellular's Your Navigator. The Wine 2 has 3G in the form of EV-DO Rev. 0 as well.

We were puzzled at first as to why we couldn't see the mobile Web browser or mobile e-mail application. It turns out that we needed to download them from the EasyEdge store. We would really appreciate it if those came preinstalled in the phone instead.

The Wine 2 has a couple of music features that were missing from its predecessor. It has a music player, which is pretty simple, but it does let you create and edit playlists. It also has repeat and shuffle modes. The phone has only 256MB of internal memory, but you can easily add more via the microSD card slot. The player supports MP3, AAC, and AAC+ file formats. The second music-related feature is the built-in FM tuner. Once you plug a headset in, you'll be able to listen to any of your local radio stations.

The LG Wine 2 has a camera right in front.

The 2.0-megapixel camera is also improved over the 1.3-megapixel one on the Wine. It can take pictures in four resolutions (1,200x1,600, 9,60x1,280, 480x640, and 240x320) and three quality settings. Other options include four color effects, five white balance presets, a night mode, nine fun frames, a self-timer, four shutter sounds plus a silent option, and brightness. Photo quality was quite good. Images looked sharp, and though the photos did not look as bright as we would like, the colors still looked pretty decent for the most part. There's also a camcorder built in that can record in either 176x144 or 128x96 resolution, and in either 15 seconds for MMS or as long as an hour for storage.

The LG Wine 2 takes decent photos.

You can personalize the LG Wine 2 with wallpaper, themes, and tones. It only comes with one game--Pac-Man--but you can get more options via the EasyEdge store.

We tested the LG Wine 2 in San Francisco using U.S. Cellular's roaming network. We were quite pleased with the sound quality overall. We could hear our callers clearly with plenty of volume. They did sound a little harsh and choppy at times, but it was rare.

On their end, callers also reported good quality. They said our voice sounded natural and crisp, though they could still tell we were on a cell phone. We enjoyed very little static, and even speakerphone calls went well. They did say there was more echo, but that's to be expected with most speakerphones.

Even though the Wine 2 has 3G EV-DO Rev. 0, we weren't able to take full advantage of it since it doesn't have a real wireless browser. Also, we were stuck with the 1xRTT connection due to our network in San Francisco. Still, we did manage to download a 646KB app in around a minute.

Audio quality was not the greatest via the phone's tinny speakers. So when listening to music, we would recommend a headset instead.

The LG Wine 2 has a rated battery life of 3.2 hours talk time and 14 days standby time. Our tests revealed a talk time of 3 hours and 23 minutes. According to the FCC, it has a digital SAR of 1.22 watts per kilogram.


LG Wine II UN430

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 7Performance 7