June 15, 2009

LG Neon Simple Messaging Phone

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by Franz Bicar

After the LG Xenon, the Korean company released another phone named the LG Neon. As with the Xenon, the Neon sports similar capabilities, except that it doesn’t have 3G. Also, the Neon has a touch screen, but only for its phone dialer. I guess LG made the Neon a simpler version of the Xenon and rightly so as it certainly is serviceable as a simple messaging phone.

Considering its design, the LG Neon is a very attractive handset. It has smooth rounded corners, clean lines and is a very compact device. It has a sliding mechanism that is both smooth and sturdy. It measures only around 4 inches long by 2 inches wide by 0.66 inch thick. It feels great in the hands and in your pockets. It is also lightweight at 3.81 ounces.

At the front, the phone features a 2.4-inch glossy black display that can support 262,000 colors and a 240×320 resolution. Images look great on it and the text is very legible as well. You can adjust the backlight time, the brightness, the font size of the menu text and the dialing digits, the menu styles, and the appearance of the clock on the home screen.

Beneath the display is the navigation controls. On the left spine of the phone is the volume rocker and dedicated camera key, while the microSD card slot and headset/charger jack sit on the right spine. On the back is the camera lens and self-portrait mirror. On the right side of the phone, you’ll see the slide-up QWERTY keyboard. Opening the keyboard will automatically change the orientation of the phone from portrait to landscape mode. The keyboard has two soft keys on the far left and right side, an orange Function key, a Symbol key, plus an OK/Back button on the bottom right.

As for its features, the LG Neon has a generous 1,000-entry phone book with room in each entry for four numbers, an e-mail address, a memo, and an anniversary reminder. You can then assign your contacts to caller groups, a photo for caller ID, or one of eight polyphonic ringtones. Other basic features include a vibrate mode, speakerphone, text and multimedia messaging, a calendar, an alarm clock, a notepad, a calculator, a world clock, a unit converter, and a stopwatch. The Neon also has Answer Tones, where your callers will hear a song or a phrase when they call you.

More advanced features include instant messaging (AIM, Windows Live Messenger, and Yahoo Messenger), a wireless Web browser, and stereo Bluetooth. There’s also mobile e-mail, but it only supports a few service providers. They include AOL, Yahoo, AIM, Windows Live Hotmail, AT&T Yahoo, Bellsouth, Comcast, Earthlink, Juno, Mindspring, and NetZero. It doesn’t support IMAP or POP though, so that can be counted as one of its weaknesses.

Looking at it, these set of features isn’t so bad for a phone that others would call simple. I guess it doesn’t have the popularity of other messaging phones but its features are pretty much complete.

The LG Neon also has a simple music player that can support formats such as AAC, AAC+, MP3, and WMA. The Neon has 14MB of internal memory, but it can also support up to 4GB of expandable memory via microSD cards. Aside from a music player, it also has a simple 2-megapixel camera. You can take pictures in four resolutions (1,600×1,200, 1,280×960, 640×480, 320×240), three quality settings, five color effects, and five white balance presets. Other camera settings include 4x zoom, a self-timer, brightness, and the choice of three shutter tones, plus a silent option. There’s also a camcorder, which can record in two resolutions (320×240 and 176×144) with similar options to the still camera.

You might say that simple is a very used word in describing this phone – and it is that. Images taken with the Neon’s camera is average. Images seemed overcast, especially in low-light situations.

The LG Neon has a rated battery life of three hours talk time and 10.1 days standby time.

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