Monday September 5, 2005 11:29 pm
Cingular LG C1300i Cell Phone Review
We recently got o ur hands on the LG C1300i, an entry level cell phone available from Cingular. The thought behind this was that not everyone absolutely needs the high-end phones out there, but do need something functional. The C1300i is a fairly low end phone, but has some great features - some of which go unadvertised. Being true gadget fans, we went into this review without high hopes and came away impressed with a few key points on this phone. Read the full Gear Live review after the jump for more.
The LG C1300i is a fairly low end phone, lacking both a camera and external display. In lieu of an external display, it has a shiny mirror (could be handy for quick makeup checks for the ladies) with a single multi-color LED for notification. The lack of an external display does make a flip-phone slightly less attractive, but for a phone that you can get for under $20 with activation (or free if refurbished) on the cingular website, it’s their most cost effective flip phone.
The C1300i has a sliver plastic casing and seems surprisingly sturdy. I dropped it and threw it gently a few times against linoleum and concrete and the only thing that did any damage was the concrete - it got a slight scratch. For a $20 phone this little wonder is rather sturdy. This phone is amazingly small: while it’s not as thin and sexy as the Motorola RAZR, it is shorter and far more narrow. It fits in any pocket easily and includes a strap for attaching to a lanyard or wrist carrier. The battery life is also impressive for a phone at this price - 3.5 hours of talk time according to Cingular. The C1300i does have an external antenna. While this is something that one does not always want on their phone due to the possibility of breaking it, in this case it’s actually the strong point of the phone - more of that in the next section.
USING THE LG C1300i:
The first thing that struck me about the C1300i was its incredible signal strength - that massive antenna is good for something after all! My testing ground is in a dungeon devoid of cell signal. Usually if I want to get cellular signal, I am forced to leave my cell phones on a shelf by the outside wall and leave small offerings to the gods of the radio waves to ensure that the atmospheric conditions will grant a meager 2 bars of service. Not so with the C1300i - this wonder of a basic phone gets an easy 2 bars of service anywhere in my cell phone testing zone, and was able to carry out a decent conversation in an elevator heading down to the parking garage. Voice quality is great as a result - in fact a common problem plaguing phones is quiet speakers, but not this one.
While the C1300i lacks a camera, it does make up for it with a plethora of messaging options. It can send and receive SMS/MMS messages and chat on AIM and Yahoo! networks. The keypad is a little cramped, but it has a decent implementation of T9 and I was able to send and receive text messages with ease. Chatting with friends on AIM or Yahoo! will be a little frustrating given the limited input options, but it’s ideal for quick messages to coordinate plans or check in. The menu system on the C1300i is colorful and well laid out. Finding the setting or feature you want is easy with the four directional selectors and the middle selection button. When at the main screen you can push the directional pad for the 4 most common features of the phone for quick access. As a part of our usability tests I checked out the MediaNET online store from our C1300i. The online browser involved a fair amount of scrolling on the small screen, but was easy to use. I downloaded an additional ringtone and the phone was able to automatically install it and gave me the option of selecting it as the default ringtone. While on that topic, the C1300i is capable of rich full audio ringtones - perfect for adding that touch of personal expression to your phone or finding that one annoying ringtone to drive your co-workers nuts. Final Verdict: While this phone lacks some of the high end features some consumers crave (camera, high-resolution display, external display), it does do a great job of being a standard, no-nonsense phone. The signal strength is one of the best we have ever seen, the messaging features are well implemented, and the phone is small and sleek. For $20 this phone could be the perfect phone for you.
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