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You may have guessed by now, though, that this apparent lack of markings or buttons isn't quite true. That area beneath the screen is a touchpad, and it springs into life if you open the slide. Its touch icons are backlit brilliant white. Call and End keys sit at the bottom left and right corners, softmenu keys at the top left and right corners.
In the middle, as many as nine white dots can flash before your eyes, offering different configurations depending on what you are up to and sometimes just twinkling in and out of existence just for the sheer hell of it.
For example, when looking at the phone's main menu you have a five-way navi button arrangement. Move left, right, up and down through the icons on screen and the pattern changes momentarily to show an arrow indicating direction of travel.
The same thing happens when you are in the music player, at which point up and down change volume, and left and right move you between tracks. When using the camera the D-pad of touch icons gets you through the various shooting options.
A gentle haptic vibration gives you feedback when you tap an icon, and the whole thing is responsive enough. I'm not convinced that the sparkly animations add much to proceedings, but the system works, and better than some touch-sensitive options I've tried. If you really don't like it but want this phone anyway, then all options, including the 3 x 4 main menu grid, map to the keypad.
This is a mid-range phone as far as features go. There is no HSDPA, for example, but it is a quad-band GSM handset with GPRS and EDGE. And with just 16MB of internal memory vying for your music, photos and other stuff, you are going to need a microSD card pretty sharpish. The slot is on the right edge of the casing, carefully hidden away when the slide mechanism is closed.
LG does both the wrong and the right things with its provided headphones. On the wrong side, the connector to the phone is proprietary and shares the mains power socket. It is on one edge of the phone and the protruding connector regularly snagged in my pocket. On the other hand, the headset is two-piece, and there is a 3.5mm connector just beyond the rather bulky microphone section.
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