Music composition is not that unusual, but the silver navigation wheel doubles up to cater for something I’ve never seen in a mobile before. ‘Scratching’ – rap record ‘stlyie’
I have to admit to raising my eyebrows skyward and asking ‘why?’ at the thought of ‘scratching’ on a mobile. But if the idea takes your fancy, you’ll be pleased to know it is easy to do. You have to choose the DJ-ing application rather than straight music playback, and then you can play any tune from the internal memory or external card and rotate the wheel around under your thumb to get the scratching effect.
Good old fashioned music playback was of surprisingly high quality through the provided headset. The equaliser has a noticeable effect on playback through headphones, though it is less obvious through the handset’s twin speakers. Similarly 3D simulated sounds were noticeable through headset but not through the handset speakers. You can send stereo music to a Bluetooth headset if you have one.
The 3 network’s 3Player can be used to download tracks and play any stored on the handset’s internal memory. It is hardwired to the left softkey. It didn’t seem to like tunes I’d saved to a microSD card, though. To play these I had to use another built in music player. This isn’t located in the Multimedia applications group which houses the Melody Composer and DJ-ing software. I had to go to the ‘My Stuff’ area, navigate to the contents of my memory card, then choose to play. Obtuse, though its fine once you are past the learning curve.
There is plenty more by way of software including calendar and To-Do management, email, Java support – but no pre-installed games – voice recorder, video record & playback, currency & unit converters, alarm clock and a memo facility. LG provides synchronisation software for your PC.
For a phone with such emphasis on music playback, battery life lets things down. Continuous playback of MP3 files from a microSD card with the screen forced to stay on all the time got me five hours 40 minutes of music. Using the U400 as my main handset I barely got through a weekend of use that included some music playback and a few video calls, without needing to recharge the battery.
There is a lot to like here, but also a lot that frustrates. Leave the wheel alone and you should find navigating easier. Abandon the LG earbuds for your own headset and you should also be more comfortable. If you can learn to live with the short battery life you’ll enjoy the very acceptable quality of the music output.
Score in detail