Having recently reviewed the shiny buy ultimately unimpressive LG’s Shine KE970, my attention has been drawn to the LG U830. My review sample is on the 3 network.
The U830 is the follow up to the original LG Chocolate, the KG800. That phone’s slider format has been replaced by a flip design, but we still have the black and silver colouring and touch control buttons for music playback.
The LG U830 is a 3G handset and it supports HSDPA. Now, it has not rolled it out yet, but 3 tells me that it expects HSDPA to be rolled out by the summer. Buy this mobile then, and you will be set for that when it happens but don’t hold me accountable for slippages in the timescale!
As a flip phone the LG U830 does itself no favours by being somewhat large in its closed position. It is 49mm wide both opened and closed, 98mm tall when closed. When you flip it up that 98mm becomes 180mm, which is pretty sizeable.
As to thickness, well the phone comes with two batteries, one a longer life one which is slightly thicker than the other. Either way they make little difference – you are talking either 14.8mm or 16.2mm. At 94g and 98g, depending on which battery you use, the long life one seems the sensible option.
The usual problem with dual battery phones applies here. You can only charge a battery when it is in the phone, so if you want to maximise the potential of this handset away from mains power, you need to be a bit organised about battery charging.
If you can manage this you are in for quite a treat, though. The thinner battery delivered a little more than seven hours of non-stop music with the main screen forced on. Under the same conditions, the fully charged longer life cell managed nine hours 45 minutes.
A characteristic of the KG800 was its front facing heat sensitive controls for music playback. The U830 has front controls too and again they are heat sensitive. This time they are just for music control, and there are three of them: pause/play, back and forwards.
They have to be activated by pressing one of the left volume control sidekeys at which point they are backlit red and available for a second or two. Press one to get to your music list and play a tune. They are more responsive than I’d expected, and in the end I came out in favour, with the single annoyance of that sidekey press needed to get them up and running.
I can’t tell you anything about sound quality through headphones as my review sample didn’t come with a pair and the proprietary connector (sharing mains power and PC cable) meant I couldn’t try my own out.
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Still, the point has been made that the LG U830 has pretensions as a music phone. Odd, then, isn’t it that LG fails to include a flash memory slot. Yes, there is 180MB of built in memory, and yes the handset comes with a USB cable so you can link it to your PC for file exchange, but how much better this phone would have been with a little microSD card slot on one of the edges.