LG U8360 Review

Sun 20 May 2007

Filed Under: Mobile Phone, Mobile Phone Reviews 

hyp4mhz

Welcome the review of the LG U8360 mobile phone. There aren’t any reviews addressing what I consider important about this phone so I decided to write a decent one up!

The U8360 is what we use to test most of the games reviewed on this site (2006) hence a bench mark phone. This doesn’t mean it is the best mobile phone to buy. Just means we compare this to others and vice versa.

This model was originally released in 2004 as a top spec phone designed for the 3 3G network however time passes quickly in the mobile phone world and it was initially launched as a top range phone but over the years is has obviously dropped down the order. As for 2007 the U8360 new represents an entry level phone. But what a fantastic entry level phone!

Battery Life : The original 3G mobiles back in 2000 if you remember where the size and weight of the GSM phones some 10 years ago and had very short battery lives. The LG U-series where the first of the ‘small’ 3G mobiles.

Any 3G phone packs in a lot of technology. This one has a tri-band GSM and UTMS or 3G transceiver! And since 3G coverage isn’t as common as GSM it will use more battery power switching or roaming between networks rather than just staying connected on just one.

These are our estimates: So far with at least 1 hour each day viewing a video streaming and a few SMS and short calls it’ll go for 2 days . On standby it seems to last 5-6 days with 1 minute call each day. Strangely 1 hour game session every day it lasted over 4 days. It does have a high capacity battery compared to other mobiles and takes awhile to charge. Essentially it has a long battery life.

Speed : The phone is pretty fast. When you activate a phones menu system there’s only a small delay as you navigate between options. It is not as fast as the Nokia 6230 which is probably has the fastest operation out there.

The slowest part is waiting for the service providers internet based menu to show but that’s no surprise since it needs to connect to the ‘net’.

The CPU is good enough for video processing and MP3s, however the latest JAVA games run a tad slowly ie those made in 2006 onwards.

Construction.

The U8360 is a well put together phone. The screen, keypad, and extra buttons all align correctly. The flip system is sturdy. Only the battery cover on the back creaks every so often. Overall a solid but plastic feel. Not too heavy not too light. Overall very solid phone if old style. Pictures on the internet don’t do justice to most phones but the same it time this is not an attractive phone in the flesh.

Since its been around for a few years now its shape has dated quite badly – but its hardware in it is still competitive with the latest 3G handsets and only a few things missing from the current mid-range versions.

Functionality general

The U8360 has almost all you need in a mobile phone in 2007. Almost because its missing a few things eg. IR port, poor PC software bundle etc.. see below for more detail.

There is a ton of internal memory – at least 22MB which you can use to store what ever files you want, that said you should only store the DRM or copy protected files internally with the rest on the memory card.

Yes you can change background images on external and internal screens.
Yes you can use images and ringtones that are stored on the memory card.
No you cannot transfer downloaded content from 3 to your memory card.

Bluetooth

Bluetooth functionality is excellent. It allows you to use most bluetooth headsets and most of all transfer files without installing the LG software.

MP3 and sound

The inbuilt speakers sound as per any other mobile, head set sounds is again OK.

The camera/video recorder

It takes OK pictures for a mobile phone. It also has a lot of features for a camera phone. Features like brightness, various scenes modes light daylight, indoor outdoors, night mode, a timer !, various effects like sepia etc.. multiple picture size and quality, a very bright light you can turn on.

Overall picture quality is average for a mobile. This means it’s better than some but not good as other. It doesn’t produce sharp pictures but they aren’t too blurry either and the colours when adjusted appropriately are an OK match. It certainly won’t rival a normal digital camera.

Although it only has one camera lens, it is mounted on a rotating mount hence for video calls or camera you have to adjust the location of the lens. The camera bezel doesn’t feel too refined but even after 12 months of abuse it still works!

The only real issue is that the camera and video recorder functions are a very slow to work once activated.

The screens

The LG U8360 had dual screens as per most flip or clam shell designs. The inner main screen is truly a good thing. It’s nice and bright lots of colours and so forth. As good as the Nokia 6230 but bigger. Can’t complain really.

The outer screen is a colour non-active matrix screen CSTN as per most mobiles. I guess its acceptable considering it’s the secondary display but there are better ones today.

Call quality and network reception

Since 3 is the only network that sells this phone and their coverage in Australia is not exactly extensive. The U8360 tries hard to maintain a 3G reception strength. In fact according to their coverage maps I live in a area without coverage by a mile so so. Despite that the phone manages to get 3G reception most of the time. GSM reception is naturally very good – just a good as the latest Nokia 6230. It automatically changes from 3G to GSM networks quickly.

Voice only call quality is very good on 3G or GSM networks. Video call quality is good but could be improved. The screen refresh rate is not as good as newer models.

Issues

This is a very stable phone. It’s operating system doesn’t really crash or stop working for unknown reasons.

New themes are difficult to find on the web but at least you can make up your own. However changing the flip open and close tones to one you’ve made up cannot be done. Changing ringtones to MP3 or Midi is easily done and lots of different profiles.

A short fall is the tone for SMS messages. Although it can play various tone formats eg. MP3, it doesn’t play a tone for more that 10 or so seconds – which is disappointing.

The biggest issue I have with this is the key pad. First impression are that its horrible. It requires too much force to press and doesn’t provide enough feedback when its been pressed. That said you get used to it so fast SMS messages can be sent with reasonable accuracy.

LG Phone software for Windows

This piece of software that comes with the phone is just barely OK. It has all the stuff which you need to manage the data on your phone. (Tested on XP SP2)

Unfortunately it has a serious bug which really should be fixed. The bug relates to the selection of the ‘COM port’ To get the connection to work you have to go into the menu and select it again. You see it defaults to the correct port BUT it just doesn’t seem to register until you actually select it again.

Aside for this the connection its self is not stable dropping out for no reason. It is not a acceptable since USB devices have been around for many years likewise USB phone connections.

Price

You can’t buy usually buy this phone outright as it is often tied to the 3 network and can’t be unlocked. Price as of this update is $169.00 pre-paid.

Included in the package are Stereo headphones, USB data cable, A/C Travel charger, CD software, Wrist Strap and user guide.

Summary

The most compelling reason to buy this phone is price. Second is the number of features it has. It has lot of functions not found on other brands of phones in the same price bracket. In my opinion it is by far the best entry level phone out there.

The standout features in this price range is the ability to run JAVA applications, high quality screen and bluetooth, network reception capabilities.

It is primarily a 3G mobile phone so you are tied to a 3G network in my case 3 but as expected all competitive in terms of pricing. See the page on 3 and the other mobile networks on the menu for more information.

My recommendation? It’s an excellent starter 3G or GSM phone – if you can live with its looks.

  • Best features
    Price for features.
    Dual screens.
    Great main screen.
    Bluetooth.
    Really bright flash/light.
    Multiple alarms.
    Streaming video is displayed on the external screen when lid is closed.
  • Could do better features
    Buttons could feel better.
    Buttons could be easier to press.
    External screen could be higher resolution.
    Speaker could be louder.
    Headset volume could be louder.
    PC software could be better.
    Plastic casing is shiny and easily prone to finger marks.
  • Worst features
    No Infrared.
    Headphone socket is in the wrong place, awkward and propriety.
  • Detailed features
    1000 contacts + pictures
    Profiles
    Customisable backgrounds

Price history

$269 AUS PRE-PAID 3 2006
$169 AUS PRE-PAID 3 2007

  • Network
    Tri-band GSM (900/1800/1900 MHz)
    3G W-CMDA 2100 MHz (Aust only)
  • Design
    Flip Phone
    L 92.4mm W48.9mm D24.2 mm
    Weight 132 grams
    Silver, Black, Lime Green
  • Display/s
    Internal: 262K TFT – 176 x 220 pixels
    External: 65K CSTN – 110 x 88 pixels
  • Camera/Video
    Single 1.3MP Camera
    MP4, WMV, 3GP
    Flash
  • Connectivity
    Bluetooth, USB adapter cable (included)
  • Memory
    22MB Internal
    Up to 512MB External MicroSD/Transflash
  • Ringtones
    MP3, MIDI, WAV
  • Features
    SMS, MMS, WAP
    JAVA MIDP 2.0
    Speaker Phone/Hands free
    Ability to record voice and telephone calls
    Wireless modem for PC
    Wireless audio and video streaming.
    Media Player MP3, JPG, GIF
    Web browser

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