CTIA 2009: Live Report

LG Crystal

LG has co-operated with Swarovski to make the Crystal GD900… we’re kidding, but they could have said they did and we would´ve bought it. Unlike the PRADA II, the Crystal doesn’t feature a fashionable Italian brand name, but is a real head-turner. We can almost imagine pulling it out of our pocket, sliding it down and then everybody in the club going like “Oh my, its transparent!!!” – yes, it is transparent, the world’s first. The keyboard is eye catching, as its module is hollow – you can squeeze the soft plastic. Isn´t this too fragile we wonder? What happens if you drop it onto the dance floor?

Pretty is by no means dumb when it comes to the LG’s fashion toy. The keypad is touch sensitive: scroll on it, use it as handwriting area for text input, or slide your finger in a circular pattern to control the volume of the music player for example. Unfortunately, if you are using the touch screen to navigate with the phone open, you may accidentally press on it, so you’ll have to keep it closed when you aren´t using it.

Speaking of the screen, it won’t be boring to play with either. The GD900 features the S-Class 3D UI we first saw on the ARENA at MWC in February. It is … smooth! The new UI looks great, runs well and these transition animations are eye-catching. We like the multi-page home screen, the colorful main menu that can be displayed in both portrait and landscape mode and everything else about the phone.

LG has definitely come out with an attractive model here. It not only has an unique design, but also comes bundled with great features and UI. We are wondering if the gesture control and handwriting will turn out really usable, or just another show-off feature. We are definitely dying to test it!

LG Crystal Preliminary Specifications

LG Banter (U.S. Cellular)

The LG Banter is identical to the Rumor2 (Sprint) with minor design differences. It is a on-the-budget messaging phone and although the Rumor2 looks OK, the Banter unit we tested feels very cheap with the slider slightly wobbling while using the numeric keypad on the front. You can check our complete review on the Rumor2 here.

LG Banter Specifications

LG Xenon (AT&T)

So, we finally got a chance to check out the side-sliding Xenon (which was known as the Zenon for some time). It got us somewhat puzzled the first time we got our hands on it. The handset practically gives the word “small” a whole new meaning. It is a kind of thing that you actually take for a toy at first and not a real wireless device. The Xenon’s design isn’t as dazzling as you may imagine, but we like its round edges and the metal-like trim around the edges. Sadly, we discovered that the back side of the showcased unit was in scratches all over, which makes us think quality materials haven´t been exactly a vital priority for LG while designing the Xenon.

We are disappointed to find out that the side-sliding QWERTY is something that LG has obviously whipped up. Pressing the keys doesn’t feel nice at all. Besides, the top key row is way too close to the other part of the slider, so our fingers constantly pushed against the edge.

The touch interface (identical to the one on the Vu) features some good-looking icons, but nothing too fancy. The manufacturer has decided in favor of a neat and simple, yet pleasant interface. Having said that, there are no significant delays or lagging, but it isn’t lightning fast either.

Well, we have to admit that we´ve got mixed feelings about it at the moment. The cheap feel to the phone is something you can live with, but the keyboard looks rather rough-cut and lacks finish, although it is supposed to be a key feature. As a whole, we would rather go for a higher class phone, say something like the Samsung Impression.

LG Xenon Preliminary Specifications

LG Neon (AT&T)

The Neon is the other LG phone that fits the pattern of the young generation (the other one being the Xenon). It is colorful, cheery and fresh and with its toy-like appearance it should appeal to younger users. Do not expect something too classy though – after all, it is supposed to come with an affordable price-tag.

We were glad to find out that the manufacturer has paid attention to the side-sliding keyboard here, alongside of what we saw on the Xenon. Opening and closing the slider feels smooth, using its keys is more comfy and they provide a better feedback.

Unfortunately, just like the European version of the device (the KS360), the touch-sensitive screen can only be used only to dial numbers, which is so not cool at all.

However, we shouldn’t expect too much from teen-oriented phones, such as the Neon and the Xenon. After all, these shouldn’t impress with an incredible feel or functionality, but reliability, and that is something we hope they are able to deliver.

LG Neon Specifications



1. rehnhart

Posts: 103; Member since: Mar 27, 2009

You guys are the only ones actually covering this today, all the other sites are MIA. Hope to hear some good Android news, keep it going guys.

2. SDAlpha1510

Posts: 6; Member since: Feb 09, 2009

I noticed that as well. I am really hoping for some Verizon phones to show up. Coverages is great, keep it up.

3. rehnhart

Posts: 103; Member since: Mar 27, 2009

Yeah, come on Big Red, show us something new besides your "new" app store and The Hub. I'm looking for some new phones.

4. rehnhart

Posts: 103; Member since: Mar 27, 2009

Is CTIA over, I haven't seen an update in hours. Hello. Hello. Anybody home?

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