LG Neon GT365 Review

7
Introduction and Design
Introduction:

The text messaging lineup on AT&T seems to get more crowded with yet another entry level device hitting the scene. First unveiled during CTIA, the LG Neon GT365 is an almost direct facsimile of the LG KS360 that our European counterparts saw a year ago. We've seen the fully rich features found on the LG Xenon. On the other hand, the Neon is an entry level semi-hybrid touch screen phone with a slide out QWERTY. Although it's made with the text messenger in mind, the features packed into the phone may steer it above the rest.

The package contains:
  • LG Neon
  • Charger
  • User Guide


Design:

There is a very cutesy design element associated with the LG Neon GT365 thanks to its marketing towards the younger heavy messaging demographic. It incorporates a touch screen with a slide out QWERTY reminiscent of the late LG Xenon. The phone feels somewhat cheap due to the plasticy pastel colored  material used for the body.  Luckily the good contrast of the pastel blue and gray colors mix well to provide a nice balance. Edges are rounded and holding it in your hand feels natural without having too much weight (3.81 oz). We don't like that it adds some thickness (0.66”) in the pocket when the Xenon, with all its packed features, is still thinner.  We'd assume the cheap plastic casing would receive some heavy damage if it were dropped from a height.




You can compare the LG Neon GT365 with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

Surprisingly, the 2.4” TFT screen is crisp while reading text won't be an issue thanks to its 240 x 320 resolution with 262k colors that almost rivals the Xenon. Various shades of colors jump out and are easily distinguishable with the eye. Its bright enough to see in almost any lighting condition and won't be too much of a hindrance in direct sunlight. Viewing angles are great with minimal loss in clarity when tilted. You can dial a number by hitting the dedicated button and start to press the dialing pad on screen. It's pretty accurate and a vibration occurs whenever you're pressing a number, but we're not sure why LG limited this function only to making calls.

When holding the Neon for the first time, the placement of the directional pad feels a tad awkward, but after getting adjusted, the raised round shaped buttons feel tactile and responsive. Still, would have preferred more spacing between the keys, as there were numerous occasions when we accidentally pressed the wrong button instead of the middle key It seems like the LG Neon GT365 was designed for left handed users due to the placement of some keys. For example, the volume rocker is located conveniently on the left side with the camera button next to it. Charging the phone can be accomplished with the proprietary connection on the right edge with the microSD slot located on the same side. The 2-megapixel camera with self portrait mirror are found on the back with the speaker phone. You'll need to press a button on the top edge to remove the back cover; exposing the battery and SIM card slot.



Sliding the screen from right to left will reveal the three row QWERTY and switch the view to landscape. It took roughly two seconds for it to switch and there wasn't as strong of a spring action as we'd like on the phone. Luckily the round buttons are easy to see, slightly raised, and somewhat spaced apart to reduce misspellings. As an alternative, you can use the gray highlighted keys on the QWERTY for navigation or dialing a number.  The only annoyance we had with it was the constant need to press the function button for a symbol and get back to typing letters. For example, you press the function key to end a sentence with a period. Then you press it again to get out of “function mode” and start the next sentence with a letter. Other than that, we found it easy to use the QWERTY.  The white backlighting provides easy viewing of the buttons.



LG Neon GT365 360 Degrees View:





Software/Features:

We enjoyed how the LG Neon GT365 has a more animated look and feel to the interface. When moving around the main menu, there will be an accompanying animation whenever you highlight an icon. The same goes for the home screen where you can choose to have a standard picture or animated wallpaper.  It's a nice departure from the mundane ones we've been used to seeing. There are minimal personalization settings that you can modify like the menu style or clock displays on the home screen. Navigating is very quick with almost no slowdown and a short learning curve.

Saving contacts couldn't be any more simple with the Neon; it's pretty much the usual information stored. You can save up to four different phone numbers, assign a ringtone or photo, set anniversary dates, or write a memo per contact. All this will lead to a total of 1,000 contacts stored on the phone. 

So far it seems as though the Neon has placed itself above the basic entry level device thanks to the interface. But we were disappointed that the messaging aspect did not play to the expectations we've seen in other areas.  You can jump to sending SMS or MMS by pressing the dedicated button on the QWERTY. There are some templates you can use to send a quick message, but we found none for MMS.



Running the mobile email program will require you to open up the QWERTY and view it in landscape mode only. As always, there are popular email providers you can choose from the list to quickly access your email like Yahoo or Hotmail. Sadly if your specific provider is not listed, you won't be able to access it at all – even big names like Gmail are not on the list.

We know if you're not texting someone, you're probably instant messaging. You can pick from either AIM, Windows Live Messenger, or Yahoo Messenger to instantly strike a conversation. There is also an option to minimize the application and head back to the home screen; it'll run in the background. Sadly, you cannot use more than one instant messaging client at a time.





The 2-megapixel camera of the LG Neon GT365 will launch the photo taking applicationin about two seconds after pressing the dedicated button. The uncluttered interface is simple while white balance or color effects can be changed by pressing the d-pad. Detail was decent and colors came out quite vivid with good reproduction. However, indoor shots quality is much worse. Small things like the 3D gallery adds a nice touch to the experience but we preferred the thumbnail option for faster viewing.



Not much we can say about taking videos except that it's only best suited for MMS. The limited resolution of 320 x 240 will make for some great candid videos, but it won't be too detailed.

One nice touch to the music player is the bar equalizer being displayed when a song is played. The d-pad corresponds to the on screen options such as reverse, play/pause, and forward. You can minimize it and head back to the main menu while the song plays in the background. We had to cover our ears because the sound quality out of the speaker phone was horrendous. It was crackly and hollow sounding without any punch to it. If you're looking to use your own set of headphones, you'll need to purchase an adapter. It does have stereo Bluetooth if you prefer a wireless option. Just like other similar phones, popular music applications like MusicID and Make UR Tones are loaded.

The only clip we were able to play on the LG Neon GT365 was in MPEG4 part 2 format. There was a lot of lag when it played and struggled to keep up; sometimes skipping frames. It will play in portrait at first until you press the left soft key to put it in landscape. The screen is a decent size to actually watch something, but the slow experience will deter anyone from using it for that function.
 
The tri-band GSM phone (850/1800/1900 MHz) can be used in most places, but data speeds will rely on EDGE connection.

The browser loads only simple web sites while scrolling is done using the d-pad or volume rocker. When trying to load our site, you get the “content too large”message. This has been a recurring problem with most basic phones released on AT&T and would like to see this corrected.

If you plan on relying on the phone's memory to save media files, you'll have to budget it out with only 14 MB available. Expanding that capacity can be done by adding a microSD card; supporting cards up to 4 GB.



Performance:

We had a hard time using the LG Neon GT365 for making phone calls. It was difficult to listen to our callers because they were muffled sounding and hollow. Setting the volume on its highest setting did not solve the problem either; making even more difficult to understand. On their end, our voices sounded normal without too much background noise. Fortunately they were able to comprehend everything we said during our conversations. We got the same experience using the speaker phone with callers.

Using the phone in the greater New York area, the Neon managed to keep a steady signal without any noticeable loss in connection. We compared it with a Sony Ericsson W580 and saw no difference in the amount of bars being displayed.

The Neon is rated for 6 hours of talk-time and 250 hours of standby. We managed to get out 6 days use on a single charge; with normal use during that period. Brightness was set at the highest while we tested it out and impressed with the overall results.

Conclusion:

So here's the kicker with the LG Neon GT365 – it had the potential in being a well rounded messaging phone. It does not have all the features found on the Xenon to make it a phone with good overall depth. And it stands equally with the Magnet and Slate when it comes to the messaging options, but has a better looking design and refreshing interface. One sobering issue that became annoying and lowered its status was the typing qualm we experienced using the QWERTY. For a device geared towards the messaging crowd, typing on the phone may become extremely tiring and frustrating - defeating its purpose.

LG Neon GT365 Video Review:





Pros

  • Refreshing interface
  • Decent photos
  • Sharp “touch” screen
  • Battery Life

Cons

  • Same messaging applications
  • Poor web surfing
  • Phone call quality
  • Minimal use of touch screen
  • Audio quality
  • Repetitive press of Function key

PhoneArena Rating:

6.0

User Rating:

4.7
71 Reviews

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