LG announced two brand new phones at CTIA this year, both are messaging devices headed for AT&T.
The Xenon is a mid-level messaging phone with both a touch screen and full QWERTY keyboard. Even though it is a little bit on the thick side, it was very light and comfortable to hold. It fits well in the palm of your hand.
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There are three hard keys on the front of the phone, which is otherwise clean. These buttons had good travel and feedback. The Xenon has a resistive touch screen that worked well. I thought it responded perfectly to user input, and I didn't have and false positives in the few moments that I played with it. The buttons and hatched on the sides of the phone all worked well with no issues.
The full QWERTY keyboard is very well done. It has four full rows, which means the keys are spread out nicely. Along the far left side of the keyboard are a set of dedicated keys for launching text messages, emails, emoticons and MEdiaNet. On the right, are dedicated "@" and ".com" buttons, which will help out immensely in filling in email addresses and such quickly. The buttons all had good travel and feedback.
The user interface is pretty much the same as that found on other LG touch devies for AT&T, such as the Vu. The one big change is that there is a new contact management idea for the home screen.
At the top of the screen, there's a little icon for your favorite contacts. Touch this, and and it sorts out some contacts that you've added to that page. There are three pages in this little contacts app, which lets you create three different groups of contacts, such as friends, family, colleagues.
Here is a video tour of the Xenon:
Think of the Neon as the Xenon's little, less capable brother. It is also a slider with QWERTY keyboard and touch screen, but is more compact and will be less expensive.
I have to say, I can't stand the function keys. Rather than a circular or square d-pad, the Neon has four separate buttons for up/down and left/right navigation. The feel of it is just strange, and I sorely missed having a real D-pad to use. The rounded, button shape of the buttons didn't do anything for me, either, though travel and feedback were good.
The Neon has a capacitive touch screen, but is only used for dialing phone numbers. You can't access any other systems or menus by touching the screen. It was very responsive to being touched.
The slider mechanism felt okay, though not perfectly solid. The QWERTY keyboard was roomy, despite the small size of the phone itself. The buttons were well defined and had good travel and feedback, though, again, the round shape kind of bugged me a bit.
One nice touch is that LG brought a set of 4-way directional keys to the QWERTY keyboard for navigating the menu system. Basically, it doubles as a D-pad on the keyboard itself, so you don't have to reach up with your left thumb to the nav controls on the front of the phone.
The menu system itself was a basic AT&T feature phone menu with no surprises.
The Neon will be a solid messaging phone for those who don't need a killer device.
Here is a video tour:
This is the "world's first transparent phone" according to LG. It's also pretty darned cool.
Watch our video tour here:
Finally, LG was also showing off the Banter UX-265 for U.S. Cellular:
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