LG - intentionally or otherwise - was showing off an unannounced phone in their booth at CES. The LG Wine II is a successor the Wine for US Cellular.
Like the original, the Wine II is a phone for older users that tries to avoid looking like a phone for older users. Whereas the Pantech Breeze and Samsung Knack might look a bit clunky to some, the Wine phones are thin and stylish; grown-up phones rather than granny phones.
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What makes the Wine II great for older users are the large keys, large main display, large outer display, and large text throughout the interface. There are other thoughtful tweaks for older users, such as the ability to control the duration of vibrating alerts.
The keypad is not only huge, but works very well. All of the keys have a great feel and click action, with the possible exception of the volume rocker on the side, which seemed small and tricky to operate by feel. The displays are huge, and every last bit of text is huge and easy to read. The status icons at the top could be bigger, but the important things are easy to see. The default "grid" mode for the main menu is not as intuitive and easy to read as it should be, but that's easily fixed by switching to the excellent "list" mode.
The overall body and design are not quite as classy and stylish as the original Wine. The new model looks nice enough and feels well-built, but the design is more generic, and a slightly loose, mushy hinge doesn't inspire confidence. The row of four shortcut keys has moved from below the display to the keypad proper, making them much easier to reach and use.
The Wine II also adds a host of features that the original lacked. There's now EVDO high-speed 3G data, memory card slot, music player and FM radio. The camera resolution has also been bumped up to 2-megapixel. The camera interface is much better than we expected, with a handy, intuitive toolbar displayed across the bottom of the viewfinder.
The Wine II looks like a promising phone for anyone who wants an easy-to-see phone experience without sacrificing features. As it's technically still unannounced, we don't have details like pricing nor release date.
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