LG U8138 3G smart phone

14 Sep 2005

Product: Smart phone
Price: €109
UPDATE: The potential of 3G has been opened up through the services of 3 Ireland. Using its latest 3G phone, the LG U8138, I made my first video call, downloaded music videos and got up to date through video news reports.

This sleek device boasts 214 minutes talktime (141 minutes for video calls), has two screens and a rotating VGA camera for taking still and recording videos.

3 Ireland is on to something special and its approach to content and 3G overall ensures it is brash and colourful with a diverse range of services to suit everyone.

Starting with news services, users can access RTÉ news and weather services as well as watch video reports from ITN. First and foremost, what impressed me most was the rapid download and streaming speeds for video content. Within five seconds of selecting a video it was playing on the phone. Bear in mind however certain content such as music videos and games cost around €2 a download. Secondly, I was wowed by the resolution and quality of the image on the small screen.

Within 10 minutes I had watched news from around the world, watched extreme supports, GAA highlights, Sky Sports and downloaded the latest Tarantula video from music band Faithless.

On to video calling — it’s cool and it is going to be a hit as more Irish people adopt the service. Video calls are similar to a normal phone call, until you realise that you are talking at the phone and staring at the screen. Within seconds you’ve relaxed into a normal conversation as initial awkwardness about being on the small screen vanishes. Apparently another journalist got the fright of his life when 3 Ireland’s local public relations person (you know who you are) suddenly loomed on to the screen of the phone!

The LG U8138 clamshell device is a perfect example of the type of phone Irish, indeed European, mobile users have been deprived of for years as their Asian counterparts enjoyed brash and colourful phones with multimedia capabilities. Everything about this device is different to the normal humdrum phone experience. Menus, for example, are extremely graphical and it makes full use of the screen technology. For example, during video calls a split screen allows you to see yourself at the corner of the screen while having a full view of the person you are talking to. This feature is eons ahead of what’s been available until now.

The LG U8138 3G phone is available from 3 Ireland through its website for €109 on contract.

By John Kennedy