Review: LG U830

Mobile phones, Reviews

The propaganda

The LG U830 is one of the more recent additions to the monstrously successful Chocolate and Black Label range, and it is the clamshell answer to the KG800’s (aka Chocolate) sliding action. It also happens to be one of the first HSPDA enabled handsets in the UK and 3 customers will be able to enjoy the full advantage of the high speed data transfer that it enables. That means better, faster web browsing, mobile email options and mobile TV.

Other features are a bit more standard: there’s a 2.0 megapixel camera, 185MB onboard memory, battery life offering 200 hours of standby time, A2DP Bluetooth and a 2.2” 262k colour screen. Adorning the outer edge are touch sensitive multimedia controls, glowing red on black, which makes it immediately recognisable as coming from Chocolate camp.

The good

HSDPA connectivity is undoubtedly going to be a big lure but arguably one more suited to PDAs which have better options for web browsing, etc. Actually, the U830 turns out to have a fairly decent array of internet applications, including 3’s MSN messenger, that can take advantage of the service once it rolls out across the UK.

Call quality is one of the U830’s strongest features and I can honestly say I haven’t used a handset that has offered such a decent call quality as this. During our tests we found that incoming calls enjoyed a wide range of crisp sound, with no evidence of popping or hiss in the background. Outgoing calls were reported to be of good quality too.

The bad

The U830 has a really stylish design, as you’d expect from LG, and there is no arguing that it makes for a more than adequate fashion accessory. The problem with the design though, isn’t so much to do with the looks, but the sheer number of buttons on the keypad.

This reminds me very much of LG’s older phone designs and perhaps the fact that the U830 is basically a revamped KG810 is to blame.The U830 not only has media controls on the outside, it also has a full numeric keypad (12 buttons), soft keys (two buttons), a direction pad (five buttons), call control keys (2 buttons), a menu key (1 button), a music key AND a video call key. Phew. Couple that with the volume keys, camera shortcut and music controls and I think it is safe to say we’re on a bit of a key overload here.

There was only one glaring omission that threatens to let the phone down. We have: media control buttons, MP3, AAC, AAC+, AAC++ and WMA format support, and a 3.5mm headphone adaptor. But wait a minute, where’s the memory card slot?! Unfortunately there isn’t one, which is a bit useless if you want to use you handset as a serious alternative to standalone MP3 player.

Geek Sheet

Dimensions: 98x49x14.8mm

Connectivity: 3G, HSDPA, Bluetooth (with A2DP), USB, Infrared

Internal memory: 185 MB

Displays: External 1.3”, 128×160 pixels, internal 2.2”, 320×240 pixels

Cameras: External 2.0 megapixel, internal VGA.

POP3 email client

Battery: 200 hours standby


Although there are complaints to be made, these are not so great as to tarnish the overall experience of the handset. It is definitely a bit more ‘blokey’ than the Chocolate, but still looks stylish enough, and where it counts – call quality, mobile internet functionality, etc – its performance is well up to the task and is an worthy improvement over its predecessor, the KG810.


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