lg incite

Encased in a sleek, chrome finish with a LG logo confidently emblazoned on the front, the Incite is LG’s first foray into the crowded jungle of the smartphone. Does it have what it takes to wade through the crowd? Will it be able to extricate itself from the tangled mass of vines infamously known as Windows Mobile? Dangit, can we stop with the annoying jungle metaphors? Inquiring minds want to know.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 4.21 x 2.2 x 0.55 inches
  • Weight: 4.23 ounces with battery
  • Talk Time: Up to 8.67 hours
  • Standby Time: Up to 21 days
  • Battery: 1300 mAh Lithium-Ion Polymer
  • Technology: GSM/GPRS/EDGE/UMTS/HSDPA
  • Frequency: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz (GSM/GPRS/EDGE); 850/1900/2100 MHz (UMTS/HSDPA)
  • Operating System: Windows® Mobile 6.1 Professional
  • Memory: 256 MB ROM, 128 MB RAM
  • Display: 3-inch 240 x 400, 262K TFT LCD flat touch-sensitive screen with wOVGA resolution
  • Processor: MSM7201a 528Mhz
  • Side jog dial for navigation
  • Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11 b/g
  • Integrated microSD™ SDHC card slot supporting up to 16GB (should support 32GB)
  • Integrated a-GPS
  • Integrated FM radio
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Bluetooth with stereo support
  • 3 Megapixel camera

The first thing you notice is the lack of a built-in stylus. The essential tool that every smartphone owner looks for, especially when it’s running Windows Mobile, is the all important, all encompassing stylus. It’s a fact of mobile life, something that we just assume is going to be there, ready to slide out at a moment’s notice. We sleep comfortably at night knowing, nay, dreaming, that the stylus is resting safely in the secret dock. Now, imagine my absolute shock and horror when it was discovered the “stylus” was not part of the phone! And to add insult to injury, the “stylus” closely resembled that of a lipstick case, complete with removable cap. Oh, the humanity! There was positively no way in the high heavens of gadgetry I was ever going to attach THAT to the phone with a stupid piece of string! Trembling violently, I let out a slow, deep breath, realized I was going into cardiac arrest over a piece of plastic, and felt utterly, embarrassingly retarded. So I tossed it and decided to use my finger.

If we forget about the stylus for one moment (much more on that later), the Incite is actually a handsome looking device, with a case that looks to be made out of a shiny, chrome-finished metal. In actuality, and disappointingly, it’s composed of nothing more than plastic, as evident by the annoying creaky sounds made by depressing the “send” and “end” buttons. Other than that, the small, relatively thin footprint and balanced weight give it a great phone-like feel (unlike the clunky brick-like smartphones of yesteryear).

The front bottom of the device has the send and end/power buttons as well as the microphone and ALC sensor. The right side has a jog dial, which you can press to “select”, a microSD SDHC slot supporting up to 16GB (perhaps 32), a lock device button, and camera button. Moving on to the left side you notice an annoyingly non-standard USB port, volume up/down buttons, and the much used you-must-remember-this-is-Windows-Mobile reset button. The top side has the best designed feature yet, a standard 3.5mm headphone jack. Enough said.

The wOVGA resistive touchscreen is an interesting thing. It’s fairly sharp, clear, and bright, but for the life of me I can’t figure out why it wasn’t made bigger. The 3″ diagonal screen is surrounded by a large, oceanic plastic border that could’ve been used to extend the screen by almost an inch. What were they thinking? I guess they figured a built-in fingerprint collector would make up for it? Quite unintentionally, I think, the touchscreen has an incredible ability to attract fingerprints, dust, grease, bugs, etc. You name it, it sticks onto it with super-strength affinity. Clean it to a nice shiny sheen and 5 minutes later, I swear it all comes back, fingerprints and all. Quite amazing, really. In actual use, the touchscreen is a little disappointing. It has a cool haptic feedback function that responds with a slight vibration whenever a touch is detected; but to actually get that response requires some effort. You really need to press the screen quite firmly, especially on the screen edges, to get a positive response.

For the sake of brevity and to save you from boredom if you’re reading this far, I’ll attempt to dwindle the rest into one paragraph. Reception. Not bad, spotty in some places but it has trouble when switching from an Edge to 3G zone. Call quality. Good, I can hear them, they can hear me. Life is Good. Multimedia. Video/audio playback is smooth, just copy your songs/videos on the microSD (or turn on the built-in FM radio), plug in standard headphones and you’re good to go. Not an iPod, but hey. Battery life. Good. Can go for a couple of days with heavy use, a few more with low use, and a tremendously long time if it’s turned off. Taste. Plasticky and a bit bland, slimy at times, tip: DO NOT taste it. User interface. Snappy with the high speed 528Mhz processor–faster than my first PC. The custom LG user interface is better than that of Microsoft’s Windows Mobile, with bigger icons and simple menu navigation. Internet browsing. Good with the pre-loaded NetFront browser, crappy with Microsoft’s IE (notice the pattern here). GPS. Picks up the location fairly quickly with Google Maps, option to use AT&T Navigator. Connectivity. Wi-Fi does NOT work unless you disable the proxy under the proxy manager tool (restore to use your cellular data plan). Lost a lot of hair over this one. Bluetooth, internet sharing/tethering with PC, ActiveSync via USB, etc works as expected. Camera. Your typical 3 megapixel cell phone camera: decent in good light, crappy in low light, youtube quality video. In other words, use only if you forget the camera, your friends forget the camera, and your immediate neighbors forget theirs. Miscellaneous. I forgot to mention it has an accelerometer that flips the screen according to the phone’s orientation. Also, it has a built-in proximity sensor. Put it up to your face and the screen turns off.

So when it comes down to it, would I use this phone? That really depends. If I was offered to test it for free, then write about the little quirks, package it up and send it back, then the answer would be most definitely, unequivocally, yes. It’s not a terrible phone by any means but it’s not my cup of tea. It seems as if LG took most of the popular features, crammed it in a small package, and mass produced it without paying attention to the small details. Decent first attempt but I’d wait for their second smartphone iteration.

Pros:

  • Compact form factor
  • Chrome metal look
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Battery life
  • Fast processor

Cons:

  • No built-in stylus
  • Touchscreen could’ve been larger
  • Touchscreen a bit unresponsive
  • Plastic casing
  • No front directional/scroll pad



albert