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LG U8120

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LG U8120
It may not be much different from the U8110, but for the loyal users, this is an the ideal upgrade.

It was tempting to just copy and paste Jeremy Roche's review of the LG U8110 since this newborn U8210 is a spitting image of the older version (which, by the way, was only reviewed last month) with a few botox injections, a nip and a tuck.

Replace the black exterior of the U8110 with a shiny silver colour and you've got yourself the U8120. The external screen is still monochrome and still flashes multi-coloured backlights by changing its settings to have different colours for different alerts.

The rotatable camera on the U8110 is present on its prettier sibling, making it easier to switch between self and external view when taking photos or video calls. The screen, which is 56mm diagonal in size, has 65K colours and a 220 x 176 pixels resolution that is very bright. The graphics are great and the colours come out well (try the yellow-orange theme).

Like the U8110 (again), you can browse the menu in three ways: list view, icon view and arc view. There is an abundant amount of shortcut keys and the layout of the keypad is similar to the U8110. So if you found the soft keys and the four-way navigation key of the older phone to be good, then you will have no problem with this one.

The phone's multimedia functionality includes a video and audio player, image viewer, and capture modes for video, stills and voice. Like the 8110, still shots have up to a maximum resolution of 640x480 VGA pixels while the video has 176x144 QCIF.

The U8120 has 32MB shared memory for picture, MMS message and applications -- 18MB higher than the U8110's 14MB. The phone has more space for downloads but the storage capacity is still too low for a proper collection of MP3 songs. And no, it doesn't have an expansion slot for memory cards.

In the contacts list, aside from the regular name, phone number, memos, company name, home address and e-mail address entries, the U8120 allows you to put not just a photo but also an avatar.

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A camera flash is located just above the front monochrome external screen, which can be turned to use as a mini torch instead. The U8120 also has U8110's world map showing global times, unit converter of measurement and weight, and an xHTML browser.

Performance wise, the phone lived up to our expectations. The calls made were clear, although we observed that they were better heard with the use of the earphones. The U8120's performance is generally the same with that of its older sibling. There were still a few 3G dropouts while testing the phone in inner city Sydney but not for long periods.

Streaming videos was relatively faster than the U8110 and only took a couple of seconds to buffer. If we were satisfied with the old one, we are satisfied with this new one as well.

Tech stuff aside, something that seems so trivial irritates us with this phone. The rubber that covers the headphone jack keeps pushing the headphones out so that there was several times when the song we were listening to blasted out through the speakers (which can be an embarrassing situation if you are listening in the train or somewhere quiet).

Overall, the U8120 is a good 3G phone and definitely better than the older version. However, we didn't really see the point of its release so close after the release of U8110 especially since there was not much difference between the two phones. Admittedly, the packaging is a lot sexier than its predecessor but the additional memory of 18MB still doesn't help much. We found the Sony Ericsson Z1010's memory slot to be the best solution for extended memory. But then again, it's up to the consumers.

LG U8120
Company: 3
Price: AU$456
Phone: 131 683