In part 2 of this review we go over the mp3 music player and the ability to download and play or run games and Java apps.
The LG 800g has an MP3 music player with a 3.5 mm jack for regular stereo earphones or for hooking up to one of those external speaker systems. You can transfer music from your computer via Bluetooth or directly to the memory card. Once you start the music playing, you can go back to the home screen, where the little icon with show that the music is playing along with an abbreviated track and artist name. After a few seconds, the screen goes into locked mode but still shows what’s playing at the top of the screen above the clock.
Note that the music player shuts off when you go to messaging. To avoid that, consider the LG 840g instead.
I don’t know what specs are in terms of bitrates, etc., but the sound quality of the MP3 player can be really good. I heard a piece of classical music, and it sounded great through the earphones. I had ripped this track from one of my own CDs.
A pop song I downloaded online sounded OK but not that great. (Note: I like pop music.)
After relaxing (or rocking out) to some good music, you may want to get online.
With the mobile web, you can get on Facebook, Twitter or My Space and see what everyone’s up to. You can search the web and check your email at Google, Yahoo, Bing and even AOL.
Even though the phone does not claim to be a full HTML web browser, most web pages load okay. Sometimes you may get a message that says, “Page too large. View mobile site?”.
There’s also a full screen viewing mode to make the best use of the 3-inch screen.
I know for a fact that the Facebook mobile site works well on the phone as we have used up a lot of minutes checking out the latest status updates so you need to...
Checking out Facebook on the phone is especially addictive of course, so you do need to keep in mind that getting on the web does cost you airtime. If this is an issue, you may want to consider getting the Net10 version of the phone. Then, you will have to option of switching to their unlimited plan. If you check the web only now and then, when you don’t have access to a computer, then sticking with the Tracfone version may save you money on a yearly basis.
Once you have caught up with what’s going on around you, it's time to check out the games and apps.
There are two games pre-installed on this phone: Container Blocks and Castle Defense.
Container Blocks is a puzzle game where you have to slide various blocks out of the way so that you can move the containers across the screen. The game even has "skins" which changes the appearance of the containers. You use your finger to drag the blocks in one direction or another.
While a pretty simple game, it was a hit with the kids – they had reached level 158 before I took it away from them. The game measures how many moves it takes you to get the container across, and it gets more challenging as you go up the levels. In the beginning when they hit a tough level they asked me for advice, but later on, after I made a few bad moves, the kids resolved to tackle it on their own.
Castle Defense is an action game about a war between humans and monster. You have a bunch of Goblins running around mazes with explosions. Trading gold coins also appears to be involved. I have no idea how to play this game but it looks like fun.
These are the only two games pre-installed. However, one nice thing, again, is that these are full-featured games not crippled demo versions. These games are great for this phone because you actually use the touchscreen interface when you play.
Though this Tracfone can run Java apps, there are no pre-installed apps on the phone. However, we ordered our handset the first weekend it was available so I don’t know if that is still the case with the current version or with the Net10 version.
To test that apps really do work, I did what I usually do, which is download the Maps application from Google’s website. It worked.
However, I was disappointed to find that moving around the map required pressing the up, down, left, and right buttons on the touchscreen interface. I wasn’t able to drag the map with my finger in the same way that you can drag it around with your cursor on the computer.
So one thing you have to watch for is that the Java apps you download may be not be designed to take full advantage of a touch screen interface.
In addition to downloading apps via the phone, you may also use up airtime with some apps because they connect to the internet. This can be the case with simple-seeming free apps which access the internet in order to display advertisements. So choose carefully.
We have covered the highlights. Now, let's go over the basic features.
The LG 800g is a lightweight phone at 3.06 ounces and has okay battery life at 4 hours talk time and 8 days standby. The dimensions of the phone are a convenient 4 inches in length and 2 inches in width. It's thickness is about 7/16th's or an inch or just under half an inch.
There is the usual set of tools and utilities included with your Tracfone. At first glance, you might think some of the usual ones are missing. Not to fear. All the menu options do not show up on the first screen when you press the menu button. The calendar, the stopwatch and the voice recorder are on the second menu screen. You access this screen by swiping across the main menu screen on the display.
I had no problems pairing it with my laptop equipped with a Bluetooth adapter. I was able to send photos from the phone and music to the phone.
For more details, you can access the...
You can download the manual (pdf) here. It is from the Net10 sister site. The manual is mostly text. There are no screenshots, but it is still useful.
This is a good phone with a lot of well-thought out features. Its sins are those of omission (no pre-installed apps). What is included seems to work pretty great. It is also available from Net10 where you can use it with both the pay as you go plans as well as either of the two 30 days plans, the 750-minute plan or the unlimited plan.
Update: Tracfone has dropped the price to $5 and offered with with their airtime bundle.
For Tracfone orders, shipping is free on orders $19.99 and up.
If you prefer the Net10 plan, then go here.
Sometimes the reconditioned phone is offered by itself for just $5, but it doesn't qualify for free shipping at that price.
This was part of a batch of prepaid phones
that could or were allowed to run Java apps that you could download from the both Tracfone and other sites. This meant you could make up for things it lacked such as an email reader. Here are some other handsets that are part of this batch.
The EX124g has a great 3.0 MP camera and an email client. Unfortunately (depending on your point of view) it also had a stylus that you sort of needed for the touchscreen.
The LG 900g has a very nice keyboard, screen and camera but limited memory for running apps.