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LG Glimmer cellphone

LG Glimmer cellphone

Apple's iPhone has spawned many imitators. Some have been relatively successful (see the LG Voyager), others less so. As an iPhone competitor, the LG Glimmer falls into the latter category. Judged on its own merits--and not weighed against Apple's groundbreaking device--the LG Glimmer (available from Alltel for US$130 with a two-year contract) has plenty to offer.

The Glimmer is a great-looking slider phone with a generous 2.8-inch touch screen. When closed, it's slightly smaller than an iPhone, but a bit thicker. It looks similar to the sleek LG Shine. The Glimmer slides open to reveal a flat numeric keypad, much like the one on the Motorola Razr. Only raised ridges separate the keys, though, making dialing by feel a challenge. The buttons are a tad difficult to press, too.

Navigating the phone using the touch screen is a bit easier, but the screen is not nearly as responsive as the iPhone's; I often found myself tapping it repeatedly to get the response I wanted. The screen offers the handy VibeTouch technology also found on LG's Voyager; this sends you a slight vibration when you tap an item on the touch screen, so you know your selection has registered.

One more complaint about the touch screen: It doesn't display a full QWERTY keyboard when you're typing a message. If you use the phone's messaging applications with the slider closed, the touch screen shows a virtual keyboard for you to use. Unfortunately, it retains the format of the numeric phone keypad, and it sometimes requires multiple taps when you're trying to spell out a word. A full QWERTY keyboard may have been slightly cramped on the Glimmer's screen, but I think the trade-off would have been worth it--I would have liked having the option, at least.

The rest of the Glimmer's features are more impressive. It supports Bluetooth 2.0 and the high-speed EvDO network (though the Glimmer's Web browser itself is limited). The phone also includes GPS, but you'll need a $10-per-month subscription to one of Alltel's navigation services to take full advantage of it. The media player supports MP3, WMA, and AAC files, and the two-megapixel camera takes very good snapshots.

Voice quality was good during calls. The Glimmer's battery lasted only five hours, eight minutes in our lab tests; that's longer than the vendor-stated talk time of 3.5 hours, but only fair compared with other phones we've tested recently.

The Glimmer is not an iPhone killer, but in most respects it isn't trying to be. It's a good-looking phone with a handy (if imperfect) touch screen and a host of impressive features.


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