Tuesday, December 25, 2007


Thin is definitely the buzz word for mobile phones these days. We've seen it with Motorola's RAZR series, and more recently with other vendors including NEC and Samsung. Now it seems LG is headed in the same direction with its P7200. Though not as slim as the NEC N412i or the RAZR V3, the LG triband clamshell boasts an enhanced feature set that includes a 2-megapixel camera as well as a TransFlash memory slot. But is this enough for the Korean maker to make the P7200 stand out from the competition?
Weighing 112g and measuring 96 x 50 x 17mm, the P7200 may not be the thinnest or most lightweight clamshell in the market today, but it certainly sports a sleek, sophisticated styling that should appeal to both corporate executives and mobile professionals alike. The black matt surface adds a refined touch to the whole package while keeping fingerprints to a minimum.

Overall, the phone feels solid with strong hinges that hold the top cover in place. When flipped open, the first thing that catches your eye is the sharp 2-inch 262K-color LCD internal screen which offers a good viewing angle, be it vertically or horizontally. The display also comes with adjustable brightness settings which can be configured to offer optimal viewing in daylight conditions.

A hidden feature in the P7200 is its swivel display. Like the Siemens SF65, users can rotate the main LCD display 180 degrees to instantly switch the phone into camera mode. Turning it back ends the imaging function and reverts to the regular phone menu. As with many clamshells, the P7200 also features an exterior 65K-color TFT display that displays information without having to flip open the phone cover.

The P7200 comes with a metallic keypad similar to that on the RAZR V3. When pressed, the buttons activate a light blue backlight. While we found the entire design rather simple and stylish, it did take a while to get used to the whole layout, particularly for SMS, as buttons are grouped together ("1" with "4" and "2" with "5" and so on). The direction pad on the phone is responsive and easy to press but we found it a tad too small.

In addition to the metallic keypad, LG has also adopted a similar speaker placement concept as the RAZR V3. By locating the speakers in the extended portion of the keypad, the audio playback is not muffled, even with the flip cover closed. The advantage is that the speakers continue to offer reasonably loud music and ringtone playback when the clamshell is closed. This complements the whole idea of transforming the LG phone into an audio player with the placement of dedicated audio playback buttons below the external display.

The P7200 is not without its drawbacks, though. The non-inclusion of a 3.5mm earphone jack means audiophiles will not be plugging in their favorite earbuds anytime soon. The camera lens located behind also does not come with a cover. This leaves the slightly recessed glass portion of the camera exposed and is likely to be scratched when slipped into a pocket or thrown into a bag.

The P7200 comes bundled with a pair of earpieces with remote control, so users can easily control music playback functions and pick up calls without having to take the phone out of the pocket or bag. Other accessories in the box include a USB synchronization cable, an installation CD, user manual and a travel charger.

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