Aside from the built-in Bluetooth headset, the Decoy has plenty of features going for it as well. It has a generous 1,000-entry contacts list, with room in each entry for five numbers, two e-mail addresses, and notes. You can also save callers to groups, pair them with a photo for caller ID, or one of 23 polyphonic ringtones and alert sounds. Other essentials include a vibrate mode, a speakerphone (which can be activated prior to a call), text and multimedia messaging, a calculator, a tip calculator, a calendar, an alarm clock, a stopwatch, a world clock, and a notepad. More advanced users will appreciate voice commands, instant messaging (AIM, Windows, and Yahoo are supported), Web e-mail (only MSN, AOL, Yahoo, and Verizon), a mobile Web browser, and the capability to use the Decoy as a USB mass storage device. Another great add-on is VZ Navigator support, which provides turn-by-turn directions.
We also really like that the Decoy has plenty of Bluetooth profiles opened up. Not only does it have stereo Bluetooth support, but you can also use the Decoy as a Bluetooth modem. Other supported Bluetooth profiles include phone book access, object push for vCard and vCalendars, file transfer, the capability to send contacts and calendar events, and support for printing and sending pictures.
The Decoy also has EV-DO support, thus allowing it access to Verizon's full array of V Cast broadband services like V Cast streaming video and the V Cast Music store. The user interface and player controls are similar to that of other V Cast phones; the music player for instance displays album art and songs can be sorted by genre, artist, and album. Also, if you wish to buy a track from the online music store, each song costs about $1.99, and can be downloaded over the air to the phone as well as to your home PC. If you wish to upload your own songs, make sure they're in WMA, MP3, or unprotected AAC and AAC+ formats. Do note that the Decoy only has about 50 MB of internal storage, so you should consider investing in a microSD card for additional media storage. The Decoy supports up to 8GB microSD cards.
Also in the Decoy is a 2-megapixel camera and camcorder. You can take photos in four resolutions (1,600x1,200, 1,280x960, 640x480, and 320x240), five white balance settings, and five color effects. Other camera settings include a night mode, a self-timer, three shutter sounds plus a silent option, photometry, and brightness. After taking a picture, you can edit it a little with the built-in image editor that lets you zoom, rotate, and crop the image. Photo quality was pretty mediocre. You need to hold the phone perfectly still to avoid blurry shots, and colors looked rather overcast and unnatural. As for the camcorder, you can record video with sound in 320x240 or 176x144-pixel resolutions. Multimedia message clips are capped at 30 seconds, but you can otherwise shoot for as much as your memory card can hold. Video quality was predictably choppy, grainy, and pixelated, especially when there was a lot of movement.
You can personalize the Decoy with wallpaper, banners, sounds, and more. There's a variety of graphics and alert tones for you to choose from, plus you can always download more from Verizon via the Web browser. The Decoy does not come with any games, but you can download some via the Web browser as well.
The Bluetooth headset on the Decoy has its own set of functions as well. They include answering, ending, and rejecting calls, last number redial, voice command support, call waiting support, a low battery status indicator, plus the ability to transfer calls to and from the handset (as mentioned earlier). Another very nice bonus is the fact that this mono Bluetooth headset has A2DP support, meaning it can also be used to listen to streaming music. Though it's not the best music listening experience, it's handy when you don't have a stereo headset around.
We tested the Decoy in San Francisco using the Verizon Wireless service. We were impressed overall by the call quality. Callers heard us loud and clear, with very little static and echo in the distance. Similarly, we heard them just fine as well, though there was a slight hiss in the background at times. When the speakerphone was on, callers reported a slightly more muddled sound, and had trouble hearing us at times. This was dependent on how far we were from the phone--the closer we were to the microphone, the less distortion there was.
We also really liked the sound quality of the Bluetooth headset. No, there's no fancy noise-canceling technology here, so we don't recommend using it in a particularly noisy or crowded environment. But for quieter environments like the car or the office, the headset works just fine. In fact, aside from slightly more echo and static, callers couldn't hear much of a difference between handset and headset use.
We were also pleased with the EV-DO speeds. We managed to download a song in under a minute, and V Cast videos loaded without a lot of rebuffering. Streaming video quality is comparable to other V Cast phones, with blurry and pixelated videos, especially when there was a lot of movement. That said, it's good enough for a quick video clip when in a bus or train. As for sound quality, the speaker on the Decoy output decent sound, but as with most phone speakers, the music had a very tinny and hollow quality to it. We recommend headset use for the best sound quality.
The LG Decoy has a rated battery life of 3.83 hours talk time and 13.75 days standby time. Our tests revealed a talk time of 4 hours and 10 minutes. The Bluetooth headset on the Decoy has a rated battery life of 2 hours talk time and 3.33 days standby time. According to FCC radiation tests, the LG Decoy has a digital SAR rating of 1.22 watts per kilogram.
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