The main 1.75-inch-diagonal display (128x160 pixels; eight lines) does its job but is nothing to write home about. It has a standard 65,000-color palette that's easy enough to read indoors, but since it has a bit of a washed-out effect, it's hard on the eyes when you're outdoors in sunlight. The contrast and the backlighting time can be changed, but the brightness and the font size can't. When the QWERTY keyboard is slid out, the orientation of the screen automatically switches from portrait to landscape.
Below the LG F9200's screen are the navigation controls. There are two large soft keys on either side of a five-way navigation toggle. The two soft keys default to the menu and the address book when on the main screen. The navigation toggle also acts as a shortcut to text messages, instant messaging, the contacts list, and the My Stuff folder, which is a hodgepodge menu that includes games, graphics, and organizational tools. Underneath the navigation keys are the Talk button, the Cancel button, and the End/power button. There are also two soft keys along the right of the display that are activated when the QWERTY keyboard is slid out; in landscape mode, the keys are now on the display's bottom edge.
The LG F9200's dial pad has a unique geometric shape that is at once curved and angular and results in a pretty cool design. The keys are also beveled, which makes for easier dialing. Although we could dial by feel, the dial pad's unusual shape sometimes had us second-guessing which key we pressed. The dial pad's keys are illuminated in blue when activated.
The one big disappointment with the LG F9200 is, ironically enough, its biggest feature: the QWERTY keyboard. While we were excited to finally have a well-designed phone that has a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, we were ultimately disappointed with the flat, small keys and the tricky keyboard controls. To the left of the QWERTY keys is the symbol button, a key with a horizontal line that acts as the function button for typing numbers and punctuation marks, as well as the shift key. As mentioned, the latter two controls were tricky to use, as in order to access basic characters such as a period or a comma, we had to press the function or symbol buttons each time. What's more, the flat, small keys made it a bit difficult to text; we imagine it would be even harder if you had large hands. But as quirky as the keyboard is, it is still far easier to text using it than via the dial pad. There's also a spacebar, as well as designated Backspace and return keys.The LG F9200 can store up to 255 contacts in the address book, and each contact can store up to three phone numbers, one e-mail address, and a memo. You can assign contacts a photo for picture caller ID or organize them into caller groups. Unfortunately, only groups can be paired with a ring tone; you get 10 polyphonic (64-chord) tones and 11 monophonic tones. As for organizational features, they include an alarm clock, a calendar, 30-second voice memos, a calculator, a notepad, a world clock, a unit converter, and a tip calculator. Other features include text and multimedia messaging, instant messaging (AOL, Yahoo, and ICQ), Cingular's Media Net browser, e-mail support (includes Yahoo, Hotmail, and MSN), voice dialing, and a vibrate mode.