LG has a strong phone presence with all four nationwide carriers as well as a handful of smaller regional ones, but it did not have a phone capable of supporting the AWS (Advanced Wireless Services) bandwidth, which adds the 1700Mhz spectrum to existing CDMA networks. That was until late last year when LG decided to release the LG Helix, the company's first AWS-capable phone, which went to Cricket Communications. The Helix is perhaps not the most exciting phone aside from that--it doesn't have 3G or a music player--but it's a decent basic phone. Too bad it doesn't have great call quality. The Helix is available for $119.99 after a discount without a contract.
The LG Helix has a simple and traditional flip phone design. Measuring 3.6 inches long by 1.9 inches wide by 0.7 inch thick, the phone is slim and small enough to fit comfortably in a pocket. It is a little blocky and rectangular, with angled edges. It weighs around 3 ounces and is quite comfortable when held next to the ear.
On the front there's a small camera lens on top and a 1-inch 65,000-color external display, where you can see the date, time, signal strength, and battery status. You can change its wallpaper plus the appearance of the clock and calendar. You can also use the display to see incoming caller ID and a self-portrait camera viewfinder. On the left side is a 2.5mm headset jack, a volume rocker, and a charger jack; the camera button sits on the right.
Flip the phone open and you'll find a nice 2-inch 265,000-color display with 220x176-pixel resolution. It is colorful and bright, and the text is clear and legible. You can change the backlight time, the wallpaper, the appearance of the clock and calendar, the greeting banner, the menu style, and the font type. You can also adjust the style and size of the dialing font.
Underneath the display is the navigation array, which consists of two soft keys, a square toggle with a middle OK key, a dedicated speakerphone key, a dedicated voice command key, the Send key, the Clear key, and the End/Power key. The keys are quite flat to the surface, but there are enough delineations and dips in between them that we could still navigate easily. The number keypad is quite flat as well, though it feels spacious. The number keys are separated out into four rows, but there's no separation between the keys in each row, so it's difficult to dial by feel.
The LG Helix has a 1,000-entry phone book with room in each entry for five numbers, two e-mail addresses, and a memo. You can then organize them into caller groups, pair them with a photo for caller ID, and add one of five polyphonic ringtones or one of two message tones. Other basic features include a vibrate mode, a speakerphone, text and multimedia messaging, a calculator, an alarm clock, a calendar, a tip calculator, a notepad, a calculator, a world clock, a stopwatch, and a unit converter. You also get Bluetooth, voice command, and a basic WAP wireless Web browser.