Despite LG's long history in the U.S. cell phone market, it has yet to introduce a true smartphone here like it has in other countries (For example, the LG KS20 is Europe-only). Sure we've seen high-end LG phones like the LG Voyager and the LG Dare, but they're not exactly made for business use. That has all come to an end, however, as LG has finally introduced the LG Incite, LG's first-ever U.S. smartphone. Equipped with Windows Mobile 6.1, the Incite is loaded with a host of multimedia and productivity features that will please both consumers and mobile professionals. And thanks to its support for both AT&T's HSDPA and Wi-Fi, it will satisfy your need for speed as well. The LG Incite is available now at the affordable price of $199.99 with a two-year service agreement with AT&T.
Measuring 4.21 inches long by 2.2 inches wide by 0.55 inch thick, the LG Incite is one of the shiniest handsets we've ever seen; its display is reflective when idle, similar to the one on the LG Shine, and the Incite's entire chassis has a mirror finish. You will definitely have a tough time trying to get fingerprint smudges off the phone, and there's no need for a self-portrait mirror next to the camera, as the handset's surface itself can act as a mirror. Like most touch-screen handsets, the Incite has a minimalist appeal: it is sleek and slim, with few external controls. It's also quite lightweight at 4.23 ounces, so it won't weigh you down, either.
Following the lead of other touch-screen smartphones like the Samsung Omnia and the HTC Touch, the LG Incite's design is dominated by the large touch screen on the front. The 3-inch diagonal screen is a 240x400-pixel resolution QVGA display with support for 262,000 colors, which makes for vibrant colors and sharp images. It doesn't have the screen real estate of other handsets like the Samsung Instinct or the Apple iPhone 3G, but that's only really an issue when it comes to the Web browser (which we'll get to later). You can adjust the screen's backlight time plus the font size. Because the display is so reflective, we have to say it can be a little tough to read the screen under direct sunlight.
The touch screen on the Incite has haptic tactile feedback, which lets you know, using vibrations, that your touch has registered. You can adjust the sensitivity of the touch response as well as the length and strength of the vibrations. Since the touch screen is resistive, you can use either your finger or the provided stylus to navigate through the screen. We found the touch screen to be mostly responsive, but we did notice some problems with lag; sometimes it takes about half a second for a touch to register, which is a little longer than we would like. We also found that we needed to be very precise in selecting something with the finger, lest we tap the wrong thing. The Incite does come with the aforementioned stylus for more accurate tapping, but we're not fans of having the stylus dangling off the corner of the phone. (You attach the stylus like you would a cell phone charm via a small lanyard.)
The LG Incite also has a built-in accelerometer, and the screen will change from portrait to landscape mode when you rotate the phone 90 degrees to either the left or the right. Here again we noticed some lag issues. It occasionally takes about a second for the screen to fully rotate, which can be quite annoying. The Incite also has a proximity sensor, which shuts off the screen when you bring it to the side of your face, so as to prevent accidental taps. We also like that the Incite automatically adjusts the screen's luminance depending on the surrounding light.
Since the Incite is a full touch-screen phone, you'll have to learn to enter in text via the touch screen. In portrait mode, the keyboard is displayed in the style of a SureType keyboard similar to the one on the BlackBerry Pearl, with two letters per key. Though we don't mind entering text this way, we definitely prefer having a full QWERTY keyboard for easier typing. For that, you can rotate the phone 90 degrees either to the left or the right, and the screen will automatically shift from portrait to landscape mode. The keyboard will then change to a full QWERTY keyboard.
We like the size of the virtual keys; they're big and easy to read. We also like the responsiveness of the virtual keyboard, but bear in mind our caveat earlier about having to use precise taps. The Incite does have autocorrect features, so it wasn't too bad if we made a few mistakes. Another complaint is that in landscape mode, the full QWERTY keyboard covers up about 90 percent of the screen, leaving very little room at the top to see what we're actually typing. We understand this is to accommodate for larger keys, but it's still a pain, especially since the screen is already so small.
As for the user interface, it is standard Windows Mobile with a few special LG touches. The home screen, or Today screen, is typical for most Windows Mobile phones, with a display of important information like date, time, the day's calendar appointments, whether you have any new messages or e-mails, and miscellaneous items like the current weather at your location. Along the bottom are shortcuts to the dialpad, the address book, a new text message, a subdirectory of favorite applications, and the main menu. And as with most Windows Mobile phones, there is a Windows Start button to the upper left of the screen that drops down a menu of shortcuts to Office Mobile, the Calendar, Contacts, Internet Explorer, the Messaging menu, the phone dialpad, Programs, Settings, and the Help menu.
The main menu interface is where you see LG's design influence. The phone, multimedia, and productivity applications are separated via tabs on the right side. There's also a tab for settings, and at the bottom is a shortcut back to the Today screen. The phone tab is home to applications like Contacts, Recent Calls, and Messaging, while the multimedia tab has more media-related features like AT&T Music and Cellular Video. The productivity tab has more business-like applications with shortcuts to the browser, AT&T GPS, and of course Office Mobile. And the Settings tab is where you get to set things like graphics, sounds, and wireless connectivity. Bear in mind that you can't drag and drop the icons around like you can with the Samsung Omnia or the LG Dare.
Underneath the screen are two keys, the Talk and End/Power keys. On the left spine are the charger jack and a volume rocker, while on the right are a dedicated camera key, a screen lock key, a microSD card slot, and a jog dial that lets you scroll through the menu and through your messages easier. On the top is a 3.5-mm headset jack, which we certainly welcome. The camera lens sits on the back of the phone.