The Saber's main claim to fame is text and multimedia messaging due to the handset's physical keyboard. The interface is simple enough, and we like that it has threaded messaging so you can view the back-and-forth texts in the form of a chat conversation. Unfortunately you won't find instant messaging or e-mail support on here, which is a bit of a disappointment.
Other features of the phone include a speakerphone, a vibrate mode, a calendar, a calculator, a tip calculator, a world clock, a stopwatch, and a unit converter. You also get voice command support, Bluetooth, a voice recorder, and a mobile Web browser. The VGA camera is the only real multimedia feature. You can take photos in four different resolutions, with settings for color effects, white balance, night mode, frames, multishot, brightness, image quality, and four shutter sounds plus a silent option. As you might expect, it doesn't take very good photos. Images were blurry and overcast, and colors looked muted at best.
The LG Saber comes with the game Pac-Man, City ID, and access to Tone Room Deluxe, U.S. Cellular's ringtone store. You can get more of these and more applications from the EasyEdge shop.
We tested the LG Saber in San Francisco using U.S. Cellular's roaming service. Call quality was average for the most part. On our end, we heard callers fine, but we did find the volume a little softer than we like. Their voices also sounded a touch machinelike.
On their end, callers said they heard us fine too, but they could definitely tell we were on a cell phone, mentioning a fuzzy quality to voices and the occasional static buzz in the background. Speakerphone calls were similar, except that they heard more echo on their end.
The LG Saber has a rated battery life of 3 hours of talk time and 8 days and 8 hours of standby time. It has a tested talk time of around 3 hours and 55 minutes. According to the FCC, the LG Saber has a digital SAR of 1.22 watts per kilogram.
The LG Saber is a very basic messaging phone--you won't find many multimedia features or even e-mail and instant messaging on here. But if all you want is a straightforward entry-level handset, the Saber does at least deliver when it comes to text and multimedia messaging. And at only $9.99 with a two-year contract, you do get your money's worth.
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