Like most smartphones, the LG Incite has multimedia features -- but its true appeal lies in its ability to keep you working even when you're away from the office or home. Notes, tasks and meeting reminders are available in one or two clicks, and you can edit and view office documents through Windows 6.1, or surf the Web and check email with Wi-Fi connectivity.
Since you can sync a CD collection from a PC, plan on buying a microSD card to store music. With so much to do, it's handy the Incite gets around 6.5 hours of talk time between charges, and up to 20 days on standby. If you're on the market for a business phone, the Incite may be for you.
The Incite is smaller than Apple's popular iPhone 3G in dimensions and, unfortunately, screen size. It fits in the palm of even the smallest hand, but is a bit thick for the average pocket. It is not a lightweight phone, so if you're looking for a clamshell that fits in a back pocket, you can skip to another device.
The sleek silver body is so reflective that the face or back can double as a mirror. The 3-inch touch screen also lets you type on a keyboard or in multi-tap mode -- the default typing option. You can select application icons and browse documents with a stylus writing tool -- attached to the top left corner. Every click on the screen triggers a vibration, letting you know a selection has been made.
The display has great clarity and icons are easy to see, but compared to other touch screen devices, the screen is smaller, making viewing web headlines, emails, and PDF and Word documents an eye-straining experience. Buyers have also complained the phone is slow and has few entertainment apps. Double-clicks to open an app takes a bit of time, and adding contacts to a message is time-consuming, and the phone takes a few seconds to switch from horizontal to vertical view when tipped.
Located below the screen, two soft keys turn the phone on and off, and places or ends calls. Blended into the right side are keys to turn on the camera and lock or unlock the keypad, a slot for a microSD card and a jog wheel allows you to shuffle through songs, videos and images or documents. Features on the left side lets you reset the phone, make screen features go up or down and plug in the charger. Located on the back, the 3-megapixel camera captures photos and video. A handsfree or headset connection is located at the top. Out of the box, the Incite comes with a battery, AC charger, USB cable, user guide and instructional CD.
Taking a picture with the 3-megapixel lens is as simple as clicking a button. With a landscape viewfinder, you can hold the camera horizontally for a real camera feel. In addition, you can choose what size and quality you want for photo, white balance settings, or add color effects for a black and white, photo negative, sepia or aqua cast. Meanwhile, panorama lets you take multiple photos that are automatically stitched together for one large photo. And continuous shot takes a series of three or more shots in rapid succession, ideal for fast moving scenes. Lastly, a simple image editor lets you crop and rotate photos.
Images in the photo gallery can parade across the screen in a slideshow. Each image is as easy to see as it is to take, with 1,600-by-1,200 pixel clarity as the default option. Photos can also be taken with 2,048-by-1,536, 640-by-480 and 320-by-240 pixel resolution. You can also get twice as close to a shot with 2x zoom and set a self-timer to get into the picture.
Video recording is also available with five formats to record in -- WMV, MP4, 3GP, ACC and H.263. Videos come in four resolution options: 400-by-240, 320-by-240, 128-by-96 and a default 176-by-144 pixels. Both photos and videos taken with the camera can be shared with friends in messages, and live or recorded video can be streamed through Video Share. The camera is one of the best you'll find on a phone, but the images sometimes have a dull cast to them, so it works best in sunlight.
The Incite has all the bells and whistles for the businessman on the run. Apps let you to synchronize the phone with a PC to share documents and music files via Microsoft's ActiveSync, send and view emails from personal and business email accounts, check the weather and get vocal and visual walking or driving directions to almost any address.
Task management apps keep track of daily activities and appointments. Meanwhile, Windows Mobile 6.1 lets you read PDF documents; while Microsoft Office lets you view and edit documents on the phone. Other features include Mobile Banking, a five-day weather forecast and a mobile phone-based edition of People magazine. The basics for everyday living are here too, including a calculator, stopwatch, address book, calendar and a program that creates recorded, handwritten or typed notes and drawings.
The 3-inch touch screen, no wider than a business card, is a bit small, but it's still in the mid-range of touch screen sizes. While some onscreen icons and text are small, most icons are detailed and easy to see. You can get rid of the smaller-sized options, such as a list of the day's appointments and missed calls or emails by "tipping" the phone length-wise. There are enough items on the main menu to keep you from having to search for your most-used options.
Pictures, wallpaper and screen savers appear on the screen with a blend of 262,000 colors with 240-by-400 pixel resolution. That's also in the mid-range for screen clarity, and a definite step-up from lower-quality models. The screen stays relatively clean and easy to see, and fingerprint smudges are rare. Some buyers have complained the screen is too reflective to see well in sunlight or scratches easily, so handle it with care.
The display locks with the touch of a button. While this option offers speedy access on the go, it also presents an easy risk of accidentally bumping the phone and turning its screen on. While it's not the most durable screen, it is one of the best doubles for a mirror you'll come across. Its resolution and size are not the best or worst, but for the reasonable price, they're the best that can be expected.
The Incite has speakerphone command, voice-activated dialing and task modes, and the ability to play up to four ringtones for different callers. In less than five minutes, you can connect to a PC and download your entire song library onto the phone. A microSD card, which doesn't come with the phone, can store these songs, as well as ringtones, pictures and videos played through Windows Media Player.
Even without a card, the Incite can play music through AT&T Mobile Music, an app that comes built into the phone. AT&T Mobile Music also offers satellite XM Radio, FM radio, Pandora to helps you find new music, and MusicID to help you find the title of unknown songs. The Incite also offers access to music videos and a place to shop for music, ringtones, and Answer Tones, which play for the caller's listening pleasure. Music options are plentiful, so buy a microSD card.
The Incite offers access to Yahoo Messenger, AOL and Windows Live instant messaging, as well as wireless access to personal and business email accounts. That means Yahoo, AOL and Hotmail are as easily reached as IT-managed servers like Microsoft Exchange Server and IBM Lotus Domino. If a business account is all you have, you can set up a personal XpressMail account in less than 10 minutes.
The Incite has two ways to write emails or text messages, which can contain up to 1,000 characters. The portrait mode allows you to type a message in ABC/multi-tap mode -- one tap for the first letter listed on a key, two taps for the second letter listed on the same key, and so on. This is the default texting option. In landscape mode, you have a keyboard at your disposal and can type a bit faster. The menu bar can be hidden in this mode to provide more space to see what's being written. Every extra bit of space helps, since the keyboard takes up a little much. Either mode allows you to pick common phrases and send it off without spelling it out.
When using the keyboard, the phone will predict words you're trying to type, so a thumb slip won't turn into an embarrassing moment. If the phone guesses the wrong word, you can pick a second option.
Two gripes about the messaging system: 1. the keyboard takes up a lot of room and makes it hard to see the tiny letters, and 2. the phone has trouble sending text messages. Neither problem is ideal. You may find larger print in multi-tap mode, but of course that takes more time to use.
Sending texts isn't a huge ordeal, but if you're used to a physical keyboard, you may lose your patience. Still, the convenience of having home and job emails and the ability to send Word and PDF documents will appeal to you if you don't get much desk-time during your day.
The Incite comes with five built-in games: Solitaire, Ms. Pac-Man, Sudoku, Block Breaker and Bubble Breaker. There's MEdiaMall for shopping for games, music, graphics, ringtones, videos, multimedia and other apps. More music and videos are available on AT&T's Music program, and the phone comes with Windows Media player and a music player to enjoy new tunes -- plus FM and XM satellite radio players. Having access to satellite radio, songs and a few games are nice for a quick cab ride or short subway journey.
If you want to troll the Internet for more videos, the Incite has CV, an app that uses AT&T's high-speed data network to connect you to news, sports, and weather and entertainment videos. AT&T's MEdiaNet app browses weather, news and downloads ringtones and multimedia, while the browser connects to websites, plus downloads new files and programs.
The entertainment options are enough to get by on, but nothing new or especially original is to be found here -- making the most of the media package takes a bit of money.
AT&T's 3G network, which powers its Internet, provides some of the fastest web surfing and email speeds available today -- spreading across more than 300 metropolitan areas in the U.S. You can find 3G in 60 countries abroad and find an Internet connection in 150 countries. So the Incite is a definite asset for frequent international fliers. Navigating the web is simple and a jog wheel on the right makes it easy to flip through the latest headlines before jetting into the boardroom -- although it may be hard to read the fine print on the screen.
And if on the go leads to can't find where to go, download AT&T Navigator for turn-by-turn instructions to any address. The phone monitors traffic on the route and alerts you when there's an accident or traffic build-up warranting a detour. You can also map out your own preferred route and receive instructions from Navigator over the speakerphone if you can't watch the screen, which shows visual directions. You need a plan for Internet use, or you'll be charged for each time it's used.
With 70-megabytes of storage and room to expand up to 16-gigabytes of memory with a microSD card, the Incite can double as a back-up computer with expanded memory. That's not a bad option, considering the phone has computer connectivity and stores and sends videos, photos, documents and songs. The phone also stores up to 12 phone numbers plus email addresses for 99 contacts and one voicemail default and can hold a full music library with a memory card.
Although a memory card doesn't come with the phone, it's a good idea to buy one to take this phone to its full potential. The internal memory falls behind the iPhone's 8- or 16-gigabytes of storage.
The Incite offers USB 2.0 connection to a computer or wireless Internet connection. Several Bluetooth options are available, including headset and handsfree modes, dial-up network to use the phone as a laptop modem, the ability to listen to stereo music on compatible headphones. In addition, it can send virtual business cards, pictures and appointment details to colleagues.
The Incite means business, and that includes its appeal as well as its shortcomings. It's a good pick if you're a workaholic or just wanted a phone that does as much as you do. Its multiple built-in features come in handy for everyday needs, as well as information gathering -- and the battery keep going without a charge.
The access to email and Microsoft's work documents is the best thing. In addition, photographs and videos are easy enough to make, and there's plenty of ways to plug in -- from handset to headset. Storage isn't much of an issue either, as long as you buy a memory card. But not everyone in the office will love it. Touch screens aren't for everyone, including you if you use push email, or don't enjoy using a stylus. Palm or BlackBerry devices have a smaller or similar-sized screen, and may be a better fit for you.
Still, the Incite is one of the shorter smartphones on the market, but it's also one of the thickest, which makes it hard to stow away discreetly. The silver styling makes the touch screen extra colorful. But the attachable stylus tool, which dangles from the phone, detracts from the sleek look.
If you need speed, or more screen for larger print, you should shop around -- there are bigger and smaller screens on the market -- there are also devices more features and fewer features. But a handful of entertainment apps would make the phone better. If you're looking for some fun, go with the iPhone. The Incite is made for business -- not pleasure. Unless your business is pleasure. ♦
I purchased this phone because of the windows based functions and the ability to store tons of contact information.
This phone was very hard to figure out (and I am extremely techy) and it took forever for the phone to catch up to what you were trying to do. It was very frustrating just trying to make a simple phone call. Needless to say, I took the phone back after 7 days. I was very unhappy with every aspect of the phone. Waiting on my iPhone!Was this review helpful to you?
I had a IPAQ Windows based PDA, and this is similar to it. I think it's fairly simple to use because of this.
If you play with it enough, you will learn how to do different things, and customize it more to your liking.
I love the fact that it has a stylus. I guess the LG designers could have designed a 'cubby hole' for it, but it's really not that big of a problem.It's like having a stylus 'charm' on your phone.
Finding out how to add alarm tones is seeming to be rather difficult, but I've only had the phone for about a week.
I definitely recommend the LG Incite!Was this review helpful to you?
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