LG 290c Review Part 1

General Overview

Picture of LG 290cThe LG 290c is a another CDMA phone, but with a slide-out numeric keypad rather than the slab design of the 100c or the clamshell on the 220c. I’m using a Net10 version for this review, but 99% of the info I’m covering here will be the same regardless of which service it’s on. The 290c is available for TracFone at $49.99, Net10 at $59.99, and Straight Talk for $79.99.

The 290c is the heaviest of the three models, weighing in at 4.1 ounces. It’s also larger than the 100c and 220c, measuring 4.09″ x 1.94″ x 0.63.” However, the LG 290c is more compact than the Samsung r451c, yet offers a slightly larger screen.

The 290c also includes a camera, something the other two LG models do not. Other features include downloadable ringtones, voice recorder, voice dialing, hands-free speaker, web browser, standard organization tools, picture messaging, and bluetooth, though the bluetooth does NOT work for the transfer of pictures or ringtones. [Edit: it DOES work, and I posted more about it on part 3 of my review, here.]

External/Appearance

The most striking thing about the appearance of the LG 290c, in my opinion, is the large screen. It is larger than any other TracFone, Net10, or Straight Talk phone, with the exception of the new $329 Samsung r810c Finesse for Straight Talk. The screen is bright and sharp, and does not suffer from as much distortion as other models when viewed from the side. There is no carrier branding anywhere on the body of the phone, and the screen on my Net10 version also is completely free of any indication that it’s a prepaid phone. I’ve also noticed that this exact same model is being sold by Sprint, so I don’t think it will stick out as a “cheap prepaid” phone.

This is also consistent with my experience of the construction of the phone. It feels solid and durable, especially the slider mechanism. On the Motorola EM326g as well as the previous Samsung sliders, I noticed just a little “wiggle” when the sliders are extended. The LG 290c, on the other hand, feels very firm even when slid open. Further, the spring in the slider ensures that the device won’t accidentally come open or slide shut. I’m very happy with the build quality on this device.

Well, there’s a quick overview of the LG 290c – the next installment of this review will be a combined review of the LG 100c, 220c, and 290c. I’ll be joining the common elements of those three phones into a single review segment, and I’ll plan to get that posted before the end of the week.

Up Next:
The combined review will be the next article I publish, but I’m still planning on revising the bonus code list.

I also have an update on the Samsung r810c Finesse situation. After much deliberation, and with your input, I’ve decided to go ahead and purchase the phone for a review. However, I don’t be posting it on this blog, as I know that a $329 phone is not really consistent with the ideals of most readers here. Instead, I’m going to publish that review at a separate site, r810finesse.com. I’ll occasionally post an update here about the progress of that review. Also, when I have the review wrapped up and all your questions answered to the best of my ability, I’m going to auction off the r810 I’m using for the review. Stay tuned for more info on that…

Note: I have a material relationship with one or more of the brands mentioned in this post.

25 thoughts on “LG 290c Review Part 1

  1. I am looking forward to your completed review of the 290C. The specs for the 290C state:

    “built-in micro-USB connector / supports charging”

    Can this USB connection be used to transfer pictures to a Mac computer?
    Your reviews are really appreciated.

  2. I have found the LG290C to be a splendid phone as a phone and text messaging device. However, similar to Drew in northern California who commented a few weeks ago, I have found that the browser and picture messaging “do not work in my area”. After losing about 4 hours in total dealing with customer support, I finally received a curt e-mail telling me the service was not available to me. Fine, this possibility is listed in the Terms and Conditions.

    Now, as this review states, and I have verified, I learn that I cannot transfer pictures via Bluetooth either. So I essentially paid $30 extra for features I can’t use. And I’ve spent enough time messing about that I can’t return the phone to K-mart, where I bought it. There’s a certain element of “buyer beware” here, but I do think that Tracfone should place disclaimers a lot more prominently. The potential network services limitations are listed in the Terms and Conditions but the Bluetooth limitations are not, as far as I could find.

    Also, even with postings here and elsewhere about the horrific customer service to warn me, I must say I’ve never experienced such excruciating incompetence. I should have been told in the first phone call that the service was not available. I think I am more upset about the length of time (and painful phone connections) that it took to get the answer than I am about the service not being available to me.

    But it’s a great phone!

  3. I have this phone, and I absolutely love it. It’s far and away the best quality CMDA Tracfone. It’s fun and very attractive. I got it for emergencies, but I find myself making excuses to use it!

    The sound quality is excellent, and the display is bright and beautiful with nice options for both wallpaper and ringtones. The keypad is illuminated, and the keys are fairly large and easy to push. The sliding mechanism is fabulous- it feels really great in your hand.

    The camera has zoom, and some other nice features. There’s a calculator, World Clock, and a calendar organizer.

    Unless you text a lot and want a QWERTY keyboard or browse the web a lot, this is one of the nicest prepaid phones you’ll find anywhere.

  4. I must say that I love my LG 290c, it’s not a smartphone but I don’t need a phone to make me coffee anyway. I especially love my Straight Talk package for $30 per month I get 1000 minutes, 1000 texts and 30mb of data and free 411 calls all on Verizon’s network nationwide. It’s all round great value for money and I don’t have to worry about those huge phone bills arriving at the end of the month any more.

  5. I am looking at upgrading from the LG200CB which I absolutely love because it is the only phone I have ever been able to get a signal with at home as I live out in the sticks and at work within the building. Can someone advise how the signal of this phone would compare with my current model – I hate to put out $50 to try it and have to throw it in the drawer because of no signal…appreciate anything that you can offer

    • Sal, I think they’re very close, but I don’t think the 290c is better. If anything, it might be just a tiny bit worse. It’s very, very close, but if the signal is very weak in your area, the difference might mean a big difference for your use. The 200c is excellent at pulling in a signal.

      • Bought the LG290C from Walmart. Have taken it to a Sprint store and a Verizon store where I have friends working, and they tried to move/copy my 130 contacts from my LG Verizon phone. Neither could get the ST LG290C to take the contacts. They both guessed that something in the phone software is blocking the input of contacts.

        Does anyone know of any other way to move contacts from an existing phone to either the ST LG290C or the LG220C?? Otherwise, not worth the trouble of typing in 130 contacts to save $15 a month in phone charges. Thanks.

        • How did you attempt to do this? I accomplished it with bluetooth, on both models. I was able to add a complete set of contacts to the 290c via bluetooth, and then transmit that from the 290c to the 220c. So it worked in both directions for me. Were you trying a wired connection or bluetooth?

  6. What type of connection does it have for charging and transfering files to and from a PC? Is it a standard Mini USB a Micro USB or that non standard connection like on the LG600g?

    • DAllas, sorry this is so late –
      Anyway, it has a very small charging port. It’s similar to the micro USB connector found on the most recent Motorolas, but slightly smaller. I’m not positive, but I think this is the “micro USB” of the future, compliant with the standard that a bunch of phone manufacturers agreed to last year (to be implemented over the coming years).

  7. I just got the LG290C and I find it clunky to use the voice command (one of the reasons I chose this phone)… you have to to do 7 button pushes to access this “hands free” feature.

    I haven’t seen this addressed anywhere.

    Is there a way to program this phone so I only have to push 1 button 1 time to access the Voice command?

    • DickM, I agree with you completely. It’s almost (but not quite) enough of a hassle to make the voice command useless. What I do is press [MENU], then 8, 1, 1; and that starts the voice command input.

  8. I bought this phone because it said you can download games and now I cannot find out how to do it… I read up top that it does not download games is this true???

    • Hi Cheryl
      I just tried doing it online myself, and got an error message that I need to call Net10 to authorize my account. Is that what you got?

  9. i recently got the lg 290c and absolutly love it, but didnt know if you can download music (if it was mp3 compatible or not) and they say you can download ringtones but not games, but not sure, any heads up on how?

    • Tony, I think that to do this you need to use a PC and go to net10.com, then click on buy phones and more>downloads. It didn’t work for my phone (something about my account not being authorized). I’m not that interested in getting downloads on this phone (it’s my backup), so I’m not going to waste time talking to customer service about it. Let us know how it works out for you, though.

  10. Hey there. I’ve had this LG290 for a while, and think its a great phone. However, I can’t figure out how to get the pictures off it to my computer… is it even possible?
    Doesn’t make sense to have a camera phone(with no extra memory)if you can’t take the pictures off it.
    Can you help??

    • Hi Robert
      Please excuse the tardiness of my reply. There are two ways to get the pictures. The first way is to email them to yourself, but of course that would cost minutes.

      The other way is by bluetooth, which doesn’t cost any minutes and is kind of “hidden” by TracFone. The info you’re looking for is in this post, under the “connectivity” section:
      http://pbush14.wordpress.com/2010/01/21/lg-290c-review-part-3/

  11. I just got the lg290c from straight talk about 2 days ago, this phone is excellent havent had no problems the web works excellent,its loud and clear, tired of paying so high of bill with a contract phone. I have the 45 dollar plan and love it. This phone has been great recommend this phone.

  12. Hi, I just got the LG290c and I would like to know how to transfer my pictures off of my onto my computer using a USB cable. I know it’s possible to transfer them through bluetooth and email, buy how do you use the USB cable. If I need certain software, where can I download it?

  13. I have a LG290 C and when i get on the browser there is a GREEn X by every thing listed.. I can’t get on my weather radar.. I use the weather radar everyday….. I did yesterday but cant get on the radar today.. did i do something wrong or click something i shouldnt of..

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