This is the third installment in my series of posts reviewing the LG 290c, a slider phone with bluetooth and 1.3 megapixel camera. You can find my index of all information related to this phone on my LG 290c Review Index Page. The 290c is available for TracFone at $49.99, Net10 at $59.99, and Straight Talk for $79.99.
The display on the 290c is fantastic – very large, crisp, and bright. It’s much larger than the screen on any other TracFone model. On the Net10 side, only the r451c compares in terms of screen size, although the 290c is still a little larger. And among Straight Talk handsets, the Samsung Finesse is obviously quite a bit bigger, but the LG 290c ranks second in screen size, and at a much lower cost.
I really like the feel of this phone in the hand as far as navigating menus – the keys are very comfortable to me – a good size, and perfect amount of pressure needed to press the keys, in my opinion. I did at first have a bit of a problem with texting, however. When the phone is completely slid open to reveal the keypad, I found it to be a little top-heavy. At first I was very worried that this would cause the phone to tip out of my hand as I was texting, but I got used to it as time went on. It’s still not quite as comfortable as I would like for texting, but it’s acceptable. The T9 predictive text worked great for me.
I found a USB cable on eBay that fits this model, but could not find an appropriate driver to get the phone connected with my computer. The USB cable did allow the phone to charge up from the computer’s power, but that’s all it did (other than causing my computer to search for the appropriate driver, which it did not find).
As usual, I have not tested this model with any GPS systems, as I don’t own any, but my bluetooth headset worked great – even for voice commands. At first glance, it appears that the LG 290c bluetooth settings will not allow for data transfer. However, after a little searching on the internet I found a way around this. On Howardforums.com, I found this helpful bit of advice on unlocking bluetooth for data transfer:
“From the main screen go to Menu>Settings>Bluetooth>Power>Off>OK. Press End to return to the main screen. Dial ##7764726290 and press send. Enter 000000 press OK. Scroll down to Bluetooth Setting and press OK. FTP Server is highlighted press OK. Yes is highlighted press OK. Highlight On and press OK (NOTE: Even if there is a check mark next to On already select it again. You will have to do this every time you want to transfer files).”
I followed these steps, and was able to make it work using a Windows PC and a free download of Bluesoleil software. I was able to copy and paste both an mp3 file and a picture file to the phone using the “file transfer” function in Bluesoleil. The method also works to transfer pictures off the phone to your computer.
Further, the 290c can both send and receive contact lists via bluetooth, making it much easier to set up your address book if you’re upgrading to this model. I recently wrote a post about this, and you can read that post here.
The LG 290c camera takes pictures at a resolution of 1.3 megapixels (1280×960), and does a very nice job of it. The camera offers options of fine, normal, and economy quality settings; 2x zoom; white balance and brightness manual adjustment; night mode; self timer; choice of several color settings such as sepia or black and white; multi-shot mode; and 18 silly (optional) graphic frames. The 290c does NOT have a video recording feature.
The camera takes excellent, sharp photos for a 1.3 megapixel device, as you can see below in these pictures taken by and published with the permission of “Mosaic,” who occasionally comments on the pages of this blog (Many thanks to Mosaic for sharing the pictures!):
In my experience, the browser is NOT restricted only to the TracFone/Net10 ‘mobile web.’ I opened the web browser and selected “options,” then entered the url of my choice to go to that site’s wap version, a site designed to be viewed on smaller devices. I was able to view the mobile versions of espn.com and facebook, among others. I should note, however, that it’s not cheap. Using the net10 version of the 290c, it cost me six airtime units in the short time (less than ten minutes) necessary to load espn.com, browse the headlines, and read an article.
Another nice feature about the browser is that the user can actually lock it to prevent accidental activation of the browser. Go to Menu>Settings>Security, and you will be prompted to enter the lock code – it should be either “0000,” or the last four digits of your phone number. Then go to the restrictions menu option, enter the lock code again and hit Data>Lock. Now when you try to access the browser, you should see a message telling you that “Data is now locked.” Of course, if you DO want to use the web in the future, you’ll need to go through the same steps to unlock the data.
The rest of the extras on this model are the same as on the 220c, and I’ve already published my review of that model. Rather than duplicating that effort, I’ll simply repost here what I’ve already written about the 220c, as it all applies to the 290c as well:
The alarm function can store up to 5 alarms at once. The tone can be customized from any of the available ringtones, but unfortunately these alarms cannot be labeled with reminders (such as wake up, feed the dog, take medicine, etc). For those functions, the calendar is a better bet. In fact, there’s really not much difference between the calendar and the alarm clock.
The only differences I noted were that the calendar allows for labels to be assigned to appointments, but only allows for single entry, daily, weekly, monthly and yearly repeats. The alarm allows for single entry, daily, M-Fri, and weekend only repeat. Both the calendar and the alarm functions have a snooze option, with the choice of a 5, 10, 30, or 60 minute snooze. The downside to this is that it requires a couple of key strokes to “press snooze” – first, right soft key for the snooze, then one or more arrow keys to settle on the duration of the snooze, then “ok” to finalize it.
Another function on this model that I love is the voice command. It works well, except it takes a minimum of four keystrokes to activate the voice command function. From there, you can speak the name of the person you wish to call if they’re on your contact list, or you can simply state the number you want to dial. This is pretty handy in certain situations, especially in states that require it by law for people who need to talk while driving. There are also several other handy shortcuts you can set up, such as voicemail, a readout of missed calls, or a playback of the current time and date. Interestingly, the voice commands also work with a bluetooth headset, further enhancing the hands-free aspect of the function.
Here’s a brief summary of the other extras on this model:
- Notepad (limited to 150 characters, so not very helpful)
- Tip Calculator
- World Clock
- Unit Converter
That’s all I’ve got for the 290c right now, but I will wrap it up soon in a future post, summarizing the pros and cons of this model and offering my final recommendation.
You can find my index of all information related to this phone on my LG 290c Review Index Page.
Please click on one of the following links to find this phone for sale:TracFone at $49.99, Net10 at $59.99, and Straight Talk for $79.99.
Note: I have a material relationship with one or more of the brands mentioned in this post.