LG 420g Review Conclusion

This is part 3 of my LG 420g review. To read the other parts, check out the following links:
Part 1
Part 2

This model is available for $20 from TracFone or $40 from Straight Talk. Here’s the remainder of my review:

CameraThe LG 420g camera offers only VGA (.3 megapixel) resolution, and of course lacks a flash, so the pictures you take with this phone won’t be the greatest. I took a few example shots, and even in full sun, the shot wasn’t crisp. And in general, the colors looked a little washed out. See an example photo at left. But none of this is really surprising in a $20 camera phone ($40 from Straight Talk).

On the plus side, and as I mentioned earlier, it’s easy to transfer pictures to a computer or another phone via bluetooth. Other settings available on the camera include: brightness; image size (640×480, or 320×240); color effect (normal, B&W, sepia, negative); white balance (auto, incandescent, sunny, fluorescent, cloudy); night mode; timer (3, 5 or 10 seconds); burst shot; and image quality (super fine, fine, normal. It can NOT record video.


The browser has a nice appearance to it and seems to work pretty well. Pages loaded as quickly as could be expected, given the GPRS technology. The text is easy to read on this browser, and I had no trouble accessing a wide variety of sites including Yahoo Mail, ESPN, Wikipedia and Mapquest. I think you should be able to get to just about any site you want, although how good they look will depend on the coding of the site itself. A larger screen would make the browsing experience better, but I don’t think it’s a problem as is.

The organizational features are above average compared to recent TracFone models, including a calendar, alarm clock, note pad, calculator, world clock, task list, stop watch, and unit converter. There’s also a feature called “date finder,” in which you can input a beginning date and a number of days, and the phone will calculate the date that falls x number of days after the beginning date. Another unusual feature is a “secret notes” option, in which you can enter notes that are protected by the phones “security code.”

The calendar function, as well as the alarm clock, work very nicely in my opinion. I’d prefer that the task list automatically incorporate into the calendar, but that might be asking too much for a cheap phone like this. All in all, if you stick to the calendar and the alarm clock I think this could be a handy organizational device.

The 420g comes with a couple of pre-loaded games. First, there’s a version of sudoku that I don’t particularly care for because there’s a noticeable lag between pressing a key and when the cursor actually moves between squares. There’s also something called “mini game planet” that has 10 very simplistic mini games inside. You can unlock two of the ten to start out, then you’ll have to earn more “credits” by playing the games to unlock more. Some of these are moderately entertaining for the first few minutes, but they get boring pretty quickly.

However, there’s also apparently the ability to add your own java games, which you can download from the internet. I haven’t done so yet with the 420g, but I’ve previously done something like this with my LG 600g and Samsung T401g. Here are some tips for adding games to this model.

Other info and random thoughts

Some other users have complained that this model is, for some reason, harder to flip open than previous TracFone models. I agree; it seems the mechanism in place to keep the clamshell closed is quite strong. Whether you consider this to be a benefit or detriment is a matter of personal preference, I guess.

There’s no voice-activated dialing, but no GSM phones in TracFone’s lineup can claim that feature. The LG 220c is a comparable model that DOES have voice activated dialing, but that is on the CDMA network and lacks a camera, so there are some trade-offs.

I also could not find a headphone jack. It could be that the charging port doubles as a headset jack, but in that case you’ll need to find a special headset or adapter. Perhaps a wired headset jack is missing completely, and LG expects people to use a Bluetooth headset instead of a wired one. Either way, this is something to be aware of for those that prefer a wired headset.

Some people have complained that the font size is too small. I can’t disagree with this – the size of the numbers when dialing a call was smaller on the 420g than on any phone model I tried. It’s possible to change the size of the font in the menus, but the dialing display as well as the home screen are locked in terms of font size, and this might be difficult for some people to read.


I think the LG 420g is about what I’d expect from a $20 TracFone (though it can be cheaper if you order with TracFone’s discount or find the right sales at brick and mortar stores).

There are some nice advantages to this one: Most versions of the TracFone 420g now include double minutes for life, although you’ll need to verify this with the specific version that you purchase. Sound quality and reception are good but not great (the Moto w376g tops this one in both categories). Battery life is good, but not as great as the 23 days of standby that LG claims. Bluetooth is unlocked, which is great for transferring ringtones and pictures. The phone is slim and light, and offers nice features. The browser works well. The ability to add java games and apps is a very nice capability. There’s also that little trick about being able to read incoming text messages for free if you use the external screen.

On the negative side, the menu navigation seems to result in some lag, the screen could be larger and sharper, the text on the screen is quite small and might be hard for some people to read, the camera is poor, there’s no voice activated dialing, and no wired headset port that I could see. There’s also no detailed user manual; just a “quickstart guide.”

In summary, I think this is a fair phone for under $20 ($40 from Straight Talk). I can’t give it my full endorsement, as it has some definite flaws. But maybe that’s about what we should expect in a phone in this price range. I also don’t think it offers a lot of upgrades over the two year old LG 600g, so I’d stick with that one if you’ve got it.

It’s also worth comparing this model to the LG 220c. The 220c has no camera and only sometimes has DMFL but offers the advantages of voice-activated dialing as well as the often wider coverage of Verizon’s CDMA network. In my opinion, the 220c offers several advantages.

To get this phone now, please visit TracFone or Straight Talk.

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44 thoughts on “LG 420g Review Conclusion

  1. Battery life of one week seems very believable judging from the battery meter when I left it unplugged for a few days. However, my LG420G developed a malfunction yesterday which made the battery discharge in less than a day.

    This morning I investigated and found out what is causing the battery drain: for some reason neither the main display nor the auxiliary display are being turned off. Naturally, I noticed it first on the outside display but if you pry the closed telephone open a millimeter or so you can see the glow of the display.

    I thought a potential issue which might cause this would be the sensor which detects the open/shut state of the telephone so I turned on the flip tone on. The flip tone works as expected which indicates that there is nothing wrong with the flip switch. There also seem to be no other keys or switches stuck.

    In the end, what fixed it was removing the battery, putting the battery back in & turning the telephone back on.

    By the way, is there any way of backing up the address book on this telephone in case I ever have to do a full reset?

    • August:
      By chance have you been using the Alarm feature? If so, using it may leave the exterior display on “dim” indefinately. There are some things that will resolve it, like powering it off and then on. Another thing I have found, is after using the Alarm, I choose the calendar and then “end”. That seems to help too.

      A couple of times the exterior display has remained on full brightness also.

      No solution from LG, I have been told they do not support this phone per an agreement with TracFone.

      Hope this helps.


      • Score! Thank you! My googling brought me here, and sure enough, we’ve had the main screen issue of it not turning off and draining the battery. Settings changed nothing, and the calendar-end idea did nothing, but just turning it off and back on DID! Hehaeh and it all started, indeed, after using the alarm function. Glad to figure it out! Cheers!

    • hey, i just recently had the same issue with my phone (same model). a little Google-ing brought me here, to your comment! thanks, taking the battery out worked like a charm.

  2. Net10 will offer a variety of phones from time to time, however, they indicate that some of them will not work in my area. That makes no sense to me in that they are using the same towers etc.

  3. Since the review for the LG 420G is not great and the LG 290C review is much better, I’m thinking of getting the 290C but I need to be sure it will work properly in my area for both voice and web browsing.
    In the area where I’m located almost all people use Verizon for regular cell phone service. But the Tracfone website only lists “G” phones for this area. Can I safely order the “C” phone using another zipcode and know that it will work properly in my area for voice and web?

    • Alan, you will definitely be able to activate this phone in your area. The only possible concern would be if there’s coverage by US Cellular in your area. If your TracFone/Net10 phone is activated with USC as a carrier, you might have trouble with data services. This happened to me initially, and I was fortunately able to convince TracFone to give me a Verizon number instead, since I couldn’t use the web services under USC coverage.

  4. I purchased the LG 420G and tranferred our number and remaining minutes from my sons older moto 376 which was OK except te battery life was miserable and he lost the cover when he dropped it in the lake. Anyway the 420g is a nice phone but I found doesn’t get a signal at my other home (Penn Valley, CA) however the previous one and my remaining moto 376 does as well as my sons NET10 Samsung T401g is fine there. Not sure how that can be, different carrier for different phones or what.

  5. I purchased two LG420Gs in July as upgrades for my wife and me. (We had been using Motorola V170s.) I am generally quite pleased with the instruments, and I totally agree with your review. As you noted, the LG420 clamshell can be harder to open than other flip phones such as the 170 –stiffer, true, but the slim, smooth base and rounded edges of the 420 just make the clamshell harder to grip. This could be a factor with aging boomers and arthritic fingers.

    Here’s the issue that I hope you can help resolve. The web browser feature works just fine on the first phone I activated, but it never has been functional on the second phone. Of course this means that the second phone cannot send/ receive pictures, either.

    I have been working with TracFone since July 5 –12 calls, 17 reps, 6 “ticket numbers” two replacement handsets, and two promises to call back. (The last time I communicated with them was Aug 11.)

    Phone number one still works fine with all features (despite having made a trip through the laundry in the pocket of my jeans) but phone number two is, well… still just a phone.

    Any ideas?

  6. I’m a little confused. I have both the 600g and the 420g. The screen resolution on the 420g seems to be much greater than the 600g. Pictures that looked pixelated on the 600g look great on the 420g.

  7. I’m thinking about buying this phone (on StraightTalk) but I want to be sure of a few things before doing so:
    In your review you state that you can send .mp3 ringtones view Bluetooth. Are you able to set them to voice calls? What about text messages?
    I’ve had bad experience with previous phone so I’m just double checking. :)

    • Hi Franki
      I just tested this to be sure, and it worked great. There seems to be some file size limit, though. I didn’t test it extensively, but the first file I tried was 588kb, and the LG 420g told me it was too large. I then chopped that file down to just under 200kb (using the ringtone creator on the LG 620g), and it worked, both for voice ringtones and message tones. Just curious, have you thought at all about the 620g – very similar, but has a better camera, mp3 player (though the audio quality is average at best), and a larger screen. I’m in the middle of my LG 620g review right now. Unless you really like the flip-phone form factor, I think the nicer camera and bigger screen (and ringtone creator!) are worth the extra $20. Also, if you buy directly from Straight Talk right now, you’ll get a $15 gift card rebate. Check it out on their site:
      Straight Talk

  8. Hello-
    I have a LG420. Recently the cost of my text messages shot up from 0.3 units to 1.5 units.
    The only thing out of sorts that I see is that I must of (somehow) converted all my text messages to multimedia texts. When I go to send a text it says ‘multimedia’ on the screen. I can’t figure out how to convert back to plain text. The switch may have occurred when I sent 1 photo a while back.


  9. I have an LG420 and I am having issues with the alarm feature on the phone. I set an alarm for wake up, or a reminder for my calander appointments and they go off fine, and I view and disarm them. The problem is that my backlight stays on and mY phone won’t go into sleep mode. If the backlight stays on it will drain the battery. The only way I can turn off the backlight is to turn off the phone and turn it back on again. Then the phone will go into sleep mode just fine.
    Anyone else have this problem?

  10. Rose, about the alarm issues, Kin2U is exactly right. Use the alarm and the telephone will, inconsistently (I’ve never kept track so I’ll say 30%-60% of the time) get stuck with the display on dim. If you don’t catch this, your battery will be drained in much less than a day. Merely turning it off and then back on again will change it back to normal.

  11. This is as simple as i can get this, i used a lg290 for a bit, but the service was horrible, and the battery life was extremely bad,contacted straight talk a couple of times to no avail. Switched to a 420 and it was a drastic improvement in both areas, very satified with it, was very dissatisfied with my 290.

  12. I have a Tracfone LG420 that is activated on T-mobile. Is there a way to shorten the number of rings before going to voicemail? I currently rings too long for our phone system to reach voicemail and voicemail never answers.

  13. For those of us who are technically challenged, can you please tell me what I need to purchase to transfer pics from the LG420G to a computer? I keep hearing Bluetooth but I have no idea what that is, is it a wire that connects from the phone to the computer? and how is it that it gets transferred? And Tracfone needs to tell their reps to stop telling people that you can send pics to your e-mail via the phone, obviously you can’t.

    Thanks for any info you can provide.

  14. I’m having trouble with bluetooth. i just bought a bluetooth adapter and I get as far as security code, they match, but then says pairing failed. What do I do? Did you need any special software or security certificates before it would pair? (I am also tech challenged, just read about bluetooth and tried for first time) Thanks!

  15. HELP!!! Just purchased the LG420G for my husband and can’t find information ANYWHERE (Manual, Online search, etc) as to how to reset the time and date. Can anyone help?

  16. How do I turn the speaker phone on on the LG420G? Has anyone found a 2.5mm to micro USB connector for an earpiece that works for this phone? I had one for a Verizon Motorola phone-think it was a mini not a mirco USB-but can’t seem to find it for this phone. Prefer not to use bluetooth.

  17. For those who haven’t found a usable guide, the Tracfone website
    has been offering one that also was obtainable from other sites listed on the same Google page when searching for “LG420G user guide” sources. Unfortunately, it’s a PDF download that yields two rows of 7 pages each, all stretched across the monitor screen. Best thing to do is to use your View option and boost the size to to 100% which yields a page size of 4″x6.5″ that you can print out in that size if you have a program such as HyperSnap. Another guide is one that is issued for the standard (non-Tracfone) version of the LG420G that is 16 pages in length but devotes a lot of space to features removed by Tracfone, such as a music player, e-mail, full Internet access, photo gallery, and a slot that accepts a micro SD memory card.

  18. Why does everyone always act like the moto w376g is the best tracfone? That phone is awful. You have to charge it everyday and when you text the phone responds slowly and it cant keep up, so it makes all kinds of errors in the letters you punch in, so you have to erase and rewrite portions of texts all the time. I upgraded to the lg 420g and I think it is far better than the moto. Plus free incoming texts? the decision is a no brainer.

  19. Hi,
    The signal for my LG420G is abysmal – I assume it’s T-Mobile. A friend’s T301G, which I surmise is on AT&T has a very good signal. Is it possible to request and switch to an AT&T SIM in the LG420G?

  20. I’ve had this phone for 2.5 days now and I’m having a serious issue with it. It seems that if I don’t touch the phone for 4 hours it shuts off. Also, I usually have to pull the battery to get it turn back on. This is not a battery draining issue although that might have happened to me once. I did have an alarm set but never noticed any displays staying on.

    Charged it on day 1 and set the alarm.

    Day 2. The alarm did not go off in the morning. Battery may or may not have been dead. Pulled the battery pack and charged it up. At noon I checked my phone for messages but it was turned off. Had to pull the battery again but did not have to charge it. Charged it later anyway.

    Day 3. Alarm fails to go off again. Pulled the battery. Phone turns back on and still has full charge. Placed the phone on my desk and intentionally did not touch it for 3.5 hours. Checked the phone and it is off again.

    No unusual settings. I have the screen displaying clock and calendar. Power save settings are turned off.

    I need to know if I have a bad phone, bad settings, or if everyone else has the same issues.

  21. I have the same problem with the display staying on. I am just hoping that if I add one more post eventually LG will see it. Does anyone know if there is such thing as firmware upgrades on LG phones? After owning the phone for a couple of months now when I use the alarm, or other random times one or both of the displays stay on in dim mode until the battery is dead.

    I just tried pulling the battery to see if that does some sort of long term reset.

  22. I bought an analog tracfone in 2003 – I liked it very much but now I have to get a digital tracfone.

    The LG420g is listed for my area code along with 5 others – my zip is 33803

    I have some visual problems and need to be able to read the numbers – I don’t care about the WEB use or texting but I would
    like to be able to take pictures using it – but I didn’t see a real answer to how do I transfer to my XP MS computer – I am pretty sure my computer has “bluetooth” I don’t think I want a slider but I don’t know anyone with one and WalMart wasn’t helpful.

    I have about 800 minutes (units?) on my old tracfone so I do want to buy a new tracfone. Do you have any suggestions for someone who needs to be frugal, but wants a little newer fone?

    Do you think opening it is a real problem – I am very computer illiterate and my older tracfone was more like a carry around electrical house phone – I could keep it in the car for emergencies and the heat did not affect it – I’ve been told I will have to keep my new one in my purse and not leave it in the car.

    Thank you for any help you can give me

  23. I have had my LG420g since Jan 2011. On a recent trip in Oct 2011, I selected the Flight mode from the Sound Profile, which should forward incoming calls to voice mail. Upon arrival at my destination, my LG420 would automatically power-down after 5 to 10 seconds. After re-powering several times, I was able to read (and remember) the info that flashed-by before automatically powering-down again. The icons at the top of the display indicated full battery power, yet no reception bars (even after I returned home, where the phone typically gets 4 bars). At the bottom of the display, above the service-thu date, there was a message, No Service, and then the message would scroll to Unregistered SIM. Before powering-down, the following message was displayed, SIM Card Removed, Turn On After Inserting SIM. Of course, the SIM card had not been removed. I proceded to open the back of the phone and remove/replace the battery and SIM card. The problem persisted. During a 10 second interval of operation, I was able to re-set the Sound Profile to Normal from Flight Mode. The problem persisted. With the phone in Normal -Sound Profile, I phoned my cell number, and the call was automatically sent ot voice mail, as if Flight Mode was still active. My guess is that the selection of Flight Mode triggered the phone to break connection with the SIM card. After speaking with two successive TracPhone representitives for 60 minutes, it seemed that they were working from a script, and that my problelm was not on their script. I will be receiving a new phone, however I will need to re-enter all my phone numbers. And I will NEVER again use the Flight Mode option !!!

  24. Having difficulty pairing up the bluetooth on the 420g with the bluetooth on my MAC laptop. Is the bluetooth in the 420g “on” or do I need to activate the bluetooth on the phone in order to get it paired up with the MAC? If so, what is the process, keystrokes, or process to activate it and get them paired up so that I can transfer pictures, etc.

  25. My LG420G keeps powering off by itself. My daughter took the battery out and blew on it and replaced it and it turned on, but it is still turning off. Why does the screen go black so quickly when I have the phone open. I don’t have the power save option even turned on. 40 seconds after I hit the send button to turn the screen back on, it goes to black. I just plugged it in the charger and the same thing happened. Any information would be great. I agree about it being hard to open also. I don’t tend to use this phone while I’m driving!

  26. The power symbol was a small antenna and is now a small “E” { next to the signal strength bars}. Is this normal and does it mean I have emergency service?

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