LG 500g Review Part 1

LG 500G for Tracfone

This is another contribution from my friend “Otis 226,” who frequently posts in the comments section on this blog. With me being so busy with moving my family into a new house, Otis 226 kindly agreed to contribute his thoughts on this model for a LG 500g review on this blog. I have also tested it personally, and contributed to his conclusions where I felt it necessary for clarification or to offer a different point of view.

LG 500g picture

LG 500g for TracFone

I definitely agree with his opinions the vast majority of the time, though. Here is what he had to say:

This is the much-awaited full QWERTY keyboard phone that Tracfone released a few weeks ago [Update 6/8/11: It is now available for Net10 as well]. It operates on the GSM band, as the ‘G’ in the name indicates. Before I get into the pros and cons of this handset, I must say I’ve had a lot of fun and some frustration checking it out. I will make a fair number of comparisons with the phone I currently use as my ‘main’ Tracfone, the LG290c. When appropriate, I’ll try to compare it to other Tracfone models I’ve had some experience with. Right off, this phone just feels good in my hand. I liked that the very first time I picked it up, and still do.

The first weekend I had it, I brought it along to a botanic garden I visited, and used the camera, video recorder and the MP-3 player. This was all before the phone was even activated.

The handset measures 4.58×2.35×0.51 in. and weighs in at a comfortable 2.93 oz., about the same as the LG231c flip phone, and a nice change after the bulkier 290c. It is powered by a 950mAh Lithium Ion battery, (LGIP-531A) rated at 3.7v. Standby time is rated at up to 9 days and talk time, up to 5 hours on a charge. My testing in the first week used the phone’s functions heavily and battery capacity seemed excellent, so I have no reason to doubt these claims.

The screen is just slightly smaller than that of the LG290c, but a larger font seems to make up for that. Both phones screens seemed equally sharp and clear to me. In full sun, however, it is very difficult to make out what’s on the screen. I tried it with both white and black backgrounds, and it didn’t seem to help either way.

There is room for 1,000 contact entries in the phone book, 500 text messages, 100 calendar entries and 100 To-Do list entries. You can also store 50 each of notepad and “secret” notes, (with 1,000 character capacity ), 50 bookmarks and 100 entries of call history. The ability to use five separate alarms is also available. I have no idea if any of these numbers can be increased using the external memory, but I doubt it. A nice feature with the alarm function is that it will work even when the phone is powered off and then give you the option of keeping the phone on or letting it stay off.

Text messages are limited to 1600 characters and 160 characters per page, (something I found out by being the wordy person I am – the first test text msg. I sent cost me 1.5 units, as it was 3 pages long!) There is 7 mb of built-in memory, and the micro SD card slot will accept a card up to 4gb, no larger.

This handset does come with the DMFL feature, a 1.3 mp camera, and video recording capability. Bluetooth connectivity appears to be full and unlocked by Tracfone with this model. There is a voice recorder, which gives the option of making your recordings ‘MMS msg. size, 30 sec, and 1 min. or no limit as to time. There is not any voice activation or voice command features with this handset.

Getting to my first major pet peeve about the LG500G, there is no full manual for this phone, which really makes no sense to me at all, since there is one for the LG800G, as well as the LG501C model, which hasn’t even been released by Tracfone as yet, though it is showing up on their activation phone list and should be coming soon.

Well, that’s all I’m going to cover for this installment of the review. In a few days I’ll post more details, and wrap things up at the end of the week. If you can’t wait that long, though, I’ll let you in on my conclusion – the 500g is a pretty good little phone for the money! If you want to order from TracFone.com now, click here, or for Net10, click here. And don’t forget to use promotional code GI2011 (on either site) when you check out to save $5 off the total price.

Also, as I write this, TracFone is offering free overnight shipping as part of their Father’s Day promotion, so you can take advantage of that too.

As I said, I’ll be posting more about this phone shortly. You can follow along with all the updates on the LG 500g on the LG 500g review index page.

21 thoughts on “LG 500g Review Part 1

  1. When can we expect a complete comprehensive review on the LG800g Touchscreen Phone? You unpackaged it late April and we have heard very little about it. I`m still awaiting both the Samsung T528g which was recently trashed by a Poster and the highly anticipated Motorola EX124g which is supposed to come with a built in Stainless Steel Toothpick, (Stylus). Why must TF,NT,& ST take forever in releasing their newer phones? Once released, almost (all)other Cellular Carriers have declared those phones “obsolete” and either have or soon begin phasing them out. The only explanation I can come up with is that both Verizon and AT&T mandate that for the right to carry Tracfone calls on their Network? They want to keep a competitive edge with the newer more desirable Phones, IMO.

    • @phil: yes, releasing “new” phones on prepaid phone services just as they are going out of style w/ the other carriers seems to be par for the course in cell phone availability.

      On the carriers end: whatever reason they have would make perfect business sen$e.

  2. I’ve had a 500g for about 3 weeks now, have a few observations:
    This is my first QWERTY phone, and I’m pleasantly surprised to find that the tiny buttons work amazingly well, even “typing” with my thumb – the “pillow block” design works!
    The MP3 player works great, sound quality excellant, and I can plug in a 3.5mm stereo plug for external speakers and THAT works too. However the UI is a bit clunky, and you better have all the tags on your mp3 files in good shape, because it uses them to organize the files – such as for the “Albums” menu option.
    My real problem with this unit is with installing Java apps – I’ve got a 4Gb microSD in place, and a micro USB cable from Tiger Direct, so I can download them quickly & free of airtime charges on my PC, then transfer them over to the SD card with the cable – that all works great. BUT! While this phone does have MIDP2.1, the JSR-75 function is LOCKED. That means NO filemanager-type app is going to work! No FileManager, FileExplorer, MobyExplorer, MiniCommander, nothing! Nor any app that uses or requires file access…at least, that is my experience. If anyone knows how to get past this, please let me know!

  3. Good review, so far. Thank you for posting it. This and other websites are the best source for instructions for this phone. Tracfone has not released a manual and the expertise of their customer service has been covered in other postings.

    The part I hate is the button next to END is easily pushed. When at home screen it launches the evil minute sucking built-in browser. After accessing the web from my pocket a few times I always lock the keyboard before pocketing this phone.

  4. I’ve had a 500g for about 3 weeks now, & have a few observations:
    This is my first QWERTY phone, and I’m pleasantly surprised to find that the tiny buttons work amazingly well, even “typing” with my thumb – the “pillow block” design works! I do keep it on “autolock” though, because of the whoops-internet minutes! problem others have already mentioned…there should be a confirmation-request, like for “delete”.
    The MP3 player works great, sound quality excellent, and I can plug in a 3.5mm stereo plug for external speakers and THAT works too. However the UI is a bit clunky, and you better have all the tags on your mp3 files in good shape, because it uses them to organize the files – such as for the “Albums” menu option.
    My real problem with this unit is with installing Java apps – I’ve got a 4Gb microSD in place, and a micro USB cable from Tiger Direct, so I can download them quickly & free of airtime charges on my PC, then transfer them over to the SD card with the cable – that all works great. BUT! While this phone does have MIDP2.1, the JSR-75 function is LOCKED. That means NO filemanager-type app is going to work! No FileManager, FileExplorer, MobyExplorer, MiniCommander, nothing! Nor any app that uses or requires file access…at least, that is my experience. If anyone knows how to get past this, please let me know! Those apps that do work require only the .jar file; making a .jad has no benefit. Opera Mini works, and BoltLite give you a postage-stamp view of the entire, PC-normal website, no “mobile” compression.
    I’m not big on games, but I do wish the FlightSimulator-like app had worked…

      • When I wrote “from this” in the post above, I was referring to the post above that one, that shows as being from June 8, 2011 at 12:30am. Sigh, As someone else here has noted, it would be VERY USEFUL for the original user to be able to EDIT after the reply has posted.
        Also I see that my reply to Ana, below, has been modded-out…wondering what was wrong with it, everything except the Off-Topic request seemed germaine to me….oh, well.

        • Hi Catguy
          I didn’t delete any posts of yours, so I’m really not sure what happened. I apologize for any problems, and I too wish that you could edit old posts. I’m not sure if that’s a wordpress option that I haven’t found yet. If you know more about it, please feel free to let me know.

  5. How much does it cost for apps for this phone? and when you get a app do you have to pay for it every time you use it?

    • Ana, the apps for this are usually free, but there’s not one central site or App store to download from. You’ll be looking for Java-based apps, which are available from a variety of sites like getjar.com. If the apps access the internet (such as a web browser or an email app), you’ll need to pay for the time you care connected to the web.

      • My experience as to java apps for the 500g – first, all you need is the .jar file, the .jad is not needed or helpful. Second, the JSR-75 function is LOCKED, which is to say, the built-in apps can access files, to a limited extent, but no file manager app can – some won’t install at all, some lock-up at start up, and some load but then can’t do anything. Some note/text apps can save & load files created with them, some can’t. Third, all non-Tracfone apps are reguarded as “untrusted” but you can tell it to install them anyway. Fourth, you can download the apps to a PC and transfer them to the phone with a cable; that way you don’t have to use airtime minutes to get them. Also (and I am not entirely sure of this) if you use a book reader app, it has to incorporate the text WITHIN the app, because, once again, it can’t access external files.
        OFF-TOPIC: Will you (the owner of this blog) PLEASE remove my name [in brackets] that shows up a couple of posts above this? Thank you!

  6. Aha! Thank you for removing my name from that one post; and now my reply to Ana has mysteriously reappeared! Sorry for all the material that is now redundant.
    New topic: do you (or does anyone) have any info on any way to get around the locked JSR-75 (file access) function that affects so many of the apps I have tried to run on the 500g? It seriously reduces the usefulness of being able to use java apps on this phone.

  7. To delete all the messages in your inbox you go to “Options” then select “mark/unmark” then you can just mark one at a time my pressing “mark” or you can delete all by pressing “mark all”. Then once again press “options” and you can delete or move the messages you marked. :)

  8. I am still trying to figure out how to get my music onto My LG500. I was told back in September by a reviewer that I needed to get a Bluetooth Dongle. Take the chip out of the phone – put it in the Dongle – then put it in my computer – then download my music – then put the chip back in the phone – then I would have my music. However I have tried to put that chip in the Dongle several times, carefully separated it, but still can’t figure out how that chip goes inside that dongle. So it’s now 4 months, I still haven’t activated the phone yet, still don’t have my music on the chip yet either. Any recommendations. Is this the right way, wrong way? Help!

    • Hi Pat
      I believe you may have gotten some confusing advice on how to do this. You could use the bluetooth dongle to connect your phone to your computer via bluetooth, and then use bluetooth to send the music over to the phone. How exactly this works will vary widely depending on what computer you have, the operating system you are running, and the bluetooth software you have.
      Another possibility is to get a USB microSD card reader. This would be the device that you would put the SD card into. The USB part then plugs into the computer, and the computer should see the microSD as an external drive, and you can then drag and drop files onto the microSD card (try to get them in the appropriate folder, probably named something like “music”).
      The third, and probably the simplest, option is to use a MicroUSB to USB cable, to plug your phone directly into your computer. The computer should then see the microSD card, again as an external drive. Then drag and drop just like I described above. The only caveat with this one is to enter your phones settings menu and make sure your phone “USB” setting is set to “mass storage” or something along those lines.
      Either the microSD card reader or the USB cable should cost $3-$4.

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