For the LG 501c review, I’ve once again called on my old TracFone friend Otis226 to share his thoughts. The review below is largely his work, with some minor edits and/or additions by myself (pbushx2). I have gone through the review completely myself, and believe the work to be completely reliable and consistent with my own experiences with the LG 501c. So, here’s the first part of the review from Otis226. As more segments of the review are posted, you’ll find links to them on this LG 501c review index page.
LG 501c Review
Pbushx2 has again kindly permitted me to put down my thoughts on the LG 501c (available for both TracFone and Net10), so I’d like to offer this review of the handset. One of the biggest pluses this, or any other newly released Tracfone can have for me is a full users manual, and this handset indeed has one available. Although it doesn’t answer every question that will come up when you start using your phone, to me, it is so much better than the trial and error methods needed for models that Tracfone decides to release with a 1 or two page ‘quick start guide’ only. That may be my age showing, but I know I’m not the only person ‘over 50’ to use Tracfones who appreciates a real users manual.
This is the first Tracfone offered in CDMA version using a full QWERTY keyboard (The LG500g, which was reviewed earlier on this blog, was the GSM version). As Patrick has mentioned earlier, this phone is very similar in appearance to the 500g.
Dimensions are 4.5 x 2.3 x 0.5 inches, with a weight of 2.83 oz. My initial impression was that it felt just a bit thicker than the 500g, and the color of the sides and back are more gray than black. I’ll mention the other slight physical differences as I describe the general appearance.
This phone does come with the DMFL option from Tracfone. Unlike the LG500g, there is no memory slot, mp-3 player or video capabilities with this phone. It does have bluetooth connectivity as well as a VGA (0.3 megapixel) camera on board however.
In my reviewing its features, I’ve found it fairly comparable to the older LG290c slider phone, which I still use as my everyday Tracfone. The lighter weight, qwerty keyboard and full bluetooth connectivity are pluses for the LG501c. Having the capability to disable the browser on the LG290c is a big plus in its favor for this user. The browser button cannot be disabled with the 501c.
The “reserved memory” provides room for up to 1,000 contacts, 300 calendar events, 100 notes, (each note is limited to 150 characters), and 150 entries in call history. A total of 700 messages can be stored, (500 SMS, 100 MMS, and 100 MMS notifications). The internal ‘multimedia’ memory of this phone is limited to 73.1 mb out of the box, as some of the total 75mb appears to be allocated the the “reserved memory described above.
Two other features that are a bit disappointing compared to the LG500g; the record voice feature allows you use ‘pause’ while recording, but not when playing back the recording, as you can on the 500g. I used this record feature quite a bit with the 500g to dictate notes, since pausing the playback was so convenient. Also, the alarm function will not work with the phone switched off, as on the 500g. On this model, the phone needs to be powered up for the alarm to work.
This phone feels about as good in the hand as the LG500g did to me. It slides into and out of a pocket pretty easily. The rounded edges help that a lot. I have not dropped this phone yet, as the finish on the edge of the device seems to be more of a “matte” finish as opposed to the glossiness on the 500g, thus making for a better gripping surface.
In terms of quality of construction, I feel it is certainly as well made as the LG500g, or any of the other recent Tracfones I’ve handled. I think most users would not feel the same stigma that some experienced with the earlier Tracfones, which seemed to announce they were inexpensive pre-paid phones.
The LG logo is just under the screen in front and is embossed on the back cover as well. The Tracfone swirl logo is only found on the back cover, under the camera lens. Two speaker slots are just to the left of the lens.
On the top edge is a covered 2.5mm audio jack, as opposed to the more commonly used 3.5mm jack on the 500g. (Of course without an mp-3 player on the 501c, this may not be a big deal to most people). The charge port is located on the left upper edge and on the right side are the external volume keys.
The screen shows the typical Tracfone info: signal strength, amount of battery charge, date and time, (after the handset is activated). It also displays when the phone is in ‘home’ or ‘roam’ areas, and can display the number of minutes and service days left. There is an icon glossary located in the settings sub-menu if something should be unfamiliar to you on the screen.
From left to right, the fixed keys are; menu, camera, 4-way directional pad, clear and browser key. Below these are the ‘send’ and power end/keys. The directional keys don’t look to be programmable. The shortcuts assigned to each key are as follows: up = messages menu, left = games menu, down = contacts list, and right = sound menu.
As with the 500g, I initially felt that the ‘qwerty’ keys would be too small to be effectively used by my large hands, but I find typing on the little keypad better than expected. We’ll get into further features in the next part of the review.
Also in the next portion of the review, we’ll get into the audio quality, signal reception, the keypad and menus. Before part 2 is published, though, I’ll also have the first part of Samsung t528g review underway.