capsule review

LG F9200

At a Glance
  • LG Electronics F9200

    PCWorld Rating

LG F9200
Photograph: Chris Manners

Looking for a cell phone that lets you stay connected via e-mail and instant messenger? You don't need a pricey PDA hybrid phone to get the messaging features you crave. Consider the LG F9200. This candybar-style standard cell phone features a hidden QWERTY keyboard, which slides out from beneath the handset, enabling you to type messages much more easily.

Available for $150 with a two-year contract from Cingular Wireless (as of April 7, 2006), the F9200 is one of the least-expensive phones we tested. Battery life was excellent, too: Though LG rates the F9200's talk time at 4 hours, the battery reached the PC World Test Center's upper limit of 10 hours without dying.

When you slide the keyboard out, the F9200's color 128-by-160-pixel display automatically switches to landscape mode. You can browse the Web; send and receive e-mail via AOL, Hotmail, or Yahoo accounts; and send and receive IMs via AIM, ICQ, or Yahoo Messenger. The screen, which measures 2 inches diagonally, isn't the most spacious one around; to read a short e-mail message from my Yahoo account, I had to scroll through several screens. In portrait mode, it can display up to 8 lines of text.

The F9200 includes a four-way joystick that helps with navigation, and allows you fast access to some of the phone's key functions. The keyboard does make typing easier, but it can feel cramped--especially if you don't have small fingers or fingernails to tap with. And while it may aid in text entry, the keyboard does make the phone feel bulky. It's thicker and heavier than many standard cell phones, measuring almost an inch thick and weighing in at 4.6 ounces. The device can be awkward to hold, especially during lengthy calls.

The F9200 includes a VGA (640 by 480) resolution digital camera. To access the camera, you have to press and hold the camera button for 2 seconds--so by the time the camera is operational, the moment you wanted to capture may have passed. The pictures I took were of acceptable quality, however, and accessing and sending them was simple.

Overall, the LG F9200 offers plenty of features in its small bit somewhat bulky package. Inveterate e-mailers and instant messagers, in particular, will want to give this phone a look.

Liane Cassavoy

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    You can type e-mail messages quickly and comfortably with the F9200's integrated QWERTY keyboard.


    • Features a full QWERTY keyboard
    • Offers easy access to e-mail and IM


    • Bulky shape; can be difficult to hold
    • Keyboard can feel cramped
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