The LG505C slider is a combination full QWERTY and Touchscreen device in a compact package. While not quite a smartphone, it has quite a few modern features that almost make it seem like one. At under $100, it’s by far the best choice in the Tracfone line up. What’s interesting about this phone is that unlike the majority of the Tracfone lineup, the 505 is of the CDMA variety. As with many of the newer phones, Tracfone is including their 3x minutes for the life of the phone. Interested? Check LG505C Availability in Your Area
At first glance, it’s easy to dismiss the phone as yet another el cheapo Tracfone because there is no indication of the keyboard that lies beneath. The face of the phone lacks any sort of decorative touches which is kind of cool and further reinforces the belief the phone is nothing special. You could say this is a stealth type phone. Of course, sliding out the keyboard tells us otherwise. Like most LG sliders, this one has a firm snap open/ closed sliding action.
Keyboard is a standard QWERTY lay out with 4 rows and when open, can be used to fully navigate the phone including web browsing. About the only drawback on the keyboard is that the space bar is relatively small compared to other QWERTY devices but keep in mind that this is a very compact phone so it’s a trade off I can live with. A nice touch is the dedicated .com button for easy web address and email entry.
Another nice to have that is becoming an endangered species on touchscreen phones are the physical keys for Send and End. In addition to those two buttons, you have a center cancel/back button that also engages the speaker phone. Looking around the phone, we again find a simple efficient design with no tacky decorative trims or useless buttons. Don’t get me wrong, I like nice trim on phones but not so much on entry level devices like the LG505. Suffice it to say, LG wisely left this phone all business in terms of looks.
First, lets talk about the touchscreen. Let’s just clear it up right now, it is by no means an iPhone or anything like that. The LG505 uses the older type touchscreen technology called otherwise known as resistive technology so it takes a bit more effort to get a response. On the plus side, you can use a stylus or similar so. Anything that won’t scratch it will do. Overall, however, I was pleased by the response and didn’t find it to be a hindrance.
Navigation is served up via an Android like style, now before you flood my inbox with hate mail, this is by no means anything like an Adroid phone. What I mean is that the main screen is laid out into 3 sections. Sliding to the left, you have the messaging center that shows all your texts in an easy to read thought bubble type layout. Taping on a message sends you over to the texting interface. Sliding the screen to the right reveals a favorites type screen where you can add contacts and contact groups for easy access. A nice little feature is the ability to add groups so you can group your friends, business and other contacts together. Also on the main home screen is a little tab which taping reveals some easter egg icons that can be dragged and dropped to the main screen.
Accessing phone features is straight forward as they are offered via 4 icons on the bottom of the screen. The 4 icons from left to right give you access to messages, phone dialer, menu and prepaid. Taping on the menu button gives you access to all of the phone features and functions. The important ones here are the browser, multimedia and phone settings along with the other usual suspects which include calculator, calendar, contacts, etc.
Navigating around is quite easy, everything is presented in the popular table type layout. Taping a choice reveals more options in table layouts as well. Overall, navigation is quite nice and intuitive. Some of the screen icons are a little rough but that is typical on Tracfones of this type.
Starting at the top, it has a standard iPod type headphone jack. On the left, we find the charge port and volume. To the right, there is a dedicated phone lock button which is nice and unexpected on an entry level phone. Below that, there is the micro SD card slot that has a nice little door to cover it up and below that is the ever present dedicated camera button.
Besides the obvious or not so obvious keyboard, the LG505 offers some nice conveniences for a Tracfone. Unlike some of the older Tracfones, the browser is actually quite usable on the LG505. It launches into the Tracfone provided gateway screen with links to search, Facebook and a few others. There’s also a little game center which includes bowling, solitare and uno. One can also purchase more games via the game center if you wish.
Also of note is the built in mp3 player. Since the phone has the micro SD card slot, you can really load it up with songs and adding songs is easily accomplished with a standard micro usb kindle type cable connected to your computer.
One feature that I really liked was the camera. I was expecting the typical grainy pictures but the quality was quite surprising. Setting the phone to max resolution gives you some surprisingly quality pictures.
The LG505 lived up to my expectations and was well worth the $90 price tag. Considering it’s the only full QWERTY Tracfone out there, you really can’t go wrong with one particularly if you are a big texter. I really liked the compact design of the phone considering the sliding keyboard. The LG505 is easily one of the smaller full QWERTY devices I’ve encountered that’s actually usable. Overall, the phone was a $90 well spent. About the only gripe I had with it was the lack of Java app support.