REVIEW: LG Neon TE365F QWERTY Messaging Phone

For a while there, it seemed like the CDMA side had a lock on the QWERTY “dumb” phone market. Looking to carriers like Telus and Verizon, you could find quite a few options when it came to conventional phones with full QWERTY keyboards. The GSM side lagged behind, only offering QWERTY if you’re willing to take on the increased complexity of a smartphone. That, of course, has now changed.

Fido may be a low-cost carrier in Canada but that doesn’t mean that they won’t throw this poor dog a bone. If you need some QWERTY and like a touchscreen, the LG Neon just may be the ticket. Also available through Rogers Wireless, the LG Neon is not supposed to compete against a BlackBerry or an iPhone. Instead, it’s a slightly beefier multimedia phone that happens to rock a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. Texters will find that quite useful.

A Quick Feature Rundown

Naturally, the most notable feature on the LG Neon TE365F is its slide-out QWERTY keyboard. This three-row keyboard will certainly come in handy for pumping out those text messages, instant messages, and emails. When you slide out the keyboard, the display automatically orients to landscape mode as well. The display also happens to be a touchscreen, but it comes with a few limitations that I’ll describe a little later in this review.

Other notable features on this multimedia and messaging-minded handset include tri-band (850/1800/1900) GSM/EDGE connectivity, Bluetooth, integrated MP3 player, FM radio, 2 megapixel camera (no flash), picture and video messaging, and an SMS conversation box. It’s nice to see a couple of notable basics like the MP3 player and digital camera, but there isn’t much here that’s going to floor you. At the same time, you have to realize that this phone only costs fifty bucks with contract. That’s pretty cheap.

Inside the box are the phone itself, a SIM card, charger, and supporting documentation. Even though there’s an MP3 player inside and the phone uses a proprietary connection, there is no provided headset. That’s what you get when you buy a budget phone, I suppose.

First Impressions

The first thing that hit me about the LG Neon was its weight. It’s actually quite a bit more substantial at 108 grams that what its cheaper appearance may lead you to believe. I’m not entirely positive if this leads to a better build quality, but it sure makes it feel like you’re using something a little more robust.

The choice of materials is similarly impressive with a rubber-like back for extra grip. The plastics used also appear to be quite good, especially when you remember that this is supposed to be a cheap phone for a budget carrier. The screen is quite large and, while it doesn’t have the best resolution, the screen is also reasonably crisp. Don’t expect the world, but I was surprised.

Joining the Trend of QWERTY “Dumb” Phones

If you’re going to send a lot of SMS, IM, and email messages, a regular T9-style keypad probably isn’t going to cut the mustard unless you put in a fair bit of practice. QWERTY keyboards offer a much more user-friendly experience… but the one on the Neon isn’t so stellar.

Whereas the LG enV2 (known as the LG KEYBO in Canada) had four rows of square keys, the LG Neon has three rows of round keys. The “missing” row comes with some disadvantages, of course, but it’s more the layout that bothers me. I found myself hitting the Symbol key when I wanted the A.

Also, getting periods and commas are the alternate functions of H and G, respectively. That’s not very intuitive when we expect these punctuation marks to be mapped to the M and N kind of area. You may be able to get used to the layout eventually, but it wasn’t as pick-up-and-play as I would have hoped.

Touchscreen’s for Dialing Only

The LG Neon TE365F comes with a touchscreen display. That’s a good thing, because it adds all sorts of utility and functionality. Unfortunately, LG has decided to completely cripple this feature. When you are navigating through the menus, you can’t tap on an icon to access that item. When you are using the mobile browser, you can’t tap on a link to open it.

Instead, the touchscreen is only there for dialing phone numbers. That’s it. There’s haptic feedback, sure, but this is severely restricted for no good reason. Open up that software and let us use the touchscreen like how we would on any other touch phone, LG!

Out of Memory, Shutting Down

Another big point of disappointment was the lack of performance. Playing the included demo games was fine and playing tunes with the MP3 player was good, but web surfing felt quite crippled.

I logged into my Twitter account via the mobile Twitter site and that was fine. When I clicked on a TwitPic link from one of my friends, however, I received an error message saying the phone was out of memory. The handset then proceeded to reboot itself! Does TwitPic really require that much in terms of resources?

No, I didn’t expect the Neon to compete against my computer for processing power, but it should be able to access some basic web pages, yes?

Conclusion

This phone is clearly budget-minded for the budget-minded crowd. The QWERTY keyboard is a great inclusion, but the layout isn’t as good as some of its direct competitors. The touchscreen is a nice inclusion, but it is completely crippled in its utility. The build quality and materials are very good, but they add to the weight of the phone. That seems to be the nature of the Neon, since every good point comes with a “but” statement shortly afterward.

That said, if you’ve only got $50 to spend, you’re dying to get in on some QWERTY action, and you don’t need a world of performance, this phone could be a good bargain to consider.

The LG Neon TE365F QWERTY messaging phone is available through Fido for $50 with a qualifying two-year service agreement or for $175 outright. Get more information on Fido.ca.


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21 Comments

  1. AudreyJaymez says:

    To get music on the phone just add music to the SD card then put the sd card in your phone. I have this phone but with AT&T(LG GT365)in the states ours is a different name. I like this phone but what annoys me about it is the lack of touch screen use and when i am texting sometimes my keyboard goes haywire adding symbols or other letters and moving the cursor around the screen as if i hit the FN button.

    I wish someone could find a way to use the full touch screen capabilities.

    Whomever designed this phone or came up with the idea, did not think this through. And LG phones suck anyways. I also have an LG Rumor…sigh.

  2. help says:

    I got this phone yesterday and I cant get music on it I got the usb and that’s still not working. HELP!!!!!

  3. Roxi says:

    I like the phone. It’s really useful, although I wonder if I could text and call at the same time. If I can, it’d be really useful.

  4. jalen says:

    thats what im doing

  5. jalen says:

    i want this phone really bad but the samsung t401g has t9 i need a prepaid one that slides and have t9 please help

  6. John says:

    There is A way u can text on the touchscreen, last night i was messing with my neon. thenn all of the sudden it was touchscreem texting all my friends were like holy Sh*t and stuff, i cant figure out how to do tht agian. PLZ IF SUM1 KNOWS HOW EMAIL ME AT jgrist23@hotmail.com and i might give u a money reward:)

  7. melisa says:

    on the the phone i meant xD **

  8. melisa says:

    CAN SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME HOW TO SEND MULTIMEDIA MESSAGES ON HERE?? :P thnxx

  9. Guest says:

    I got the Neon 3 weeks ago. I was having a problem with it shutting down for a while… mainly when I would shut the phone.

  10. Oneal trahan says:

    I just bought a TE365F cell phone. I am completely new at this. Where is the book of instructions ???

  11. devon says:

    It's true you can't use the traditional numpad to text, and it doesn't have t9, but if you want those features, don't buy a phone with a slide out qwerty keyboard. I bought the phone specifically for the qwerty keyboard and the compact size. So far, it's great. texting is good, and the bluetooth works awesome. The only things I've had a problem with so far is the lack of instructions, and that on some screens where you need to enter numbers (like PIN for locking the phone) you can't use the touchscreen numpad and instead must use the numbers on the slide out keyboard. it's too bad the touchscreen isn't more useful, but in the end it's not that big of a deal. I've also dropped it once already, and although the battery popped out when it hit the ground, it still works 100% and not a scratch.
    The bottom line is, it's a good little phone for people who want the keyboard and don't need too many fancy extras.

  12. y do u need 2 kno ? says:

    does the texting really stink lik everyone says ??????

  13. lilly says:

    hi i hav not gotten the phone yet and im saving up 4 it and i hav read ever1s comments and now im not so sure so can some1 help me !!!!!!

  14. layli says:

    there is a way to get texting on phone can some one help me please!!!!

  15. Janell says:

    I love this phone, the camera quality is very good, the only fault I have with it is that you absoultely need they earphones when trying to listen to FM Radio. The touch screen works great and there are so many shortcuts and easy solutions to everything. Although at this point I am unsure of how to change the word "Fido" on my main screen to something else. I am dissapointed that there was no Mannual, it would have been a great help.

  16. val says:

    i got mine yesterday… and i think its pretty gud, EXCEPT for the fact that the touch function is limited to dialling and searching up names on ur phone… i really hope that lg, or if not, hackers, will someday be able to fix this annoying and crippled function…

  17. tori says:

    okay, one reason i DONT like this phone is because you can't text unless you open the qwerty keyboard. i mean doesnt it get annoying flipping it every single time you get a text? and you cant usee the regular one because thats ONLY numbers. its kind of annoying. like really annoying. i WAS going to get the LG Pantech Matrix but i liked the view of the neon better. now, i want to switch! if i'm wrong and i can text on the regular abc keyboard then pleasseee tell me! my email is torisroxyoursox@aol.com

  18. celery says:

    this phone sucks, i sent it in once, cuz it was shutting off in the middle of texting and just shutting off out of no where. i'd get it out of my purse and it would be off. i'm going to send it away once more, and if it does it again when i get back, i'm asking for a NEW phone!!!!!!!

  19. Vangelmatic says:

    same with me

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