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LG U8550

 LG U8550 Discontinued
26th November 2005

The LG U8550 is an unusual 3G phone, currently available on the 3 network in Italy. What sets the U8550 apart from other phones is the screen - it's a 2.2" 220x220 pixel TFT panel panel in 65,000 colours. The square format at the U8550's screen is designed to be easier to use with video clips and streaming multimedia, where the "tall" orientation of most phones causes a problem.

 LG U8550 open As a result of the wide screen, the U8550 is itself quite a wide handset at 55mm across. Compare this with 50mm for a standard LG 3G phone, 53mm for the Motorola RAZR V3 and just 44mm for the Nokia 6230i and you can see that this is a very wide handset indeed.

It's a multimedia handset, and it comes with 20Mb of internal memory plus a TransFlash/microSD slot. The U8550 plays back a variety of multimedia formats including MP3, AAC, MPEG4, WMV and H263. There are external media controls, so the U8550's multimedia functions can be controlled without opening the handset up, and there's a large 128x160 pixel external display too. The LG U8550 also comes with a multimedia stand (called the "SoundSystem" pictured below) that has a large pair of external speakers so that it can be used as a mini hi-fi system or video player. Confusingly, there's a "TV" button on the inside of the phone, but as far as we can tell this is just to connect you to streaming multimedia content via 3G - the U8550 doesn't have a terrestrial TV receiver.

 LG U8550 SoundSystem The main camera is a 1.3 megapixel unit, with a secondary camera for video calling. As with most LG 3G phones now, the U8550 has Bluetooth, and XHTML web browser, email client, Java support.

Surprisingly the large screen doesn't add much to the U8550's weight - at 135 grams this phone weighs about the same as other LG 3G phones. Overall size is 90x55x25mm, which is a little on the large side. Battery life is not known at the time of going to press.

This is certainly an interesting handset, although the colour schemes leave a little to be desired. And although this is a very wide phone, the U8550 makes better use of its width than the RAZR because of the unusual display. It's a bit of a shame that the LG U8550 doesn't come with a higher resolution display (e.g. 320x320 pixels), but it's a novel approach which perhaps other manufacturers will follow.

The LG U8550 is currently only available from 3 Italy. As yet we do not know of any plans to bring the U8550 to other parts of the Hutchison 3 network.

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LG U8550 at a glance

Available:

Now

Network:

UMTS (3G) + GSM 900/1800/1900

Data:

UMTS (3G) + GPRS

Screen:

220x220 pixels, 65k colours (main)
128x160 pixels, 65k colours (sub)

Camera:

1.3 megapixels (main)
176x144 pixels (sub)

Size:

Wide clamshell
90x55x25mm / 135 grams

Bluetooth:

Yes

Infra-red:

No

Polyphonic:

Yes

Java:

Yes

Battery life:

Not specified

 

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