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LG Select (MetroPCS) Review and Price

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LG Select (MetroPCS)
There’s nothing wrong with choosing a low-end cell phone, even in an age of powerful smartphones and thousands of mobile apps. The LG Select ($59) is better than most. It contains just enough features to satisfy most users, while retaining MetroPCS’s low plan pricing.

For just $10 more up-front than the inferior Samsung Contour($49, 2.5 stars), the LG Select offers good value. Just make sure you check out the other handsets MetroPCS is selling for roughly the same price.

Design, Call Quality, and Plans
The silver LG Select looks a little sharper and more sophisticated than most budget flip phones, mainly thanks to its black, gray, and chrome detailing. The varying plastic textures feel good to the touch. The Select measures 3.7 by 1.9 by 0.7 inches (HWD) and weighs 3.2 ounces. The left side contains a volume rocker switch, a covered microUSB charger port, and a covered, non-standard 2.5-mm headphone jack. The right side holds the camera shortcut button.


The passive-matrix, 1-inch, 64-by-96-pixel external display is too cramped. While it offers plenty of status info, the fonts overlap each other at times. The brighter 2-inch internal display fares better, with its 176-by-220-pixel resolution and wider viewing angles. Seven function keys beneath the screen surround a large, five-way control pad. The arrangement offers one-button access for the speakerphone, voice dialer, and other commonly used functions. The large, rectangular numeric keys are well separated and require a firm press. But dialing numbers was simple enough.

The LG Select is a tri-band 1xRTT (850/1700/1900 MHz) device with no Wi-Fi. MetroPCS covers a limited portion of the U.S., just like other regional carriers like U.S. Cellular and Cricket Wireless, so you should check coverage maps before you buy in. Voice quality was clear in both directions, with no background hiss and a natural tone. Reception was about average; I heard occasional dropouts and computerish-sounding syllables, but that’s typical for the marginal MetroPCS coverage area I live in.

Service Provider
Screen Size
2 inches
Screen Details
1-inch, 64×96-pixel, passive matrix external LCD; 2-inch, 176-by-220-pixel, 262K color main TFT LCD
850, 1900, 1700
High-Speed Data


Calls sounded a bit staticky, but still understandable, through an Aliph Jawbone Era Bluetooth headset ($99, 4 stars). Voice dialing worked fine over Bluetooth without training. But my first attempt required repairing, as the phone spoke the “Say a Command” prompt through its own earpiece instead of the headset. The speakerphone had enough volume, but sounded tinny and distorted at the highest setting. The 1000mAh battery was good for a solid 6 hours and 14 minutes of talk time in my tests.

Plans, Apps, and Conclusions
As with many of MetroPCS’s lower-end phones, the LG Select offers unlimited voice calls, text messaging, Web browsing, and picture messaging in the U.S. for just $40 per month with no contract required. An extra $5 per month adds unlimited short codes and international texts, while an extra $10 per month adds unlimited GPS navigation, instant messaging, e-mail, and international calls. You can also add GPS navigation as part of a $5 bundle on top of the basic $40 plan.

The LG Select’s operating system and MetroPCS UI layer are familiar standbys. I don’t know why MetroPCS insists on such an unsightly default home screen and color scheme. But it’s easy to get around the phone, and there’s a selection of wallpapers to choose from. The main menu consists of 12 icons arranged in a grid pattern. The Myriad 6.2 Web browser delivers sluggish but readable WAP pages. MetroNavigator offers clear, voice-enabled, turn-by-turn GPS directions with the appropriate plan, and the screen has just enough resolution to render a decent 3D view of the road map ahead. MetroPCS’s e-mail and IM clients work okay enough, but this really isn’t a messaging phone without a QWERTY keyboard.

The 1.3-megapixel camera has no flash or auto-focus. There’s just 28MB of free internal memory. More troubling is the lack of a memory card slot. Your only options are sending photos as picture messages, or transferring them via Bluetooth; there’s no way to share pictures online or send them through e-mail. Pairing the phone with my Mac failed on multiple attempts. There’s no music player or video player; the non-standard headphone jack is solely for hands-free calls.

As long as you have a separate MP3 player for listening to music on the go, the LG Select is okay as a basic flip phone. Still, the LG Imprint ($49, 3.5 stars) is a better choice, as it adds a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, a memory card slot, and a music player for $10 less. Our favorite MetroPCS feature phone remains the LG Banter Touch ($149, 3.5 stars), which is obviously more expensive, but adds a roomier QWERTY keyboard, a better music player, and a touch screen.

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