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Some of us don't want/need a smartphone!
on April 13, 2012
I've had the original Samsung Rugby A837 since it came out in September of 2008. It's been a good phone all these years, but I was ready for an improvement. Unfortunately, everything was headed the smartphone route (even the Samsung Rugby line has migrated to a smartphone), and the remaining "phones" were aimed at the truly "basic" market, like the Pantech Breeze line. For me, I just don't need to carry what is essentially a nanocomputer with me; I just want a phone for calls and quick texts, maybe check a sports score, and grab a basic picture once in a while.
The LG A340 came almost out of nowhere in April 2012, and after reviewing the specs, I jumped on it. I qualified as an upgrade from AT&T, so it didn't cost much at all ($19.99 for me), and it arrived in a couple of days. The first thing you will notice about the A340 is that the screens are HUGE for this type of phone. The external screen is a remarkable 1.7-inch 128x160 - not that long ago, that was a typical size for the *internal* screen! The A340's inside screen is a 2.4-inch 240x320 that's very clear and sharp. Another thing I like is the clock reading on the internal screen doesn't take up an unnecessary amount of space, so you can actually put up some wallpaper that you can see without having it obliterated by what time it is. Not the case for the external screen though; wallpaper or not, the date/clock is just below dead center.
The sound quality is pretty good during phone calls (no issues hearing or being heard), and the keys respond quickly for basic texting. The camera is only 1.3 megapixels, so you're not going to replace a true camera with this, nor should you expect to. The camera has one drawback, though... the lens is on the back of the lower body (above the battery door) so you have to be very mindful of keeping your fingers out of the way when lining up and taking pictures. You'll also want to clean off the fingerprints before you take a picture, as your hand will otherwise normally be over the lens.
The A340 comes with a basic WAP browser, but AT&T does include its new Social Net app that allows direct access to Facebook and other social networks. Again, it's not a smartphone, so don't expect to watch movies with it. The A340 also handles AT&T Navigator for driving directions, and a few other built-in applications that may make life easier for some.
Physically, the A340 isn't as thick as the Rugby I'm replacing (and I did like the feel of the Rugby for that reason), but it's not wafer-thin, either. The A340 is very long when open, easily reaching from ear to mouth like a normal phone handset, and is over 2 inches wide as well... us guys with larger hands can get a comfortable grip. Battery life is listed as 3 hours talk and 250 stand-by, about the same as the Rugby, so no issues there. The A340 is also a "greener" phone, using recycled materials for the case and an energy-efficient wall charger.
This is what I want from a cell phone... a well-featured, full-size flip phone without too many bells and whistles. Thanks LG and AT&T!