What's not: No easy access to social networking, music player doesn’t support AAC music format.
Reviewed June 16, 2010 by Tong Zhang, Senior Editor
First we had the Samsung Reclaim eco-friendly phone from Sprint that’s made with bio-plastic extracted from corn and is 80% recyclable. Not to be outdone by Samsung, LG joins the eco-friendly force with the LG Remarq that’s 87% recyclable with 100% recyclable packaging. Other eco-friendly features include an Energy Star qualified charger, 19.7% of the casing is made from post-consumer recycled plastics and a recycling envelope for your old device is included. Now that we’ve gotten the eco-related features out of the way, we must say that the LG Remarq looks a lot classier than the Samsung Reclaim which sends a message: being eco-friendly doesn’t mean you can’t look flashy.
The LG Remarq comes in two colors, Turquoise and a grayish Dark Silver, both elegant yet subtle. Feature wise, the LG Remarq is on par with current QWERTY phones that are free with a contract: a 1.3 megapixel camera, built-in Bluetooth with A2DP, music player, HTML web browser and a microSD card slot.
Design and Ergonomics
The curvy body of the LG Remarq looks dangerously similar to the Samsung Reclaim, but somehow the LG Remarq doesn’t look like a phone made from recycled material. The plastic housing is shiny and smooth, and the color accent pieces are shinier still like a mirror. The 2.5” display has QVGA resolution and is very useable outdoors even in direct sunlight. The screen has high contrast and brightness. Those who like their menu hardware buttons will like the LG Remarq: it has a large 5-way d-pad, standalone Talk button and End button, and two shoulder menu keys.
The QWERTY keyboard feels spacious and the keys have very good tactile feedback and good travel. The 4-row keyboard has faint white backlighting that works OK in the dark; the number keys are grouped on the left. The space bar sits right in the middle of the QWERTY and there are a couple things you will have to get used to about the layout: “period”, “exclamation mark” and “question” mark all live on the left side of the space bar to make room for the larger “Enter” key and dedicated launch keys for SMS, symbols and emoticons.
Measuring 3.5 x 2.5 x 0.6 inches, the LG Remarq is quite wide which provides enough space to accommodate the roomy QWERTY keyboard and a landscape screen. It can however feel a bit too wide if you don’t have a large for one-handed use. LG Remarq has volume keys and the camera key on its sides, along with a charging port, microSD card slot and a 2.5mm (not 3.5mm) audio jack. The rear-firing speaker hides behind a leaf-shaped grille next to the camera, and the two-tone back looks nice.
Phone Features and Reception
The LG Remarq has average reception, getting half of full signal strength in moderate coverage areas. Voice quality on both ends is outstanding, beating out most feature phones in this price bracket, with clear voice and good DSP for noise reduction. The LG Remarq has a contacts database that can store up to 600 entries with up to 7 phone numbers for each entry. The phone can store up to 98 speed dial numbers, and it offers caller ID, secret contacts, and other phone book features. For driving safety, the LG Remarq comes with voice command software for voice dialing and voice activated SMS and app launching. The LG Remarq doesn’t have a lot of internal space, a little over 22MB is available for storing contacts and other data, but it has a microSD card slot that works with up to 32GB cards.
Wirefly price (no rebate required):
LG Remarq (silver)
LG Remarq (turquoise)
The LG Remarq comes with web-based email and messaging tools including AOL, Yahoo! Gmail with Google Calendar, MSN/Hotmail as well as MS Exchange and Lotus Notes for syncing with a work calendar via Sprint Mobile Email. The phone can send SMS and share pictures, but doesn’t have one-click links to social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace or Twitter as you’d find on phones with Sprint’s OneClick menu user interface like the Samsung Restore.
Like many feature phones, the LG Remarq comes with Access’ Netfront web browser (version 3.5.1) that can display both WAP sites and full HTML sites. Web pages load at a reasonable speed over 1xRTT and full HTML pages look squeezed tight on a QVGA resolution screen. Since there isn’t EVDO support, the LG Remarq doesn’t have Sprint’s multimedia services such as Sprint TV or the Sprint Music Store. The phone however does come with a music player and it can play MP3 tracks from microSD cards. Like the Samsung Seek, the LG Remarq’s music player doesn’t work with the AAC format file that’s commonly used by iTunes. Music via the built-in speaker sounds decent and loud. The LG can also stream music to Bluetooth stereo headphones via A2DP. Family Locator is onboard as the only location based service that comes with the phone.
Similar to the Samsung Seek, the LG Remarq has a 1.3 megapixel camera that takes still photos only, not video. Photos look decent and on par with other 1.3 megapixel camera phones. It’s good for capturing otherwise lost fleeting moments, but photos have noticeable noise for both indoor and outdoor shots. The camera software offers night mode and self-timer, as well as color, quality, brightness settings and more.
The LG Remarq has a rechargeable battery that’s 900mAh in capacity. Battery life is decent, getting about 5 hours of talk time and at least 7 days in standby. Since the phone doesn’t have power hungry apps and services like Sprint TV or Sprint Navigation, the battery is efficient for talking and playing music.
If you like vertical slider QWERTY phones and dig this type of design, the LG Remarq is actually a pretty cool looking phone. It doesn’t look like a phone born from recycled materials, but it does possess plenty of eco-friendly qualities. We like the phone’s bright and colorful screen, the roomy keyboard and excellent voice quality. Social network fanatics won’t be happy without dedicated apps and the camera is a bit too low end. Music lovers with a large iTunes library will want a music player with AAC support unless they’ve been ripping to MP3 and avoiding iTunes purchased music.
Pro: Nice screen, excellent voice call quality.
Con: No easy access to social networking, music player doesn’t support AAC.
Price: Free with 2-year contract after online discount. $219.99 without contract.