If the words of the great Oscar Wilde are indeed true that, “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars”, then the new C1100, from LG, is certainly destined for astronomical greatness.

The C1100 was launched on the Orange network at the same time as the slightly larger, and much redder, T-Mobile C1200 model, and is one of the simplest models the Korean manufacturer offers to the UK market.

But with simplicity LG has rediscovered the virtue of a mobile phone being a phone rather than the handset playing host to a gaggle of sundry devices and applications that drain battery power and often fail to live up to their functional promises. The other consideration with the paring down of the body is a reduction in cost and the C1100 is currently offered as a £89.99 price tag to pay-as-you-go customers who so often get lumbered with the mutants of the phone world while the more lucrative contract customers get offered the cream of the techno crop.

That said, your wedge gets you more much more than an average phone. The battery life is good at 2.45 hours talk time and 192 hours standby. The screen, while only 128x128, is high-resolution 65,000 colours and the animation level of the graphics and Java will mean that games are enjoyable to play. Sound is 40 tone polyphonic, naturally, although it must be said that there is not a single normal ring tone saved on the body as it comes out of the packet. While it can be great fun such a realistic rendition of the latest pop tune that it sounds like S Club have been trapped in your handset, at times you just need the phone to ring. The animated graphics are skirting ominously towards ‘super-cute' at times. The Koreans are not the worst for this and little animated ticks, when settings are altered, are acceptable only when compared to winking pink stars whizzing around the screen.

The compact 80g chassis, although made entirely of plastic, feels robust and at only 82mm by 42mm the C1100 is ideal to put in a pocket or sling around your neck, on the lanyard provided. The front panel of the clam-shell, that has been replaced on many of the newer models with a secondary display to illustrate caller ID before opening the phone, is in this case simply a vanity mirror. There is a single LED behind the mirror that blips intermittently to indicate the phone is on and alive.


Despite size the C1100 does have both GPRS and e-mail capacity and the pre-configured ‘Orange home' settings for once work straight off the bat without having to fiddle around with loads of menus. One minor grumble is that when you enter URLs, the cursor seems to sit on the left of the just typed characters rather than on the right, which can lead to obscuring the text you are trying to enter. Another possible problem is that large, content-heavy sites, can cause the phone to timeout as the internal memory is simply not up to the job of downloading all the images at one time. The lack of Bluetooth is countermanded in this case by the availability of a data cable and software CD so you can keep you phone and computer updated to your contacts and calendar. Sadly Orange is too mean to give you this so you have to go out and hunt it down yourself.

Verdict

Overall, a simple, cheap and pleasant phone to use. It's ideal as a first phone for a teenager who wants to be able to download stuff from to the handset but also wants to get decent battery life and functions as well. Small enough to be kept from preying eyes but flashy enough to be noticed when used. It's a shame it's only duel-band though, so when abroad you will have to use the mirror to attract attention rather than calling.