Gratuitous Product Review: LG A340 Flip Phone

Posted by Matt on Monday, December 17th, 2012

buddy!

I have difficulty getting into our current phone-centric culture.  It just never connected.  For 5 years I held on to the balky 7 lb. Blackberry my former boss kicked down to me in between passive-aggressive attempts to belittle me in front of female co-workers.  I also have a work-issued Blackberry that performs just fine.

So when the rolly-ball finally crapped out on my old-timer, it was time to get a new personal phone.  Unfortunately, the timing of this necessary purchase was terrible – it happened about two weeks after the new iPhone came out.

I have to give it to the iPhone People.  What does it say about your dedication that you camp out for essentially the same product that you already own?  You smugly think you’re better than the Black Friday People. Or the McRib Dedicants.  But you’re not.  You think you’re more sophisticated and wouldn’t put a Loafer on someone’s neck to get a phone with millimeters more in screen space than your current phone. But you would.  That’s another row of icons!!! That being said, I’m keenly aware and begrudgingly appreciate your savage wherewithal.

I entered the AT&T store in a nearby, nondescript strip mall.  The place was teeming with energy.  Expressions of wonder lit the faces of the iPhone People. Aps flowed like wine. A solitary touchscreen-glove lay on the carpet, tossed haphazardly by a carelessly eager patron.

I was greeted by a host wearing a headset. I told him I needed to replace my busted phone.  He politely indicated I would have to wait at least 45 minutes.  I chalked this up to it being a weekday evening and asked if there was a better time during the day when I could return.  In my mind, I was already willing to take a 1/2 day to avoid the Phone People.  Unfortunately, my man with the headset said it had been “pretty much like this since the iPhone was released.” Silly me. These people don’t have conventional jobs.  Or jobs at all. Or if they do, they schedule their vacation time according to apple-product release dates.  Essentially, I would have an easier time finding a walk-in table for 8 at Girl and the Goat than getting someone to spend 5 minutes snagging me a replacement.

So I gave it a couple of weeks.  Finally, like Punxsutawney Phil reluctantly peering into the sunlight, I reemerged, determined to get this shit over with so I could go back to ignoring phone calls in peace.

The next time I entered the store, the coast was clear.  I put my name in with the host and was hooked up with a salesman in 2 minutes – didn’t even have to slip the guy a sawbuck!

I told the salesman the score. In a fleeting moment of thrift, I thought, “It’s stupid to pay $50 a month for the exact data service I get through my free work phone. Let’s just cancel the data plan altogether.”

He didn’t push back and steered me towards the budget rack.  I have been an AT&T Customer since Cingular. Not by choice, really, but by laziness. The salesman told me I had put in my time and was due a freebie (back in March, 2011) if I wanted one of the older, less complicated models.  Finally my laziness had paid off.

I asked what was free and the bespeckled salesman pointed at 3 phones. I pointed fatefully at the LG A340 and the rest is history.  (CLARIFICATION:  Phone was not free. Technically cost $35 with a $35 rebate that I have a 35% likelihood of mailing in to AT&T.)

I took my new LG A340 home and have been gradually getting used to it ever since.  Here’s my review:

APPEARANCE

It’s a metallic gray color. It flips open to display the keypad, screen, and whatnot. My previous phone was maroon, so I don’t think I’m entitled to judge this one. I have no objections. I don’t make any pocket calls. It matches one of my scarves.

SOUND

In the advent of better phone technology years ago, it was cool listening to earnest technological appreciation.  Elder relatives routinely emitted the amazed, “It sounds like your next door. “ It was great.

The LGA340 is now another spot on the sonic spectrum. It sounds like your next door! To a Sri Lankan Auto Mechanic! But also underwater!

TEXTING

Have you ever said to yourself, “When drafting a text message, I want to savor every letter. Let’s open this text up and let it breathe a little bit.” Get this phone right fucking now! Because it takes about 10 minutes to punch in “Srry cant make it.”  Add an additional 5 min for each emoticon.

Are you tired of friends and loved ones sending you pictures of people having a lot more fun than you, pictures of their inevitably ordinary children, or really anything but naked pics?  You’re in luck.  Because (with my plan) this thing isn’t having any of that shit. 3 out of every 4 texts I receive open to the following script, “[Multimedia Noti Message].” I have no idea what that means, but I’m pretty sure it’s code for, “I’m a free phone. Let me get some rest. These pictures can suck my balls.”   (because when I personify my phone, it’s a dude – so I don’t feel bad about throwing it in anger…)

NOTIFICATION

I ususally have my phone on “vibrate,” but occasionally throw on the sound in case I’m worried about notification for voicemails and text messages.  The chime itself is not offensive.  It’s kind of like the sound you would imagine hearing upon entering a spa in Appalachia.  However, the chime continues intermittently until you pay attention to it – like a puppy, or Donald Trump.  This is where I go off the rails with the AG340. If you’re in a different room from the phone and you get a text message, it doesn’t just chime once, or twice, or 20 times. You have to get up and attend to the text in order to stop the chime.

God forbid you’re in bed and your phone isn’t on the nightstand.  Inevitably, an old friend floats you a late night text about how much fun he’s having on a beach somewhere being shitfaced with some beautiful coeds and delicious pork sandwiches.  You’ll hear it go off.  Then right when your fading back to sleep it chimes again. It’s timing is interpsersed so perfectly that the AG340 is probably derived from some 1983 CIA torture-tool prototype.  Eventually you have to fully wake up and turn it off. Then you read the text. Fuck that guy. Luckily you can’t see the corresponding picture he sent because that would really twist the knife…

VOICEMAIL

We all have someone who leaves voicemails that are longer than James Cameron movies. (Love you mom!)  While not advertised on its list of features, the A340 contains a “rudeness protector,” ensuring that you have to listen to pretty much every excruciating word of every god damn message.  Keep pressing “7″ like a maniac, asshole.  Ain’t gonna help.

This is especially awesome for robocalls - you know, the messages that start before your mailbox picks up.  It’s usually some person in the middle of a polite rant – you have no idea what’s going on, but it seems like you’re supposed to pay a bill or call your congressman. Can’t wait to spend the midterm elections with the A340.

CONCLUSION

The LG A340 has some minor inconveniences, but here’s a plus:  I spend negligible time looking at my phone.  I don’t waste time reading internet news (because I can’t), waste time on Facebook (because I can’t), or waste time taking pictures and instantly reminiscing (because I can’t upload or send them).  It has saved me a lot of time that I can now waste on other things, like writing this unnecessary product review.  Thanks LG A340.  We’re in this together.


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