The LG U400 is LG's attempt to crack the MP3-playing phone market and it's not a bad offering. The use of a scroll wheel instead of a navigation rocker makes navigating through the menu and looking for specific tracks very easy. It's not particularly attractive, but it does feel and work like a practical mobile phone and music player.
The U400 is available on the 3 network for free on a monthly contract, from £12.50 to £100 a month, and currently comes with a pair of Bluetooth headphones and a 512MB microSD card included on this deal.
Our review model came from 3, which means this review includes certain menu-based features that will be different on other networks, or if you buy the U400 offline.
The LG U400 has a similar glossy look to the company's Chocolate phone, but overall the phone lacks the finesse of its sweet relative. For starters it's chunkier, measuring 48mm wide by 100mm tall by 20mm thick, and it doesn't have the same seamless appearance as the Chocolate phone or glowing red lights. However, it does share the Chocolate phone's fingerprint-attracting surface, so make sure to carry a cloth with you. That said, this phone is aimed more at the MP3 player market and less at the fashion-conscious one, featuring a more music-centric feature set.
There's a scroll wheel on the front that lets you navigate through the menu and through tracks as you would on an iPod, except it's a mechanical wheel instead of a touch-sensitive one. You can also click it like a normal four-way navigation rocker and you can select options with the OK key in the middle.
Either side of the wheel there are two soft keys that give access to 3's 3Player, an MP3 player that also offers you downloads via the 3Music Store, and Planet 3, which is 3's Internet services homepage. At the bottom of the scroll wheel is the menu button that gives you access to the U400's unique round menu.
To the right side of the scroll wheel are the send and end call keys and the cancel key, which also acts as the lock key. Above the scroll wheel is a colour screen that displays 262k colours and measures 30mm wide by 41mm tall. Further up on the top right side of the front section is a 0.3-megapixel VGA camera for video calls.
On the right side of the phone there's a dedicated music button at the top that gives you direct access to 3's 3Music Store. Further down there's a dedicated shutter button that operates the 2-megapixel camera on the back. On the left side there's a headphone port at the top, a volume rocker in the middle and a microSD slot at the bottom.
The back of the U400 boasts a 2-megapixel camera with an LED photo light and a loudspeaker. At the bottom there's a charging port that doubles up as a USB and headphone port. Unfortunately, there's no 3.5mm port on the phone and you need to use the proprietary remote, which comes with a 3.5mm jack adaptor if you want to use your own headphones.
Once you slide the slider open there's an alphanumeric keypad that's well designed and comfortable to use. The keys are spaced out enough that you don't feel like you might press the wrong one, and they're easy to press.