- Tri mode coverage for nationwide use
- 200-name phonebook
- Excellent menu set-up
- Protective flip-style keypad cover
- Up to 170 minutes of digital talk time and 50 hours of digital standby time; includes NiMH battery, adapter, and belt clip
The ultracompact Ericsson LX 588 incorporates dual-band/trimode TDMA technology, which allows you to use it on digital and analog networks nationwide.
The LX 588 is small enough to fit in your pocket or purse. Although this phone doesn't have many bells and whistles, it does offer a few popular features: 14 different ring tones, a 200-name phone directory, and built-in vibrating alert. Its SMS and data-transmission capabilities add to its functionality as a reliable business communication tool.
The LX 588 measures 4.2 by 1.9 by 0.9 inches and weighs just 5.4 ounces with battery. Overall, it's a solidly constructed, durable piece of equipment. Its flip cover protects the keypad and screen so the LX 588 can endure a host of everyday traumas. In addition, its tough plastic casing will resist wear and tear, and the 1-inch stub antenna is unlikely to get snagged or damaged. Side-mounted controls let you adjust the volume of a call while talking.
While the LX 588's screen is relatively small, its three-line display is bright, clear, and equipped with the indicators and icons you need for personal or business use. And although the keypad is well spaced, we missed a certain tactile security when placing calls or entering text messages. Every time we dialed a number, we felt we needed to check that it registered correctly. Also, the phone's menus are a bit unorganized. Since it lacks helpful titles or headers, menu navigation is rather unintuitive.
The LX 588 allows you to speed dial by entering just one or two digit codes to reach the first 99 entries. Once you've memorized the number's locations in the phone's memory, this useful feature lets you keep your eyes on what you're doing instead of your phone. Also, the scratch-pad function saves reminders or quick messages, which adds to the phone's usefulness.
While the phone lacks a minibrowser or infrared modem, you can synch it to your PC with a standard data-connection kit.
The phone's NiMH battery is rated for 170 minutes of digital talk time and 50 hours of digital standby time. In our testing, our sample phone held a call for just over 180 minutes, and it lasted for 48 hours in standby mode.
Overall, the Ericsson LX 588 is a no-frills, durable, compact phone at a very reasonable price. If you don't need advanced call management and are willing to live with a few quirks, it's a reasonable choice. --John Schommer, edited by Thom Arno
- Large phone-book capacity
- Active flip keypad cover
- Not Web enabled
- Menus are unintuitive
- Awkward keypad
How We Tested Battery Talk/Standby Time
When reading our reviews, you should view the test results of mobile-phone battery talk time and standby time as relative information only. Many variables, including carrier signal strength at your location, signal consistency (including incoming and outgoing calls), display and ringer settings, and battery charging methods and history, will affect performance. When handset manufacturers and mobile phone carriers list talk-time and standby-time ratings, they usually include disclaimers about variable performance and often refer to the times they publish as maximum times. Some quote expected battery life ranges, and in this case you're probably safe to assume you'll experience at least the minimum rated range. Note that manufacturers of dual-mode digital and analog handsets publish battery-life rates for both digital and analog modes, as analog mode consumes much more power than digital mode.
Our Tests: We tested digital-mode talk and standby times with each phone. Prior to each test, we fully charged the phone's battery according to the manufacturer's directions. To test digital-phone talk time, we turned the phone on, established a digital carrier signal, dialed a number in our test lab, and, when the call rang through, took the receiving phone's handset off the hook. When all went well, we didn't do anything else except record the time when the phone died. In a couple of cases, the phones lost the signal and dropped the calls. If we were right there and could redial, we did so immediately and continued running the test. Otherwise, we halted the test, recharged the battery, and started the test over. Assuming consistent carrier-signal strength, this test should represent best-case talk time. And it's worth noting that several phones' talk-time performance significantly exceeded the manufacturers' ratings.
To test digital-phone standby time, we turned the phone on, established a carrier signal, and left the phone in standby mode. We checked the phone every few hours (for what was often days on end) until the phone finally cut out. Since no outgoing or incoming calls occurred during testing and because the phone was not moved, this method should represent best-case standby time, again assuming consistent carrier signal strength.