Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
LG Shine (KU970)
- Stylish design, Sturdy build, feature packed camera
- Uncomfortable keypad, somewhat slow interface
The Shine is another fashion oriented camera that will appease many who are after a stylish handset, however some design and operation issues mean it isn't all it could be.
Price$ 399.00 (AUD)
Following in the footsteps of the famous Chocolate Phone (the KG800 (Chocolate)), LG's latest fashion oriented phone, the Shine KU970 is sure to turn some heads. Its sleek, mirror-silver finish is extremely eye catching and the overall design is very stylish, but the unit is hampered by a poor keypad, low battery life and a slightly sluggish interface.
There's no denying that much like the Chocolate Phone, the Shine's key selling point will be it's looks, and in that regard we have very few complaints. The entire body is constructed of shiny silver metal, with a mirror finish on the screen and bezel, which looks great, but may not appeal to everyone. However, like many glossy pieces of technology, the Shine does attract a bucket-load of finger prints, so you'll need to clean it regularly to keep up that smooth look.
Unfortunately some of the design elements are also problematic, the biggest being the keypad design. The keys are very stiff and not nearly as tactile as we are used to seeing. This resulted in longer messaging times and some unnecessary strain placed on the fingers. If you're a compulsive SMS user, then perhaps this isn't the right model for you.
We also had an issue with the side mounted controls, which are comprised of camera, menu and two navigation keys. They are placed towards the bottom of the unit, making them impossible to reach with a traditional mobile phone grip. It's necessary to alter your whole hand position in order to use them, which is extremely uncomfortable and totally unnecessary. The rest of the controls include a scroll wheel for general navigation, two selection buttons, answer and end call keys and a cancel button.
Another area of complaint is the interface. While not a huge problem, there is some noticeable lag when starting up and navigating the menu. This tends to last only a few split seconds, but it adds up when you are trying to get something done in a hurry.
Call quality was good for the most part, with clear audio and minimal crackling or interference. Similarly the speakerphone was loud and clear, offering more than adequate performance. All the expected connectivity options are supported including USB 2.0 and Bluetooth 2.0, complete with A2DP functionality.
The interface itself is quite nicely laid out though, with a simple list system active by default (although you can also turn on a grid based icon system if you'd prefer). Everything is broken up into tiers in a fairly intuitive manner and novice users should have no problem.
The Shine is a 3G capable phone, and thus it has all the extra bells and whistles associated with 3G technology, including Skype, MSN and 3G web browsing (although this requires a small monthly subscription cost). All the usual PIM functions are available, including calendar, memo, to-do list and alarm clock, and there is also a range of media playback options. Unfortunately there is no 3.5mm or even 2.5mm headphone jack and thus you are forced to use a proprietary hands-free kit or pair of headphones for audio.
The screen is a 262 thousand colour display running at a resolution of 240 x 320. It looks quite impressive, with great brightness levels and excellent clarity. It should prove more than adequate for basic media watching.
As expected, the Shine also sports a camera and it is surprisingly well featured for a mobile phone mounted unit. The 2 megapixel sensor captures pictures up to a resolution of 1600 x 1200 and while obviously they won't rival a standalone digital camera, they are above average quality for a mobile. There are also a host of nice options, including multi-shot, white balance presets, night-mode and special effects like Sepia and Black and White. Also present is a VGA camera resting above the screen, for use with video calls.
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