Engineered with a sturdy metallic silver frame that resembles every bit of a thoroughbred consumer digital camera, the KG 920 is literally a 5.0-megapixel camera that comes with phone-like functions. Fitted with a bright 2-inch 240 x 320 pixel QVGA screen, photo previewing is a decent experience – although a larger screen would have been much appreciated, especially for such a powerful camera. Found in a row along its left profile is an array of buttons that although vary in purpose, are mostly suited for the KG 920’s camera functions such as shutter release, zoom, flash (shared with MP3 short cut), timer selection and the odd volume control. On the flip side, we've got a miniSD card slot, dedicated headphone jack and its propriety power input jack. What makes the KG920 unique is how half its body is able to swivel on a hinge so both camera lens and LCD screen can face inwards for self-portraits.
Unfortunately, for all its appeal and uniqueness, the KG 920’s joystick, keypad and menu button layout is not ideal. The joystick for navigating menus feels queer on the right side of the keypad, while the keypad itself has buttons that are slightly too tiny for our liking. Even the three menu buttons below the screen will prove to be a challenge for anyone with large thumbs.
To lend the KG 920 some authenticity, LG included a retractable lens cover and even crafted a slightly elevated camera shutter release button. The shutter release button especially, will give KG 920 users the familiar feel found in consumer cameras. Another nice feature that we found along the back of the phone was a Xenon flash on top of its stock LED lamp; the Xenon flash steps in to brighten up poorly lit areas where the LED wouldn't be of much help. From our preliminary tests, the flash on the KG 920 actually performed rather well.
Firing the phone up, we were greeted with a slow and clunky interface system, which made navigating and SMS typing a chore. Even the menu controls in camera mode felt slightly lethargic. For such an advanced phone, the KG 920's user interface certainly seems backdated. Fortunately the KG 920’s CCD is able to capture pretty impressive pictures at up to 2592x1944 pixels and 30fps video at 320x240 pixels, proving what it claims to be. A point to note, each 5.0-megapixel picture can take up to 2MB of storage, so the 8MB onboard is definitely lacking. Thankfully, there is an expansion slot for miniSD card.
Nothing is perfect and the KG 920 surely lacks one feature that would have improved this phone vastly and that would be 3G connectivity. With huge image and video capabilities, try sending them to your friends without 3G; uploading through conventional GPRS would take forever, not to mention adding significantly to your monthly mobile subscription. For now, you'll have to download images to your desktop just like a regular digital camera.
The LG KG 920 is a pleasant surprise feature-wise and will certainly be welcome by many as there are few phones out there that can stand shoulder to shoulder with the KG 920 in terms of pure megapixel count. While powerful, be warned that the KG 920 is really a camera first and phone second. We wouldn't expect it to be very long before competitors roll out their own variants of 5.0-megapixel camera phones in response to LG, but until then, those who can’t wait to be on the bleeding edge of consumer technology and snap away with pure 5.0-megapixel prowess, the LG KG 920 is the phone for you.