First Looks: LG Shine KU970

Glistening Reflections

Glistening Reflections

The LG Shine KU970 is the next fashion mobile phone from LG to come as an alternative to its sibling, the LG Shine KE970. Of course, before this, LG's portfolio for designer phones has already been boosted with the Chocolate series. Targeted at the fashion conscious crowd with the spending power to keep themselves looking fab, this premium Black Label series mobile from LG seemed to be worth checking out.

Mirror, Mirror on the Phone

First off, the LG Shine KU970 is different from the KE970, featuring updated HSDPA (3G) connectivity over EDGE (2G) of the latter. On the other hand, LG seemed to deem it fit to remove some features too. The KU970 does not have any flash expansion slots where the KE970 supported microSD cards.

Taking the phone out of the box, our attention was captivated by its full glossy, mirrored screen. Combined with its brushed metal case, LG has created a very professional looking, and yet lustrous mobile that will appeal to both sexes. However, be sure to bring a cleaning cloth wherever you go, as you'll want to do away with the constant fingerprints smudging up the mirror.

Sliding up the phone, you'll find a keypad very similar in design to the ones found on a Motorola's RAZR series. The shiny, metal plate keypad is very sturdy and durable for extended use and substance is accompanied by style as well with blue backlighting - a truly elegant approach. However, consumers might be find that its tactile feedback needs a little getting used too. Like most slider phones, a little better spacing between the first row on the keypad and the top plate would be appreciated.

On the top, the Shine features a unique control system. Instead of the usual four way directional buttons, LG decided upon the implementation of a scroll bar, along with two tiny buttons and some soft keys.

While it certainly keeps to the look of the Shine, we found that the scrolling action is sometimes not picked up by the device, and when it does, its not the smoothest around. With the existence of so many different keys aligned in the same row, confusion may arise too.

Behind the Looks

The Shine comes with an excellent 2.0-megapixel camera implementation. It actually features auto-focus capabilities, a flash and even a convex mirror for taking those self portraits. The phone's large 2.2-inch LCD is a decent viewfinder, but its reflectiveness can get in the way. Images are great, but avoid taking night shots as the flash isn't all that powerful. You'll just have to keep in mind that there is a shutter delay when snapping shots and you'll be fine. As a 3G phone, you also have a VGA camera for making 3G video calls.

A couple of major drawbacks in our opinion are the fact that you're restricted to its 512MB of internal memory since there is no expansion slot. Besides that, the LG Shine KU970 does not support WiFi, though the HSDPA connection now should make up for it a little. Call quality was alright, although there is a certain emptiness in the voice of the party on the other end of the line. Battery life is rated for three hours of talk time, and when we tested our unit, the battery lasted slightly over a day with a decent balance of texting and voice calls.

In General

The LG Shine radiates an air of exclusiveness and posh character. It is a definitive fashion accessory, but comes with some decent guts to make it worthwhile for those not just into its looks. Except for the muddlesome scroller, the Shine KU970 would make your day. Priced at a reasonable S$498 (~US$344), consumers should feel elated with some added "bling" in their lives.