Touch screen phones are no longer a rarity these days. However, a good touch screen phone remains elusive, particularly if you discount Apple's iPhone. Where some phones have tried and succeeded on this front, many have failed. We take a look at LG's KF600, the company's foray into touch screen mobiles.
With more devices going for a minimalistic black design, the KF600 does not really set itself apart from others. That's until you notice the InteractPad and this phone's pop art based themes.
The LG KF600's InteractPad is a great innovation. Similar to the Samsung U900 Soul, the KF600 comes with a contextual touchpad. At 1.4 inches, it is moderately sized for your fingers. The bulk of the action for the KF600 takes place on the InteractPad and you probably require a bit of practice to get used to it. Overall, we felt that the potential of the touchpad has not been fully exploited in the KF600, though that could change in the future.
With themes designed by the Estate of Keith Haring, featuring the artist's popular creations, KF600 has a novelty factor to it as you switch through the various themes on the 2-inch TFT display. Sure, it might not add actual value to the phone, but the themes based off the iconic pop art of Keith Haring are pleasantly welcomed.
As mentioned earlier, the bulk of the phone functions are accessed via the InteractPad. Instead of the conventional keypad, the InteractPad adapts to the current feature being utilized. Say if you were accessing the MP3 player, the touchpad morphs into the play bar of a music player. Conversely, in the text messaging mode, the InteractPad transforms into keys relevant to messaging.
Due to the slippery keypad mentioned earlier, texting was slightly tough on our fingers. Unlike 'traditional' phones, where changing a word is done with a button, the KF600 uses the InteractPad, making texting very awkward for new users. With the conventional arrows of the keypad replaced with the touchpad, it was quite strange having to tap the pad to look for the word you want to type.
That aside, the keypad is intuitive to use and buttons appear where your thumb would naturally tend to land on the InteractPad. Haptic feedback further adds a natural touch to the phone whenever you press a button on the keypad or InteractPad.
The KF600's inclusion of a 3.0-megapixel camera will suit the majority of users who are not too fussy with the quality of imaging. The camera on the KF600 also benefits from the dual screens; with its user friendly menu, it is easy to navigate and use.
There are a few downsides to the KF600, one of which is the slippery and flat keypad. In addition, having a crystal, glossy finish for the display screen makes the KF600 rather prone to fingerprints. Also, the exclusion of 3G support on the KF600 should be considered criminal in this day and age where 3.5G is populating a huge proportion of cellular networks. In addition, the microSD card of the KF600 is not hot swappable, which will prove a nuisance for people who frequently change their memory cards.
We didn't have too many complaints with the KF600. If the absence of 3G network support is not a concern for you, the style and functional features on the KF600 will still be a head turner. At a recommended retail pricing of S$538, we feel this phone should give you plenty of bang for your buck once you get used to the InteractPad's unique features.