The LG Shine is the latest phone from LG and is a part of their new Black Series line-up. The LG Shine is also known as the KE970 and in my opinion is the slickest and sexiest phone to be released by LG thus far. When the screen is off it looks beautiful, the whole front panel is a mirror and looks all chrome. The back of the phone resembles a digital camera and is made up of stainless steel. Slide up the screen to reveal the awesome keypad which resembles the laser etched RAZR numeric keypad. Apart from its looks how is the phone overall? Is the interface UI exactly like the LG chocolate? What new features does the Shine include? Will my service provider offer the Shine? Read on to find out!!
The LG shine is one of the best looking phones from LG thus far. For some, features are not even a factor because the looks say it all!!
The LG shine has a mirror type display. It works like a two way mirror, when the screen is off it's a mirror and when the backlight is on the display is revealed. The phone looks awesome however there is sometimes a big glare when looking at the display. During the day and especially when it's bright out, there is a huge glare and it gets hard to read the screen. I still think it's a small price to pay considering how good the phone looks.
The back of the phone looks awesome too. The stainless steel finish makes it stand out like no other. The camera is located at the back and is two mega-pixels with auto focus and a great flash.
The Shine has a two soft keys and a new D-pad located under the display. The new D-pad is a new roller knob which makes it very easy to navigate up/down but sometimes has a slow response and you accidently select the wrong option. Beside the roller knob is the left and right navigation buttons which work great. There are also dedicated media buttons located on the right side of the phone which consist of the MP3 hot key, camera button and volume up/down control. When you hold the MP3 or camera button the application automatically launches.
The numeric keypad is great and resembles the Motorola Razr keypad. The keys are easy to press when dialing a number but I think the talk, clear and end button are too close to the top and therefore sometimes difficult to press.
There is no dedicated speaker for music and the player uses the same speaker for calling. Even though there is no dedicated speaker the volume is still very loud. The speaker is great for listening to music and is a lot louder than expected.
The LG Shine has all the basic phone features you would expect in a phone. The phone offers Bluetooth version 2.0 with A2DP, games, document viewer, PIM functions and a world clock.
The Shine supports A2DP (stereo over Bluetooth) technology. Since the version is Bluetooth 2.0 the range and quality is excellent. More about the music player will be discussed under the audio section of the review.
The Shine comes with two games pre-installed. The first one is called bubble soccer and is the exact same game as bust-a-move. The second game is fishing mania which I still do not understand how to play. You can also download new games straight to your phone from you service provider or copy them over using your computer.
The built in document viewer works great. You can view all Microsoft office files even Powerpoint presentations. You can also zoom in and out very easily and scroll in any direction using the D-pad. Viewing files is great but there is no feature to edit them which would have been an added bonus.
The LG Shine has a great 2 mega-pixel camera. The camera has a built in flash which is very bright and works great for night pictures. The camera also has auto focus which in my opinion makes a big difference in picture quality. When using the camera on the Shine, pictures look average. When you copy them to your computer and view them in full screen you can really appreciate the quality.
There are many great PIM functions available on the Shine. The PIM functions include: alarm clock, calendar, calculator, memo, stop watch and unit converter. The unit converter is a great helpful application in which you can calculate; currency, area, length, width, temperature, volume and surprisingly even velocity. Another cool feature in the LG Shine is the world clock application. You can view the time almost anywhere in the world and the application is very visually appealing.
Shine boasts a solid feature set, and being an unlocked/unbranded handset, it ships without any "carrier deck" items (Cingular Music, Sprint TV, Verizon VCast, etc.). This is either a good or bad thing, depending on your perspective. From my point of view, it makes for a clean look and feel without a bunch of unwanted carrier logos. Most WAP-based carrier services can still be accessed by setting up browser bookmarks. Additionally, you can install certain Java applications - including Opera mini - to augment the handset's functionality.
LG built shine with a basic but very serviceable music player capable of handling mp3, aac, aac +/++, and wave file formats. Shine comes packaged with a 3.5mm headphone adapter with an in-line remote control and integrated mic. The remote allows access to high-quality headphones for music playback, handsfree calling, and remote navigation of music files and contacts.
Contact and personal information applications on Shine are fairly standard, but very pleasant to use thanks to the handset's lush display and LG's design sense. Out of the box, menu fonts on Shine are just a bit classier than those on most carrier-branded phones, and both list and icon-driven menus are clear and easy to understand. I did find certain tasks - navigating contacts, for instance - required a click or two more than I thought they should have, though it wasn't a huge deal.
Shine also features a document viewer that supports .doc, .ppt, .xls, .txt., and .pdf files, which is a handy addition for fashion-forward executives. Documents, music, images, and other files can be stored in the phone's 50MB of internal memory or to a microSD card. The handset also supports USB mass storage mode for file transfers to/from computers.
The 2.0 megapixel auto focus camera with Schneider Kreuznach lens and LED assist light takes pretty good snapshots though they do suffer from some noise problems. Images aren't quite on par with 2 or 3mp cameraphones from Sony Ericsson and Nokia, but shots taken in good lighting conditions are suitable for use on the phone (in MMS messages, as wallpapers, or caller ID photos) as well as transferring to a computer display or printing in smaller sizes. That being said, the LED light doesn't do much to help in poor lighting conditions, and it can only be set to "always on" or "always off," as no auto-flash mode is to be found. A standard range of color, white balance, and quality settings is available, and a rapid shot mode adds to the fun. Then again, noticeable shutter lag and delay while the phone saves your image to memory detract somewhat from the fun.
The camcorder can shoot 3g2 format video with sound at 176x144 resolution and 15 frames per second. Clips can go as long as you want, provided you have sufficient memory available in the phone or on a memory card. Cameraphone videos came out decently, but you're not going to want to shoot videos regularly with this phone. One oddity about Shine's camera is that digital zoom is available when shooting video, but not for still image capture.
The Shine has a 240x 320 screen resolution and measures 2.2 inches. The screen is capable of 256k colors and is TFT. The LG shine has a cool a display but like I mentioned earlier there is a huge glare when looking at it during the day. Another cool feature LG has added is the ability to make small flash files your background image. There are a couple saved in the phone and all look very cool.
The Shine is great for listening to music. The Shine has expandable memory which allows you to input up to 2 GB of memory via the micro SD slot. The Shine also comes with amazing stereo headphones.
My favorite part about listening to music on the Shine is the built in remote control on the headphones. The remote has a send/end button for calls, back/next buttons to change tracks, play/pause, stop button and volume up/down control. There is also a hold button located on the side of the remote which stops you from accidentally pushing buttons. The headphones have a built in 3.5mm headphone adaptor so you can use any of your favorite headphones and are not limited to the ones the phone comes with. Overall the remote works great for music and the best part is that you do not need to keep pulling out the phone if you want to change tracks or play/pause the music.
Another key feature the Shine has is the MP3 shortcut button located on the right side of the phone. When you press and hold the MP3 button the music player opens. This way you don't need to go to the phone menu in order to access the music player.
The Shine has a basic numeric keypad and no QWERTY keyboard. For those who do not mind T9, messaging is great. For those you cannot stand T9, this phone is not meant for messaging. Some people prefer T9 over a full QWERTY keyboard so it's all a matter of preference.
Surprisingly the LG Shine has a built in email client in which you can receive all your emails in real time. To setup your email is quite easy and all you need to input are your incoming and outgoing mail servers. Although I did not send any email from the device because of the lack of QWERTY, receiving emails and notifications was excellent.
The LG Shine does not offer advanced features like WiFi, 3G or HSDPA but does offer an EDGE and GPRS data connection. The web browser on the Shine is satisfactory. The browser does not render web pages efficiently so it makes it difficult viewing some websites. Also the browser supports WAP 2.0 which is good for viewing WAP sites but is not sufficient for viewing your average HTML websites.
The good news is that LG has already started making a newer version of the LG Shine which will have 3G HSDPA and a VGA camera for video calling. There is no release date as of yet but I think we will see it very soon from various service providers.
The LG Shine has built in Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP (stereo over Bluetooth) and USB but does not have WiFi or infrared connectivity. It is nice to see that LG has included stereo over Bluetooth in their latest devices because the A2DP is becoming the new standard for Bluetooth profiles.
The phone comes with a USB cable and software in which you can copy files back and fourth from your computer. You can also copy files over Bluetooth but USB is much faster and easier. When you plug the Shine into your computer using the USB cable, the phone acts like a USB removable drive. This way you can easily drag and drop files to the phone without any hassle. If you have a memory card inserted in the phone there will be two removable drives shown in My Computer.
You can also use the LG Shine as a modem using either Bluetooth or USB. The modem drivers for Windows come included with the software CD. Using the Shine as a modem is quite easy but I found that it was too slow. The maximum speed I found was around 100 Kbps.
The LG Shine comes with the following:
The phone is a fingerprint magnet!! The material of the phone makes it get dirty very fast and you have to constantly wipe the screen off. I think that is why LG has included the cleaning tool with it which can be attached to the phone.
The UI of the Shine is nothing special and is almost the same as others in its class. The phone does not add any new features that we have not seen before and are very limited. Although this phone is not meant to be a PDA, more advanced features would have been great.
Overall the battery life is sufficient for making and receiving calls but when you use Bluetooth or A2DP the battery life significantly decreases. On average without using Bluetooth the phone would last me two full days, when using A2DP the battery would last barely one full day. The battery lasts 280 hours on stand-by and 3 hours of talk-time.
Overall I liked the LG shine very much. Everyone that saw it said the same thing ?it's beautiful?. The phone looks fantastic and currently there's no other like it. This does not mean other companies will not copy the design especially when it becomes more and more popular. By many people LG is known for the Chocolate phone and now in my opinion their going to be even further recognized by the Shine and Prada phone.