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by Alfie

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I make things on the web, mobile and in the actual world.

I've done lots of bits and bobs over the years, and right now I'm mostly working on this.

I enjoy speaking about things I like, most recently this. You can email me if you'd like, and I'm on twitter.

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LG Shine / KE970 overview

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So I started playing with the new LG Shine a few days ago and discovered something interesting; although I'd consider myself a high-end mobile user, really, I only use a few functions on a mobile with any regularity:

calls
LG Shine: can record a call, access contacts, hold and retrieve. When no-one is speaking on the line it's actually a bit weird because the connection is so clear you're not sure if they're still there or not! This is a Good Thing for voice call quality.

SMS
LG Shine: a little niggley actually; write fairly easily, and T9 is good, but having to manually select contacts to send to, and only being able to send to 6 contacts at a time is annoying.

Having a "recently sms'd" list when you go to send would have made more sense, as would a one key press to select contacts. Another way around this would have been to enable group SMS's, but more on this under contacts

MMS
LG Shine: Excellent. Instead of resizing your image to the lowest possible to send over the network it resizes to just below the minimum, around 300kb, and at 1200x960!!

Another thing I was very impressed by was how the phone was instantly ready to send MMS on Orange.

This being an unlocked handset this means that either the handset is pre-configured with GPRS/MMS and APN settings or it silently downloads and applies the correct settings once you have inserted the sim card.

In any event, very impressive and the way that all handsets should behave.

camera
LG Shine: 2 megapixel camera with Schneider Kreuznach optics (taking a leaf from Nokia's N Series Karl Zeiss optics here methinks). I *really* like the scroll wheel in accessing all the features that the camera has.

The sensor often has a hard time capturing shots at the highest resolution (1600x1200) and there is a significant delay, so you have to get used to holding the shot for a second or two.

One thing that really puzzles me is that there is a digital zoom function for the video camera, but none for the normal camera function. Odd.

One other thing which really annoys me is that although I can use the camera whilst the phone is closed, there is no way to turn the camera off without actually sliding the phone open and pressing the "End Call" button.

This is really a UI oversight, and one which hopefully they can correct in a software update. I will also be doing a full camera phone review over the weekend, so will update once that is done.

calendar
LG Shine: As one would expect, it has a fairly full featured calendar suite, without having the synch. software in this early release however I can't comment on how well it synchronises with my desktop calender software.

alarms
LG Shine: again, good alarm system, with multiple alarms you can set including one offs and daily/weekly alarms, so is perfectly useful.

contact management
LG Shine: Have to admit to some confusion and frustration with contacts. Overall of course they are fine, you can just do what you need to do, and when synching contacts from sim to handset I experienced no problems. The first issue is that a contact cannot have an email only, the software insists you have a number in there too.

This is just wrong, I have *many* contacts that have only email addresses, specifically for sending MMS to email. The other niggle I have is that although you can create "Groups", like Family etc, these seem to have no practical value as aside from putting people in a group, you can't do obvious things like send them all a group SMS or MMS.

java apps/games
LG Shine: Native browsers on mobiles are, by and large, utter rubbish. Which is why I always choose to use Opera Mini (or Mobile if supported) on my handsets.

I installed the generic Opera Mini 3.0 and hey presto, it not only worked first time but without me having to specify which GPRS settings to use it worked straight out of the box. 10/10 for engineering.

Just as a note on the device itself, in terms of how it looks and feels and what it's like to use, I'd like to say that I have been really surprised that as a die hard Sony Ericsson user it was a very simple, nearly instant migration to the way the LG Shine's operating system handles.

Very intuitive user interface design, and any niggles are probably down to my being an SE user. The scroll wheel is really lovely, making one handed navigation of almost all of the devices functionality a cinch.

The device is itself beautiful to look at and touch, and because it's so glossy you'd think you'd constantly be getting it greasy, but really, this isn't the case - a quick wipe anywhere and it's a great mirror to check your hair is still looking alright ;)

axel says:

Nice review Alfie, I wonder if anyone takes notice of these 'niggles' - maybe that's part of the test - mind you, you'd have thought they'd have engaged with users like you before now. and sorted it on an earlier prototype...

Interesting observation when you say 'I only use a few functions on a mobile with any regularity'. I'm sure many of us are the same.

And what does a super shiny beastie *say* about you? I'm with the SEk800i blaaaack beastie, before that s7001 silver beastie. So that means silver next (poss Nokia N series)

31st Jan 2007, 20:32

ookiine says:

Nice phone... We'd never see that here in the US nor on Verizon's network.

31st Jan 2007, 22:11

FilbertFox says:

is the mirror good enough for a gal to redo her lippy?

31st Jan 2007, 23:07

Alfie says:

Filbert - absolutely, it really is a mirror. Thanks Axel, I had fun doing it - Ookine, you know, it might just be time to move mate.

1st Feb 2007, 11:38

FilbertFox says:

ok. i will practice applying lippy in case i ever buy this phone

1st Feb 2007, 13:48

OJ says:

Nice review, thanks Alfie.

I'd love to see some pictures taken with the 2 megapixel camera in different lighting conditions.

I'm just about to change my contract/upgrade and I can't see any competition to the SE K800i with the cybershot camera, if image quality is the primary consideration.

What do you think...as a K800i user? Would you downgrade cameras for other features?

1st Feb 2007, 19:12

FilbertFox says:

Never OJ. NEVER!

1st Feb 2007, 20:24

Alfie says:

Thanks OJ, personally the camera is really the most important feature for me, and the K800i with it's 3 megas is a class above this. There are some new Sony Ericssons due out soon that are sporting the new Symbian UIQ OS that they've bought, which will make the handsets far more versatile. I'll be doing the cameraphone review over the weekend hopefully!

1st Feb 2007, 20:30

OJ says:

Thanks Alfie. A new SE operating system you say?

Oh that's tricky....I knew there'd be something round the corner that I might want if I committed to a new handset now....

What are they going to be good for in your opinion - just more flexible? Have just been having a quick squizz at these on the UIQ website which seem to be more along the PDA line....

2nd Feb 2007, 12:19

Alfie says:

As I understand it, since Sony Ericsson actually acquired Symbian UIQ (it once owned it and sold it, but that's another story), it's likely that they will be shipping most new phones on the OS. In practical terms, developing for UIQ is a lot easier than developing for the proprietary OS's that SE, Motorola etc have currently, so we'd start to see a lot more third party applications that merge seamlessly with the phones functions. For example, Shozu is currently not that useful in its Java form as it doesnt merge with the OS, allowing you to do things like one click send from your image gallery or camera; the UIQ software means that more software products will become available.

2nd Feb 2007, 12:25

OJ says:

Interesting thank you. More third party software was what I was imagining.

We have some fab bespoke GPRS enabled PDAs at work which have professional audio editing software installed - on MS Windows Mobile.(sadly I don't have one as I'm working on something that doesn't require one at the mo... but anyway).

It'd be great if you could just install that sort of thing on your phone - of course you could just buy a PDA, but I mean affordably on the consumer market. I'm waffling...

2nd Feb 2007, 12:36

540air says:

The camera on the K800 does it for me too. It's a long way better than most others on the market.

Now if they could just drop in wifi and improve the battery life........

On another topic, slightly, has anyone noticed how SE and vodafone seem to be getting closer and closer?

2nd Feb 2007, 23:15

OJ says:

"SE and vodafone seem to be getting closer and closer?"

Erm, no, I've never used Vodafone. In what sense do you mean?

5th Feb 2007, 10:44

Alfie says:

I think he means that Vodafone seem to be releasing more and more SE phones as opposed to Nokias/Motorolas etc.

5th Feb 2007, 10:48

OJ says:

Ah I see.

5th Feb 2007, 10:49

540air says:

Yep, that's basically it Alfie. That and a few advertising thingys where I've seen SE and vodafone seemingly becoming more of a partnership. (Can't think where now though) :)

5th Feb 2007, 16:57

Booboo says:

Nice Review but I have to say the reception of this phone is very bad. I have two contracts with the saame network provider and my RIZR showed full reception while the shine showed 2 bars. Not sure if it was because of the metal case. Another bad thing about it is the battery life. Standby of just over 2 days. Not sure if thats good but my SE's and RizR and samsungs lasted a minimum of 4 days before I had to plug it back in.

28th Feb 2007, 22:40