Review: LG Shine 3 February, 2007 — Stuart Brown

Successor to the Chocolate - for release on the 7th February 2007

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Disclosure: I was fortunate enough to be asked to try out the LG Shine by a representative acting on LG's behalf. I'm under no obligation to write about it, and the opinions expressed here are my own.

The latest in LG's series of 'Black Label' high-end mobile phones is about to hit the streets - dubbed 'Shine', it's a slider phone, much like it's popular predecessor, the LG Chocolate, and has a fully reflective front screen that acts as a mirror when the screen is off.

I've had mine for a little under 2 weeks now, so I've had a good chance to get to grips with it and see how it performs under use. The device itself feels sufficiently weighty for such a small phone - with its brushed stainless steel covering, it's little wonder. This helps makes it feel suitably expensive, but considering the small size and minimal thickness it's still a lightweight.

LG Shine

The steel covering means it's strong, too - no chance of breaking this phone in two. The construction is perfect and the slide action is well weighted, revealing a gorgeous laser-etched keypad that lights up in blue.

The front mirrored fascia is finished in tough plastic rather than metal (transparent metal is difficult to come by), and despite the delicate appearance of the front screen it's proven rather scratch resistant - despite my lackadaisical handling.

The good looks of the handset don't stop at the exterior - the interface is particularly easy to use as well. Navigation is via the nifty scroll bar on the front of the phone, making navigation of the menus relatively easy. It can be a little imprecise at times - sometimes pressing down on the scroll bar to select something can result in moving the cursor to something else - but apart from this it's intuitive and nice to use.

The menus are as you'd expect - but slickly executed and designed to fit in with the whole blue & silver theme. Hidden within are a wealth of options, features, and the suchlike - including a 2mp digital camera and an MP3 player. With support for a Mini-SD card, this phone is a neat little package of tricks. The camera is good for a lens of this size (although I think I'll stick with the DSLR for my picture taking), and low-light issues are tackled with a high-brightness white LED (or 'flash', despite the fact it remains on continuously).

All considered, the LG Shine does manage to perform admirably as a mobile phone, whilst incorporating a couple of now-standard features (camera, video and MP3), without being overly complicated of fiddly. USB connectivity is a boon, as it can be used as a standard mass storage device, and the fading mirror screen adds beautifully to the minimalist design.

Whilst there are perhaps a couple of minor technical issues and quirks (no EXIF data on photos, inaccurate battery meter, incompatibility issues with certain sizes of contact pictures, fingerprints, etc.), LG seem to have everything right with this phone - it's certainly been designed well. With providers gearing up to start selling this phone very soon, I expect the Shine will prove to be another hit for LG.

On a side note, it's also nice to see LG embracing modern media with their blogger programme - quite forward thinking to see a large company engender good relations with bloggers, especially when astroturfing and blogger bribery can quickly turn sour. LG have done well to encourage transparency and disclosure, and it has been a great opportunity for me, and the other bloggers involved, to try out the Shine ahead of its release.



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