LG KE800 Platinum review: Chocolate sequel
When it lights up
Being all glossy, the outer surface catches fingerprints exceptionally easy. The touchpad buttons surely take some time to get used to. But after the original Chocolate appeared in almost every store it no longer does feel like such a revolutionary thing. In fact chances are that most of you that are reading this review right now already have hands-on experience with the touchpad.
The touchpad uses conductivity in order to operate, so basically you activate the button with the electrolyte on you fingers skin. The manufacturer advises not to touch the touch pad with metallic objects and never to use it with wet fingers and even wipe moisture from the touch pad if there is some because otherwise it might damage the sensors. We unsuccessfully tried pressing the touch pad with a pencil so we might conclude that it isn't likely that you could press some keys incidentally in your pocket. What is more the touch pad is automatically deactivated when the slider is closed. It's also deactivated when you make a call since otherwise you might press who-knows-what with your cheek.
Once you get used to navigating with touching instead of pressing, the menu navigation works like a charm and the menu response is very quick - in fact this menu system has one of the greatest response times we have seen.
The numeric keypad is exceptionally good though with decent sized and well spaced keys that are very easy to distinguish even without looking at them. The only downside to it is that the top row is somehow hard to reach comfortably while typing, but we've seen worse slider keypads than this one.
The backlighting is pretty good. We want to point out that when you turn on the Power Saving feature of the phone the backlighting of the numeric keypad also gets constantly turned off. Otherwise when you don't use the phone all lights go out and in order to check for missed calls, received messages or simply what time it is you should open the slider or just turn on the display by pressing the MP3 player key. When the key lock is turned on closing the slider locks the availability of user input unless you open it up back again.
The display of the KE800 is again 262K colors, but has received a serious upgrade to QVGA (240x320 pixels) resolution. In fact somehow maybe due to the screen font used on the standby screen it reminds us a lot the display used in Sony Ericsson K800 which has the same resolution. In fact it even has the same diagonal of 2" - funny thing, heh, - KE800 and K800 come with almost (if not!) the same display. The display horizontal viewing angle is the same as the one in LG KG800, but the vertical one is far better. Legibility of the display under direct sunlight is very good with one exception - and that is reading something under sunlight when the there are some fingerprints left on the display. Other than that, the display of the LG KE800 is a great one and is perfectly on par with the current high-end models.
Ringing on the downside
Our overall impression is that the phone is fairly good at what it was built mainly for - making and receiving calls. Its sounds nice but unfortunately, it seems that the original LG Chocolate sounded better and louder. The sound of the KE800 speaker is not among the loudest but at least it's got one, right• The original Chocolate didn't have a dedicated loudspeaker and used the speaker that you use for conversations on the front panel for the ringing melodies. The vibration on the LG KE800 is not that strong too. The MP3 ringing is also nice and clear but really lacks bass elements. Talking about loudspeakers, it's worth mentioning now that the phone has got a dedicated loudspeaker, you will be able to make use of it during a call - something impossible with the original Chocolate.
Otherwise, the handset has a very good signal reception and the voices during call have a pleasant depth and sufficient loudness. That provides for pleasant conversations even in noisy streets.
Same interface but with a twist
The standby screen of the handset displays info about the battery status and signal strength. The carrier's name can be turned off and we find that a really pleasant feature that should be seen in other phones too. In standby the two soft keys correspond to the Main Menu and the Contacts menu.
The main menu is a 3 x 3 grid of icons which get animated when you select them. Their graphics is really fine as opposed to the one of the original LG Chocolate. We must admit that the overall color scheme and icons match perfectly the design of the phone. And if you look carefully the design of the main menu grid you will notice that each icon is positioned in a black square which in fact copies the design of the numeric keys. Subsequently, you can use the corresponding numeric keys as shortcuts for the menu items.
The submenus are viewed as a list. Once you open a menu item you can scroll to the other menu items with the horizontal arrows on the navigation touchpad without the need for returning to the main menu. Here are the nice wallpapers that come preinstalled with the handset. They are pretty much the same as the ones in the original LG Chocolate.
There are no themes available for customizing the looks of the interface, but there is the option to change the menu style. Beside the regular 3x3 grid you are given the opportunity to use the new Arc style menu which is really great.
In standby the four navigation keys each have a predefined shortcut function. If you wish you could visualize the respective assigned functions of the standby screen in order to make your life easier. We found it a preferred option in the first couple of days we used the phone.
Pressing the LEFT key takes you to the Ringing profiles shortcut menu. Pressing the DOWN key naturally takes you to the Phonebook list. Pressing the RIGHT key takes you to a Favorites menu which is a list of shortcuts which is user-configurable. Pressing the UP key takes starts a new text message.
It's a good thing that all the submenu items have numeric shortcuts assigned to them. You can see those in front of every menu item while browsing the menu.
There's also an interesting option to colorize the phone numbers when dialing in order to distinguish the individual numbers more easily. Or you can choose the other dialing graphics mode that is also interesting. Whether you would like one of those is entirely up to your taste, of course.