LG KE970 Shine review: High-gloss, high-class

GSMArena team, 09 April 2007.
Pages: 12345»

LG continues their Black Label series but this time the black is replaced with a bit of silver shine. The new LG KE970 Shine is the first of the truly shiny devices of the Korean manufacturer that landed on our test site. Packing some serious horse power, the LG KE970 Shine is among the most advanced GSM handsets by LG and certainly one of the most attractive – armed with a 2 megapixel camera with auto focus, a QVGA TFT display, a microSD memory card slot and a number of other goodies it is sure to grab your attention. Read on for more on that exclusive device.

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LG KE970 Shine official images

Key Features:

  • Stylish all metal design with mirror finish display
  • QVGA display resolution
  • 2 megapixel autofocus camera with Schneider-Kreuznach lens
  • Scroller navigation
  • microSD memory card slot
  • Office documents viewer

Main Disadvantages:

  • Problematic scroller response
  • Shoots video in QCIF resolution only
  • Fingerprint magnet

LG has made a name for their fashionable handsets. The appearance of the original LG Chocolate took the mobile market by storm. The next high-end mobiles by the manufacturer tried to retain the “wow” factor while in the same time developing the functionality more and more. The LG KE970 Shine really shined in our hands and in the eyes of all the people around us as it provoked deep interest and fascination. Well, we liked the device at first glance and we were more than hesitant to explore its capabilities.

Before we start with our review, let us just mention that the Shine has a 3G-enabled twin brother – the LG KU970 Shine. They are real twins but only as far as looks are involved. As it turned out the two handsets are totally different devices when it comes to user interface, hardware used and features implemented. Today we will start by reviewing the KE970 but expect our GSMArena review on KU970 within a week.

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LG KE970 & KU970 Shine side by side

The retail box of the LG KE970 Shine looks the same as the one of the LG Chocolate, the only difference being the color combination of the box. The standard kit included is pretty much the same too – a nice and beautiful LG headset, a data cable, and a memory card with market dependent capacity.

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LG KE970 Shine and the retail box

Being all metal

The LG KE970 is not a big handset measuring 99.8 x 50.6 x 13.8 mm but its all metal construction accounts for the hefty weight of 119 g. Honestly, the handset doesn’t feel heavy at all and the added weight in fact adds for a feel of solidness that is rarely seen in modern mobile phones. Design wise, it’s hard to determine whether it might appeal more to men or women. Truth be told, that due to the mirror finish of the front panel, the most men that saw it commented that it’s probably a handset more suitable for women than for men. Our personal opinion is that the device has a unisex design that should find a wide fan base regardless of the sex.

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The LG KE970 Shine all over • real reflections

The handset would certainly not win the slimmest phone prize but yet visually it leaves an impression of a really slim device.

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Sliding the LG Shine

The only functional element in the upper part of the front panel is the integrated loudspeaker which is also used as an in-call speaker. Sliding the upper panel reveals the entirely even keypad. As it seems it’s made by a whole metal sheet with the individual keys cut into it.

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Loudspeaker • keypad

Scrolling down

The central design piece of the KE970 is without a doubt the navigation scroller and the soft keys. The scroller is not a new navigation solution in the mobile world but it hasn’t been used for quite some time now. There is more to the LG navigation than what the eye reveals. There are two more keys integrated into each side of the scroller but they are far from obvious. They don’t seem much like keys at all and you can easily miss their presence – we failed to spot them when we saw the LG Shine for the first time at the 3GSM Congress at Barcelona this year. These keys expand the capabilities of the scroller since they allow for side movement in the user interface. The other two soft keys which are positioned further away are contextual keys – they again are entirely made of metal.

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LG Shine navigation solution

After all is said and done however the LG scroller managed to disappoint us from the very beginning. Let’s just say that it doesn’t even closely resemble the regular PC mouse scroller. The scrolling navigation was not as responsive as you’d expect it to be – sometimes a scroll didn’t make any movement in the user interface, sometimes it did more than one. More than often it reacted slower that one would like. Generally, working your way through the menu system required a lot of movement from your thumb and when you add to that the stiffness of the navigation keys and the scroller itself when pressed – the LG Shine navigation provided for a really unpleasant, thumb-itching and tiring experience.

LG continues their Black Label series but this time the black is replaced with a bit of silver shine. The new LG KE970 Shine is the first of the truly shiny devices of the Korean manufacturer that landed on our test site.

But enough on that, let’s return to our description. The right side of the LG Shine is pretty bare and doesn’t feature any control elements. You may spot the neck strap eyehole in the upper part if you pay attention. In much the same way the bottom and upper parts are also bare.

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Right side • Bottom side • Top side

The left side is much more interesting as it features the charger/headset port cap, the dual volume key, the MP3 shortcut key and the camera shutter key. The MP3 shortcut key can be used to minimize the MP3 player while playing.

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Charger/headset port, volume key, music player key, camera key

Turning the handset around reveals the brushed aluminum back cover and the camera. Looking at it that way, the LG Shine looks like a portable digital camera. Sleek and chic – those two words can round it up for you.

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LG back panel • camera lens, LED and self-portrait mirror • the back of the slider

The back panel covers the whole back side of the handset. When you remove it, the 750mAh Li-Ion battery is revealed as well as the SIM card bed. The memory card slot is situated just under the SIM card bed. As far as battery durability is concerned, well we will not even quote the manufacturer suggested numbers as it managed to quickly disappoint us. Draining it was a matter of a day. But as we saw with the LG KU970 which has almosost the same battery (800 mAh) and presumably a higher power consumption as it works in a 3G network, our guess is that the battery of our test KE970 unit was simply gone for good.

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Removing the back panel • SIM card bed • pulling the memory card out • Li-Ion battery

We’ve seen mobiles with displays that have a certain mirror finish but the LG Shine beats them all with its high gloss reflective display surface. As you can see, when the display is off you can hardly see there is a display out there.

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The glossy LG Shine

Generally we were really happy with the design and construction of the LG KE970. The metal body felt good when held in hand and we although the mobile is a bit on the heavy side – it really is comfortable to use it and carry it in your jeans or shirt pocket.

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LG Shine held in hand

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