LG KM900 Arena review: A touch of class
Modest retail package
If you expected the box of the new multimedia flagship of the company to be stuffed with accessories then you are in for a major disappointment.
LG adopted a completely different approach with the KM900 Arena and tried to bring the price down as much as possible. That approach however left only the essentials inside the box.
The LG KM900 Arena comes with the mandatory charger and a one-piece handsfree with a nifty little one-button remote. You also get a USB cable, a mini CD with the software required for PC synchronization, a manual and that's that.
There is no memory card in the box but considering the generous 8GB of internal memory on the handset itself it won't be missed too badly.
LG KM900 Arena 360-degree spin
The LG KM900 Arena measures 105.9 x 55.3 x 12 mm, which puts it on the more compact side of fully touch-operated handsets. It is basically similar to the Renoir with a few millimeters sliced off each dimension.
Putting the KM900 Arena in your pocket is a breeze and the weight of 105 grams means you'll barely know it's there. All in all the LG KM900 Arena is a tiny bit more compact than what you would expect from a 3" touchscreen phone.
Design and construction
The LG KM900 Arena has a pleasant design with a metallic frame on the front and a relatively plain aluminum cover at the back. It's hardly imaginative but then again fully-touch operated handsets rarely are.
We have to admit that we like the T-Mobile exclusive Titan Black trim better, but the standard light-colored aluminum one isn't too shabby either.
The front panel of the LG KM900 Arena is all about the 3" 16M color capacitive touchscreen display. Even though it uses the TFT technology as opposed to the OLED one on latest Samsung handsets, it still provides excellent picture quality. The brightness and contrast levels are top-notch, comparable to the best examples in the class.
Probably part of the explanation for this is the fact that the LG KM900 Arena has one of the most pixel-dense screens on the market (along with the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X1 and Toshiba G900). The resolution of 800 x 480 pixels crammed into the 3" screen results in more pixels per inch than any directly competing handset can offer.
The capacitive touchscreen technology makes sure that the KM900 Arena only needs a slight touch to register a click. On the negative side, it cannot work with a stylus making features like handwriting almost impossible to implement.
The increased sensitivity of the screen however combines brilliantly with the powerful hardware under the hood, resulting in excellent responsiveness of both the screen and interface. The integrated 3D graphics accelerator and the obviously powerful CPU make sure that your click is registered at the moment your finger makes contact to the screen.
Occasional delays are experienced now and then but the reason behind them is different and not really a topic to discuss now. The UI performance will be explored in full later in the review.
Unfortunately, the LG Arena sunlight screen legibility is pretty poor, much like most other LG handsets. Under direct sunlight it is quite hard to find a proper angle for working with the phone, let alone enjoying its functionality completely.
The other functional elements on the front panel of the LG Arena are the earpiece and the video-call camera at the top as well as the three touch sensitive buttons at the bottom.
Those buttons include a shortcut to the cube interface and the two standard call operating keys - Call and End. Having the same feedback as the screen makes it easier to transition from one to the other. It's quite obvious that a lot of effort and research has been dedicated to making this feedback consistent across the phone and it pays off with a much improved user experience.