LG KT610 review: Communicator wannabe
Display - improvement all over
LG KT610 packs a 1.45" external and a 2.4" internal screen, both handling 262K colors. The external display has very poor picture quality but still does a decent job for answering calls and checking the device status. It does give access to some more basic features, including texting and music player.
We have already mentioned that there is more than enough space to fit a larger internal display. Putting size aside, the unit fitted on the KT610 is really nice with very pleasant picture quality and good brightness. It is probably the best display on an LG handset, even though the KT610 is not among the company's high-enders.
Sunlight legibility is praiseworthy. LG handsets have so far been virtually useless when exposed to direct sunlight. The LG KF750 Secret is almost impossible to work with outside in the bright sun and the KU990 Viewty isn't doing much better either. However the KT610 is a whole different story: it remains perfectly legible even in the brightest of days and the vivid picture doesn't suffer as much as we expected.
Keypad fantastic: external and QWERTY alike
All the keys and controls on LG KT610 are simply great. The keypad on the outside has superb large keys on terraced rows that are rather tactile and pleasingly solid to press. There're no borders between keys within the same row but that's hardly an issue with the plenty of space the keypad enjoys. The D-pad and the adjacent controls are also a pleasure to use. An important side note: the main control up front is not a D-pad per se, for it only allows scrolling up and down. Nevertheless, it's perfectly comfortable and responsive.
The inside full QWERTY keyboard is just as good with the well-sized and spaced knobs. The only minor problem is the D-pad confirmation center, which might feel too small to first-time users. However getting used to it is rather quick and you'll be speeding through menus and selections in no time.
The typing experience the KT610 delivers is awesome. It falls behind the Nokia E90 larger keyboard of course but let's be honest - the Nokia Communicator is huge.
The backlighting deserves a decent mark too: it is strong enough and fairly even, save for the control and space keys on the inside.
Telephony is excellent
LG KT610 might be a few things short of being the ultimate communicator but reception and call clarity sure ain't among them: we experienced no issues for the time of testing. You can dial right on the external screen or on the inside but it feels much more natural to use the phone closed for conversations. Video calls are another story - you have to open the phone, as the video-call camera is next to the internal display. It feels the right way to have a video call and we consider this more of an advantage actually.
The vibration is also strong enough to make sure you never miss an incoming call or message when the phone is in a pocket. The results from our loudspeaker test are at your disposal - LG KT610 turned out a decent performer in this respect too, though far from the spectacular achievements of some other LG handsets. Check out the table for how it stacks against some of the handsets we've measured. In case you want to find out more about the test itself or a complete list of tested devices, hit the link.
|Speakerphone test||Voice, dB||Ringing ||Overal score|
|Samsung U800 Soul b||65.9||65.9||75.8||Average|
|Sony Ericsson W890||69.6||78.2||72.7|
|HTC TyTN II||76.0||75.7||82.7||Excellent|
Dual-face user interface - worth the shot
LG KT610 runs on the Symbian 9.2 OS with Series60 3rd Edition user interface. It didn't stick around long enough to get the Feature Pack 2 treatment, so users will have to settle for FP1.
The external screen handles six basic features: contacts, new message, message inbox, music player, camera and calls log. Those are all pretty trimmed down when launched from here due to the specifics of the display. What you get on the inside of LG KT610 is little different from the other Symbian devices with FP1.
External screen UI: home screen • contacts list
If you open any of these applications through the small external display and then flip the KT610 open, they get opened on the main screen too, which is rather handy. Unfortunately, it doesn't work the other way around, as closing the flip always minimizes all open applications.
Typing a new message and checking the call logs
Now let's open up the main screen. For starters, LG KT610 features an active standby mode. You have a bar of shortcut icons for instant access to pre-selected functions at the top of the display, while scheduled events from the calendar, along with the currently playing track or radio station (if any), get displayed underneath.
When assigning Active Standby shortcuts, you can choose any application or even a website. The functionality of the two soft keys is configurable too. Another standby screen feature that we really like is the Google search bar giving instant access to the search engine.
The phone has 5 profiles plus an offline mode that switches off all transceivers. If the phone gets started without a SIM card the offline mode get activated automatically allowing full access to the functions of the phone that do not require cellular network coverage. All the profiles can easily be edited to best suit the user needs.
As with any other S60 smartphone, the task manager of LG KT610 pops up upon a press-and-hold on the Menu key. It allows switching between applications or turning off any running application by pressing the backspace key.
There are only two menu views for the KT610 but they are basically all you need. The options are a 4 x 3 grid of icons, and a standard list.
Finally, LG KT610 has a voice recognition feature that (supposedly) allows you to control the whole user interface without even having to touch the phone. It does all right but still not as well as we hoped. Although speaker independent, the application has trouble recognizing some user commands, especially the longer ones. It's still a good help on some occasions and, given the beta status of our unit, it may get even better in the retail version of LG KT610.