LG KU970 Shine review: A Vodafone touch

GSMArena team, 16 April 2007.
Pages: 1234»

The LG Shine fashion handset was released in two distinct versions. Not long ago we reviewed the KE970 Shine. This time we turn our attention to the LG KU970 – the 3G version which is to be exclusively sold by Vodafone. They share the same metallic bodies, the same 2 megapixel cameras and the same QVGA TFT display. Other than that software-wise the two Shine handsets are as different as they can be. Be our guest on this tour with the exciting LG KU970 Shine.

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LG KU970 Shine

Key Features:

  • All metal design with mirror finish display
  • HSDPA 3.6Mbits support
  • 2 megapixel camera with auto focus
  • Shoots video in QVGA resolution (QCIF in KE970)
  • Secondary video camera for video calls
  • Scroller navigation
  • 512MB of integrated memory
  • Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP stereo support

Main Disadvantages:

  • Sometimes problematic scroller response
  • No memory card slot (present in KE970)
  • No office documents viewer (present in KE970)

If you have followed the LG product line as we do, you would surely make note of the LG Black label series which includes only highly-fashionable handsets. It all started with the LG Chocolate which still remains popular. And as it seems the Korean manufacturer doesn’t have intentions on loosing the speed gained in this market class.

The LG Shine is a perfect continuation of the already not so black “Black label” series. For now the KU970 Shine is a Vodafone exclusive handset which means that guys from Vodafone have left their personal touch making it a unique product in the LG product line.

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LG KE970 & KU970 Shine side by side

The retail box of the LG KU970 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 and a data cable. There is no memory card included of course as the KU970 doesn’t have a memory card slot.

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LG KE970 Shine and the retail box contents

Sliding along

The LG KU970 has exactly the same dimensions of 99.8 x 50.6 x 13.8 mm as the KE970 but comes a gram heavier of 120 g. Honestly, the handset doesn’t feel heavy at all and the 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.

The LG KU970 has a much more tense spring than the KE970 and it closes with a loud snap. It is possible though that the spring condition is that way because the test KE970 we received has seen a lot of use and abuse before it got to our lab. The device won’t win the slimmest phone prize but yet visually it leaves an impression of a really slim device.

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The LG KU970 Shine sliding out

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. Next to it there is a video camera lens used for video calls. 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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Real-life reflection of the display • speaker and video camera • keypad

The central design piece of the KU970 is without a doubt the navigation scroller and the soft keys. 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. 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

As you may have already read in our recent review, the LG KE970 scroller managed to disappoint us from the very beginning. 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. The LG KU970 scroller worked much better though so as it seems the functionality is a subject to factory tweaking. Yet. we would have liked it even more responsive.

The LG Shine fashion handset was released in two distinct versions. Not long ago we reviewed the KE970 Shine. This time we turn our attention to the LG KU970 – the 3G version which is to be exclusively sold by Vodafone. They share the same metallic bodies, the same 2 megapixel cameras and the same QVGA TFT display.

But enough on that, let’s return to our description. Much like the KE970, the right side of the LG KU970 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 MENU shortcut key and the camera shutter key. The MENU shortcut key is the MP3 key we saw in KE970.

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Charger/headset port, volume key, MENU 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 800mAh Li-Ion battery is revealed as well as the SIM card bed. Just for comparison the battery used in the KE970 was a 750 mAh one. As far as battery life is concerned, we managed to test the KU970 in a 3G network. It managed to do 3.5 days with a moderate usage.

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Removing the back panel • SIM card bed • 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 screen out there.

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The glossy LG Shine

Generally we were really happy with the design and construction of the LG KU970. 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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