LG KE500 is the first handset of the South Korean manufacturer to feature the Mobile XD Engine technology. It was originally developed to improve contrast in LCD TV sets. Not much of a difference is noticeable, anyway. LG KE500 has a 2" 262K-color TFT display of a 176 x 220 pixel resolution. Given the resolution, imaging is a touch coarse, but by all means passable in day-to-day use. In the display settings you can adjust brightness and set the backlight timer. The display is covered by a protective glass, which can serve as a mirror in stand-by mode. Fingerprints are painfully visible on both the display and the shiny frame around it. In direct sunlight, the display is totally illegible, obviously a downside owing to the mirror finish.
In standby mode, when the backlighting turns off, the screen is completely blank, and you'll need to power your device up to check status and missed events.
The user interface and the overall operation of the device are easy to master. In standby mode, an animated SWF wallpaper can serve as the display background. The screen displays the usual status info, time and date, as well as the functions assigned to the soft keys (if you choose so). A text note can also be set to display on the screen.
The main menu is accessed through a press on the confirming center of the D-pad or, alternatively, by pressing the left contextual key. The right soft key launches the phonebook. The main menu contains nine icons, which can be arranged in a classic grid or, quite originally, viewed in a circle: the so-called Wheel view. The main menu is animated: in grid view, icons jiggle briefly when selected. The icon design is somewhat of a letdown. Icons have little color and do look dull and inexpressive. Submenus are classic numbered lists, scrolled using the Up and Down keys. Numeric keypad shortcuts are enabled when browsing the menu. Throughout the menu you get white text and icons on a blue background. An alternative color scheme is not available. Navigating the menu is quick and intuitive; response to user commands is very fast.
A quick access grid, the so-called Home Screen Shortcut, on the standby display tips on the functions assigned to the navigation keys. The shortcuts are preset and can't be modified. The only choice the user is given is whether to display the quick access grid in standby, or not. The Left key on the D-pad opens the ringing profiles, Up starts the message editor, Down launches phonebook, and Right takes you to the Favorites menu, where users can store up to 12 frequently used functions.
LG KE500 offers a 2 megapixel camera. The lens is at the back of the slider, safely sheltered when the handset is in closed position. Next to the lens are the LED flash and self-portrait mirror. The maximum picture size attainable is 1600 x 1200 pixels.
The camera viewfinder doesn't take the whole display. The settings appear in a toolbar at the bottom of the screen. The options available for each feature appear in a pop-up menu, allowing the user to set resolution and picture quality, turn flash on and off, set self timer, define saving preferences, use burst (multi shot), apply color effects, set white balance and choose shutter sound (they can be turned off in our unit). The camera offers also exposure compensation and 4x digital zoom. The pictures can be saved in the phone memory (55 MB) or on a memory card.
Picture quality is average. Color rendering is good, but the amount of noise is considerable. Text reads OK regardless of the lack of autofocus. The camera can also record video in 3GP format at a maximum resolution of 176 x 144 pixels. Recording length is unlimited, depending on the available memory only.
Sample pictures taken with LG KE500:
Images, along with the rest of the multimedia content, are stored in the My Stuff directory. Files are stored by type and can be rearranged and moved to user-added folders. Images can be viewed one by one or in a slide show. File info is also available. Images can be set as wallpaper, sent via Bluetooth or MMS, copied or moved. The handset responds rather slowly when browsing pictures.