A well designed and smooth running user interface is among the most important features of a phone these days and the iPhone and its amazing market success is the quintessential example. LG have equipped the Arena with their spanking new S-Class UI and what can we say - high-end is implied.
The capacitive touchscreen is quite sensitive and haptic feedback has always been on the LG feature list. The hardware graphic acceleration is essential: everything from homescreen to dropdown menus rolls, sweeps in, unfolds and revolves extra smoothly.
The S-Class builds upon the previous UIs of the house thus still feels familiar despite the enormous amount of upgrades.
This time around, there are four homescreens and they break down the homescreen UI to four easily manageable chunks: widgets, contacts, shortcuts and multimedia.
No matter which homescreen you choose the UI never skimps on eye candy - smooth animations, reflections, 3D spatial effects, motion blurring - it's all there for your viewing pleasure. And better still - the 3" WVGA screen makes sure the image quality is exceptional.
It kinda reminded us of the day that the Apple iPhone arrived in our office and how amazed we felt back then. However it's been almost two years now that the iPhone is out and the bar is as high as ever.
A new and eye catching addition to the interface is the cube interface - the four homescreens are placed on the sides of a cube that you roll by finger sweeps. You can zoom out by pressing the center Home key and roll the cube to select a homescreen.
The main menu is accessible via the dedicated shortcut on the home screen. The new thing about it is the layout. Instead of using the four tabs in a vertical column, LG now have opted for a layout of four rows of menu items, which are scrollable horizontally. That way almost all menu items are accessible simultaneously without jumping from tab to tab.
Even better, if you turn the phone sideways, the menu items are all visualized with smaller icons fitting the screen perfectly with no need for scrolling (but with no text labels as well).
Here's our quick video walkthrough of the amazing LG Arena S-class interface.
LG Arena - the four homescreens. Watch in HD
LG Arena again has a multitasking menu (a basic task manager), which is launched upon a press-and-hold of the center key, is another way to access the most common features, not just switch between the active ones. The active apps are signified by the respective icon bouncing up and down in smooth animation.
Multitasking is limited - there is a limit of two applications at a time and Java apps interfere with other apps. For example, with a Java app running in the background you won't be able to turn the Radio on.
Tapping the Status bar at the top of the screen launches a semitransparent menu that can be used to toggle Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on and off, change profiles and view recent events.
Unfortunately, this connection manager menu is available only on the homescreen. It would have been handier if it was usable throughout the interface - the way notifications are handled in the Android.
LG Arena - gallery, music player, web browser. Watch in HD
By the way, to get a feel of the S-class interface by LG, you can also jump over here at LG website.