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LG KG320 review – a thin black lineThis phone looks very attractive. Thin, solid and well-formed, it fits very well in your hand. And it looks spectacular – like a really expensive phone, which it is.
And it is also very short spoken, construction wise. It lacks the abundance of adapters, side buttons and slots. Only the minimum, the most essential. But this minimum turns out to be more than you expect.
And still I wouldn’t call it ideal. Thing is that the phone has a camera. And the camera is greatly built – a movable lens shutter that it is not really a shutter, but a real panel… But the photographs aren’t very good. To such extent that I was even frustrated. Such a nice baby, such a promising appearance. Maybe, it’s the sample’s feature? What’s the point of showing an unfinished engineer sample if the real phone that will be sold on the market works better? Or not? Then it really is a pity…
However, I still think that the noticed camera disadvantages are just a feature of the specific engineer sample. And KG320 camera will work properly. And in this case you can evaluate the phone in one word – something. Excellent easy to carry device with an almost universal appearance. It will fit a respectable man and a business woman. But especially, the man.
KG320 appearance – where my eyes feast
It is made in “chocolate” style. Associations are not straightforward, but the phone wonderfully looks like a KG800 and a KG810 – a “chocolate” sliding phone and its reincarnation as a folding phone. Nevertheless, the model number tells you that it’s a totally different phone. Size and design are a bit different. There is a likeness only in the color design and, partly, in the incorporated materials.
Whole front panel is made flat – the buttons of the phone keyboard are almost the same height with the translucent panel that covers the screen (“almost” means bits of a millimeter). Square joystick button comes out a bit more. And all of this is visually connected with a thin metal set it. Screen is hidden under a translucent glass and takes less space than you would expect. Everything takes its place when you switch on the phone. Due to the bright backlight of the screen and buttons (and they are backlighted with white), the screen does not look small. It’s size seems very successful – neither big or small, just right.
Screen size if 1.8 inches diagonally, the resolution is 176õ220 pixels, TFT matrix. Screen can show 262 thousand color shades… How does it behave in the sunlight? I am sorry, I haven’t noticed. I just photographed and never noticed if the screen fades in the sun. That’s the best argument for the behavior of a phone display in bright light, isn’t it?
Even the magnificent displays of the last series Nokia smart phones change their appearance in sunlight adding a “mirror” surface to the image. And here it stays the same as it was inside. Except the colors fade a bit… It’s not often that I see such high-quality screens. Go LG…
Yes, the screen is very well made, but this impression is a bit smudged by the integumentary glass. Thing is that the phone is not too big so you inevitably touch the screen with your finger. And your fingerprints stay on the integumentary glass. Form of the phone also provokes it – you twist it in your hands as if it was a “Zippo” lighter (and you don’t need to flick it and you still do – producing that astonishing “click”). It’s not a fatal thing, it’s hard to call it a trouble, thanks to the anti-scratch coating (it looks more like glass, not plastic, although, it’s, probably, firm plastic). Nevertheless, you have to wipe the phone constantly. Nothing serious? Yes, of course.
On the upper and lower edges of the phone – they are neatly rounded, there is nothing not counting the pin-sized hole of a microphone on the lower edge. Nest for connecting an external antenna (without the cork, although, there might be a cork in the commercial version) and a button with a camera image and an “MP3” inscription is located on the right if you look at the front of the phone. If the shutter of the camera is closed then when you press this button, the “Multimedia” menu appears on screen, there you choose to start MP3 player, camera, or video camera. If the shutter is open then the camera is on and this button functions as the camera and video camera shutter control. You can open the display horizontally – the button is located on the top like in a real digital camera.
Door that covers the system adapter that connects the system stereo set, charger and PC synch (USB interface) cable is located on the right. It is fastened with a rubber (silicone) pin and simply turns around it. Door sits tightly in its test and does not want to fall out. Location of the door can be somewhat uncomfortable when you connect the stereo set. You have to be very careful not to tear off the tiny door.
Loop for connecting the neck lace is located right here on the left edge. Phone hangs slightly to the side, but can hardly be a problem. Due to the small size (by the way – 95õ46õ9,9 mm) and weight (only 73 grams) it looks like a refined baby, almost a decoration, rather than a bulky “brick” that has no place on the chest. Only his appearance is grand (you can’t hang an expensive “Parker” on you chest)…
Most curious is hid on the back panel. First – the battery cover. It is made from black painted metal and takes up more than the half of the back panel. You can see a chromium-plated button of a retaining spring on the lower edge of the cover. When you press the button, move the cover downward and remove it, you see the battery and the SIM card. You don’t have to remove the battery in order to change the SIM card. Card fastening consists of a flat metal ear that holds the card.
Battery volume is 600 mAh, not that much. And the phone lives about 2 days on average – if you intensely use the built in camera. Not a very prominent index, but good enough. But it is problematic (although, possible) to use the phone as a player. That’s why the time of autonomous work is not that critical.
Battery is inserted into the nest with a slight click. Then you have to replace the metal cover… And that’s a load of work… Cover fits in with a slight warp to the right and to the left. Reference point of the proper position is the latch button. But I managed to close the button incorrectly three times in a row before I realized what’s going on. And one more thing – the paint of the metal cover fell off on my sample. Bright corner showed up that gets your attention right away…
Upper side of the back panel is devoted to the camera. Movable shutter covers the optical block. Shutter moves to the right (left – if you look on the front panel) if you look on the back panel while the phone is in the vertical position. And also downwards if the phone is turned so that the shutter button is at the top. Shutter is thick and plastic. It can be fixed in extreme positions and is equipped with a spring finish.
Perhaps, this is the best optics protection system that I’ve ever seen. Not a tiny switch that you have to get hold of, but a thick shutter. Not a dangling piece, but a fixation with an automatic finish. Very good.
Abrasions around the shutter were a disappointment. Feature of the sample, of course. However, the phone will get old, sooner or later. And will lose it’s ready for sale appearance – and because of the inclination towards these abrasions as well...
By the modern standards, the phone camera is mediocre – with 1.3 mega pixel sensor. Max photo resolution is ôîòîãðàôèé 1280õ960 pixels. It’s Okay as Sony Ericsson K510i has a sensor with the same resolution. And the phone (SE) makes excellent photographs, nevertheless. However, you can’t say the same about LG KG320… But will speak about that in due time.
Camera lens is set into a metal framing and covered by a protective glass. There is a tiny spherical mirror for self-portrait and a window of the LED flash near the lens. Slits of the “loud” speaker are hiding under the movable curtain – they open when the lens is closed.
Now about the keyboard. Short-stroke buttons with a large surface. Just like in the both “chocolates”, except for the button surface that is homogeneous and does not have a “chess” marking (alternation of glossy and lusterless surfaces). Buttons are not separated from each other, but you soon get you used blind typing. I would give a five to the joystick. It is very comfortable to use as its square button somewhat sets out of the key surface. You can easily find the small central button with a rounded surface and when you press it, the joystick never gives a false start.
How do you evaluate KG320 appearance? If you don’t pay attention to the hand marks of my predecessors, then I would give it a five. But I think that this phone likes to be treated accurately. In any case, you won’t be able to classify it as one of those phones that you could “bang in the nails” with. No, it’s a beautiful and graceful knickknack that needs certain attention.
KG320 program filling is like that of all new LG phones. Differences are mostly cosmetic. System menu (that consists of 16 items) isn’t animated, but still beautiful. Great application of a built in file manager – you, right away, understand where everything is. Full set of all necessary programs – alarm, calculator, converter (in the “Accessories” and not in the “Organizer” folder, for some reason, but that’s a detail). Very good Russian version, comprehensive settings and great Bluetooth application. By the way, stereophonic Bluetooth ear phones work with the phone. You can look at it as a compensation for EDGE absence (which is, a pity, of course).
You can look at the details on the enclosed illustrations. In the meantime, we will continue…
There is one topic that I want to discuss… I remember that in reviews of KG800 and KG810 I felt bad their memory cannot be expanded. There is a 128 MG memory and no flash memory card slot in KG320 as well as in its older brothers (or sisters, depends on how you look at it). It’s an unforgivable disadvantage for a player, but… Then I thought – is there a need for it. Why would a phone need a memory card, if it is, first of all, a phone? You can fit two hours of sound in that memory. That’s two albums that will be enough for the way to work and back. Right?
And the phone sounds very well. Player application in the last LG models is wonderful. KG320 holds the same level, in that sense. “Loud” speaker sound is loud and clear (no base, obviously). You can control the ear phones via the equalizer, but without user setting (there are only presets). Visual effects (three of them) as well. No specific “player” buttons. But very good, in general.
If I could I would skip this review item. I don’t want to pick on a good phone, but the camera is horrible. Maybe, it’s the sample problems, after all?
What are the problems, exactly? Shutter button and camera work in error. That’s the first thing. Shutter works very slowly – that’s the second thing. And the photo quality isn’t very good – that’s the third thing.
This is how it happened. I move the curtain and turn on the camera. Find an object in the view-finder. Sunny day, enough light. I catch a flower kiosk, in hope to check the color rendering. I hold my breath and press the button. “Saved” message appears on the screen. And I ease my breath. At this very moment the camera shoots my feet.
I went very far – almost stopped breathing, held on to the wall, pressed the button as easy as I could. But the silhouettes of the moving cars (barely moving – before a busy intersection) are slightly visible like they are moving close to the light speed. Walls of the buildings are swamped – optical distortion. And etc… Video is not very good either. Well, look for yourself…
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Video sample, 3GP, 253 KB >>>
And Sony Ericsson K510i (the same 1.3 mega pixel, I repeat) shoots so well, I would give it a five, and it costs much less. Why is this? I don’t have an answer. But I am not trying to pick on this wonderful phone – LG KG320... I will go to the store and ask someone to show me a new device and will try to shoot using that camera. I am sure that the commercial version makes excellent photographs.
I am only disappointed with the photo quality myself. I really liked the rest… It’s a really trendy thing. Beautiful and practical phone in the classis construction. Fast, trustworthy, very easy to use. Curtain is something. And the screen. And the programs…
The rest is in the preface.
© Nikolay Nadezhdin, Mobiset.ru reviews
Translated by Olga Mexina (email@example.com)
Published — 28 September 2006
Latest articles in section «Reviews»: Review of Nokia E72 – Updating Functions, Review of HTC Touch 2 – Establishing Rules, First Glance at Nokia N900 (Maemo 5) and a Couple of Words About N97 Mini, Review of Samsung S8000 Jet – Cleverer than Genius, Faster than Wind, Review of Sony Ericsson W980i – Style & Music, Review of Nokia N97: First Glance, Review of Nokia 5800 XpressMusic. Part 2, Review of Nokia 5800 XpressMusic – Emotional Listening. Part one, Nokia 5800 XpressMusic Hands-On – First Impressions, Review of Sony Ericsson G700 – Details that Give Impression
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