The Shine's features are decent, but its brains don't really match its beauty. We'll start with the basics first. The phone book holds a healthy, 1,000 contacts with room in each entry for four phone numbers, an e-mail address, and notes (the SIM card holds an additional 250 names). You can save contacts to groups, assign them a photo for caller ID, and pair them with any of 20, 40-chord polyphonic ringtones.
Other essentials include a vibrate mode, text and multimedia messaging, an alarm clock, a calculator, a memo pad, a stop watch, a unit converter, and a world clock. On the higher end, you get a voice recorder, e-mail support, Bluetooth, and a speakerphone. You can use the KE970 as a USB mass-storage drive and the document reader allows you to view text files and PDFs, as well as PowerPoint, Word, and Excel documents. The internal memory is impressive at 50MB of shared space, and you can use a microSD card for more room.
The 2.0 megapixel camera outshines (no pun intended) the Chocolate's shooter in many ways. You can take photos in a selection of resolutions, from full two megapixels (1,600x1,200 pixels) down to VGA and below (320x240 pixels). Other camera features include a self-timer, three quality modes, four color effects, an adjustable white-balance setting, a choice of shutter sounds, and a multi-shot mode (available only at the lowest resolutions). The Shine's camera also comes fully equipped with a self-portrait mirror and a flash.
The camcorder shoots videos with sound in two resolutions (128x96 or 176x144). It also includes a set of editing options similar to the still camera, and you can use the zoom. Clips meant for multimedia messages are capped at eight seconds; otherwise you can shoot for as long as the available memory permits.
A Schneider Kreuznach lens and an efficient autofocus ensure this isn't your ordinary camera phone. Indeed, photo quality was quite good, with sharp colors, distinct object outlines, and vivid detail. The flash wasn't terribly effective but we were glad to have it anyway. Video quality was good but not great. Though the clips weren't as grainy as we've seen on other camera phones, we wouldn't want to use the Shine for our home movies. On the whole, the Shine's camera is a worthy effort but not quite as good as the fantastic 3.2-megapixel shooter on the Sony Ericsson K790a.
The music player's design is very minimalist, but it does the job of delivering tunes for short stints. It supports MP3, WAV, AAC, AAC+, and AAC++ files, and we like that you can save files as ringtones. On the other hand, features are limited to an equalizer and a shuffle mode. Fortunately, getting music on your phone is exceptionally easy. You don't need any software or special tools, instead just connect your Shine to your computer as a mass-storage device and then drag and drop your tracks into the phone. The included 3.5mm headphones exceeded our expectations. You can use them to make calls and even navigate through your contacts list. The headphones come with an adapter, so you can use your own headphones with the Shine's proprietary connection.
You can personalize the Shine with a variety of wallpapers and sounds, and of course you can always download more with the included WAP 2.0 wireless Web browser. Gaming options were limited to two titles: Bubble Soccer and Fishing Mania. Avid gamers will have to buy more titles for extended play.
We tested the triband (GSM 900/1800/1900) Shine in the San Francisco area using T-Mobile service. Call quality was quite clear, with little distortion or feedback. Voices sounded natural, and we enjoyed enough volume. Callers didn't report many problems either, though they said the KE970 picked up a fair amount of wind noise. Also, automated calling systems could understand us all the time. Speakerphone calls were less satisfactory. On our end, the sound was muffled and callers reported likewise. Calls with the included wired headset and a Bluetooth headset were fine. Just keep in mind that since the Shine doesn't support the GSM 850 band, reception will diminish in rural areas.
Audio quality on the MP3 player was loud and clear for the most part. It's not enough to replace your standalone MP3 player, but it had little of the tinny sound we encounter in other MP3 phones. We liked that you could use your own headphones.
The Shine has a rated talk time of three hours and a promised standby time of 11.6 days. In our tests, we met the talk time, but that's still a bit low for a GSM phone. According to FCC radiation tests, the LG Shine KE970 has a digital SAR rating of 0.443 watts per kilogram.
- Similar model: $
- Set Price Alert