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Free wheeling

LG nicely packages all your entertainment and information needs in this phone. If only it wasn’t ultra-sensitive.

tech reviews Updated: Mar 24, 2009 15:42 IST
Shayne Rana

With the KM710, LG has proved that a mobile phone is no longer just a tool of communication, but a flashy technology-driven portal where everything from entertainment to information is available at your fingertips. Needless to say, it’s not the only one doing that nowadays. I was quite impressed with the handset when it was showcased at Delhi’s Mobile Asia last year. It’s in the market now, for an MRP of Rs 12,500. Should you go buy it?

Form
The KM710 is a good-looking handset, although the front panel is a bit of a fingerprint magnet. A 2-inch TFT LCD with 240 x 320 pixel resolution (and 2,556 k colours) is supplemented with a 1.1-inch touchscreen with 128 x 128 pixel colour display, located in the centre of the silver jog dial. The slide out keypad is large and easy to use.

The dial doubles as a five way navigation-pad with the centre touchscreen acting as a selector. Four touch sensitive keys are located around the dial but their placement is rather annoying, especially the music player shortcut key. Even the slightest graze on the handset’s edge while typing ends up activating them, as they are too sensitive.

The microSD hot swap slot and volume keys are located on one side. The other side has an all-in-one port for the charger, USB and handsfree. It’s neatly concealed with a slide-back cover unlike the microSD’s pop out panel. A ‘play/pause’ key located on the side, plays the current track without opening the player. Below that is a key guard button followed by a camera key. The rear of the handset has a leather-like finish, which doesn’t go too well with the handset’s glossy black front. The KM710 is equipped with a 3 megapixel camera sans flash.

Multimedia
The handset comes with a really loud speakerphone. The audio player allows you to play tracks from the main song list, which shows album art. You can switch to a full screen player as well. With a natural sound option that’s been tuned by Mark Levinson, the audio quality of the handset is just brilliant. There is also a set of nine EQ presets. The bundled handsfree with a 3.5 mm adapter is very comfortable and provides great sound quality. Playlists can be created on the handset itself.

There’s also a fairly decent stereo FM radio but it doesn’t automatically save channels with Auto Scan. Users can record from the radio directly and the handset comes with a voice recorder. Video playback is not bad. Acceptable formats include 3GP and MPEG4. There was no framing or lag as with the KS 360.

Features
LG includes a separate application called Muvee for creating slideshows as well as background music. But it uses a preloaded template for that, so you can’t customise your slideshows. The preloaded games are quite entertaining especially Rave Impact that puts the touch sensitive screen and navigation wheel to good use. There’s a Data Wallet for storing personal protected data, the E2E Dictionary and the Cocktail/Mocktail recipe makes as well, apart from the usual calendar, Alarm, etc.

Camera
The 3 megapixel autofocus camera has limited but very relevant features and it’s easy to use. However, the camera’s interface is sluggish. The image quality is not bad at all and colours looked quite good on the whole. Even though the handset doesn’t have a Macro Mode, close-ups didn’t look too bad either.

Interface
The KM710 doesn’t have a touch sensitive main display. A small touch sensitive key shows some options included in the display and activates the features. The wheel can be used for quick navigation, which offers no problem barring the times when the UI gets a bit sluggish.

Battery
In its battery saver mode, the KM710 lowers its display light level, which is the main culprit for the handset’s poor battery life. You get just a day’s usage. Talk time clocked in at 2 hours and 30 minutes.

Connectivity
The KM710 comes with EDGE/GPRS, Bluetooth with an A2DP profile and USB 2.0 (proprietary). The browser has no issues. Configuring GPRS settings for BPL was a bit of a problem though. You can also download your personal email via the Push Mail feature.

Verdict
Priced at Rs 12, 500 (MRP), the KM710 is a great multimedia handset for music and pictures. The screen’s a bit too small for full length movies, but perfect for short clips and the bundled handsfree is good. It loses out on being true value for money because of its poor battery life and the placement of the touch sensitive shortcut keys.
http://tech2.in.com/go/62412