LG is clearly a huge fan of touch-screen mobiles – its Prada phone beat the iPhone to the shelves by six months and was quickly followed by the Viewty. The Korean outfit’s latest blower, the KF600, carries on the touch phone tradition but adds a new twist: a dual-screen, one of which it calls a ‘context specific InteractPad’.
This 1.5in display doesn’t quite have the ‘mind-reading’ powers LG claims, but does replace the traditional five-way navigation pad and handily changes to suit the function you’re dabbling in. You also get the best of both worlds: a 2in, non-touch screen is joined by a mechanised ‘ye olde’ keypad.
This is all great in theory, but in practice it’s curbed by a touch UI with erratic sensitivity issues. The four-way is slow to scroll and isn’t always receptive to your taps (these are greeted by vibrating pulse.) With the close proximity of the non-touch main display, there’s also a temptation to poke this when rooting around the menu.
Complementing the InteractPad is a traditional sliding keypad, which is reminiscent of the Shine’s arrangement but is more plasticky and a little tacky to handle. The spongy slider action is another niggle that lets down what is otherwise a highly stylish phone.
What, no 3G?
The KF600’s chances aren’t helped by its spec list. There’s no 3G, with web browsing resting on the sluggish shoulders of EDGE. This is brisk when loading basic text-driven WAP pages but full-fat web pages are a real struggle.
The music player is also a mixed bag. It boasts an impressive 10-mode equaliser to adapt the audio, but with no artist or album sort option available you’re left to choose individual tracks by scrolling endlessly through your entire music collection. If you stash a sizeable stack of tunes on a microSD card it becomes an enormous pain in the jacksie, but you can at least create playlists to reduce the rigmarole.
The 3megapixel camera is another rag bag of compromises and cool flourishes. It’s equipped with impressive photo mods like an image stabiliser but falls foul to a dim-witted autofocus and slow shutter lag. Picture quality is also suspect with too much blur and noise blighting some otherwise strong colour reproduction.
The KF600 is a slightly half-baked phone, and its InteractPad is clearly a work in progress. With the rival Samsung Soul U900 waiting in the wings with its similar MagicTouch pad, the KF600 surely won’t be able to survive in its looks alone.