So, you’ve been eyeing those lavish 5MP camphones with their fancy dan extras like image stabilisation, but don’t want to pay their premium prices? LG sympathises – it’s KC550 is a camphone for these credit crunch days.

What’s the catch, you ask? Well, the main corner cut is 3G. This is a 2G phone, so uploading your high-resolution images to a website, for instance, will take longer than with the lovely LG Secret, for instance.

No web warrior

The KC550 lacks cutting-edge connections like Wi-Fi and there’s no GPS on board, but these omissions are hardly surprising. It does at least have stereo Bluetooth and is tri-band.

It doesn’t exactly have bargain bin styling either. Sure, it’s a little chubbier than most fashion phones, but its black rubberised back, chrome frame and checkerboard keypad are charming enough.

Camera credentials

The camera itself is more than competent, complete with Schneider-Kreuznach lens and autofocus rather than fixed focus. There’s a lens protector slide-panel and an image stabiliser, a feature usually only found on pricier handsets.

Since the phone has an accelerometer on board, it automatically rotates the images you’ve taken. LG loses marks for having an options menu that only appears when you hold the phone vertically, but it’s mostly well-executed. Images look good on the phone’s 2.4in screen, which can display a decent 256K colours.

Fun and games

That accelerometer means motion-sensitive games, too, and the KC550 includes fishing, maze and other mini-games, some of which have been cribbed from Secret.

Also familiar are those plinks and pops that accompany everything from sliding the phone open to choosing a menu – they’re as loud and unmissable as ever. Some crazy people apparently like them – the rest of us turn them off on day one.

The direction button is effective both in gaming and everyday use, never confusing up and inward presses thanks to a separate central button in the pad.

Music bonus

You might expect the KC550 to have slacked off on the media front, but it’s no slouch. There’s an MP3 player on board, though the only way you’ll listen to music is by storing it on a microSD card – there’s little usable memory on board.

Beyond that, the camera shoots video and there’s an FM radio, too. You’ll need to stick with the supplied headphones, sadly, as there’s no 3.5mm headphone jack.

The LG KC550 isn’t perfect, then, but is much better than anyone has the right to expect for the money.



Stuff says... 

LG KC550 review

It’s no mobile A-lister, but the KC550 offers style and a good camera for not much money