In the space of two years, LG has transformed itself from a peddler of pedestrian 3G handsets to a leader in mobile phone style. Its Black Label Series – in particular the Chocolate and Shine – look so good we’re even prepared to forgive their dearth of exciting features.

But with handsets like Nokia’s Tube on the way, LG has decided to give the third member of the range, the Secret, some feature clout along with the trademark sophistication. In fact, give or take a few tricks, LG has plonked the Viewty’s 5megapixel camera and video show into an 11.8mm slender slider body.

Slim carbon footprint

Until the Sony Ericsson C902 Cyber-shot rocks up, the HSDPA-rocking Secret ranks as the planet’s slimmest 5MP camphone. LG has also gone to town on the production values, skilfully carving this swish skater from metal, carbon fibre and faux leather flourishes. The result is a reassuringly solid and quite hefty handset.

When it comes to operation, the Secret serves up a three-way blend of techniques. You’re privy to a spacious but traditional mechanised keypad, touch-sensitive soft keys with a navigation pad, and also a 2.4in scratch-proof display that becomes touch-screen for certain multimedia features.

Press a side button and you can access and operate the music player, photo gallery, accelerometer-based games, document viewer and FM radio with on-screen finger taps.

But like most non-iPhone touch-sensitive blowers, the Secret is still prone to inadvertent brushes and fickle reaction times. If you’re willing to put up with the odd sticky moment, then this slider is one of the better all round touch-exponents.

Video virtuoso

For such a Slim Jim, the Secret’s video capture performance is pretty stellar. Maximum resolution hits VGA-quality at 30fps and the results are very slick. Pop down a notch to QVGA level and you can record slow-mo footage at 120fps or 6x speeded-up dallies at 5fps. It does, however, suffer from blocking and judder in these modes. Like the Viewty, the Secret can also spin your DivX-encoded VGA quality movies.

It’s also mean in the photographic department despite the absence of Xenon flash (you get the next best thing, a power LED) and a sporadically wobbly autofocus. All the expected photographic mods are onboard and you won’t be disappointed with the picture quality – its colour rendering is vivid and there’s a keen sense of detail.

That’s not the end of the features either. There are also seamless accelerometer motion sensors for viewing snaps and a capable music player complete with an eight-band equaliser and 3.5mm headphone adapter.

We’re fully prepared to ignore the touch-sensitive issues because LG has, for the most part, brilliantly imported the Viewty’s camera and video prowess into a dapper slimline slider. Whether or not it’s got enough to fend off tough competitors like the upcoming Samsung Soul and aforementioned new C902 Cyber-shot, only time will tell.


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