LG Shine ReviewLG Shine CU720 6.5
LG had a smash hit when they came out with the Chocolate. To continue upon that success, another stylish line was released, the LG Shine.
Unfortunately for the US, this happened only in European and Asian markets. A few months later, everyone here finally gets a chance to get their hands on the Shine as AT&T has added the handset to its lineup. To make the most of the network, it was upgraded from a tri-band model to a quad-band one, 3G capabilities were added to top things off, and the annoying 3-way scroll navigation was replaced by a joystick. Not much else was changed, however, and we are left with a Shine that resembles the original one. Well, enough of this back story, let’s get to the review to see how well it does.
After using the handset, the most shining thing, no pun intended, is the design itself. It’s finished off in brushed metal, feels solid, and isn’t overly heavy. It is somewhat thick when compared to most handsets from other companies but it feels very comfortable when held. The display only adds to the great look. Glare was never an issue for us and we were able to make out everything even in bright environments. Colors are very realistic without being over saturated or too dark.
You can compare the LG Shine with many other phones, using PhoneArena's Visual Size Compare tool.
The greatest oddity is that the call and hang-up buttons aren’t located on the front but are actually grouped with the numeric keypad on the bottom slider. While it doesn’t make navigation impossible with the handset closed, it prolongs it especially once you’re in a few menus deep.
Sliding it open or closed is easy thanks to a spring mechanism that takes over once the slider is half-way opened or closed. Once open, the keypad is revealed which has a strong resemblance to the RAZR minus the reflection. All the buttons are crammed together in this tight space and are a bit small. The design separating each key is slightly raised and easily felt even when not looking at the handset. The biggest annoyance is that the call, hang-up, and back keys are all the way at the top of the keypad. With small fingers, it isn’t a problem to press them but for those who have bigger ones, the top of the finger has to be used. Despite their crammed design and small size, the keypad isn’t as uncomfortable to use as one might think. Each button is easy to press and gives back strong feedback in both feel and sound.
PhoneArena's Video Review of LG Shine:
Contacts are listed in alphabetic order with the number being displayed at the bottom once someone is highlighted. Fields are a bit lacking, you are limited to name, number, email address, group, picture, ringtone, and memo, but there is enough present to store the most important information.
The camera was kept as a 2MP one instead of upgrading it and picture quality is great with strong outlines, and great colors. It took about 3 seconds to focus, take the photo, and then save it.
Apart from the regular features, there are plenty of online applications that come with the phone. XM radio, music videos, The Buzz, and online videos are just some of those programs that you find available.
The internet browser was a disappoint to us. When viewing our website, some of the graphics came out blue and some text overlapped other text or graphics.
1. Alex (unregistered)
I've had this phone (in silver) for a couple of months, now, and use it every day, since it doubles as my home phone. I have the unlimited texting and internet package from AT&T, and reside in the Washington DC suburbs. Some thoughts and advice on my LG Shine: PROS: 1. The display: big and bright; it's 262k-color screen performs very similarly to my friend's 16million-color Nokia display. The mirror-effect when it's dark is pretty cool, too. 2. Call quality and reception: very crisp, loud and clear, with little interference and few dropped calls. Miles ahead of my previous phones. The speakerphone is excellent. 3. Connectivity: 3G and even Edge performance are particularly impressive. Web pages load quickly. ***Just make sure to get the free Opera Mini browser 4.0 - immediately - it'll ease all of your woes with the the Shine's rather lackluster standard browser.*** 4. Bluetooth, Java and MicroSD card slot: Bluetooth and Java both work great and have little or no limitations (unlike Verizon's hamstrung phones). Nice being able to swap the SD card (up to 4 GB) on the fly. The phone has a surprising amount of on-board memory, too. 5. Video and multimedia: Not bad. Takes video in only 15fps 3gp, but it's of decent quality; playback's good. Music player's alright, but you'l need an adapter for headphones. 6. The design and buid quality: LG really hit it out of the park with this one! Sleek, stylish and solidly built, it appeals to both sexes. The phone has an appealing heft and quality feel to it. Get a clear case for it if you want to avoid scratches, though. CONS: 1. The menus: More than anything, the menus are the biggest disappointment. Illogically or greedily designed - with very limited customization (as opposed to my old Moto V551 or Razr V3 which lets you customize almost everything) and no way to put icons on the main screen, one has to fit what they do to the idiosyncracies of the phone, rather than tailor the phone to fit the user. It often borders on the exasperating. I'm waiting on a software fix (or hack) to help alleviate this a bit. 2. The keypad: Not as bad as some say, but it's not that great, either. It takes some getting used to, but if you have large hands, strong thumbnails will come in handy. The good tactile feedback while texting is sometimes let down by slow responses to letter inputs. The T9 predictive text is kinda crappy, IMHO. 3. The joystick controller area: Again, not too bad, and you'll get used to it. Yet I'd have gladly given up some of the mirror finish area for a decent D-pad between the smartkeys (with the "call" & "end" buttons moved beneath the smartkeys instead of crowding the keypad). The poorly designed menus exasperate this. The slim buttons on the right side are also hard to use, particularly while making a call. 4. Battery life: The cost of 3G and all the other features, I gather. Not really an issue if you recharge it at least every other day, but deactivate the 3G if you're gonna be away from the charger for a while. 5. Ringtone size limit: Plays mp3s - but they can't be larger than 300kb! Pretty ridiculous and makes no sense at all. Thankfully, the limited memory of my old Motos have made me used to creating small mp3 ringtones for my phones, using Audacity. NEUTRAL: 1. Camera: Fast response times and 2MP, it takes clear daylight outdoor shots, and has a decent set of features, but a somewhat weak flash, and a rather slow shutter speed. Darker settings and/or action shots really highlight its weaknesses. Almost a con, but I wasn't expecting miracles with it, to begin with, so... 2. Ringer and vibrate mode: Heard louder and felt stronger, but it's still okay. 3. Ports and covers: Hot-swap MicroSD card slot and micro-USB charger/headset port, both behind sturdier-than-they-look covers. Micro-USB accessories are still hard to find in stores; using the slightly larger and near-ubiquitous Mini-USB would've been better. Rear cover over battery and sim card is sturdy but very simple to remove. OVERALL: A mixed bag - excellent build quality and performance and a stunning design are almost ruined by poorly designed menus and cramped controls. I can't recommend the Opera Mini 4 browser highly enough - it's well designed and free, and a godsend that'll transform your browsing experience with this phone. So I'm keeping this phone, for now. It's benefits still significantly outway its limitations - many of which could be remedied with a software fix. However, I'll be keeping my eyes out for newer phones as my early upgrade date gets near. Stay tuned, and thanks.
2. bacardibubbles420 (unregistered)
I just got my new LG Shine yesterday. I absolutely LOVE the phone and the way it handles itself. My only complaint is the quietness of the ringer, the fact that when recieving a text message you cannot use your assigned ringtones only factory sounds, and I agree with the review about the menu options I believe they could have replaced the online options with things such as the calender, alarm clock, etc. for people like myself that do not use the internet on their phone. Or at least included the option to personalize your menu like i could on other phones. The camera ROCKS as well as the video. I am very happy with my Shine!!!
3. drewnin (unregistered)
I have found a way into engieering mode from a web site, but there is no option for increasing the volume. the volume sucks and needs a hack.. you can't hear incoming calls very well in even somewhat busy sounding areas to noisy areas. i've only had my phone for 1 day but i may return it for something different. This phone is for my teenager, and i want him to hear me calling.