LG KF700 Review

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Introduction and Design
This is an unlocked GSM phone which can operate in the
US on AT&T (without 3G) and T-Mobile (without 3G).

Introduction:

Lately, an interesting trend can be noticed. More and more manufacturers of mobile devices start focusing on the touchscreen technology. The main reason for that is the convenient control options it offers. We shouldn’t forget that touching is one of the first human reflexes. From the earliest childhood days, the first think a human wants to do after seeing an object, is to touch it.

“Unfortunately,” the majority of phone users have lived long enough and have developed other reflexes and habits, such as the necessity for a hardware keyboard for text input. In order to satisfy their needs, LG has designed the hybrid slider KF700, equipped with a 3.0” touchscreen and hidden hardware keys. The other heavily advertised feature is the “wheel” and the related shortcut menu, called shortcut dial. In combination with the touchscreen, controlling the device should be very easy.

The package includes:

  • KF700
  • Charger
  • Handsfree
  • Data cable
  • Screen protector
  • User’s Manual
  • Software Mini Disk

Unfortunately, there is no case, which could have been very useful for that type a phone – a real magnet for fingerprints and scratches.

The unit used for this review is intended for the European carrier O2. This has resulted in the presence of a company logo icon on the homescreen and a link in the shortcut dial.

Design:

When the phone is closed it looks very much like its rival from Samsung, the F700. The main difference is that the display is 3.0” ( 0.2”smaller), and the very device is much more compact, but is still far from the new standards for a slim slider. However, KF700’s resolution is larger (240x480 VS. 240х432 in F700). It offers very good picture quality, with well-saturated colors and excellent touch sensitivity. Besides, since they react to touch by any object, you don’t have to use your fingers only (stylus not included). It’s a pity that KF700 has been infected by the mirror effect disease, affected most modern smartphones. That of course, makes it almost unusable in a direct sunlight. The upper slider is made out of metal and there are no buttons present on it.



You can compare the LG KF700 to many other phones, using PhoneArena's Visual Size Compare tool.

All of them have been saved for the part that is revealed once the slider is pushed up. That’s not a hard task, but it’s not a pleasant one either. The reason for that is the weak mechanism, which feels as if it wasn’t there, and the lack of elements (protruding ones for example) where to place your finger. We are happy that once open, the phone is one of the most stable sliders.


That`s where the similarities with the rival end. The keyboard is regular instead of QWERTY. Besides the standard numeric buttons, you have the buttons for accepting, rejecting a call and the “clear” one. All of them are big and easy to press, but have no well expressed relief and you cannot recognize them just by touch. There are no functional buttons, since by using the touchscreen, you can enter the same commands.

We are disappointed by the function of the rotating wheel, positioned on the left. It’s intended as a separate input method, but that is exaggerating big time. It can assist you if you use it for scrolling, but the fact that working with the screen (that’s the phone’s idea anyway) is more convenient, makes it pointless. Besides as a volume control, it can only be used to navigate through the shortcut menu, which is activated, by pressing the button next to it.

On the right, we have the camera button, which is very user-friendly, accompanied by the locking one. It acts both for both the keyboard and the display, but is too small and has no relief. Here, we also have the charger/data cable/handsfree connector and on the top side is located the microSD slot.

Looking at the back of the phone, we find the 3-megapixel camera with LED flash and the rotating wheel, which is pleasantly illuminated in blue when in use.


Overall, KF700’s appearance is not what makes the phone attractive. The only impressive thing is the large screen, and the design is extremely simplified. It’s good that as a whole, the phone is well built and it looks like it will last.



LG KF700 Video Review:




LG KF700 360 Degrees View




Interface:

In term of software, LG KF700 is similar to the other non-smartphones with a sensitive display by the manufacturer, including Viewty and PRADA. The few changes here are mostly positive.

The homescreen can be animated (with the default pictures being Keith Haring’s heritage, as in KF600), which adds freshness to the image of the phone. In the bottom part there are four shortcuts leading to key functions: number input, phonebook, messages and the main menu. They are large enough to be pressed by fingers and are very well combined with the excellent sensitivity of the display so operating them is trouble free.

Here you will meet the first innovation in KF700’s interface:

Widgets

They are called from the arrow, located below the upper border of the display. There are four available variants:

- Analog clock – which offers fast access to the alarms settings
- Double digital clock – it can show the time in your city and in an additional one of your choice
- Calendar – you see the entire month, with the marked event days, but the functionality is limited and you can only see the daily events
- Notes – you can only write one note, to remind you of important events. The good news is that it comes in 6 color variants.


Unfortunately, the functionality of these applications is extremely limited. You cannot have more than one visualized nor can you move them around freely (even the clock in contrast to PRADA and Viewty).

Nevertheless, when talking about navigation, KF700 has another Ace in its sleeve:

Shortcut dial

As we mentioned above, it is definitely not a revolutionary invention, but can be handy, since it offers fast access to a number shortcuts. The list appears when you press the button on the left side, no matter the menu you are in (excluding the games). The screen you have been looking at until now, becomes a background, but after you are done with a specific function, you are taken back where you’ve been. Switching to the different items is done via the wheel, and the options are selected, by using the button on the left. The menus housed here by default are:

- O2 Active – access to the directory, and the versions not associated with a provider this space is reserved for a shortcut to YouTube Video
- Album – containing both, your pictures and videos
- Music Player
- Camcorder
- FM Radio
- Shortcut-dial settings – and yes, the good news is that this menu can be personalized by selecting different options to be available in it. You can place almost everything here, except the phonebook and a shortcut to the main menu

If you think a little bit more on how to order the icons and combine them with the ones from the homepage, you can drastically diminish the necessity to enter the main menu. It is not pleasant that you are limited to having a total of only five choices.

Multitasking

In the upper part of the screen in almost all menus (not including the main menu, camera and album) there is a line with 4 shortcuts. The first leads to the multitasking menu, which shows all the applications running and you can easily stop any of them or easily switch to another one.

If you press the top row (the one containing the system info) you will open an info screen with the detailed info about the phone’s status, including 3 more shortcuts.


Main menu

The main menu is divided in four tabs (Phone functions, Multimedia, Organizer, and Settings). Everything in it is arranged very logically and even the people who are first-time users of this interface will not have any troubles. The icons have animated transition, but that has barely reflected on the fast menu opening. They look good, but unfortunately, only two color schemes are available – black and blue ( called Sky) You have almost no options to personalize their appearance. After we saw how easy it is to create your own theme right in the phone in Samsung (Soul), we find the lack of such an option here for a serious drawback.

KF700 has four predefined profiles and three for user customization. All they can be changed, allowing for different ringing types and tones, as well as three vibration (haptic feedback) types and levels (up to 7). Unfortunately, the scrolling problem in the menus still remains (for example in the dual clock on the homepage), where instead of „catch and push”, you’ll have to use the small inconvenient arrows on the side.

Phonebook:

The Phonebook is similar to the one seen in Viewty or in other words, the best LG offers in its non-smart phones. The names are big and very easily read, but regrettably, the caller ID picture does not appear even when a given contact has been selected. To search for a contact you can either input symbols via the hardware or the virtual keyboard, which is visualized on the screen when the phone is open.
The last one is very user-friendly with very large buttons. Luckily, the system searches for matches in both names of a contact.


Adding a contact offers you fields for names, up to five numbers (no matter their type), two emails and a full address. Of course, each phonebook entry can have a personal image and ringtone, as well as being added to a group.



Dialer:

Similarly to the phonebook, you can either use the hardware or the virtual keyboard by pressing “Dial”. However if you are using the last option, the system will not be able to search automatically for number matches in the phonebook and the call history, but instead, you’ll have to use the “search contacts”. No matter what you do, you will not be able to get a name match, which makes that option almost pointless.

Organizer:

The third tab in the main menu houses all the organizer tools. Total of five alarms can be added, each with a separate time, recurrence options, name and tone. A few clicks are required to add an event (Appointment, Anniversary, or Birthday) to the calendar. Optional fields include subject/name, location, alarm and recurrence options. You are also able to search for text in the events added. Tasks can be added with three priority levels, while memos are just plain notes without any options. There also are a simple calculator, a world clock and a currency converter.

You also have the option of recording sound, with the size of the file depending on the memory available. Unfortunately, the quality level is not very good. There’s an annoying background sound and overall, the sound is not loud enough unless you record with the phone very close to your mouth.


The phone lacks real File Manager, which allows you to preview all files stored in the integrated memory or the card. It is replaced with the more typical for non-smart phones, browser that filters the files by their type (Pictures, Audio, Video, Applications, Documents, Flash, Others). Every time any of the filters is selected, it searches the available content, which takes some time to load.

KF700 is equipped with a 176MB built-in memory (strangely, according to LG’s official specifications it, is 90MB), which can be expanded up to 4 GB via a microSD HC card.



Messaging:

For writing messages, you’ll have to rely on the hardware keyboard only. Since the software one can be used for searching the contacts, we find this illogical. In addition, the lack of a handwriting recognition option limits the touch screen’s functions even further. By using it, you’ll only be able to add special symbols and punctuation marks, to turn off/on the T9 predictive text feature and to select the imput method.

If you include multimedia content such as a picture or tone, the message will turn from an ordinary SMS to a MMS.

KF700 has a e-mail IMAP4/POP3 client, but it doesn’t offer to automatically setup an account, even one in the popular web mail servers, which is annoying for such a versatile device.

Connectivity:

To our great regret KF700 is not fully usable in the U.S. It is tri-band GSM/EDGE (900/1800/1900 MHz) with single-band (2100MHz) UMTS/HSDPA 3.6/7.2 MBps, making it suitable only for the European market.

The full HTML Internet browser is one of the best features of the phone and is one of the best on the market. It loads heavy sites (such as phonarena.com) correctly without any problems. There are options for full screen, landscape or portrait orientation and for zooming out (by using the wheel, so the whole site can be visualized) and then zooming in a particular part of the page. What we dislike, is the way one moves through the page: although we are already used to operating the phone, scrolling in any direction works but is far from the iPhone, which is much more adequate. Strangely, when you have to input text in landscape mode, a full QWERTY appears, which is very convenient, but is not present anywhere else. We would love to have it as an input method when writing a message.


For local connectivity, KF700 uses Bluetooth or a cable, which regrettably, is not standard mini or microUSB. Naturally, an IrDA port is not present, since it’s an extinct feature on the market. The phone lacks a WiFi support, the presence of which in a non-smart device is rare. It is strange that in this model, coming out in the middle of 2008, LG repeats the Viewty mistake and employs a Bluetooth modul version 1.2 (instead of the current 2.0). The difference in the transfer rate of large files is considerable. At least the phone has the profiles required for Stereo Audio distribution over Bluetooth.

The package also includes a mini disk with LG PC Suite. It is used for synchronization of the contacts, messages and files on the phone with a computer, via Bluetooth or a cable. In order to do that, you have to switch the phone to data connection mode. There are two more options – music synchronization (which only discovers the songs on the phone and in the specific folder on the card) and data storage device (which lets you browse only the memory card). Unfortunately, these options do not automatically appear on the screen when you plug in a cable but you have to select them from the main menu, which is not very convenient.



Camera:

We were quite reserved towards this element of the phone, since it can snap pictures with a resolution of “only”3-megapixels. In addition, LG has never been known for the great camera quality of their phones.

We were pleasantly surprised from the way the interface started. By pressing the button on the right, the picture snapping is activated and by pressing and holding it, the camcorder. It starts for about 2 second, which is quite fast. The autofocus is also quick (about 3 seconds), and saving the image takes approximately 4 seconds.

The landscape-oriented viewfinder occupies the whole 3-inch display, with small indicators over the top and icons in the left and right side. They provide fast access to flash options, scene modes, compensation, shooting mode, exposure and settings. The last ones are visualized in a large grid of icons, with list with options. Thanks to the touch navigation, it is relatively easy to adjust any of them. Here unlike in Viewty, you don’t have to save after each change, which enables you to adjust all the settings simultaneously and then go back to the main interface.


The various options and the user-friendly interface are not necessarily equal to good quality. Most of the extras the camera has will be rarely used, and what actually matters is how the pictures look, especially full-sized.

The photos are average for a 3-megapixel phone. Outdoors during the day, you’ll have a relatively good detail, but the colors will not be well saturated and pale. As with most mobile devices, the indoor results are much worse. Even in a well-lighted place, the picture is blurry and with a lot of noise. The flash manages to just slightly improve the results and using it is mandatory if you want to use the autofocus, since it will act as assisting light source.



The only thing worth praise in the camcorder is the interface, similar to the one of the top cameraphone Viewty. Unfortunately, that’s the only similarity between the two. The videos can be recorded with a resolution up to 320x240 pixels with just 15 fps. The quality is below the average for the current standards.



Multimedia:

In both camera modes (photo/video) there is a shortcut to the gallery, which includes both types of files. It is very well designed and fully optimized for work with the touchscreen. After opening a picture, you can slide to the previous/next, by running your finger across the screen as if to push it out of the display. Unfortunately, the videos cannot be controlled in this way. You can zoom in through the screen or the wheel.


Of course, a phone cannot go without a proper music player either. Although this one is not the best we’ve seen, it still does a decent job. The filtering menu doesn’t have a modern look, but it offers the set of options you'd expect: recently played, artists, albums, genres, shuffle tracks. Once you start the player, the interface offers a lot of space for track related information, but not enough for the album cover. You can minimize it and still play, enabling you to use the other functions of the device.

The main obstacle for using KF700 as a portable jukebox is the extremely weak speaker. A separate one for music is not present and the regular phone speaker is used. Luckily, the sound quality is good, without any noises. Another good news is the presence in the box of a converter to 3.5 mm jack. So, if you don’t like the factory headphones, you can easily plug in a different set.


Since the handsfree acts as an antenna, using it is mandatory if you want to take advantage of the FM radio. You can automatically search for the stations available and save up to 24 separate ones.

The video player interface is the same as the music one. The file formats which it supports are MPEG-4 (H.263 and H.264) and 3gp. Unfortunately, the DivX support, which was Viewty’s big advantage before the competition, is not present here. Besides, you are not able to watch videos with a resolution higher than 320х240, which is kind of strange. The display is widely advertised as very suitable for full screen video watching, but in reality, the picture (of a video with such a resolution) is positioned in its centre only. However, the player would satisfy the needs of the mass consumer since it reproduces with no problem even 30fps videos.



Software:

KF700 is equipped with a document viewer as well. Using it, you‘ll be able to view (not to edit) Office 2003 files. The only trouble we had, was with the large excel tables, which led to insufficient memory notification. Except loading the massive PDF documents, which is somewhat slow, we were able to view them easily. There is only one element that we feel is annoying; if you zoom in on a page and go to the next one, you’ll have to zoom again since it goes back to whole page view. Unfortunately, Office 2007 is not supported.


Our KF700 (O2 variant) came preloaded with two games – a Bejewеled demo and Thomsons & Touch we know from KF600. The last one requires fully the use of the touch screen and since it is much fun, we wasted a lot of time with it. It is possible to install various JAVA applications, which are not especially made for a touch display phone. When you load them, you will see a navigation pad (same as with Bejeweled).



Performance:

No matter how many various features a phone has, its main purpose should be making calls with good sound quality. Regrettably, KF700’s performance was mediocre. The sound in the receiver varies (louder-quieter) and the voices are sharp and sometimes hard to understand. On the other end of the line the situation is better – the inconsistent sound quality is not present here and even though your voice is heard as somewhat monotonous, it is easy to understand.

The loudspeaker is useless, because you will not understand anything your collocutor is saying.

According to LG, KF700’s battery should provide 3 hours of talking or 14 days in a standby mode. Our tests proved those specifications with the phone giving up after a day and a half, including talking for over an hour, 30 minutes of surfing the Internet and wasting a lot of time  with Thomsons & Touch. Nevertheless we feel that the battery is weak and do not recommend it to heavy talkers.

Conclusion:

Overall, we are disappointed by the KF700. The three different navigation modes promised, are basically inapplicable and you’ll have to use mainly the touch screen. All the other functions are average (except the good browser), and on top of that it has unattractive design.

However, when compared to the direct competition in the face of mid-level touch phones like Samsung F700 and F490, it performed very well and its interface is much more user-friendly.

If you still want to use the regular hardware keyboard, KF700 is just for you. If not, Viewty is a much better solution (at almost the same price) – you’ll get a better camera and great multimedia features.



Pros

  • 3.0” touch display with great sensitivity
  • A good web browser

Cons

  • Mediocre sound quality during a talk
  • Disappointing camera
  • Average media players
  • Unattractive design

PhoneArena Rating:

7.0

User Rating:

8.7
2 Reviews

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