If it aint broke, dont fix it. LGs certainly taken this popular American saying to heart it has stuck to its Chocolate flavoured design with the launch of the KF510, its newest slider phone.
At first glance, its clear LG had the fashionistas in mind when designing this phone its sleek profile and all-metal body screams style the moment you pick it up. At 10.9mm thin, it is surprisingly slim for a slider phone so much so that you dont think its a slider at first grasp.
The use of metal and tempered scratch protective glass makes the phone pleasantly heavy, and gives it a high quality and expensive feel. I loved the lovely black-to-grey graded effect they have managed with the front of the phone, though the excessive use of glass and metal means the KF510 is one heckuva fingerprint magnet. Might I suggest a dedicated kerchief?
Its when you switch it on that the seemingly under-utilised section under the 262k colour, 2.2-in screen sparkles to life. Youd never know it until then, but under the screen is a touch-sensitive pad packed with LEDs, with certain areas serving as programmable or context sensitive soft keys (no buttons).
There are no arrows and youll have to either run a finger along or just touch the area to scroll, and an 80s arcade-game style animated arrow runs along with your finger movement. The closest analogy I can think of is a track pad on a laptop. Its a neat innovation, mildly gimmicky, and it takes some getting used to (like any new navigation mechanism).
LGs added a RAZR-style haptic (vibration) feedback and sounds to confirm commands, in case you have difficulties understanding when it happens. Aside from the user interface, the swipe-and-scroll is very responsive and like the iPhone, lets you scroll through a long list rather easily, yet precisely.
Then again, this is a slider, right? Sliding open the KF510 is a smooth one-handed operation, and the sliding mechanism feels stable, and not loose like some of the other sliders. The slider also protects the camera lens and the memory card slot, which is handy.
Theres a 12-button standard backlit numeric keypad, but its in some of the other buttons that LG has innovated. Take the music/camera button when pressed, it starts the music player. A press-and-hold activates the camera.
One button does both, and you have one less button to mar the look of the phone. Though I have to say, Im mildly troubled by the slider button, which performs an End Call/Back function, but held too long can switch off your phone. Ouch!
Interface-wise, the 510 has a quick and responsive proprietary user interface (UI), which can be themed to your taste. You can use the touch pad or the numeric keys to select the menu options. The 2.2-in, 262K-colour LCD TFT display with QVGA resolution is rather standard, but the phone suffers in direct sunlight, and youre left twisting it around to find a glare-free angle.
The phonebook and messaging functions are passable, though I still feel LG has many miles to go in this department. Its internet functions are also mostly cosmetic this is not a serious information-consumption device by any means. The music player and the video player do enough to justify their inclusion, as do the barebones Word/Excel/Powerpoint viewers. Overall, the UI isnt as slick as phone ends up looking.
Its the camera that manages to pull the argument somewhat in the KF510s favour, with above average picture quality and a rich selection of settings. For a 3MP camera, the images were low on noise and high on detail, and excelled in day time shots.
And its quick especially if youre saving to the phone memory. Then again, at 16MB, there isnt very far you can go with that. The included 1GB card comes to the rescue here, but that compromises on the time taken to save each shot.
Just another pretty face then? Whats beyond doubt is that LG KF510 is a very sleek and fashionable phone, but scratch the surface and there isnt anything new under the hood, really.
After some amount of use, the novelty of the trackpad wears off, and from there on, its rather an average phone, both in terms of hardware and UI. Clearly, much like most fashion phones, this is one phone youd want to try before you buy.
• Network: GSM EDGE Tri-band (900/1800/1900)
• Display: 2.2in, 240x320 pixels, 262K colours
• Camera: 3MP Autofocus CMOS sensor (max resolution 2048 x 1536) with Shake reduction
• Memory: 16MB (internal) plus MicroSD slot for upto 4GB expansion
• Connectivity: GPRS/ EDGE (Class 10), USB 2.0, Bluetooth 2.0
• Other features: Touch Navigation with LED Lighting Effect, Auto Luminance Control, Anti-theft Mobile Tracker, Document Viewer (MS Office, PDF, Text)
• Embedded applications: Games (Blaster Ball, ClubHouse, LG Racing, Onstrike, Teaser, Mini Game World, Sudoku Puzzle), DataWallet, HealthChart, Yogasanas
• Battery (talk/standby) time: 3hrs/250 hours
• Dimensions: 104.5 x 49.5 x 10.9 mm
• Weight: 91gm
• Accessories: Battery, charger, manual, driver CD, user data cable, ear-microphone, 1GB MicroSD card
• Rating: 7/10
• Price: Rs 12,250
• URL: http://www.in.lge.com/Product/Products- Details.aspx?pid=6075&cat=267&subcat=KF510
All charged up
A quick show of hands who wouldnt want longer lasting notebook batteries? Until the labs perfect that one, the APC Universal Notebook Battery will have to do. With the capability to auto-sense the voltage requirements of the connected laptop, the device also provides two USB jacks for external power to a phone or iPod.
Two models provide either 90 watt-hours (UPB90) and 70 watt-hours (UPB70), thats roughly equivalent to doubling or tripling your current battery backup, based on which laptop you use and your power settings.
• URL: http://www.apc.com
• Price: UPB90: $225, UPB70: $135
If youre one of the lucky few out there who has a swimming pool/Jacuzzi at your disposal, or
really love the sound of music in your bathtub, the Aqua Sounders floating wireless speakers from Grace Digital are just the thing for you.
Just toss them into the pool, and theyll stream music wirelessly for upto 10 hours from a base station that can be located up to 150ft away. The base station connects to any device with a stereo headphone-out, and the speakers themselves are submersible to upto 3m. And if youre part of the aforementioned few, and one speaker isnt enough for your Olympic-sized pool, you can add upto 10 speakers to the same source.
• URL: http://www.neimanmarcus.com
• Price: Base Unit and Wireless Speaker: $149.99,
additional wireless speaker: $99.99