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Nice touch screen, but only an average phone
on 15 May 2009
Although the KP500 (I just can't call it Cookie) has been marketed by LG as a touch-screen phone for those somewhat more budget-conscious than those lucky iPhone owners, it's still a decent handset in its own right.
The screen is large and clear, but thankfully the handset is still quite thin and very light. It's certainly more pocket friendly than the iPhone. Screen response is quite good (scrollbars can be difficult to work with) and the included stylus works well if you need a little more precision, such as when using the drawing pad.
The features are fairly standard, although there are games included which take advantage of the touch screen and the fact you can `shake' the phone to move things, plus Muvee Studio, which allows you to create simple photo slideshows. In fact, multimedia capability generally is very good, with a nice gallery for your photos and videos, which can be flicked through with the quick swipe of a finger.
The MP3 player works just fine, although I haven't used it much, and the FM radio gives a reasonably clear signal as long as you aren't moving too much. Be warned though, as this is an LG model you get the usual fairly hopeless LG earphones complete with their proprietary connector.
You can swipe your finger on the screen to spin it around to access a page of your speed dials, complete with pictures if you wish. This is nice to look at but a bit slow to use. Message text entry is taken care of by using a standard representation of a phone keypad, or if you rotate the phone a QWERTY keyboard pops up. This is great if you have very, very skinny fingers. If not, it takes a bit (OK, a lot) of getting used to. If you're REALLY brave you can try out the handwriting tool and use the stylus to write your text.
The large screen makes internet use comfortable, although this phone isn't 3G so it has its limits and can be quite slow. Still nicer to use than most other mobiles I've owned over the years though.
So the KP500 is well featured, pleasant to use, looks pretty good and performs well. But there are a few shortcomings. As a phone, it's lacking. Voice clarity and signal pickup are not very good, with callers frequently telling me they can't hear me very well or I keep going silent. For a phone that has so many good photo tools, such as the gallery, a good editing suite and Muvee Studio, the 3 megapixel camera is a letdown. There's no flash so indoor photos are generally poor, but outdoor pictures are better. It is quick to operate so you can take snaps in a moment, it's just a shame the quality isn't great.
As a video camera, the KP500 isn't much use. It can only shoot low resolution and the lag is pretty bad making videos quite jerky. It's good enough for MMS and such like, but again, in a phone with so many multimedia features, it should be better.
I had to update the phone's firmware as unfortunately there is a bug that was preventing me installing new games onto the phone from LG's own website. Daunting though this was, I eventually managed it with relative ease via download through the internet, much to my surprise. Generally though, the included PC Suite software and associated connectivity for the phone is as rubbish as my previous experiences with LG software. And I couldn't even get it to work properly on Vista, thankfully I did manage it on my XP machine.
Finally, there's battery performance. When fully charged, you get maybe a couple of days of low to average use before the indicator drops from its full 3 bar condition to 2 bars (or `medium' as the status display interprets it). Then it plummets off a proverbial cliff to empty within minutes. I made a call just yesterday with the battery on `medium' and the phone ran out of charge during the call - approximately 6-7 minutes. Hopeless. So be prepared to spend some electricity on it.
The shortcomings are unfortunate, but the KP500 is still an impressive phone for the price. If you're desperate for a touch screen and can live with a few irritations, it's well worth buying. But if you use your phone a lot and don't need a few gimmicks, you may be better looking elsewhere.