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Review of LG's KF700 touchscreen-equipped slider phone

Review by Russell Jefferies on Tuesday February 24, 2009.

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The KF700 is LG's latest touchscreen device, offering a slide-out keypad and rear-mounted shortcut dial. The device is designed as an all-round multimedia device, sporting a large display, 3 megapixel camera, and an HSDPA connection for speedy web browsing. It could be seen as an iPhone competitor with a keypad, but will its designer image offer anything to worry Apple's popular handset? We take a closer look to find out.

Physical Aspects

The LG KF700 is a mid-to-large sized device that looks very similar to many of LG's other devices. It sports a very clean, simplistic design and looks especially similar to LG's KU990 Viewty that I reviewed earlier this year. Unlike the Viewty, the KF700 has a sliding form-factor, meaning that it has a hidden slide-out keypad. For me this is good news, as one of my main gripes with the Viewty was having to type messages on the touchscreen(INFO).

The device's actual measurements are 50mm x 101mm x 15mm (2" x 4" x .6"), meaning it's still easily pocketable. It also weighs-in at a fairly hefty 110g (3.9oz), giving it a reassuringly weighty feel in the hand. Overall the device feels very robust and of high quality. There are no squeaks or creaks to be heard and the slide mechanism feels like it'll last a long time. The slide action is spring-assisted and very smooth.

The front of the KF700 is covered mostly with a transparent piece of plastic that covers the display and surrounding black area. The large 3" 240 x 480 pixel display is capable of showing 262,000 bright colors and is easy to read in any lighting. However, due to the fantastic brightness of the display, it can be slightly painful to look at in the dark. Unfortunately there is no auto-dimming function either.

Just above the display is the forward facing camera, LG logo, and the device's earpiece. Strips of black brushed plastic finish off the top and bottom edges of the fascia. The rear of the device is just as simple, clad completely in matte black plastic. The battery cover dominates most of the rear, with an LG logo at the bottom. Above the battery cover you'll find the camera lens for the 3 megapixel camera, plus the LED flash and the shortcut dial. The dial is silver and contains a thin transparent ring that illuminates in a vivid blue color when the dial is turned. It also illuminates to notify users of new events.

The top edge of the device is home to the covered microSD(INFO) slot and lanyard fixing. The left side of the device is seemingly barren, with only the launcher button for the shortcut dial. However, just above this key the edge of the shortcut dial is exposed, allowing you to operate it with your index finger when holding the phone. (Lefties can happily use their thumb to operate this dial.) The right side of the device houses the camera shutter button, screen lock button, and the charger/data/headphone multi-port. The bottom edge of the device is completely bare.

Through the middle of the KF700 is a metallic silver band, which helps break up the overall darkness of the device. Pushing upwards on the front half of the device will cause the whole fascia to spring up, revealing the generously-sized keypad. The whole keypad is perfectly flat with only thin grooves separating the keys. Although flat, the keys give decent tactile feedback, with a satisfying click. They are backlit with a simple white color, aside from the green and red send/end keys. The only thing I disliked about the keypad was how close the send/end keys were to the numeric keys. They were just as close to the numeric keys as the numeric keys were to each other. This meant that I occasionally hit the end key by mistake when typing a message, causing the phone to quit the message and save it to drafts. Overall though, the keypad was very good.

Unfortunately the KF700 has no d-pad, which means that everything has to be selected by touching the screen or using the shortcut dial. This is fine for most things, but can be somewhat restrictive when trying to edit messages and such. The device is powered on and off by long-pressing the end key.

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About the author

Russell Jefferies
Russell Jefferies reviews mobile phones for MobileBurn from his home located in Bristol in the United Kingdom.

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