The LG Shine KE970, or Titanium, is a very stylish mobile phone with a slick 2.2in screen that doubles as a mirror.

Over the past year or so LG has moved away from being 'the company that manufactures fridges' to position itself in the mobile phone market as a real fashion icon; its Chocolate and Prada handsets continue to scoop some of the most admiring glances in the industry. It's no surprise, then, that the company's second handset in its Black Label series, the LG Shine KE970, is designed purely for the posers among us.

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The Titanium is aptly named. It's adorned with oodles of gorgeous, shiny stainless steel and all but screams out for our attention. But, given that the LG Shine KE970's lone stand-out feature is a 2.2in display that doubles as a mirror, this is perhaps one fashion accessory that should never leave the catwalk.

Indeed, while style simply doesn't come in bigger bags than those found at LG's camp, if you ignore the LG Shine KE970's intuitive interface then its general usability doesn't bear thinking about. And it won't take long for a plethora of greasy fingerprints and dirty scratches to ruin the appeal of the LG Titanium's mirror display.

To start there's no clearly formed ridge to open this sexy slider, requiring you to operate it with the scrollwheel and then cancel out of whichever menu option you've landed upon. The LG Shine KE970 Titanium's scrollwheel itself is a wicked invention, both difficult to use and unnecessary, while far too many tiny and awkwardly spaced buttons operate the same function. That said, the LG Shine KE970's flat numberpad is well laid out.

Not only are the LG Shine KE970's earphones far from dainty and petite – we couldn't even fit them in our reasonably sized ears – they're also a surprisingly revolting shade of grey for a mobile that has style at its heart. While you can swap one half of the embarrassing combo for your own set of earphones, you're stuck with the proprietary cable that plugs into the handset itself.

The Titanium's MP3 player supports a decent range of audio formats, including AAC, AAC+ and AAC++ files, and sound quality is quite acceptable. The LG Shine KE970 will also access audio files from the external memory, although this can be tricky to set up.

However, the LG Shine KE970 isn't as confident as it looks and, with the volume at its highest setting, you'll soon be the owner of a collection of missed calls. We also found it irritating that, although we could change the ringtone quite easily, we couldn't find an option for changing message alert tones. And, while we're on the topic, the lengthy and bizarre method of adding symbols to a text message actively encourages bad grammar.

The LG Shine KE970's camera is one feature with more than bright lights and makeup on its mind, and we were impressed with photos taken with the Titanium's 2Mp Schneider-Kreuznach-certified lens. Practise is essential, and you may find the reflective screen a little difficult to use for composing outdoor shots.

The LG Shine KE970 is hardly the camera for action shots, and accessing the camera via its shortcut button is a drawn-out affair. The LG Shine Titanium's autofocus function means there's quite a delay between hitting capture and actually capturing the shot, but if your subject is willing to sit pretty then the LG Shine KE970 is capable of a good shot.

Other additions to the LG Shine KE970's tool set include a document viewer, web browser and email support, Bluetooth, flight mode and power-saving settings.

Verdict


No one could claim that the LG Shine KE970 isn't a gorgeous and fantastically styled phone, but the Titanium's beauty goes only skin deep. Usability is beyond awkward and we’d have liked to have seen some 3G functionality in such a high-end phone.


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