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.

For reviews of the latest mobile phone handsets visit Mobile Advisor

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.

MANUFACTURER'S SPECIFICATIONS

For reviews of the latest mobile phone handsets visit Mobile Advisor

Features


Camera: 2Mp, AF CMOS
Java: MIDP 2.0

Messaging


SMS/EMS/MMS: yes
Video MMS: yes
email: yes
Predictive text input: yes, (T9)

Connectivity and audio


Wap: version 2.0
MIDI: 40
Bluetooth: 1.2

Basic specification


Type: slider
RF band: 900/1800/1900 (Tri-band)
Dimensions [LxWxD]: 99.8x50.6x13.8mm
Weight: with standard battery, 118g
Standard Battery, Max(mAh): 800mAh Li-Ion
Stand-by time, maximum (hrs): up to 280hrs
Display: external LCD (240x320 QVGA), number of colours (262,000)
Viration alert: yes
SIM toolkit: yes
Data/fax: yes
GPRS: yes

Internet


WAP: yes, version 2.0
Download/Save as: yes/yes

Data connectivity


USB/PC sync: yes/yes

PIM


Scheduler/alarm: yes/yes
Phonebook: yes, 1,000 names

Personalisation


Wallpaper/screensaver: yes
Picture/ringtone downloading: yes/yes

Advanced features


Java: yes, MIDP 2
Keytone effect: yes
Built-in game/number of games: java game/data CD
VOD/AOD: yes/yes
Image/video capture: yes/yes
Camera: yes (2Mp, autofocus, certified by Schneider-Kreuznach)
Camera zoom: digital x2
Internal memory: 50MB
External memory: MicroSD supported
MP3: yes
Voice memo: yes
Bluetooth: yes

Accessories


Strap: yes
Travel adaptor: yes
Headphones: yes
USB charger: yes

Manufacturer's blurb: Shine, the phone that will make you shine, is a highly attractive mobile phone. The moment you place "Shine" on a table, you will notice how the attractive features of this phone catch the attention of those close by. This is a natural human reaction to all things that shine. Its design was inspired by the luxurious shine of metal, creating a simple yet chic look and feel that will undoubtedly make you and your phone stand out from the crowd.

IMAGES TAKEN WITH THE LG SHINE KE970'S 2Mp CAMERA


Marie Brewis

We took the LG KE970's camera for a spin, to see just how good the 2Mp camera is. For reviews of the latest mobile phone handsets visit Mobile Advisor.

LG Shine KE970

Shutter speed is not great

But this isn't a bad shot of a moving car, and the background detail is pretty good.

LG Shine KE970

Levels of detail are pretty good

Even if my shot-composition leaves a little to be desired. It’s embarrassing taking random photos in central London, you know, even with the Shine.

LG Shine KE970

And this shot is over exposed

LG Shine KE970

The LG is not a fast camera to start up

Indeed, PC Advisor staff writer Zoe Mutter got pretty twitchy waiting for the LG Shine KE970 to take her photo!

LG Shine KE970

But although the shots are slightly over exposed, we feel they are plenty good enough for a 2Mp cameraphone

And PC Advisor's most photographed staff member, David Price, was happy to pose for as long as the LG Shine KE970 required.

LG Shine KE970: Specs

  • 2.5G/EDGE mobile handset
  • 2.2in TFT mirror display (240x320 pixels
  • 262,000 colours)
  • 2Mp Schneider-Kreuznach-certified lens with LED flash, autofocus and 2x digital zoom, supports video recording
  • MP3/AAC/AAC+/AAC++ player
  • email and browsing supported
  • 3D Java games
  • PowerPoint, Word, PDF, Excel and Text document viewer
  • Bluetooth
  • USB
  • Micro-SD (up to 2GB - check inclusion before purchase)
  • WAP 2.0
  • 280-hour battery life
  • 100x51x14mm
  • 119g
  • 2.5G/EDGE mobile handset
  • 2.2in TFT mirror display (240x320 pixels
  • 262,000 colours)
  • 2Mp Schneider-Kreuznach-certified lens with LED flash, autofocus and 2x digital zoom, supports video recording
  • MP3/AAC/AAC+/AAC++ player
  • email and browsing supported
  • 3D Java games
  • PowerPoint, Word, PDF, Excel and Text document viewer
  • Bluetooth
  • USB
  • Micro-SD (up to 2GB - check inclusion before purchase)
  • WAP 2.0
  • 280-hour battery life
  • 100x51x14mm
  • 119g

OUR VERDICT

No one could claim that the LG Shine KE970 isn't a gorgeous and fantastically styled phone, but its 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.

Find the best price