LG KS360 review
Know Your Mobile India brings you a hands on review of LG KS360, LG's first handset with QWERTY keypad
When LG India launched the KS 360 in the Indian market in mid-Feb this year, the handset showed a lot of promise, especially for the Indian youth segment. The handset was the Korean mobile manufacturer's first mobile phone with a QWERTY keypad.
Let me talk about the LG KS360's highlights first. Obviously, its ought to be the QWERTY keyboard which brings some fresh air to LG's product line-up.
The company introduced this handset keeping the Indian youth in mind, who are more into messaging and texting. The QWERTY keyboard is designed, perhaps, only for them as it is not very useful for a professional smartphone user.
The keypad looks quite decent on a phone with this price range. But when it comes to actually typing on it the keypad doesn't match up to the other slide out QWERTY keypads available in the market and we are not comparing it with very high-end phone models.
One, the keys are a bit too small without having much space between them. Using the 'Shift' and 'Fn' keys would prove to be a herculean task for a heavy texter as they are only on one side of the keypad, on the left. A QWERTY keypad is meant for them who are quite acquainted with the traditional QWERTY kepads being used in computers. It has a definite standard but here the keypad misses the standard at times which is bit bugging. The OK key at the bottom right is not placed intuitively and the [Space] key is a bit too small.
Moreover, when the handset is used in landscape mode, the QWERTY keyboard expects the user to be very intelligent as the menu-key co-ordination is not usual. Also, the texts on the screen, while in landscape mode, do not change to landscape. It remains in the potrait format which makes the user think which buttons to be used, whether from the keyboard or the general buttons.
Second, its build quality. The LG KS360 is remarkably well put together. It feels solid in the hand but light at just 106g thanks to the shedding of those premium features, while the spring loaded sliding keyboard gives confidence it will be working many years down the line. In fact, the overall effect is a handset which wouldn't look out of place alongside many of the more expensive Windows Mobile and Symbian-based smartphones on sale. The large 2.4-inch 256k colour screen is also vibrant and offers surprisingly responsive touch screen dialling when the keyboard is folded away.
Third, the touch screen number dialling is a great addition. Though the touch screen can only be used for making a call, the handset responds very well to the touch dialling. The touch area is very well defined and you will never overlap two keys while keying in. Out of hundred test dials, it just missed/overlapped once. I'd say that's a human error rather than the device'. While using the touch dial, we became little greedy and expected LG to extend the technology to other applications as well.
As for the camera, it may be fixed focus but its two-megapixel snaps are certainly above average and decent quality images can be produced in fair lighting conditions. Bluetooth V2.0 also makes it inside along with threaded SMS similar to that of the iPhone, email, an instant messenger application and the inclusion of a microSD expansion slot with support for cards holding to 4GB of storage.
That said, the LG KS360 - impressive as it is - isn't without some niggles. For example, while the handset lacks 3G that is no reason to install a basic WAP2.0 web browser and, though this isn't a high end device, equipping it with just 15MB of onboard memory is particularly penny pinching in 2009. Lastly, the omission of a 3.5mm headphone jack is a shame. Not only are you prevented from inserting your favourite buds, it also means you can't charge the phone and listen to music simultaneously.
Despite these grumbles, the LG KS360 is a decent handset, not forgetting the price, in what is sure to become an expanding category and one which the text addict and text amateur can enjoy with equal relish. Build quality is good, the screen sharp and vivid, while the headline grabbing Qwerty keyboard is top notch.
LG KS360 Info
Recommended price: Rs 9,500
2.4in QVGA is large and bright
2MP camera performs better than expected
Touchscreen keypad is fast and responsive
No 3.5mm headphone socket
WAP 2.0 browser unnecessarily antiquated
15MB of inbuilt memory is stingy
Verdict: The KS360 achieves exactly what it sets out to do. If you're seeking a simple, well made, low cost handset to make the most of your messaging look no further.