A couple of days ago we brought you news of the new INQ mobiles which was aimed more at the cheaper end of the market (not that it was in any way devoid of features), so we thought to compliment it that a look at the new LG Arena KM900 (or just LG Arena) was necessary.
On first look the Arena just looks like one 3” screen that has been surrounded in chrome (almost like an iPhone with a horribly cheap case) but although the white and black don’t combine brilliantly it is definitely phone that looks smart and wouldn’t be out of place on either a boardroom desk or a street corner in Hackney.
Obviously the screen is the main point of the phone (as it is the only way of controlling it excluding the three buttons on the bottom) so it is crucial that it is effective and easy to use – and fortunately, for the most part, it is.
Despite the fact that LG have opted for the slightly outdated TFT technology over the generally better quality OLED the picture quality, brightness and contrast are all excellent; this is mostly down to sheer pixel density as the Arena packs 800×480 onto the 3” screen which results in one of the best ‘pixel per inch’ figures for phones of this size.
The sensitivity is also pretty good as the relatively powerful CPU and 3D graphics accelerator combine with the aforementioned screen to instantly register touches (although irritatingly not styluses which means there’s no practical way of utilising the handwriting possibilities). In fact the only real negative regarding the screen is legibility in sunlight which is very poor making it very difficult to even see what is on the screen never mind enjoy it.
Surrounding the screen are all the necessary standard input/output bits and pieces (volume control, headphones etc.) which fortunately fail to impact on the sleek design – in fact there are only two interruptions to the smooth finish that are worth noting: one is the USB port which although hides under a nice sliding cover to protect it, is not microUSB meaning you have to use the supplied LG cable all the time.
The second is the 5 megapixel camera which although has a relatively useless LED flash is pretty impressive – the pictures it takes are of good quality (and it can record video at 720×480 up to 30 fps) and the on screen options and viewfinder are easy to use and change. Obviously it’s not perfect, and the more avid photographers out there may complain of aggressive noise reduction, but to be honest for most purposes it is perfectly adequate especially when you consider the image stabalisation and geotagging which are nice additions.
As far as features go this phone is pretty well adorned and has most of the things you would expect from a touch screen phone at the time (including GPS, 3G, video calling via a small secondary camera, multi-touch, an accelerometer – the works) and the S-Class Touch UI is very impressive, fluctuating around the usability of that of the iPhone.
In fact in many ways it’s significantly better than the iPhone – it has a removable battery, a micro SD card slot, superior resolution and a much better camera, and at around £300 it is that bit cheaper; and when you also consider that most of the other things that count are also similar in quality (UI, big screens, multi-touch and connectivity options to mention just a few) you would be forgiven for thinking that the LG Arena will definitely take the iPhone’s crown.
However what it does lack is real smartphone capabilities, and that is what will keep Apple’s pride and joy in the lead, but if you’re looking for a reasonably priced touchscreen phone then you would be foolish not to at least consider this, and positively intelligent to buy it. All in all, the LG Arena is a top notch mobile phone.
Via – gsmArena