Review by Sunetra Chakravati,
12/12/2011 3:54:58 PM
Easy to use interface and hardware, surprisingly good internet.
Basic camera, some shortcut buttons only work from the home screen.
Anybody who has issues with newfangled technology getting smaller and smaller will find this phone eminently usable. And it’s not only the sheer size of the display – ease of use is the main highlight of the KF300.
The KF300 is a classic clamshell form, with sturdy rubber backing and an elegant front face with a secondary screen. Unfortunately, this screen doesn’t display any missed calls or messages, and only shows the clock for around three seconds before it switches off. At 99x50x16mm, the phone isn’t compact but it does feel solid in the hand, and the flip mechanism works smoothly, with enough weight to prevent the phone from snapping shut too forcefully (as fun as that is). One stand-out hardware feature is the number of dedicated buttons – there’s a camera key, a volume control, and four buttons on the front face for alarms, calendar, contacts and favourites. Unfortunately, those last four keys only work when you’re in the home screen, which rather defeats the purpose of having so-called shortcut buttons at all. All the keys are massive, from the D-pad to the numbers, and they’re all labelled with hyper large, easy to see symbols. Texting, even in the dark (or for the bifocal crowd), is extremely straightforward, though it would be helpful if the phone had a backlight.
The menu system is a simple, grid-style icon navigation, with the option to switch into an even more old-school list view. You can choose between black and silver themes, with the nice touch that as soon as you scroll to the option, the phone automatically previews the look. Notable is the sheer size of the fonts you can choose to display in – they start at ‘normal’, which is sizeable already, and go all the way to ‘super’, which should be viewed easily even by the blindest of bats.The KF300 is only capable of EDGE data speeds, but nonetheless, internet browsing is generally speedy. The browser resizes pages to fit perfectly onto the screen, and using the D-pad to access embedded links is intuitive and glitch-free. That said, the screen is a bit small for heavy web browsing, and is probably most appropriate for news headline surfing or the odd Google search. The only issue arises when typing into text fields in the browser, as it’s hard to tell whether you’ve typed an extra space.
You’ve got a rudimentary 1.3-megapixel camera here, though you can adjust the zoom and exposure directly from the screen. Pictures are strictly for phone viewing only, and after snapping the image, you have the option to set it as wallpaper, add it to a contact or send it via email, MMS or Bluetooth. There’s also an MP3 player, and the device is bundled with an adaptor and mediocre headphones (no 3.5mm audio jack, not that you’d expect it of a low-end phone like the KF300). The function to make ‘on the go’ playlists is useful, and you can acquire new songs via PC cable transfer or Bluetooth. The latter isn’t as smooth a transfer as it could be, with files going into a separate folder that you then have to manually add to the MP3 player. The FM radio is actually a neat little app, as it will auto scan the radio waves for stations, and then prompt you to save them as preset channels. Unfortunately, you can’t leave it to run in the background.
Plenty of hardware and software design touches make the LG KF300 incredibly simple to use, and its entertainment features, though limited, are reasonable for its price. It’s a phone built around a simple ethos – make it easy – and it shows.