With its smoked glass and chrome finish, the KF600 is a striking slider phone that’s well built, feels good and looks original. We also think the InteractPad user interface looks great, even though only a section of the screen is touch-sensitive.
The InteractPad is a quirky feature that’s integral to the handset’s usability. Elsewhere, the feature set is distinctly mid-range. The three-megapixel camera is a plus, but the lack of 3G is a shame. Although the display is large and undisturbed by any unsightly keys, a good third is taken up by the virtual InteractPad.
For a touch-screen phone, the KF600 is easy to use, but it achieves this by mimicking a regular phone interface. As a result, you don’t get the large display benefits of other touch-screen phones. It’s still good fun though, and well thought out.
Aside from the slow data speeds for web browsing, the KF600 is a good all-round performer and the camera takes decent snaps.
As with the feature set, the battery life is satisfactory without being overly impressive.
Review by Sunetra Chakravati,12/12/2011 3:51:53 PM
Look and feel
Ease of use
A fabulous-looking slider phone that?s easier to use than most touch-screen phones.
The phone lacks a few key features and the InteractPad takes up too much of the display.
With an avalanche of new touch-sensitive phones set to descend upon us in 2008, LG is fast becoming the most prolific of all touch-sensitive phone manufacturers.
It’s a bold move for any manufacturer to try their hand at developing a touch-screen device, as it’s a tricky feature to get right. Although many of the current touch-screen phones may be aesthetically pleasing, they can be an absolute nightmare to use.
With the launch of the KF600, LG has managed to push the envelope and hedge its bets at the same time. Like the HTC Touch Dual, the LG KF600 offers the obvious multimedia and visual benefits of a full-blown touch-screen, while still providing the traditionalists (Mobile Choice included) with a mechanised slide-out keypad for inputting phone numbers and texts.
However, even accounting for the mechanised keypad, this is still a touch-sensitive phone at heart. There are no mechanised soft keys, so if you want to do anything other than make a phone call, you’ll have to use the touch-screen interface. As a result, LG is under real pressure to ensure the user experience is a good one.
The KF600’s touch-screen is split into two parts and only the bottom half is touch-sensitive. This part of the display is called the InteractPad and controls the top half of the display. This is unusual as most touch-screen phones require the user to touch the part of the screen they wish to use, open or manipulate, be it a menu option, a photograph or a web page.
However, the touch-sensitive part of the KF600 works in exactly the same way as a navi-pad and soft keys on a regular mobile would, which does make you wonder why the manufacturer bothered. Surely, one of the main benefits of removing soft keys is that you have a larger display space so websites, videos, photos and other multimedia render much larger. However, with the InteractPad dominating a good third of the available space, the display that’s left is no larger than on an average phone.
To activate the KF600’s touch-screen, you can slide the phone open or press the dedicated camera key on the side of the phone to unlock it. With the display unlocked, you’ll see that the InteractPad, which sits directly beneath the main display, consists of six different menu icons. By clicking one of these, you set the agenda for the display above. For example, if you click the main menu icon in the InteractPad, the display will morph into a typical phone interface, with icon-based menu options in three rows of three.
The InteractPad will also transform to include four touch-sensitive navigation keys to move around the menu icons, an OK button to select a menu option, and a back arrow key which returns you to your previous screen view.
Alternatively, if you choose the messaging menu option in the InteractPad, the main display will present you with all your messages in list format – and the InteractPad will offer touch-sensitive up and down navigation keys, as well as the OK key and the back key.You only have to get to grips with the InteractPad for a few seconds until it becomes simple and intuitive to understand, and the haptic vibro-alert assigned to each virtual key means that you get a really good tactile response.
It’s easy to use because it works in almost the same way as a conventional mobile. For example, when accessing your contacts list via the touch-sensitive menu, you can still fast-track to a section of the alphabet by clicking the appropriate keys on the mechanised keypad.
Although we’re not necessarily sold on the touch-sensitive benefits of the KF600, we’re won over by the phone’s design and build.The KF600 is a well proportioned phone with a satisfying sliding action. It boasts a smoked glass fascia framed with shiny chrome and a matt black back. The back of the phone attracts fewer fingerprints than the front, but the phone looks great and feels well balanced in the hand.
On the right-hand side of the phone you’ll find a camera key and the power port, and on the left-hand side, you’ll find the volume keys and access to the music player.
Because the dedicated camera key provides the means to unlock the main phone menu, to access the three-megapixel camera you’ll need to press the camera button twice.
With the camera activated, the phone is designed to be held in landscape mode and operated like a conventional camera, in as much as the shutter key will be located at the top near your right index finger.
You can capture an image either using the shutter key or via the InteractPad. The latter gives you access to the camera’s array of impressive settings, including video camera, shot mode, resolution, picture quality, portrait enhancement, flash, shake reduction, self-timer, multi-shot, auto-focus, colour effect and white balance.
There’s no digital zoom, which is unusual, but the camera produces sharp shots, although the touch controls are a little fiddly. The MP3 music player satisfies without dazzling, while the touch-sensitive embedded games have a fun, childlike quality.
We’ve wound up rather liking the KF600, despite its quirks and flaws. It’s a good-looking phone that’s easy to use for a touch-display device, even though it achieves this by embracing a traditional user interface, which would still arguably be easy to use with mechanised keys and navi-buttons.
However, if that were the case, you wouldn’t be presented with such a sleek-looking device and we’re not sure we’d be prepared to make that compromise.