Although you wouldn't call the LG KF700 slim line, it's a fairly compact device. It feels sturdy and is aesthetic pleasing with or without the keypad slide out.
The full touch-screen offers haptic response thus acknowledging any press, and the fact that the KF700 also boasts a slide-out keypad means dialing numbers and writing texts is a breeze.
As part of LG's gold range (as opposed to platinum), the feature set is still impressive, with HSDPA, 3.2-megapixel camera, a multi-format music player, microSD card slot and of course a full touch-screen.
Despite its mid-tier status, the LG KF700 is a top performer. Browsing the web is quick, while an array of camera features means top snaps are easily achieved. The music player is near flawless, and the choice of touch-screen or keypad offers multiple means of navigation.
With LG proving reluctant to disclose the phone's battery life, we can only presume that it's nothing to shout about.
Review by Sunetra Chakravati,12/12/2011 3:52:21 PM
Look and feel
Ease of use
An excellent phone with loads of features and a choice of user interfaces.
The battery life is disappointing and the ringtones could be louder.
These days it's not enough to give a phone a name and a model number. Manufacturers are forever creating fluffy new brand extensions to sell the sizzle of their products and LG has more than most. As well as coining the Black Label Series moniker to define its designer handsets, the manufacturer also assigns precious metals to its products according to specification and price point, with platinum representing the very best (most expensive) handsets in its range, followed by gold for the mid-tier and silver for the budget models.
While fancy handsets like the Viewty and the new KF750 Secret laud it up in the platinum club, phones like the LG KF600 and KF700 fall into the gold category.
Don't let that fool you. The LG KF700 is feature packed and more than capable for all but a few fussy sorts and it's a damn fine all-rounder with a wealth of neat tricks up its slider sleeve.
The LG KF700 is not a slimline handset, but it's fairly compact. In fact, it's a little shorter than the Nokia 6300 and just a touch wider.
The handset offers a full haptic (vibrating) touch-screen, together with a spacious slide-out keypad and the phone looks great whether open or closed.
To access the keypad, the KF700 features a smooth, spring-loaded sliding mechanism which feels perfectly weighted and balanced in the hand. Slide the phone open and you'll find a smart, simple, checker-board-style keypad with no raised keys. The phone's many applications can be selected and controlled either by the KF700's jog-dial or touch-screen interface. This means the keypad has been designed simply for basics like making calls and sending texts and includes only the numeric keys, a call accept, call reject and cancel key. Simple.
On the right-hand side of the phone you'll find the camera key, the screen lock key and the charging/headphones port. On the left-hand side you'll find the carousel menu access key and a jog-wheel - about which we'll explain more later.
Due to the fact that the display dominates the entire fascia, touch-screen phones tend to look fairly similar; however, it's much easier to distinguish the phone from the growing army of touch-screen handsets when its distinctive carousel menu is activated. With its glossy black finish, the KF700 possesses a minimalist charm.
The carousel menu is activated with a dedicated key on the left-hand side of the phone and can be customised to include your most popular menu options. It's then navigated using the jog-wheel and the carousel menu key.
All in all, the KF700 is well put together and even the side-mounted jog-wheel (a feature which can occasionally look a little awkward) has its aesthetic merits. It's bold, silver and sits on full display on the rear of the phone, rather than protruding from the side.
Ease of use tends to be a problem with touch-screen phones, especially on handsets that rely solely on a touch-screen operating system. This is largely due to the fact that many early touch-sensitive screens were less responsive than their keypad-controlled counterparts.
The KF700 avoids this problem by offering users multiple means of navigating the phone's menu. It's also a more rounded touch-screen phone than the LG KF600, which preceded the KF700 by about six weeks.
Whereas the LG KF600 offers a split screen where only the bottom segment is touch-sensitive, the entire display of the KF700 is touch-sensitive. As a result, you simply touch an icon or menu on any part of the screen to activate it. The touch-screen features haptic technology, so it vibrates when you touch it, giving users that essential feedback and responsiveness that early touch-screen phones neglected to provide.
During the startup process, the KF700 requires you to calibrate the phone's touch-screen by touching little targets with your fingertip as they pop up on different parts of the display. The calibration obviously works because we had no problems pressing the wrong menu option.
For dialling numbers and sending texts, the KF700 offers the slide-out keypad, which is very sensible. There's also the carousel menu, which is navigated via a side-mounted jog-dial and can be personalised to suit.
As for the user interface, the KF700 adopts a tab-style main menu system, which works a little like a filing cabinet with divider tabs. There are four tab-based icons running down the right-hand side of the screen. Click on each one and you'll be presented with a themed set of icon-based menu options. It's cleverly thought out and simple to get to grips with.
Our only slight bugbear lies with the carousel menu. With the carousel option selected, you use the jog-wheel to navigate between menu options. However, you can't use the wheel to select a menu option, as we would have chosen to do instinctively and which is the method employed by certain Sony Ericsson and BlackBerry smartphones. With the KF700, you can either select a menu option using the button just beneath the jog-wheel or by pressing the touch-screen itself. It's not a big deal, however.
While LG's platinum phones get features like a five-megapixel camera and DivX-quality video, gold-standard handsets like the KF700 provide a decent rather than a super spec. So, we're afraid you'll have to make do with a three-megapixel camera with auto-focus, HSDPA mobile broadband data speeds, a good multi-format music player and a microSD card slot. Plus, of course, you get the full touch-screen, so it's not too bad.
The KF700's camera is well thought out and, thankfully, can be operated with the slider shut. In camera mode, the phone is held in the landscape position, so the dedicated camera shutter key sits comfortably beneath your right index finger as you hold the phone.
Aside from the shutter key, the camera is operated using the touch-screen. We found ourselves using our right thumb to select and activate the menu options like flash and picture gallery, located on the right side of the display, and our left thumb to control the brightness meter found on the left side of the touch-screen.
We found the camera's processor was a lot faster than the majority of phone cameras and, as a result there's very little shutter lag. And, most importantly, the picture quality is impressive.
The LG KF700 is one of those phones that does most things very well. Touch-screen user interfaces are notoriously dodgy but, because the KF700 offers users multiple means of navigation, that's not a problem here. Web browsing is enjoyable, thanks to nippy browsing speeds and the large display and it's difficult to find fault with the music player.
In addition, the camera possesses pretty nippy processing speeds and some very useful photo assist functions like image stabiliser and auto-focus.
Of course, there are handsets out there with a better spec, in the form of more powerful cameras, larger built-in storage, more sophisticated music players and sharper video technology, but you're going to have to pay a premium for those phones.
The KF700, meanwhile, is a mid-tier handset with a mid-tier price tag. However, performance suggests a phone with top-tier aspirations.
Even the games are first rate. Our handset featured a demo version of Bejeweled, which is one of the best mobile games around and plays very well on the KF700. Unfortunately, you'll have to pay to download the full version from your service provider, but the demo gives you a taste of the phone's gaming potential.
One area of weakness is the battery life. Trawling the web looking for LG's official talktime and standby stats was a real mission and we're guessing LG's reluctance to shout about them is because they're a bit wimpy. The phone does need regular charging; about once every day and a half for an average user.
There is a slight danger that the KF700 may be one of those phones that may slip beneath the radar because it doesn't quite have the design razzle-dazzle of certain other slimline ultra- sleek touch-screens; like LG's forthcoming KF750 Secret phone for example.
However, that would be a major injustice, because this is a star-quality phone and further proof that, after taking a few years to find its feet, LG is now firmly established as a major player in the mobile market.
Last month, we gave the LG KF600 a glowing rating and the KF700 is, if anything, better. The touch-screen may not have the quirky appeal of the KF600's InteractPad, but the obvious benefit is that the entire screen is touch-sensitive.
With HSDPA on board, you'll also get mobile broadband data speeds, which is a tremendous asset if you're planning to surf the internet and download and stream music and videos.
The LG KF700 is a mid-range phone with enough going on to keep you occupied for days. However, if you're planning on taking a trip away with yours, just be sure to take a charger with you.