Click here to find out how the LG KF750 Secret claimed the accolade of Most Stylish Phone at the annual Mobile Choice Consumer Awards.
Tempered glass, toughened plastic, carbon fibre and a few flashes of chrome combine to make for a fabulous-looking phone which is as tough as a honey badger.
It's perfectly weighted for a luxury handset – i.e heavy enough to feel expensive, and manages to wear its robust characteristics with real panache.
The tempered glass screen is promoted as being scratch proof, but, while it seems immune to key scratches it does attract fingerprint smudges, regular polishing is required.
As for the rest of the device, the top is encased in toughened plastic, the back is carbon fibre and the sides and base of the phone have a rubberised feel. All of the materials feel tough, sleek and expensive, which is some feat.
Considering there’s such a wealth of functions and entertainment on offer with the LG Secret, it’s a fine phone to use. It’s not a full touch-screen phone, although the menu controls are touch-sensitive, and every time you press one of the haptic keys, you see a ripple effect of blue neon light. It’s all very responsive and you also have the slide out keypad for making calls and sending texts in the traditional fashion.
The LG Secret has grabbed headlines for being the world's slimmest mobile to carry a five-megapixel camera and the camera functions in the same way as the version on other recent LG phones. Functions include macro and a flash that can be set to automatic and settings include brightness, white balance, ISO, timer, continuous shot and panoramic.
The LG Secret also features an accelerometer, or movement sensor, which allows you to control what you see on the phone’s display by moving the handset rather than pressing the keys. It works particularly well with the phone’s games, like darts and baseball. The phone is HSDPA enabled for rapid web browsing, has a very reasonable music player, and there’s an FM radio on board - although we could only pick up three stations with the channel auto scan.
You also get access to DivX video on demand, a digital video delivery service that lets you rent or purchase DivX quality movies from a range of licensed partners.
Everything the LG Secret does – and it does an awful lot – it does very well. The touch-screen experience is enjoyable, the camera is great and the games are addictive. It’s hard to find a weakness.
Well, if there is one weakness, it’s the battery life, which drained after a full day’s intensive use.
Review by Sunetra Chakravati,12/12/2011 3:52:33 PM
Look and feel
Ease of use
Combines a fabulous feature set with slim good looks and a solid build.
The battery life will frustrate some users.
Like boxers and prop forwards, tough phones are not meant to be good looking. However, the LG KF750 Secret is not any old mobile. Comprising of a carbon fibre rear and a tempered glass fascia, the Secret is one of the toughest phones around and it’s almost impossible to mark.
To be fair, Mobile Choice has racked up some impressive credentials in the tough-phone testing department recently. When putting the JCB Toughphone through its paces, we showered with it, dropped it from the top window of a block of flats and drove over it.
However, we didn’t mind being mean to the JCB phone because it’s a bruiser that looks as though it’s built for a building site.
The LG Secret, on the other hand, is as smooth as a seal’s belly and looks as though it should only be used on special occasions. LG has constructed the Secret in such a way that, even when carried regularly in a pocket with keys and change, it should look just as good in six months’ time as it does when you buy it.
Now, how many phones can you say that about?
Thankfully, tempered glass, toughened plastic, carbon fibre and a few flashes of chrome combine to make for a great-looking phone, which looks fashionable but without any of the quirky swirls, patterns and flourishes you see on cheaper handsets.
The LG Secret feels as good as it looks. It’s perfectly weighted for a luxury handset – i.e heavy enough to feel expensive, and it manages to wear its robust characteristics with real panache.
As we’ve already mentioned, the tempered glass screen is promoted as being scratch proof. And we’d like to say that we gave it a beating, but the phone is just too pretty, so we had to make do with jabbing it with our house keys a few times.
However, while it seems immune to key scratches it does attract fingerprint smudges, so regular polishing is required.
As for the rest of the device, the top is encased in toughened plastic, the back is carbon fibre and the sides and base have a rubberised feel. All of the materials feel tough, sleek and expensive, which is some feat.
The KF750 is not a full touch-screen phone in the mould of the the Apple iPhone or the LG Viewty because you don’t really use the display for touch-screen navigation.
Instead, the handset offers six touch-sensitive keys which sit just beneath the display, as well as four mechanical soft keys.
When menu options appear on screen, your instinct is to press the screen to interact with them as you can with the LG Viewty, KF700 or the Apple iPhone.
That’s not to say that the main display is not touch-sensitive at all. Under the multimedia menu, you can find a Touch media option that activates the display’s touch-screen function, but you’ll only be able to use it for music, photos, games, documents and radio, and it’s novel without being a real user benefit.
Instead, to navigate most of the phone’s functions, you must get used to a combination of haptic (vibrating) virtual keys and mechanical keys.
You have to hand it to LG, they know how to make virtual haptic keys sexy. Every time you press one, as well as feeling a small vibration, you’ll see a ripple effect of blue neon light, which looks very pretty.
To enjoy the touch-screen experience on a mobile like the Secret, you need to trust the technology. Because a touch-screen initially appears less responsive than mechanical keys, there is a tendency to double press or to press more firmly to get a response. However, as any lothario will tell you, a gentle but assured touch is the path to true tactile happiness.
The LG Secret has grabbed headlines for being the world’s slimmest mobile to carry a five-megapixel camera, and the design team really has worked wonders. But there’s no point in breaking records if the camera is no good.
To be honest, there’s such a demand for more megapixels that most consumers will be happy just to have the five-megapixel box ticked; however, reassuringly, LG has jemmied in a very decent snapper.
The camera functions in the same way as other recent LG phones, with a series of on-screen settings and commands, which can be navigated with the virtual four-way joypad.
Functions include macro and a flash that can be set to automatic, and settings include brightness, white balance, ISO, timer, continuous shot and panoramic.
The shutter speed is quick and the shots appear clear, even indoors. Our only niggle concerned the touch-sensitive controls, which are a little fiddly while navigating settings.
There are also a couple of editing ‘cheats’ if your photography skills are not quite up to scratch. Morphing lets you edit a subject’s face (stretching noses and padding lips, etc), and SmartLight auto-adjusts the picture’s light settings.
As with most handsets offering 3G and HSDPA, the LG Secret lets you make video calls and the handset features a second camera lens on the front of the device. There are two ways of activating a video call. When dialling a number, you can choose ‘option’ then ‘video call’, or you can choose ‘calling’ from the main menu and then the video call option.
Either way, you dial as you would a regular phone call and that’s it. The thing to note with video calling is that the call quality is dependent on the spec of both handsets. You may have a LG Secret with HSDPA data speeds and a great video call camera, but your contact might be stuck with a bog standard 3G phone. As a result, some of our video calls were clear and true while others were a little pixellated with a slight delay.
The video camcorder, on the other hand, utilises the LG Secret’s main lens on the rear of the phone, and it offers virtually the same functions, settings and control of the main camera. Due to the placement of the lens, it’s a job to prevent one of your left hand’s fingers wandering into view as you shoot your home movies, but it’s still a very decent camcorder.
Mobile gaming has been given a real shot in the arm with the launch of the Nokia N-Gage games platform, but phones offering games with rich graphics and addictive gameplay are still in the minority.
However, the LG Secret manages to take gaming to a whole new level with its ingenious accelerometer
As the techies amongst you may know, an accelerometer is a movement sensor which allows you to control what you see on the phone’s display by moving the handset rather than pressing the keys. In the LG Secret’s case, it can be employed to change your view from portrait to landscape when operating the phone’s camera, or it can be used to play the phone’s fabulous games.
All of the phone’s accelerometer-based games can be found under the M-Toy sub-menu. Click on the M-Toy option and you can choose from six games which all employ the phone’s accelerometer or movement sensor. For example, if you’re playing the darts game, you aim the dart by tilting the phone gently from left to right and, once you feel you have the perfect trajectory, you simply throw the dart by flicking the wrist. Flick it too softly and you’ll aim low, flick it too hard and you’ll aim high. It’s simple to grasp, tough to master, and works perfectly on a mobile phone. It’s also addictive and our top score is 140.
The same can be said for the baseball game − Homerun Derby, which requires you to flick your wrist to swing the bat. Again, this is hard to put down and our record to date is six home runs on the bounce.
Other ‘accelerometer’ games include Magic Ball (a fortune teller’s ball rather than a game), Maze (great fun), Fishing (ditto) and Hammer, which is a lot more fun to play than to watch on the telly. All of the games employ similar gameplay principles – plenty of twisting and flicking of wrists − and all work brilliantly.
In fact, the games are so impressive that you can’t help feeling that this, rather than N-Gage, could be the future of mobile gaming.
As with many premium-end phones, there’s so much that you can say about the LG Secret that we have only really scratched the surface here. The phone has a very reasonable music player, and there’s an FM radio on board – although we could only pick up three stations with the channel auto scan.
You also get access to DivX video on demand – a digital video delivery service that lets you rent or purchase DivX quality movies from a range of licensed partners. You simply download the movies to your phone from your PC via a USB cable, and you’re free to watch them on the move or by connecting your phone to the TV via the TV Out facility.
As you may have gathered, this is some phone and there’s very little to complain about. If there is a weakness, it’s the battery, which ran low after a full day of testing the Secret’s full functionality. However, we were testing it fairly intensively and it does fare better when you’re just making calls and sending texts.
Even allowing for the lack of juice, this really is some phone.