LG Shine: a Review

04Feb08

shine3.jpg

I recently upgraded from my first-generation (2004) Motorola Razr to a brand spankin’ new LG CU720 Shine. The difference is phenomenal. While the Razr, when it first came out, certainly impressed those of us who thought cell phones couldn’t get any thinner, its form factor quickly took a backseat to some perennial flaws of the otherwise solid phone: slow processor, under-developed calculator, the occasional need for power cycling, and the propensity to end incoming calls just by opening the handset in a clumsy manner. With the Shine, these complaints are a thing of the past.

The first pleasant thing about the Shine is its exterior. It is as big as the Razr, if only a little thicker. It feels solid and heavy and its brushed-metal exterior makes it feel like a reliable, rather than replaceable, piece of technology. From the back, it looks like a digital camera, and from the front it looks like a space-age mirror when not in use. It has a definite, distinctive look that lacks any superfluities and works well with its features.

The second pleasant thing about the Shine is the phone itself. The processor is fast, the software is outstanding, and the camera takes great pictures. You no longer have to wait every time you press a button to do something: the Shine responds instantaneously. Among features missing in the Razr, the Shine incorporates a calculator with trigonometric functions, a tip calculator, notes, tasks, and a D-day counter. The OS itself is an achievement in usability: clear, anti-aliased fonts accompany a common-sense layout of dialogs and functions. Item locations may be a mystery at first, but once you start binding functions to the Options menu, you’ll feel right at home. And if, like me, you’re used to opening a menu on a phone and holding down the scroll buttons to get where you want to go, the Shine removes these tedious tasks from the experience: every menu item is accompanied by a number and all you have to do is quickly dial a number sequence. To get to a mathematical function in the calculator, what would be a tedious exercise in button mashing now takes three keystrokes.

The Shine isn’t without its own dubious caveats, however. Ringer profiles seem to be a thing of the past on the phone. To set the Shine on vibrate mode, you have to hold down the star key or use the volume controls. Even worse, the silent mode can only be set using the volume controls. A three-keystroke operation on the Razr is now a tedious exercise in button mashing on the Shine. Those used to setting custom ring tones will find themselves in a bit of a bind: ring tones (as well as any sound file you wish to set to play for anything: alarms, reminders, etc.) can’t exceed 300 KB. The inability to edit the Menu screen is also an unwelcome innovation. Indeed, apart from customizing the Options menu, much customization of the main screens is outright impossible.

Despite its minor setbacks, the Shine is one rewarding experience of a phone. Expansion buffs will be pleased to know that the microSD slot is located on the outside of the phone, enabling hot-swapping. However, you’ll have to get a microSD card (and a Shine-compatible USB cord) in order to transfer files to and from the phone (and only to and from the microSD card). Those concerned with speakerphone capability will be pleased to know that all the sound comes from one speaker on the phone, located at the front. Those of us who love taking pictures of ourselves will be pleased with both the self-mirror on the camera side of the phone and the accompanying LED flash. And those of us who loved the Razr’s keypad will be pleased to know that the keypad on the Shine is practically a replica.

It’s a great phone, with lots of great features. If you’re planning on an upgrade or you’re buying your very first phone, I highly recommend the LG Shine.

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8 Responses to “LG Shine: a Review”

  1. 1 Blablabla belgium

    I love the phone !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. 2 hater123

    i sucks !
    i had it 1 day and the camera broke off, the screen splashed and the LCD lubricant was all over my clothes and i can’t get it out !
    The backlight started flashing, and then it totally exploded !
    My room was on fire ! ! !

  3. 3 jumperidontknow

    I recommend the phone to everyone !
    The man above me will be an idiot that thinks he is interesting !

  4. 4 hater123

    I’m NOT !!!

  5. 5 Allison

    i have a razr and im supposed to get the lg shine in like a week…im excited 🙂

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