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LG’s new Tri-band slider phone is called the Shine KE970, but I’m going to call it the Shine from here on in. The first thing I noted about the Shine was that it was well named. Its brushed stainless steel casing is very eye-catching. The main screen on the front of the handset at first glance looks like a mirror, which is actually a little disconcerting. When the phone’s screen isn’t active and you hold the handset up you can see yourself clearly.
I find that smooth reflective materials aren’t the best idea for handsets as they tend to gather grease from fingertips and ears. The Shine is no exception and I found myself constantly trying to keep it clean. There’s no ridge to grab hold of when sliding the Shine open and closed, so I was left with putting my thumb on the mirrored front – leaving greasy prints behind. I’m also not convinced that the screen area will remain scratch fee.
The 2.3in display provides 240 x 320 pixels of viewing area with 262,000 colours. It looks great indoors, but is quite difficult to see in bright sunshine. The Shine is large for a slider, measuring 99.8mm tall and 50mm wide. It is thin though at 13.7mm and light at 119g. When you extend it to full height it grows to 135mm revealing a flat number pad.
The side buttons are all on the right edge and comprise volume controls and shortcuts to the built-in music player and camera as well as a covered connector for headphones, PC link cable and power. There is a microSD card slot on the left edge and you need to remove the battery cover to get to it. Memory is reserved for 300 SMSs, 1,000 contacts, 100 calendar entries and 100 memos. 45MB of other memory can be filled as you wish.
I normally don’t care for flat keys, but in this case I found that they were easy to use due to being large and visually well separated. What I found most difficult to get on with was the navigation key system on the front of the casing. There are five controls in all, in a bank beneath the screen. The two soft keys are fine to use, while the two outer buttons are press-only. The middle one includes a vertical scrolling function. Pressing one of the three takes you to Contacts, the device menu and a list of nine favourites. The outer buttons cater for horizontal scrolling, while the central section’s function changes depending on the application you are in. It shoots images or changes volume when music is playing, for example.