That 3D user interface LG is so bullish about isn’t as exciting as it sounds. When you press the aforementioned centre button, a cube pops up in the middle of the screen. You finger-scroll through four of its faces which represent four home screens. There is a shortcuts screen for your nine most used apps, a multimedia screen for your photos and music, a contacts screen and a customisable widgets screen.
Tap one of these and it animates up into a full screen. You can flick through the four screens with a finger sweep when they are full screen, too, and I can’t really see why you’d ever want to bother with the cube at all.
What I do like are the vertical carousels for scrolling through photos and multimedia, and the photo contacts screen. Also on a vertical carousel, when you pick a contact their photo blows up fairly large and you can call, text or edit contact info by pressing a large on-screen touch button.
When it comes to text entry, you have the choice of a full QWERTY keypad in landscape mode and a standard mobile phone layout in portrait mode. Key presses are registered well enough, though individual keys are a little small and I found I had to slow down a bit on the QWERTY keypad to achieve better accuracy.
The phone is 3G with HSDPA to 7.2Mbps. There is a front camera for two-way video-calling. Web browsing on the large screen was satisfactory with full screen page renders, finger panning and pinch zooming. There was a bit of waiting around for zooming, but in general, performance in this regard was OK.
There is an accelerometer, and this is used well in some apps. For example, in the photo gallery, when you hold the phone in portrait view, picture thumbnails look ordinary enough. Turn the Arena 90 degrees into landscape view and pictures appear in a horizontal carousel. Finger scroll left and right to view one day’s shots, up and down to move to another day’s.
The phone has TV-out capability and you can plug the lead right into the handset. The cable isn’t supplied with the phone, and nor is the cradle I was sent. This holds the phone horizontally and has both power-in and TV-out connectors.