Music playback benefits from Dolby Mobile and the equaliser has many presets, though sadly no scope for user-defined ones. Maximum volume was too loud for my poor little ears through headphones. Generally, sound quality was good but the bass output isn’t what it could be. There is an FM transmitter so you can send tunes to an FM radio.
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are both present and hopping onto networks was no problem. GPS is also built-in and its features include geotagging of photos.
The 5-megapixel camera did well outdoors, less well inside though its LED flash is a help here. The coloured dish is a bit grainy despite being shot under normal household lights. Outside, the chair shows a reasonable level of detail and colour uniformity. The daffodil shows off the camera’s macro mode with good colour reproduction and fine detail capture.
I like much of the UI design and the ease with which you can get around this handset. Apps have a consistent look involving the menu, options, and back icons being in the same place every time at the head of the screen. There are some novel design features such as the scroller in the FM transmitter, which looks like a frequency dial, and the animated wheel used for changing the camera’s settings.
App shortcut icons on the main menu are well thought out and look good. Tap the status area on any of the home screens and you get a screen that lets you toggle wireless connections, set alarms, flick to the music player, grab voicemail and switch profiles. Overall, LG manages to marry individual looks with intuitive operation, not an easy thing to get right.
Additional software not already mentioned includes links to Google Maps, G-mail, YouTube and Blogger, LG’s M-Toy tool with three games designed to take advantage of the accelerometer, Movie Maker – which lets you add sounds to footage shot with the phone – alarms, a calendar, memo pad, stopwatch, voice recorder, calculator, world clock and unit converter.
LG says the Arena is good for 3.8 hours of talk, 300 hours on standby. I had my review sample for an unusually short time and was not able to do a full battery rundown. However, I did get two days of use out of it between charges. If you use the FM transmitter, Wi-Fi and 3G a lot you may find daily charging is needed.
The Arena is a great little mobile. Brimming with features and with a well-designed user interface. Just don’t expect too much from that claim of ‘3D’.