The controls provide access to the soft menus, call and clear, and four way navigation. Each navigation button doubles up allowing you to switch profiles, jump to contacts, take you to favourite applications or functions, and cycle through shortcuts to messages, voicemail, your diary and alarms.
I didn’t find the controls quite as easy to use as I would have liked. The silver rectangle that looks like a navigation key isn’t. It just separates an ‘OK’ area from left, right, up and down areas. Touching it has no function apart from causing you to accidentally hit a control area when you don’t really mean to. And working in some modes, especially with the slider opened, it is too easy to accidentally hit something you don’t want to.
I found it odd but not an enormously big deal that the end call key which doubles up as the power key sits on the right edge of the casing instead of in its usual place under the screen. It was fairly easy to get used to the position, and if you do find it annoying you can just end calls by closing the slider.
The side mounted end call key sits next to another key – this opens a screen menu that allows you to use the built in music player or camera. The idea of a dual purpose key is, I suppose, to save on the number of keys around the edges of the casing. That said, I think I’d still rather have two keys as the arrangement that LG has chosen means that it takes multiple presses to get to either feature.
With the slider opened it is two presses (the side key and then number pad key 1 for the music player, 2 for stills camera or 3 for video shooting). With the slider closed you have to precede these presses with two pushes of the volume up key which not only enables the front mounted touch buttons but also the camera/music player button.
The camera’s lens is protected inside the slider mechanism and is supplemented by a self portrait mirror and flash. It shoots stills at up to 1.3-megapixels, which is starting to feel rather long in the tooth compared to the two and 3-megapixel camera enabled phones available. However, there are some nice ease of use features such as quickly flicking through the effects menu while still looking through the screen viewfinder to see how they change your shot, and easily altering the white balance.