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LG KM500C, size: 3.3 MB
LG to unveil its professional music phone & 39;KM500& 39;
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5 June 2008
By: Florin Troaca, Communications News Editor
LG KM500 Released in Romania
One of the latest LG music phones
LG Romania announced the official release of LG KM500, one of the company's latest music-oriented mobile phones, created to answer the needs of users who want to enjoy an advanced mobile music experience.Already released in other European and Asian markets, the KM500 is now available on the Romanian market too, for retail prices of around 700 RON ($300 or 195 Euros). First announced at the beginning of the year, during MWC 2008, together with no less than other 11 new LG handsets, LG KM500 is part of the South Korean company's fresh line-up of music phones, which also includes the KM330 and KM710 models. LG KM500 has a pretty nice design, coming in a slider form factor and offering a big navigation wheel that has as main role offering easy control over the music functions of the phone. This navigation wheel was also included by LG in the newer KM710 and we will probably see it in other future phones too. Aside from the "music wheel", the KM500 also offers an alphanumeric sliding keypad, designed in the same manner as all the latest sliding keypads that come from LG. The complete list of features that LG KM500 offers includes: a 2 inch TFT display with a QVGA resolution (240 x 320 pixels) and 256K colors, Music player with support for MP3, WMA and AAC++, a 3.5mm audio jack, Bluetooth 2.0, voice memo, USB, WAP 2.0 browser, tri-band GSM connectivity with EDGE, a 2.0 Megapixel camera with flash and video recording, 50MB of internal memory, plus microSD card support in case you'll find the 50MB insufficient for all the music you want to store on the phone (and you most probably will). LG KM500 weighs 155 grams, measures 101.5 x 48 x 15 millimeters (when closed) and includes an 800 mAh battery that should keep the phone functional for up to 3 hours in talk-time mode and up to 10 days in stand-by mode.
LG KM500 LG
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18 August 2008
By: Cosmin Vasile, Communications News Editor
LG KM500 Review
The first LG music-oriented slider featuring dedicated sound chipset
A while ago, LG Electronics has started to launch multimedia handsets especially designed for music lovers on the mobile phone market. The fact didn't go unnoticed by more experienced mobile phones manufacturers (Nokia, Sony Ericsson), which are delivering the best music phones. Even if LG knows that the leader position on this market is almost impossible to attain, yet it has started to improve its handsets in terms of multimedia features, by providing them with more functions than before. The first device to mark an important leap forward for LG is the latest KM500 slider, which is among the first LG mobile phones to include a separate sound chip. Announced in February 2008, the mid-end slider has been launched on the market in March 2008. As advertised, LG KM500 doesn't have a scary price and can be acquired for around $250 USD, depending on the location.Design LG KM500 features the basic "slider" design and strongly resembles the Chocolate series. Average in size (101.5 x 48 x 15 mm), but strangely excessively heavy (155 grams, including battery), the slider doesn't stand out from the crowd. Still, the materials used are by no means cheap, but neither too expensive, which is no wonder, as the phone is only middle class. I got a feeling that the South-Korean company could have done much better with the design, which is among the important traits for an LG device. Anyway, the phone has an average ergonomics, with a sliding mechanism that works with a little bit of difficulty. If it's not too slim, at least it's solid, compact and pretty sturdy. The front part of the phone, which can be slid up, is a little bit shorter in size than the back part, which gives the user a nice feeling when holding it. If it had featured a square-form factor, the slider could've been easily taken as a base of a pyramid. But, seeing it as it is, with its cold black color, you might be tempted to take a bite out of it and feel its dark chocolate taste. Fortunately, the various buttons around the sides of the slider and the music controls under the screen will most certainly stop you from damaging your mobile phone, as well as your teeth. Thus, you'll notice the dual volume key on the right side of the device and the dedicated camera button. The proprietary LG port used for headset, charge or cable synchronization, is on the upper part of the left side, while a (surprise) 3.5mm jack port can be found on the lower part. On top of the phone there's a small button that lock/unlocks the music keys, and a small gap where you can insert your most trusted finger if you intend to pull out the back cover. Below the small display, there are two concentric embossed circles, which can give users the illusion of a much-desired wheel-pad. Unfortunately, this is just for show off, as the slider's music controls are only activated when pushing the 4 specific parts of the circle, just like the usual D-pad. Basically, you have two sets of controls placed on the 2 concentric circles. The music controls are placed on the first (bigger) circle, and their functions can be easily recognized judging by the pictographs etched on it: Back, Forward, Play/Pause. The second (smaller) circle only features the usual left, right and up, down combos, which makes browsing through menus easier. There's also a Select (Enter) button in the center of the circles. The latter are framed on both sides (left/right) by another 2 contextual softkeys. A little lower from the right softkey, there's a small button with a musical note on it that opens the music player when it's pressed. The in-call speaker and the LG logo are above the display. When slid up, the phone reveals a spacious keypad, which has some resemblances with KF600's chess pattern, but the color combo can be clearly seen when it is exposed to bright light. These keys are all the same color, but they're large enough for any finger size. Nothing more to add about it except that, while ergonomics is good, responsiveness is a little bit rusty on the key. When turned on its back, one will notice a 2 Megapixel camera with flash, to the right, and again the LG logo, on the left. The back cover
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of the slider is metallic, which protects the phone from hard falls. Evidently, this is not enough as the phone has 10% chances to fall on the protected part (back cover) and about 90% to fall on any of the unprotected sides Murphy says. All in all, without being astonishing or amazing, KM500's design raises its rank to that of a major player in the league of music phones. Display and CameraWhat can be more disappointing than having a very good quality display, but that is too small to deliver an enthralling multimedia experience? Well, if you are an LG fan, you might have become used to the matter so far, but I consider it unbearable for today's standards. Perhaps the small price didn't include a larger screen, but this is still a downside. Furthermore, its usefulness outdoors is very limited, when it's used in strong sunlight. Also, as with all the other Chocolate series devices, protection of the display is more of a joke and, in no time, your screen will bear the scars of time - literally, especially if you keep it in the same pocket with your keys or change. Technically speaking, the TFT display supports 262k colors and the usual 240x320-pixel resolution. Nothing amazing here, but the quality of the images shown on the screen is quite good. Unfortunately, its small size (only 2 inches) takes away the fun. In terms of performance, the display doesn't support any kind of 3D graphics or Hardware Accelerated Mobile 3D Graphics functions, so it cannot be tested. Jbenchmark 1.0 and 2.0 results can be seen below, but they aren't that relevant. Still, the screen can be considered mid-ranged in terms of quality, scoring more on the quality of the image displayed and less on the performance aspect. The 2 Megapixel camera features flash capabilities, but lacks the autofocus function. Still, I was surprised at the good quality of the pictures taken. Even if the camera pictures are above average, don't expect miracles. The standard interface featuring the usual settings and functions is also present on the KM500 slider. Thus, the maximum photo resolution is 1600 x 1200, there's a 4 x digital zoom, a multi shot (up to 9 shots), a timer (up to 10 sec), 3 special effects, as well as white balance and sound/storage location adjustments. The interface is of standard landscape orientation, which makes it quite easy to handle. The gallery is no piece-of-art, but users can benefit from the slide-show function. I noticed a slight lag when browsing the gallery, and I'm talking about the pictures in the phone's memory. When displaying a picture on the screen, one can zoom in the picture, which is useful for such a small screen. QVGA movies can also be shot with KM500's camera, and they look quite good for an average camera. Overall, it makes for a good addition to the LG KM500, rather than a drawback. Menu and SoftwareThe old LG firmware was finally updated but, except for one or two things, everything else remains the same. KM500 slider offers little in terms of customization, so you are stuck with only 2 standard (unattractive) interface themes. Fortunately, wallpapers and screensavers support flash animations, which can make the device more attractive. There aren't too many applications and productivity tools included in the phone, but we're not really missing out on anything here, given that the slider's target is youngsters who mostly use their phone as MP3 players. There's an Organiser containing 3 utilities: Calendar, Memo and To do. In terms of productivity tools, owners will find only the basic versions of the most used applications: Alarm clock, Calculator, Stopwatch, Unit converter, and World clock. For the goodhearted, there's also a Tip calculator included, which can be used to calculate the amount of tips given. The file manager tagged as "My stuff" is one of the improvements offered by the firmware. It can now list the folders made by users on the phone's memory, thus they will be able to copy their music in their own folder, other than the usual Sounds folder made by default. For those looking for some entertainment, the slider also embeds 2 Java compatible games: Chess and Pump It Up. Unfortunately, the phone lacks any document or.PDF reader for those in need, so you might wanna check some Java compatible third-party software. The phonebook of the slider looks standard and holds 1,000 contacts. Users will be able to see contacts by Name only, Name & number or only those With picture. You cannot see only contacts included on the SIM nor only those from the phone's memory. They are all mixed, so you won't be able to identify those from the SIM as they are not marked with a specific sign like before (see LG KF600). The all time famous
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"clock delay" bug has also been corrected, which marks a second improvement of the updated firmware. Overall, user-interface is not far from what LG has already used us with plus some welcome improvements that should add to its functionality. CommunicationsLG KM500 supports GPRS and EDGE connectivity, both class 10. Data transfer speeds are below average, but it is clear that this handset has not been made for browsing, because of the small screen and lack of 3G connectivity. In terms of messaging, the slider is compatible with a basic range of messages: SMS (100 max.), MMS, EMS, email and Bluetooth (2.0) messaging. Moreover, the slider supports Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP and EDR standards for wireless music listening and fast data transfer. The embedded browser (WAP 2.0 OBIGO) comes with a Yahoo! bookmark and can display websites rich in graphics. Unfortunately, the small screen and the low connection speed (EDGE) limit the Web browsing experience. The LG PC Suite that comes in the sales package enables users to synchronize their phone with the PC, but the file transfer rate is pretty slow. The triband (GSM 900 / GSM 1800 / GSM 1900) network compatible slider has a good GSM signal reception. Sound is extremely loud and clear, so this is one of the best features scored by LG's KM500. Processor and MemoryLG KM500 features a fast ARM9 family processor, which runs at speeds of up to 290 Mhz. This could not have been better, especially since LG didn't include a Flash UI, so the CPU handles radio and phone functions at its best. Except from the annoying lag that I found when browsing the pictures in the album, everything seems to be working great. The phone comes with 50 MB of internal memory and one 1GB microSD card included in the sales package. Furthermore, it can be upgraded through the microSD slot card, and supports microSDHC cards of up to 32GB. Unfortunately, it's not hot-swappable and you'll need to remove the back cover and the battery to insert the card or to pull it out. MultimediaEven if it hasn't been officially tagged as a "music-oriented" handset, LG KM500 meets all of todays requirements to be classified as a music phone. Moreover, the slider is unique as it's the only music phone that can be used by 4 people at the same time to listen to music. How is this possible? Pretty easily actually: because the device features the much desired 3.5mm jack port and the LG proprietary port, 2 people can use them to insert their own headphones, while other 2 individuals can share wirelessly via the Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP support connectivity. Even if it's a feature that will probably be used rarely, or not at all, it's pretty cool for these days music lovers. Another piece of technology that adds to the multimedia experience is the dedicated audio chipset, which seems to greatly improve volume and quality of sound. Still, the lack of an Equalizer function greatly decreases its functionality in terms of music sound. The included headset is mediocre, tagged with "Made in China," but it features a 3.5mm adapter, which can be used to attach better headphones to the LG proprietary port. The FM radio can only memorize 10 base stations and is only available when the headset is inserted into the LG proprietary and NOT into the 3.5mm jack port. Only the MP3 player can be used in the background, so don't try this with the FM radio. If you're using other headphones than the ones that are coming with the phone, the sound will be remarkably good. I can definitely say that it's much better than with most Samsung music-oriented handsets, but its still far from the dedicated music phones made by Nokia or Sony Ericsson. The interface of the music player is pretty standard and recognizes almost any kind of multimedia file: MP3, WAV, VMA, MIDI, AAC, AAC+, Eaac+ and RA. There is also a video player that enables users to watch the clips they're playing in landscape (full screen) mode. BatteryLG KM500 features an 800 mAh Li-Ion battery, which depletes at an average level, depending on your needs. The official numbers stated by LG 250 hours of standby mode and 3 hours of talking are again attainable, which is an improvement compared with other LG's handsets. Usually, I got about 2 days of use, with about 45 minutes of talking everyday. It might last longer, around 3-4 days, if you only use it for 1-2 short calls per day.ImpressionsOn the outside, KM500 may look just like another LG slider, but on the inside its totally different. The updated firmware corrects some well-known bugs and confers greater functionality to the device. If you don't mind the 155-gram weight and you're looking for a cheap music phone, KM500
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may be a good choice; at least for a while.The GoodThe first music-oriented handset launched by LG, even if it was never officially tagged as a "music phone," is a huge step forward for the Korean company. Its reasonable price, dedicated sound chip, good battery autonomy and improved firmware, all make LG KM500 a good deal for people that are looking for a music phone.The BadThe only downsides I found could be corrected in future models, but they're pretty annoying: no hot-swappable memory card, small size and inability to use the screen in strong light, FM radio can only be listened when LG headset is inserted.Sales packageLG KM500 handsetBattery Li-Ion 800 mAhCharger 230V/EU Headset with remote control1 GB microSD cardUSB Cable3.5mm adapterCD ROM with LG PC Suite
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