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home :: Camera reviews :: Features
9th June 2009
LG Arena camera phone review
by Ian Burley
6008: LG Arena camera phone review

LG's answer to the iPhone 3G has a 5MP camera

Price: varies according to contract.

30 sample images for you to download on page 2

For the last few weeks we have been using LG's answer to the all-conquering Apple iPhone, the LG KM900 Arena. We're not a phone review site, so we'll concentrate on the Arena's photographic abilities, but to summarise, here are some of the Arena's key features in general:

  • 3 inch WVGA touch screen
  • 5MP main camera, plus video conferencing camera
  • Schneider Kreuznach camera lens branding
  • Autofocus
  • 8GB onboard storage
  • MicroSD memory card slot
  • Video recording up to VGA resolution @30fps
  • HSDPA, GPRS and WEDGE high speed cellular data support
  • GPS receiver
  • Up to 300 hours stand by time
  • Up to 3.84 hours talk time
  • Bluetooth and WiFi wireless connectivity
  • Accelerometers for game and user interface action

The LG Arena is small, slim, and has an excellent WVGA touch screen, though it is hard to view in direct sunlight.

 

Remove the back cover and, as we have come to expect, the battery dominates. Note the position of the two card slots, one for the phone SIM card and one for a MicroSD memory card.

Above you can see a MicroSD card mounted in the card holder that folds down and slides to lock in place. The main issue here is that you need to remove the back of the phone to access the card, and this is fairly fiddly. 8GB of internal memory is available for storing pictures, video and music.

There is little to complain about concerning the Schneider Kreuznach-branded lens as far as camera phones go, but I'd have liked to have seen a more powerful Xenon flash than the LED unit the Arena is equipped with. Below on the side is the sliding door that hides the USB port.

The LG Arena has a much more sophisticated finger-optimised user interface than the LG KC780 Renoir we tried a few months ago. However, the LG KC780 Reina, with its 8 megapixel camera section, produced better image quality, without the aliasing and colour inconsistency that the Arena exhibits.

You can judge image quality for yourself on the next page of this review. We have 30 images for you to download, examine closely, print, or whatever, to help you assess if this is the camera phone for you.

Verdict

The LG KM900 Arena is a great looking phone. It has a slick user-interface, though the more expensive Apple iPhone's is more evolved. If you want to file manage and navigate, you will be frustrated by the Arena. On the other hand, we had no complaints with the Arena as a phone, and many of the built in applications were fun and impressive.

And so to the camera. After the amazing image quality of the LG KC780, the Arena's images were rather disappointing. They are not at all bad by camera phone standards, and the lens is particularly impressive, but the aliased and pixellated nature of the images, plus some inconsistent colours, mark the Arena down. As with all camera phones we have used to date, shutter lag has to be endured. On the Arena you also need to click past a prompt after each picture is taken that asks what you would like to do with your picture. That should be an option, not a default.

Overall, the LG Arena is a desirable and stylish smart touch screen phone, but if you really care about photo quality, it may not be the phone for you.

30 sample images for you to download on page 2 plus some sample video clips taken with the Arena

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