In multicultural Australia, the opportunity for home cooks to expand their culinary horizons is too tempting to resist.
8-megapixel glory with full touch-screen capabilities.
- 8-megapixel camera, excellent touch-screen interface, HSDPA-capable, Wi-Fi, GPS display quality
- Look and feel won't appeal to everyone, scrolling isn't natural or smooth, on-screen keyboard a little small, no 3.5mm headphone jack, call quality could be improved
Although it isn't perfect, the Renoir is undoubtedly the best camera phone we've ever reviewed. The touch-screen interface is excellent and it is packed with most of the latest features.
Price$ 799.00 (AUD)
The long-awaited successor to LG's previous flagship model, the Viewty (KU990), the Renoir picks up where the Viewty left off by adding even more features to an already well-rounded package. Sporting a whopping 8-megapixel camera with Xenon flash, as well as a full touch-screen interface, the Renoir should definitely appeal to camera buffs.
The Renoir has quite a stylish look and feel, but it's not in the same league as the iPhone 3G. The front has a glossy silver design, attracting a mass of fingerprints, while the rear is slightly better in this regard and features etched plastic. Although it feels solid enough, the Renoir does not feel as weighty as a phone commanding this price tag perhaps should.
The Renoir's touch-screen interface is excellent. It may lack the polished feel of the iPhone, but it does have adjustable haptic feedback and there is minimal lag during most functions. Icons and selections are large enough to tap with a slight press of your finger, and the menu system layout is a highlight — four main menu icons sit on the right side of the main menu (communicate, entertainment, utilities and settings), while the home screen also has a row of easily accessible icons (dialler, contacts, messaging and menu).
In addition to well-designed menus, the home screen has a widget option, accessed by pressing the W icon. Here you can drag widgets from the row along the bottom of the screen and place them on the home page area for quick access. It's fairly intuitive, but like the F480T the system is limited as you can't edit the widgets that are available, nor can you create your own widgets. The biggest disappointment is scrolling: smooth scrolling is a rarity on this device and scrolling to the bottom of a long list is a frustrating affair.
Thankfully, messaging is largely positive. Using the built-in accelerometer, tilting the Renoir horizontally gives you a full QWERTY keyboard layout, while a regular keypad with T9 support is available if you are in portrait mode. Our only complaint is that the keypad is a little small (especially given the large screen size) and the send button is too close to the space bar for our liking. The QWERTY keyboard buttons are also a little small, especially for people with large fingers. There is also a slight delay when typing quite quickly.
Multimedia features are aplenty, but the 8-megapixel camera is the Renoir's highlight. It offers a host of features including a Xenon flash, face detection, geotagging, blink detection and image stabilisation, as well as an all-important lens cover. The photos captured are perhaps the most impressive we have seen on a camera phone to date. The Renoir struggles slightly with finer details, but edges are smooth and there are no examples of haloing or purple fringing — two issues synonymous with camera phone lenses, which are usually of inferior quality to those found on regular digital cameras. Colour reproduction is excellent. The flash is useful, but like most camera phones the Renoir struggles somewhat in low-light conditions and tends to work best under natural light.
The phone's music and video features are similarly impressive — at least on paper. Dolby Mobile for music, slow- and fast-motion video recording, an FM radio and DviX/Xvid playback are just a few of the Renoir's more noteworthy features. Videos look sharp and clear on the display and viewing angles are excellent. Unfortunately, these great features are all let down by LG's insistence on a proprietary headphone/charging jack. An adapter is included in the sales package and A2DP Bluetooth means you can stream wireless audio to compatible accessories, but the lack of a standard audio jack is an annoying gripe that LG still has failed to address.
Wi-Fi, built-in GPS and HSPDA capabilities make the Renoir one of the most feature-packaged handsets currently available. For GPS, the Google Maps application is included, though it isn't included on the Vodafone-branded handset, meaning there is no GPS mapping available.
Another downside is the lack of internal memory. Although a microSD card slot is included, the paltry 100MB of memory doesn't make much sense considering the 8-megapixel camera and the phone's multimedia capabilities. We also found that call quality was not as good as it could have been — volume could be louder and the quality of both incoming and outgoing audio could be improved.
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