Recently, my contract with 3 UK came up for renewal. Since I’m a frequent Skype user, I decided to stay with them and sign up for another 18 months. Despite loving my Nokia E71, a number of phones were offered to me free with my new contract. I plumped for the LG KC910 “Renoir” purely for its abilities as a camera – if I’m heading somewhere for the weekend, I can just take one device with me if I feel like it.

I’ve had it for a couple of weeks now, and, generally, I’m getting along with it.

The camera is just superb. The 8 megapixel camera is as good as any point and shoot, and the movie recording feature works wonderfully – my favourite setting being 640×384 widescreen – the video is crisp and colours well-defined. I’m very happy with the imaging functions, and that’s remarkable given how picky I am.

Conifer and Parasol

The video quality isn’t bad in low light either. Here’s a video taken at dusk, overlooking a river, with some bats playing over the surface of the water:

 

Bats on the River Avon from Tom Goskar on Vimeo.

The rest of the phone, well, after the E71, isn’t much to write home about. The interface is a bit clunky, the browser is passable, and the Java implementation is rubbish. But, it does the job – I can make and receive calls, and stab at the screen to send texts. I would *hate* to use it for Skype chat – the interface is just hideous – but making and receiving Skype calls works well.

I’m having trouble setting up my email too, which is annoying. It receives email fine, but sending an email with a photo attachment simply doesn’t work. This is doubly annoying, as it means that I can’t send photos to Posterous, Twitpic, Flickr, etc via email. I hope that I’ll work out how to fix it, or I’ll have to contact LG to see if they can help. 

Still, the camera came with an 8GB MicroSD card which is easily accessible via a flap on the side of the phone, so it’s easy to take it out, pop into an adaptor and transfer to my Mac. I managed to upload a photo to Flickr via the web browser, but it’s a fiddly process.

So what about build quality? It’s quite a chunky phone, made entirely from plastic, which is a stark contrast from the metal solidity of the E71. But it doesn’t creak or bend, and is nonetheless sturdy feeling for a plastic phone. The touchscreen is plastic, so prone to scratches, and is resistive rather than capacitive, so you need to press firmly (but not too hard) to register a ‘click’. You can of course see the touchscreen yield under your finger in the right light.

All round, it’s not bad. If I’m using my E71, I miss the KC910’s camera – but if I’m using the KC910, I miss the elegance of the E71, and it’s great physical keyboard. Any on-screen keyboard is a pile of rubbish compared to the iPhone’s implementation, in my humble opinion, this LG’s included.

Expect more opinions as I play more with the Renoir (especially if I fix the sending email attachments problem).