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June 22, 2009

LG Arena KM900 Review

LG’s newest flagship smartphone, the LG Arena, packs in a ton of features you seldom see in its category and price point. We took the new phone for a spin in the last two weeks to see what’s the catch. Check out the review after the jump.

Design and Construction

The LG Arena’s design looks really simple in the outset, not too slim and not too thick either at 12mm (although it’s actually thinner than the iPhone 3G). The faceplate is surrounded in metal with a brushed finish while the backplate is covered in aluminum and plastic. It feels light and fits very well in the hands too. (See full specs and unboxing photos here.)

lg arena

There are very few physical buttons here — a power button, a camera switch and volume controls — and it gives you an impression that everything else is controlled via the touchscreen.

Navigation and Touch UI

The touch UI of the LG Arena allows for multi-touch, a feature very few touchscreen phones support; and since it has a capacitive screen, the Arena no longer needs a stylus and it’s all finger-flicking from hereon. LG also added a haptic feedback mechanism which you can completely control — vibration volume, touch sound and vibration type.

lg arena

The S-Class Touch UI gives the screen a 3D effect with an eye-catching Cube navigation that rotates around in 4 panels (Contacts, Widgets, Music and Shortcuts). The Home Screen is packed with all icons for all sorts of controls for Communication, Multimedia, Utilities and Settings (reminded me of the iPhone home screen) — it even re-orients horizontally in landscape mode.

Text input is done via a virtual alphanumeric keypad at the vertical position and switches to full qwerty in horizontal position (landscape mode). While the full qwerty is large enough and easy to get used to, there seems to be some response lag once you start typing real fast. Typing is pretty accurate with a miss-rate of about 2 characters for every 5 words.

Connectivity

LG didn’t hold back to complete the connectivity features in the KM900 — WiFi 802.11 b/g, 3G (HSDPA up to 7.2Mbps), Bluetooth 2.0, GPS with AGPS support — you won’t look for anything more than that on a mobile phone.

lg km900

What I found bit lacking though is WAP 2.0/xHTML browser which is a little slow even on WiFi although it has some nice features like tabbed browsing and multi-touch navigation (pinch, stretch, swipe etc). Since the Arena can multi-task, you can run several applications and load multiple websites all at the same time. Of course, there are some noticeable slowing down of apps and functions when running them all at the same time.

Multimedia and Entertainment

The LG Arena has a large 3-inch screen with a resolution of 480×800 pixels in bright and crisp 16M colors. This is evident when playing videos where even at an angle, the display still projects the same video quality (no bluish haze like in the iPhone).

The music player is fast and easy to use with some pretty nice visualization. Although I found the volume not too loud, applying the Dolby Mobile in the equalizer made some nice improvements on music playback (at full volume, songs are less pitchy and has a little bit more bass).

Another rare feature of the LG Arena is the FM Tuner with Transmitter so you can broadcast music from the phone to any FM receiver at home or in your car’s stereo (last time I used this feature was with the Nokia N78).

The 5-megapixel camera takes nice quality photos (Schneider-Kreuznach optics) with a fairly fast and stable autofocus. See sample photo below:

lg-arena-photo-sample

Video capture isn’t as impressive though (since there’s no autofocus) despite the large resolution of 720×480 @ 30fps. See sample video below:

Video quality degrades on close-up shots (see another sample here) and ability to do slow-mo video recording is a really nice addition. Video files are saved as 3GP instead of the more familiar MP4.

There’s an internal storage of 8GB but it can be extended to 40GB by adding a 32GB microSD card (haven’t seen one available in the local market though). The battery is rated at 1000mAh and last about 2 to 2.5 days on regular use.

Conclusion

At its price point, the LG KM900 Arena could be a hit to those looking for a full-featured touchscreen phone. It’s got everything you’ll need from a smartphone in a good form factor and pretty nice UI.

The LG Arena has a suggested retail price of Php24,990 and comes in Silver, Titan Black, Dusty Pink colors.


65 Responses to “LG Arena KM900 Review”

  1. elmer b. mabbayad says:

    m selling my lg km900 (arena) pls contact 09159700123

  2. elmer b. mabbayad says:

    99.99 percent condition good as brand new black color w/ capdase original leather casing 2 mos. used w/ complete accessory..

  3. lgarena fan says:

    i love this phone,lalo n nung update q more faster than the original firmware..woooowww

  4. Prometheus Kane
    Twitter: Prometheus Kang
    says:

    Just got one last night and it was on sale. Got this one at 9,999 at Megamall. Too bad we missed the BL40 which was also on sale until stocks ran out. (They were all gone in a couple of hours.) We saved around 15K because of the promo. Using it right now. Its quick and plays music pretty well but I’m still trying to get used to the new interface.

  5. sig says:

    Sa phone profile palang, impressive na, so I took the chance to buy on sale of this unit that was selling for $250 last May, and it didn’t disappointed me, all those essential features like Wi-fi and 8giga internal memory impressed me, pero sayang wala syang standard USB connection atsaka lock button na normally meron ang mga touchscreen phones, di ko rin type yung earphones na kasama nung unit pero ok lang not much of a big deal,
    Bottom line, really good phone.

  6. ruth says:

    hi, bought this phone 2 weeks ago. 2nd hand nga lang. im looking for a brand new battery kasi sobrang bilis nya malobat, any suggestion kung san meron yun original. may nahanap ako kaso medyo malayo sa area ko, from parañaque ako.thanks!

  7. Yang Chester says:

    You experienced some great points here. I accomplished an investigation on the topic and obtained most peoples will agree together with your blog.

  8. zomba says:

    what do you think swapping my nokia 5800 to this lg arena? can any anyone testify the positive and negative ones please… salamat po.. kasi im planning to change my n5800 kasi dko gusto wala man lang animation gusto ko kasi me animation like 3d e merun ang lg arena hehe. saka 5MP ang camera.

  9. singapura says:

    I like the helpful information you provide in your articles. I’ll bookmark your blog and check again here frequently. I’m quite sure I’ll learn many new stuff right here! Best of luck for the next!

  10. jen says:

    hello, whats the new firmware version of this?

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