LG KG920 review: 5 megapixel exotic

GSMArena team, 25 February 2007.

Multimedia - worse than expected

The LG KG920 has an integrated memory of 8MB which will prove pretty inadequate for your multimedia needs. The miniSD memory card that comes in the retail package would certainly improve the issue but truth be told, you would be far better off buying an additional one. The maximum external memory size support is unknown but even 1GB of additional memory can really mean a difference.

The File manager appears as a “My stuff” item in the main menu. It includes separate factory preset folders for different multimedia content. In fact these folders are the only ones you will see since the file manager doesn’t actually support user-created folders. There aren’t also any options for marking, copying or moving files between folders. Besides those preset folders there is also an External Memory shortcut which displays the contents of the miniSD memory card. The folders on the memory card are preset too and even if you add new ones through a computer card reader they won’t be listed.

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My Stuff menu

Generally speaking, the file browser provides basic functionality and is not really that user-friendly. And when browsing pictures it takes forever to load their thumbnails. You can zoom in pictures too but that’s a painstaking task that really gets on your nerves since it takes ages. The MP3 player, the camera application, and the Photos/Videos album are kept into a dedicated Multimedia menu which can be started with the external camera/mp3 player shortcut key. Now, the Photo album presents the same capabilities as the file manager.

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Browsing through stored images

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Zooming in an image

There is another photo album too, which even allows browsing the pictures in landscape mode – it’s accessible via a shortcut when the camera is turned on. Too hard to get to; and again, awfully slow.

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Browsing in landscape mode

Unfortunately, the MP3 player is on a mediocre level too. The presence of a memory card slot really makes the things a lot easier when it comes to listening to music. The player though doesn’t support playlists and it plays all the files you have saved in the MP3 folder. The supported file formats are MP3, AAC, AAC+, AAC++, WMA, MP4 (audio), and WAV. The AAC support is a good thing since AAC files tend to be smaller in size than MP3. The problem is that it doesn’t read ID3 tags and the tracks in the file list are arranged by the respective file names – ordering by either artist or song name is impossible.

The player cannot work in the background. It has three different animated visualizations which have nothing to do with the music beat itself – just as in the LG KG800 Chocolate – just as opposite to the recently reviewed LG KE800 Chocolate Platinum. They all do suffer from a certain lag. It seems the mobile suffers serious performance issues when it comes to using, browsing or creating multimedia content.

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Music player interface • dummy graphic music visualizations

If you receive a call while the MP3 player is playing the song gets stopped and when you end your call it doesn’t start automatically. Further on when you do start it manually, its starts playing the current track from the very beginning.

There are several equalizer presets that you can use in order to enhance the player sound and they do make a difference.

We didn’t have the LG retail headset at our disposal during the test but we were very pleased with the integrated loudspeaker. Given the right equalizer preset is chosen, you can hear lower frequencies better than usual for a mobile phone. To put it simply, it just has more bass. The volume levels are nice too. The LG KG920 is among the loudest mobiles we have laid our hands on recently.

Mega-exciting

Testing the 5 megapixel camera is what we all waited. Well it turned out that it has a nicely designed landscape menu interface with a good deal of customizable options. The pictures taken with it have a maximum resolution of 2592 x 1944 pixels which is quite good for even A4 prints. We were very pleased with the quality of the samples we took. Its functionality is further enhanced by a strobe flash, which is way better than a LED flash, but weaker than a real xenon flash that for example Sony Ericsson K800 is equipped with.

One of the greatest problems that all LG phones we have tested seem to suffer from is the slowness of the camera application itself. Taking a picture with the LG KG920 takes more than 10 seconds in order to focus on the subject, take a shot at the maximum resolution and save it. Focusing and saving each takes around 4 seconds. That sort of a limitation really doesn’t leave you with a lot of opportunities to express your photographic imagination since you are bound to shooting only still subjects. There is a certain problem with the use of the camera shutter key. Sometimes you just press it and nothing happens. First we thought that it’s a hardware problem but it turned out to be a problem with the camera software itself. You just have to be more precise when pressing it. Turning on the camera shutter sound really helps a lot.

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LG KG920 camera viewfinder

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Various camera settings

As we already said the camera options are really rich. You may choose from several shooting modes such as Macro shot, Portrait, Landscape, Sports, and Dusk. The flash has a Red Eye mode while shooting can also be done with several color filters (Sepia, Negative, etc.) and in sequence shot of 3 pictures in a row if needed. The white balance has also 5 custom options besides the automatic one. The light metering can be done according to the central spot in the picture or taking into account the whole composition. ISO is adjustable too – you have the choice among the standard ISO 100, 200 and 400. The autofocus can also be set to a central point or to a multi-point evaluation.

Otherwise the picture quality is fine if you managed to hold the phone perfectly still during image capturing. As we already said, the camera is awfully slow. There is a delay between the press of the button and the actual capturing of the photo. That means that most of the time the composition you want to take a shot at has already changed when the actual photographing takes place. The auto focus suffers some issues and fails to deliver in low light environments and low contrast subjects. Generally, it is slower and more unreliable that the ones of Nokia N73 and Sony Ericsson K800. Macro shots turn out just great though.

If you want to know more about the picture quality of LG KG920 it’s best to check our photo shootout, where we compare the Korean 5 megapixel to the best 3 megapixel phones nowadays – Sony Ericsson K800 and Nokia N73.

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LG KG920 sample photos, many more in the shootout

Besides the rule-it-all 5 megapixels the LG KG920 has also a nice equipped video camera which shoots video at 320 x 240 pixels resolution at the whopping 30 fps. That alone makes those home videos perfectly watchable and enjoyable. The output format is the usual .3gp. The menu of the video camera is pretty much the same as the one we already described for the still camera with few exceptions.

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Various video settings

LG KG920 sample video