Did you ever put an empty chip bag in the oven when you were a kid, to shrink the bag into a perfect miniature version of itself? LG's new Shine Slide works on a similar premise; take a popular fashion phone — in this case — shrink not only the handset but the spec sheet and price tag and voila! — a prepaid hit in the making.
The Shine Slide is one of the most impressive handsets we've come across in this price range. Made from 100 percent stainless steel, the Shine Slide shares the same mirror-like surface of its parent phone, under which a 2.2-inch QVGA (320x240) display resides. Unlike many of the plastic handsets in the sub AU$300 category, the Shine Slide feels as sturdy as a phone twice its price.
The sliding mechanism, that gives this phone its name, feels solid. The top half locks into place at both ends and doesn't feel loose on the rails like other sliders we've tested. Under the slider you find a flat numeric keypad, with the keys separated by indented lines. Ordinarily we'd prefer the keys to be raised for definition and ease-of-use, however, the keys here are large enough to use comfortably.
Menu navigation is performed via a rotating toggle under the screen. The toggle is uni-directional — it only spins up and down — but it's very fast, and with a bit of practice we found it to be quite a useful input tool.
The standard selection of buttons on the side of the phone (volume and camera keys) are supplemented with a dedicated MP3 button for accessing the music player. It's a shame that the Shine Slide only has a proprietary LG handset input port, rather than a 3.5mm port for using standard headphones.
Compared to the original Shine, the Shine Slide is relatively feature-poor, but for AU$249 we didn't expect much more on the spec sheet. It's a tri-band 2G handset, and while it has a WAP browser, it's certainly not made for Web browsing. It features reasonably good multimedia playback options including MP3, AAC, WMA, MPEG4 and H264 audio and video file recognition.