At its global launch in central London, the latest Black Label phone from LG broke its cover. Theis a 5-megapixel fashion phone with an ultra-wide 800x345-pixel LCD touch-screen display. And despite the number of unusual (and unneeded) models here to glam-up its christening, we're feeling cautiously impressed.
You'll remember that this was the phone we all thought looked too long and enormous to believe comfortable, but it's actually quite compact--like an iPod Nano, only thicker and a bit heavier. Its 4.1-inch-thick capacitive touch screen is responsive too, with rich colors and a tight pixel density that produces crisp menus and images. It feels solid and well-built, too.
Its menu system works--sadly--like the's, but the enormously wide screen allows the phone to present its contents more intuitively. For example, when browsing the text messaging menu, the people you've been chatting with appear in a list down the left half of the screen. But when you tap one of their names, their messages to you appear in a window on the right-hand half of the screen--it's like using a computer with two monitors. You'll see a photo illustrating this in the gallery above.
In terms of specifications, the BL40's 5-megapixel camera is only backed up with a simple LED flash. To be brutally honest, for a phone set to be used in clubs and bars, a Xenon flash would've been an epic win in terms of design. But it's got a proper 3.5mm headphone socket for listening to MP3s; a 7.2Mbps HSPDA data connection for downloading them; support for MPEG-4, DivX, and Xvid video formats; Wi-Fi; stereo Bluetooth; and A-GPS--all excellent strings to have on your phone's bow.
Now, we only spent half an hour with the phone in our hands, and that's by no means long enough to use as a basis for recommendation. But at this early stage the BL40 is looking like the smartest, and the most attractive, of LG's Black Label phones and we're seriously looking forward to getting one in-house for a full review.
It'll launch on Orange in the next two or three weeks, but no word yet on when or if it will make its way to the U.S.