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Hands on with the LG Renoir

We take a quick look at the LG Renoir, a Europe-only phone with a whopping 8-megapixel camera. It has great optics andseveral interesting features not found in standalone cameras.

Our colleagues over in the U.K. have reviewed the LG Renoir already, but since it's a Europe-only phone, we weren't able to handle the device on our own. If you recall, the LG Renoir is an 8-megapixel camera phone with plenty of high-end photo features like face detection, blink detection, manual focus, an ISO sensitivity of up to 1,600, and more. At CES 2009, LG had it out on display for everyone to try, and I finally had a chance to see the Renoir in person.

LG Renoir
LG Renoir Nicole Lee/CNET

The LG Renoir looks and feels like most other LG touch-screen phones. The home screen has the four icons along the bottom, while the menu interface has the navigation icons along the right side. This interface is similar to the one on the LG Incite and the LG Glimmer. It's a really good-looking phone, with an intuitive touch interface that has vibrating haptic feedback.

But of course, what I really wanted to see was the camera. The camera features something called Touch Shot, which lets you tap something on the screen to auto focus on an object, and then when you lift your finger, a photo is automatically taken. As you can see in the video here, we also had a chance to see how the face detection and blink detection worked. If it notices a blink, the phone warns you that someone blinked, and you can then take the photo again. With the face detection, once there's a green square around someone's face, the screen will actually follow the person's face whenever he or she moves around. The video doesn't quite capture the coolness of it, but it's a taste of how the camera works.

LG Renoir's home screen
LG Renoir's home screen Nicole Lee/CNET

Though we didn't get a look at them, other camera features include a Beauty Shot, which removes imperfections and blemishes from the skin, and Art Shot, which adds photo effects like different color tones.

Other Renoir features include Wi-Fi, A-GPS, a camcorder that can take 120 frames per second (fps) of high speed video and turn it into a 5 fps time-lapse recording, support for XVid and DivX video codecs, and more. It's currently available in Asia and Europe only.