The KC780 is an 8-megapixel camera phone in a slider format, with an extremely functional layout that will appeal to those who feel persecuted by small keypads. We found the picture quality rather disappointing, but the KC780 is worth checking out for those seeking a basic camera phone
Sneaked in by the South Korean company after the LG Renoir, the LG KC780 is another 8-megapixel phone, but comes in a slider format and has a slimmer profile.
Available SIM-free for around £250, and free on certain contracts, we took the KC780 out on the road to see how it stacks up against the competition.
For a phone that LG describes as 'slim', you'll probably be surprised at how thick it is. A relatively large screen is surrounded by sizeable navigation keys, and a big keypad hides under the sliding mechanism. The advantage of everything being so large is that it's all easy to press, making dialling and texting straightforward.
The KC780 has a simple layout and, while it's not sexy, it is very functional. It's the kind of phone someone who complains about small keypads would love.
The supposed star of the show is the 8-megapixel camera on the back, but we can't say we were blown away. The camera looks rather basic, and there's no lens cover and no xenon flash, which is disappointing considering how badly LED photo lights perform.
A silver border adds little to what is a basic-looking phone.
Some phones look basic and turn out to be very complex inside. Unfortunately, the KC780 isn't one of them. Start using it and you quickly realise that, aside from the camera, the KC780 isn't a high-end phone. If you're looking for a smart phone, you'll be disappointed.
The 8-megapixel camera allows you to take still photos and video. Face detection and smile detection work as advertised, with smile detection capturing a smile automatically. We were disappointed by the picture quality, however. Pictures taken with the KC780 just didn't look as sharp or crisp as we expected and, in low light, even though you can turn the ISO up to 1,600, the pictures simply weren't that great. Besides the disappointing camera, we also found the lack of 3G, Wi-Fi and GPS frustrating.
Feature-wise, unless you're after a camera phone that does the basics, the KC780 really doesn't have much to recommend it. Some features, such as motion-sensitive games and the ability to use the camera as a wireless webcam, perked us up momentarily but, overall, there's no oomph -- browsing the Internet, for example, is a lacklustre experience.
The MP3 player is basic but lets you shuffle tracks and create playlists. Annoyingly, there's no built-in 3.5mm headphone jack, so you can't plug standard headphones straight in. On a positive note, there's 2GB of on-board memory and a microSD card slot, which means plenty of storage space for pictures and songs.
As we've pointed out, the 8-megapixel camera simply didn't take the kind of pictures we expected. Pictures in daylight were okay, though not as sharp as those of other 8-megapixel camera phones, and, in low light, the LED photo light simply didn't illuminate pictures well enough. A xenon flash would have been much better.
Audio quality during calls and music playback was acceptable, with no noticeable distortions or muffling, but the absence of a 3.5mm headphone jack means you're stuck having to use the standard cans, which we really don't like. The loudspeaker is tinny, as expected. If you want to make hands-free calls, we recommend using a Bluetooth headset.
Battery life is quoted at 250 hours of standby and 3 hours of talk time. We found that the battery lasted for around two days with moderate use. Due to the fact that there's no 3G, Wi-Fi or GPS, it's unlikely that you'll see the battery drain quickly but, as with any phone, using the camera or any other feature will reduce overall battery life.
LG isn't targeting gadget freaks with the KC780 -- this phone is about keeping things simple and taking pictures. That would be fine if the camera was excellent, but it's not. In the end, what you end up with is a basic slider phone with a large keypad. We know LG can do better and hope to see more impressive phones soon.
If you want to buy a good camera phone, we suggest looking for a Nokia N82, if you can find one, or a Sony Ericsson C905 -- one of the best camera phones currently available.
Edited by Charles Kloet