The KE500 attempts to steal some of the lustre of LG's Shine handset and serve it up in a more affordable package. The handset is available for free on contract or for around £80 SIM-free or on pay as you go, but is it a sensible option for those who are strapped for cash?
LG has certainly made some impressive looking phones in its day and although the KE500 isn't quite up there with the Shine or Chocolate handsets in terms of looks, it's not altogether unappealing to the eye. The mirrored surround on the screen is certainly attractive and the keypad is bathed in a pleasing blue glow from the backlight. Only the slightly plasticky finish detracts from the overall look.
The phone is pretty straightforward to use as its menu system is based around a standard grid of animated icons. The T9 predictive text implementation is also good, but the buttons on the keypad are small and overly smooth. As a result, they feel very slippery under your thumb and fingers when you're tapping out messages. Another anomaly with the keypad is that it doesn't have a hang-up button. Instead this is bizarrely -- and rather annoyingly -- placed on the right hand edge of the phone.
On the rear of the handset you'll find a 2-megapixel camera, complete with a micromirror for self portraits and an LED flash for low light shooting. The snaps it takes aren't bad as they capture relatively naturally looking colour, but the detail is obviously limited by the relatively low resolution.
Apart from the camera, you also get a few other extras, including a basic MP3 player and an FM tuner. The phone also supports Bluetooth. This can be used not just to connect to wireless headsets or car kits, but also to beam stereo music to A2DP compatible wireless speaker systems.
The KE500's call quality was generally good, although the speaker does tend to distort at higher volumes or when you use the speakerphone, and the phones reception was good.