CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. How we test phones

LG KF310 review: LG KF310

For a prepaid mobile, the KF310 has a few tricks up its sleeve, notably HSDPA web browsing. It's a shame it looks so much like a budget-priced phone.

Joseph Hanlon Special to CNET News
Joe capitalises on a life-long love of blinking lights and upbeat MIDI soundtracks covering the latest developments in smartphones and tablet computers. When not ruining his eyesight staring at small screens, Joe ruins his eyesight playing video games and watching movies.
Joseph Hanlon
3 min read

Recent LG prepaid releases have been impressive. The KF510 was an excellent example of how a low-cost phone could emulate the sex appeal of its flagship model, but cut costs on high price components and materials. The KF310 doesn't do this as successfully, though there are parts of it we like. It's lightweight and smallish, in regards to length and width, but at 17mm, it's not the slimmest slider phone around. Its plastic construction is reasonably sturdy and the sliding mechanism moves smoothly and clicks into place when opened or closed.


LG KF310

The Good

HSDPA. Affordable. Good media file recognition.

The Bad

Low-res display. No 3.5mm headphone socket. Flat keypad with little definition.

The Bottom Line

For a prepaid mobile, the KF310 has a few tricks up its sleeve, notably HSDPA web browsing. It's a shame it looks so much like a budget-priced phone.

The screen is serviceable but isn't specced to be seriously impressive. Only 2 inches big, the display features a low 176x220-pixel resolution which is half the resolution of the now-standard QVGA displays we see on most phones. Below the screen LG employs a standard set of navigation keys including selection and calling keys. Looking at this design, we feel that there is a lot of wasted space between the tiny screen and tiny keys.

Sliding the phone open you find a 15-button keypad, including the regular numeric pad plus three extra shortcut keys. This pad is as flat as unleavened bread and about as useful for typing out SMS messages or punching in long phone numbers. Perhaps we have unusually large thumbs, but we found typing on the numpad to be a frustrating exercise of entry and delete as we constantly hit the wrong key over and over.

On the back of the phone we find a 2-megapixel camera unadorned by any extras; there's no flash or self-portrait mirror, just the lens. On the right of the phone is a USB charging port that doubles as the headphone socket. On the opposite side is a microSD slot and volume controls.

For a prepaid model, the KF310 has a few nice extras you may not expect on a phone under AU$300. Firstly, 3G is a very handy inclusion. With the increasing predominance of web services, particularly Google Maps, having 3G data speeds is essential, but often overlooked. The KF310 also supports Java apps, so Google Maps as well as the Opera Mini web browser and Yahoo Go are all supported.

Also like more expensive phones, the KF310 is equipped with two cameras, the standard camera for photos on the back and a secondary camera for video-calling located above the screen on the front. The rear-facing camera has the minimum 2-megapixel specification, but we found the digital shutter works quickly, so the photos we took were Facebook-able. Internally, the KF310 supports up to 40MB of user-stored data, but it does come with a microSD card slot so this memory is expandable. Don't expect a memory card at this price-point though.

If you do buy some memory you might want to consider putting some music and videos on the phone. The KF310 supports a range of audio files including MP3, WMA, AAC and AAC+, and video files such as MPEG4, H.264 and WMV. With the low-res screen you probably won't want to watch feature-length movies, but we found watching short clips and TV shows to be fine.

We didn't hear any significant problems when we made calls with the KF310, but the people we spoke to told us we were a little muffled. Composing text messages on the phone is simple enough with predictive text, but would be much easier to do with a better defined keyboard.

Web browsing was good, though we'd only recommend this phone for the most basic browsing; news headlines, quick google searches, etc. Using Google Maps was also good, with the help of HSDPA browsing speeds, though the screen obviously hampers your ability to use it for more than a quick street search.

Alongside 3 Mobile's excellent INQ1, we're pleased to see more prepaid handsets with HSDPA web speeds. Data on phones is passed the point of being an unused gimmick and owners of low-end handsets need access to information as much as people who can afford iPhones and BlackBerrys. The KF310 offers a few extras that are not often seen in prepaid phones, like 3G video-calling, but lacks the usability or quality components of the INQ1. Plus it's just not that attractive; the KF310's looks match its price tag. LG's KF510 and Shine Slide is what we really want to see from the Korean company — phones that look like top-end models that don't break the bank.