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LG Shine Bar (KE770) review: LG Shine Bar (KE770)

The Shine Bar shares the celebrity good-looks of its parent phone, but a few basic flaws hold it back from being truly desirable, even for the budget price tag.

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

In its appearance, the Shine Bar shares only some of the physical characteristics of its parent phone, the LG Shine. In fact, there's a much stronger resemblance to Sony Ericsson's W890i design, with the brushed metal finish and candy bar form factor. This isn't a bad thing though, in fact, it's quite the opposite; the Shine Bar expresses a simplistic elegance.


LG Shine Bar (KE770)

The Good

Sleek design. Budget price point.

The Bad

No 3G. Cramped keypad. Below average call quality. No USB cable or CD in box.

The Bottom Line

The Shine Bar looks great, and while the price is right, a few basic flaws suggests there's value in the extra AU$50 spent on the Shine Slide instead of the Shine Bar.

At AU$199, the Shine Bar is marginally cheaper than the Shine Slide (AU$249) and the differences begin to be seen once the display is activated. While the two phones share the mirror-finish reflective screen that gives the Shine family its name, once the screen lights up the Bar's lower resolution screen looks noticeably darker and duller than the Shine's QVGA display.

On the face of the Bar's candybar body is an identical keypad to the one we found under the Slide's slider, although, the navigation buttons do differ slightly. Instead of the Slide's scrolling toggle — a feature we really enjoyed using — the Bar employs a cramped standard five-way navigation pad, which is not as finger-friendly as we'd like it to be.

Another noticeable difference between the Bar and the Slide is the built-in camera modules. While both handsets feature 2-megapixel cameras, the Slide's camera is certified by Schneider Kreuznach, and features auto-focus; quite a bonus for a camera in the prepaid price range. The Bar's on-board camera may not feature auto-focus, but does include a LED flash, and for people who intend to MMS their photos to friends, or post them on their blog, the difference in the pictures taken is difficult to distinguish.

In terms of software, the Shine Bar shares the same suite of applications as the Shine Slide. These include the same media player and Lost Mobile Tracker, for when your phone is lost or stolen. The test units we have seen came with a couple of cool mobile games including a fishing game that we found addictive.

Also similar to the Shine Slide, the Bar is missing the USB cable and software CD in its retail bundle. The missing cable wouldn't be such a problem if LG used a micro USB cable, similar to those used with digital cameras, but unfortunately you need a specific cable to fit the proprietary port on LG's phones. Searching online stores we found LG USB cables for AU$15, which is exactly AU$15 more than you should have to spend.

Perhaps we've been reviewing too many laggy, resource-hungry smartphones lately, but using the zippy user interface on the Shine Bar has been a delight. Every keypad stroke is met with the desired result, without any noticeable pause.

Battery life during our tests was very similar to the Shine Slide. We tested both phones simultaneously, and even though the Bar has the lower-res display, both phones showed similarly excellent battery cycles of between four to six days.

Less pleasing was the quality of calls during our tests. The speaker is loud enough to be heard clearly but calls suffer from a hollow-sounding distortion. This was not our experience when using the Shine Slide, and adds to our overall impression that, if you were choosing between the Slide and the Bar, the extra AU$50 spent on the Slide would be money well spent.