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Photos: LG Renoir 8-megapixel camera phone

LG's latest camera phone to blaze down the high street will be the LG Renoir -- not the LG Pony or LG Pigeon, sadly -- with its 8-megapixel beast of a camera

Hot on the trail of Samsung's i8510, yesterday LG showed us its own 8-megapixel camera phone, the LG Renoir. LG tells us this is its first phone to keep its original development codename, whereas the LG Pony and LG Pigeon brand names sadly never made it to market. Seriously, we're not kidding.

The Renoir will be the first 8-megapixel camera phone to boast a touchscreen and from our initial testing the large screen seems very responsive. The interface is similar to the LG Viewty's, with a series of finger-friendly icons filling the menu. There's also a widget bar, which you can get to from the start page, giving you fast access to apps.

Features-wise the Renoir is pretty competent -- there's a Web browser that lets you zoom in and out of pages and open tabs, an MP3 player with Dolby Mobile that supposedly gives you a better playback experience, and a video player that supports DivX, so you can watch films on the go. But it's the camera that's the star of the show.

The big number might be a marketing gimmick, but we're initially impressed with the quality of pictures you can capture with the Renoir's 8-megapixel snapper. You can shoot shots at up to ISO 1,600 and there's a series of extras, including face detection, smile detection and even a beauty shot that claims to get rid of blemishes on people's faces. Click through for more info and pics. -Andrew Lim

Update: Read our full LG Renoir review here.

Considering all its features, the Renoir isn't that big. Part of the tradeoff is that the charging port also doubles up as the headphone port, which we're really disappointed by. You do get a headphone adaptor in the box, but we'd love to see a 3.5mm headphone jack in future LG phones -- and at the top of the phone, please, not on the side.

Thar she blows: yes, that sticky-out porthole bit is the 8-megapixel camera, which comes with a lens cover, focus-assist light and xenon flash. We have to admit that early testing shows the xenon flash isn't as powerful as we'd expect, but we'll do more testing soon and follow it up in the review.

The camera also shoots video and can film in slow motion, as with the Viewty and Secret, at up to 120 frames per second.

Here's a shot taken with the Renoir inside our offices, which we think is a high standard for a camera phone. Here's a link to the full-size image if you want a better look. The Renoir will be available next month at Phones4u and other major retailers, for free on a monthly contract.