Making sure that everyone gets a chance to buy a touchscreen phone, LG has come up with the sub-£100 KP500 Cookie.
Here we find out if there's more to it than just a fancy interface.
You can buy a KP500 from Carphone Warehouse on a pay-as-you-go deal or get it free on a monthly contract.
Pitched as LG's most affordable touchscreen phone yet, the KP500 is also one of its most attractive. A slim, matte black casing houses a large touchscreen and a discreet 3-megapixel camera, on the back. It's understated and smart-looking -- more VW than BMW.
The touchscreen isn't made of glass, which is a shame, and uses resistive technology rather than capacitive, which means that you have to apply pressure in order for it to register what you're doing. That said, the screen is more responsive than we expected and, although a little slow at times, works well enough for texting and dialling.
Unlike the iPhone 3G, which has only one mechanical button underneath its screen, the KP500 has three: a send key, an end-call key and a shortcut key that gives access to your favourite apps. Above the end-call key, there's a small, orange LED, but we're not sure what it does besides glowing orange.
If you need a little more accuracy when drawing or using hand-writing recognition, for example, then the KP500 has a stylus tucked inside at the bottom right. You don't need to use it, but it does come in handy. Further up from where the stylus is hidden, on the top right-hand side, is a microSD slot so that you can add extra memory.
At around £100, the KP500 is far cheaper than an iPhone or T-Mobile G1 but, as a consequence, it doesn't have as many features as a high-end smart phone -- there's no 3G, no Wi-Fi and no GPS. If you're looking for an iPhone killer, steer clear, because this isn't it. That doesn't mean to say, however, that the KP500 doesn't do anything.
In an effort to make things easier for your fingers, the KP500's homescreen displays widgets including a calendar, a clock, a shortcut to your pictures and a shortcut to the music player. You can move the widgets around with your finger and put them where they are most useful.
In addition to having a few widgets to play around with, you can also flick the screen left or right, like with HTC's TouchFLO 3D interface, and access another homepage that displays contacts in a thumbnail format so that you can quickly call them. It's a useful concept and makes calling using a touchscreen much easier.
The KP500's menu is similar to that of the Viewty or Renoir, and displays a series of finger-friendly icons that you tap to access. Our only niggle with the menu is that scrolling isn't always smooth and, depending on what you're used to, you might find it annoying.
Texting-wise, there are several options, including a standard keypad layout that you can use with predictive text, a full on-screen Qwerty keypad that we preferred to anything else, and hand-writing recognition. The hand-writing recognition wasn't as fast as we'd hoped, and we found it more frustrating to use than any of the other options.
The KP500's 3-megapixel camera offers a much faster experience. It takes acceptable video and still shots in daylight for MMS and Facebook photos, but, with no LED photo light or flash, don't expect great shots at night. Unlike the Viewty, the KP500 can't shoot slow-motion videos.
Bizarrely, one of the KP500's best features is its photo viewer, which uses a motion sensor to make sure pictures are always the right way up, and lets you flick through them by simply brushing your finger across the screen. There's no pinch-to-zoom functionality, but you can edit pics, adding text and a few effects.
Having sampled the delights of the KP500's photo viewer, the music player didn't impress us -- it offers typical features, such as playlists and shuffling tracks, but it's clunky to use and didn't work quickly enough for our liking. The lack of a 3.5mm jack also annoyed us, as we had to use the proprietary headphones, which aren't great.
The KP500 can handle POP3 email accounts, such as Gmail, but don't expect to use it with a Microsoft Exchange work account. That said, the KP500 will let you view Microsoft Office documents and PDFs, but you can't edit them. Video support is also limited and, unlike the Viewty or Renoir, the KP500 doesn't support DivX or Xvid.
One of the most disappointing features on the KP500 is its Web browser, which doesn't render full Web pages properly and acts more like a WAP browser than anything else. When you've got a screen like this, you want to see the Web in all its glory and the KP500 doesn't deliver that experience.
Audio during calls was loud and clear, but the loudspeaker sounded tinny when put on high. The music player's audio quality was satisfactory, but the inability to use our own headphones meant that we couldn't test it properly. Battery life was over a day, since there were no heavy features draining the battery.
The LG Cookie KP500 had us torn because, on the one hand, it's an affordable touchscreen phone that works well for the most part, but, on the other hand, it has flaws. The most apparent issue is the lack of any juicy features to make it really stand out from the crowd. It's a shame that such a well-designed handset doesn't have 3G, for example.
If all you're looking for is a touchscreen phone that does the basics, then this is it. But, if you're looking for an iPhone killer, then the KP500 will almost certainly disappoint. The confusing thing about the KP500 is that, although it's a phone we could live with, we wouldn't actually do much with it.
Edited by Charles Kloet