The LG Shine is one of the most desirable phones we've seen, thanks to the gleaming metal and mirrored front. If you're looking for a phone with a touch of class, then this should be near the top of your list.
Available soon for free with a contract, the LG Shine is a rare example of a fashion phone that's actually useable.
The first thing you'll notice when you take the LG Shine out of its box is that there's a mirror where you'd expect the screen to be, and it's large enough to quickly check yourself out before a big meeting or a hot date. Turn the phone on, though, and you'll realise there's actually a large colour screen beneath the reflective surface -- it's a really cool effect.
Unfortunately, as soon as you start to use the phone you'll realise what a grease and fingerprint magnet the screen is. It's annoying, but it's also part of the Shine's charm -- it's all about style over practicality. The glass front looks incredible when it's clean; just be prepared to clean it a lot.
Unlike many phones that feel like toys made from cheap plastic, the Shine feels strong and well built. It's slightly heavier than most phones we've seen recently, but this only adds to the sensation that you've got a quality product in your hand. At only 14mm thick, it slips easily into a pocket.
The materials used in the LG Shine remind us of other classy mobiles like the Nokia 8800. The metal casing oozes quality, and when you look at the back, where the 2-megapixel camera is housed, it looks more like a cutting-edge, ultra-compact digital camera than a phone.
When you push the top section up, the flat, Razr-like keypad is unveiled, the screen is activated and a blue backlight illuminates the keys, including the two soft keys at the top. Annoyingly, you invariably touch the mirrored glass section to open the phone, smearing it with your mucky paws.
The sliding mechanism is superb. There's none of the wobbling or shaking we've seen on some rival phones when sliding it open or shut, and it feels very sturdy compared with the majority of other slider phones.
Once opened, you use a bar that you scroll up and down to navigate the menu, which can be slow-going at times. Unlike, say, the iPod's Click Wheel, which lets you scroll without taking your thumb off the wheel, you need to keep lifting your thumb off the Shine's scroll bar to keep scrolling. The scrolling speed is also a little slow and you can't adjust it, which is a shame.
The Shine's keypad is completely flat, so it can be difficult to work out which key is which, and it suffers from the usual slider phone problem of a lack of space for the bottom row of keys.
The large colour screen is surprisingly bright, even though it's hidden behind the reflective surface, and it works well as a viewfinder for the camera.