Phones at the leading edge are currently offering 8-megapixel cameras, but 5-megapixel ones are far from ubiquitous and arguably a better value for money proposition. If you want the quality and clarity that 8 megapixels offers you are currently better off going for a dedicated digital camera.
LG’s tri-band KC550 is a low cost 5-megapixel offering, and its camera is supplemented by a self-portrait mirror and LED flash. There is autofocus and a macro mode, and the camera will shoot video at 730 x 480, 30fps, which isn’t bad going at all. You will get more features and better quality images from a dedicated camera, but what is here is quite acceptable, especially given the price of this handset.
There isn’t much to recommend this phone as far as looks are concerned. The KC550 is a fairly chunky slider phone which is a little on the thick side and a bit squat in the hand. For the record the dimensions are 51.4mm x 96.9mm x 14.9mm and 110g.
Its mostly black fascia has some silver dotted around making it similar to many other handsets. However it does well on the usability front. The flat number pad has been given a checkerboard look of black and slate grey which helps you find the keys visually, while the front button arrangement is simple and unchallenging.
The screen is a little small at 2.4 inches across the diagonal, but there is nothing wrong with its resolution (320 x 240 pixels) or its brightness and clarity.
An accelerometer turns the screen as you swivel the phone in your hand. This is obviously handy when viewing photos and it also has a role in gameplay. There is a gaming subsection called ‘M-Toy’ which has six games that use the accelerometer. The one in which you guide a ball around a maze is fun, and there are also fishing and darts playing among the opportunities here.
Perhaps of more interest is the TV-out capability. Provided through the proprietary mains power and headset connector port this lets you send the phone’s screen display to a TV. The cable isn’t provided, but that is perhaps understandable given the relatively low cost of this phone.
On-board memory is just 12MB and so you are probably going to need to invest in a microSD card to store music, video and photos. An FM radio is included and battery life on a music rundown test was ten and a half hours, which is pretty good.
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