LG's latest handset in the Black Label series is the LG Secret, but should you leave it at that, or tell everyone? Following our First Look play with the mobile phone at the launch in April in the UK, we've had further time to use and abuse the handset in the field. So should you bother?
So what do you get? Well the Secret (or KF750 for those who like numbers) is an 11.8mm slim slider handset made from carbon fibre, metal and tempered glass.
The carbon fibre, not a material we've seen before in a phone, coats most of the back as well as being used to strengthen elements of the phone elsewhere in its structure.
The tempered glass, like the carbon fibre does on the rear, dominates the front and covers the 2.4-inch screen and touch-sensitive buttons below. Bits not covered by glass or carbon fibre are metal.
Focusing on design, the LG Secret does well in its overall looks and will no doubt look good with any ensemble you can throw together. The angular design is complemented by a stylish looking button interface that lights up with blue concentric circles when pressed.
The addition of three buttons down the side does spoil the minimalist look, but on the whole it's a thumbs up. Even the keypad, when revealed by the slide, is simple, stylish and easy to use.
In use and that touchscreen button interface underneath is confusing. There are just too many buttons available to press as well as a central hard key button.
The LG Secret sports HSDPA and Bluetooth 2.0 connectivity, a 5-megapixel camera, accelerometer for motion sensor gaming and plenty of other gems up its sleeve including haptics.
HSDPA, as you would expect, works a treat for surfing the web although the web browser isn't the easiest to use with no touch control. Instead you get a confusing control interface for navigating around pages that makes you use the buttons below the screen. It's frustrating because there is a touchscreen on the phone, it's just not touch-enabled all the time.
Want to view documents you've got saved on the device? No problem, you can use the touchscreen to select which one you want and then in a motion very much like the Apple iPhone move around the page with your finger.
Opt to do the same on the browser and you won't be able to. Touch just isn't enabled for web browsing.
The list goes on but basically you can use touch (you activate it by pressing a dedicated button on the side of the handset) within documents (as above), music, games, images and FM radio, however you can't use touch to scroll through menus or make calls.
Giving you yet another input option beyond hard buttons, touch-sensitive buttons and a touchscreen, the LG Secret also features an accelerometer. Primarily used to allow the phone to know whether you are viewing images portrait or landscape like the iPhone, LG has developed six basic games to get people thinking. Basic is an understatement and it's woefully under-used here. It's a shame as according to other manufacturers, it is an expensive bit of kit to include and it is not really used to its maximum.
Darts, baseball, and a maze game compliment other titles like fishing that see you casting your phone in the air as if it were a fishing rod (we can see the lawsuits come flying in).
It's not all about games and web surfing though. The Secret sports a 5-megapixel digital camera with flash and you'll be able to capture still and video footage at the press of a button. Like other LG mobiles, you'll also be able to edit them in-phone just like the company's Viewty handset.
Dependent on contract
The LG Secret's main competitor is likely to be the Samsung Soul. Having had a brief hands-on with the Soul, the Secret looks to be the more stylish offering.
With music not getting a look in at all really (there is a music player and radio however no real emphasis from a design point of view) this phone sits in the camera phone with style category.
So where does that leave you? Well the LG Secret is a handset that has plenty on the spec sheet but fails to deliver effectively on any of them. The HSDPA connectivity is let down by a poor browser experience, the accelerometer a poor gaming one. The camera does deliver but not overly above and beyond other handsets on the market.
In fact the only real saving grace here is the design and build quality, something that if it's your taste is very good indeed. If it wasn't for that, this would be one Black Label secret we would suggest you don't recommend to anyone.