This is Renoir, LG’s top model design for entertainment. It’s a successor of VIEWTY having the same touch phone factor, multiple video codec support including DIVX and XVID and high class eight mega pixel camera. Although it was asked first, Renoir was released in the market at the same time as the rival Samsung Pixon.
They have similar dimensions but the design of the LG is flashier. It displays a slightly smaller measuring a three inches instead of 3.2 but is of similar quality. It works very indoors and is usable outdoors when you look at it directly. What we don’t like about it is its sensitivity; with the problem with money phones it was often that we touch the display with no reaction. It is not that bad here but when compared to the iPhone or the Pixon, its slightly uncomfortable requiring more of a press than a touch.
Below it you see the send and the multitasking keys. They all feel and press just fine, on the right there is camera shutter, locking key and the volume rocker which are also very comfortable to use. On the left there are the connectors for the charger and micro SD slot. As a whole we’re pleased with the design of the Renoir, it is bulky but looks well and doesn’t feel as solid as the iPhone for example but are also lighter.
Renoir isn’t a smart phone and its software is the warmed up version of the one seen in Bravia K700. LG has changed the way the widgets in the home screen act and now a few can be asked to display simultaneously similar to other Samsung phones. An interesting idea is that you can put more widgets that a single screen scrolling vertically to see the different ones. The look of the rest of the interface remains almost as in the previous models. We have four categories of options, phone, multimedia, organizer and settings. We like that and it’s easy to get where you want. On the other hand, the sluggish transition creates the impression that the phone is slower.
There are two things, a caller one with a wide background and monochrome icons in a black screen. It’s not much of a choice but is better than Pixon where you only have one option. The multitasking idea has been covered in K700 and other models of the manufacturer but in Renoir it has been developed to the next level. Pressing the middle of the hardware button will take the application you’re working on to the background and will show you all act at once. On a different app in this menu you have nine shortcuts to your favorite applications.
Every thing looks good when you open the phonebook, the names appears are alphabetically and there is a search view in the upper part which we prefer instead of pixel filtering by the first letter. The drama begins when trying to add a new contact. The monochrome interface is not only ugly but is not user friendly either. So when it is all large, only a few fields are seen here on the screen and that requires heavy scrolling. We realize how much easier this has been after using Pixon. Text messaging is one of the most popular cell phone functions and doesn’t look like it will change anytime soon. Renoir takes advantage of the touch screen for a virtual QWERTY. It is well made but the small size is an obstacle, even users with tiny hands will eventually press the wrong button. The one in Pixon is definitely better, just like Pixon Renoir is a quad band GSM without level 3G.
The good news is that the phone has Wi-Fi for wireless internet access. The manufacturer has to understand that the correct visualization of websites is not enough for good internet experience. If the navigation is not user friendly then everything is lost. Renoir managed to load phonearena.com correctly but a slider is used for zooming in and out. Once you choose a level, it will take a few seconds for the changes to take effect. Surprisingly the view finder will take you to another part of the page and you have to manually find the area of interest. The sooner level is also influenced if you hold a finger on the screen, will say influence because we couldn’t figure out how exactly does it work. As we mentioned in the review of the arrival of Pixon despite being ugly, its camera interface is extremely easy and should be an example for the rest.
Renoir proves that, the artist also offers many options but they are much harder to activate. This is mainly because of the monochrome interface and the multiple fields which result in heavy scrolling. The camera will not impress you with great speed with over four seconds to store pictures supposed to one second in Pixon. As it can be seen in the eight mega pixel camera phone comparison, Renoir is behind in terms of picture quality. Both the colors and the detail level are worse than what the competition offers. Even the XENON flash didn’t meet our expectations and follows the steps of the predecessor VIEWTY being worse in the LED’s of its rivals.
Please visit phonearena.com for full sized sample photos. Videos can be recorded in VGA resolution and if you choose to shoot it in the smaller QVGA, you have the slow or fast motion option. The image qualities definitely is good better than high resolution YouTube but the sound is disappointing as in other forms. Despite the noise for your microphone, you will not be able to record a conversation. We hope you remember how we started this review; this is not a camera phone but an all in one device claiming to be a powerful multimedia player. The music player has modes of features. It lets you sort your music by different criteria but there are no sound effects or equalizers besides Adobe mobile.
The interface is simple and it visualizes small that it covers and it’s not impressive in any way. More over it’s strangely didn’t recognize the ID3 tags of the songs we have uploaded. And instead of displaying the tracking fluid was saying no, this doesn’t help organize the media library in anyway. We’ve never had such a problem with another phone and we guessed that it will be fixed by future software update. DIVX support was one of the key elements in VIEWTY and this model we have XVID at it which lets the user play a wide selection of quality videos and they look very good. A cool extra is the option to remove the black framing case the clip is not proportionate to the screen. The video will be unbalanced but at least you have one other alternative. Quality videos look good on the screen and its great not having to convert them.
Most of the videos played without any troubles but strangely and they would notice for some excellent clips stating that they were not supported. Renoir has a rich multimedia functionality but it is a phone after all. Well we’re happy with its performance as such, the sound at both ends of the line is loud enough and despite being slightly muffled the voices are realistic and clear.
The LG Renoir is a very good model with eight mega pixel camera, rich video format support and a popular attach phone factor. However the Pixon has exactly the same features and performs better. That’s why we think that LG is not worth it, if you’re looking for such a phone, please check both of our in depth reviews over at phonearena.com and decide which one is better for you.