LG SL9000 Review

Monday, December 7th, 2009

LG SL9000

Well, it was nice to have the LG 42″ LED-Backlit LCD TV for review for a week, before it nows gets boxed back up, and shipped onto our competition winner.  We’ll be inviting the winner to write up a review of the TV again in a while once they have really got used to all the features, but for now, here’s a brief review from me…

The screen is nice and bright, and even though one of the first things I did was to turn on the Auto Energy Saving feature, the device still offered a nice bright image at all times.  The 2 SCART sockets and 4 HDMI sockets offer more options than most people could need, but I guess allows for future options too.  The setup of the device was nice and easy, with an auto-setup running when the TV first powered on.  In fact, a small minor point, but my current LCD TV has a power button on the front (as well as a little button on the side; whereas the LG TV only has the button on the side), and it was amazing how much the family and I missed the easy to use front power button.

However, one thing I really liked was the fact the TV ships with 2 remotes.  Yes, two remotes.  I loved the main remote with the ability to illuminate the keys, and having full access to control the TV at all times, but you know what; I liked the smaller, simpler remote even more.  With a much smaller selection of buttons (power, input selection, channel and volume controls, and not much more!) this remote was easier to let the kids lose with knowing they could not get to the menus and accidentally make changes to the settings.  Whether in the long term this second remote is actually useful I don’t know, but for a short trial, is was certainly useful.

Less useful was the lack of auto-SCART selection I’m used to from my current TV, and I had some issues with the headphone socket not providing sound if a cable was plugged into the headphone socket on power on.  The second wasn’t a major issue, but the first did seem strange, and may have been a configuration setting that I missed.

On top of the ability to play TV / video information from SCART and HDMI sockets, the TV also features the ability to play media from USB devices and from Bluetooth devices too.  The Bluetooth can also be used to play back the audio via Bluetooth Headphones without disturbing others, which is a nice touch too.

I mentioned the “frameless design” when the TV first launched (see here); in fact, it’s more of a seamless design, in that there is no bezel where the TV image finishes and the black surround starts, but the main thing about this TV that does stand out is how slim it is; at 2.9cm it’s obviously crying out to be wall mounted (something I was unable to do, but maybe our competition winner will…); and I did feel that if the device was being placed on a TV stand, the extra cost of buying a slimmer device may seem excessive; although the power saving and image quality the LED backlighting offered did seem to me a worthwhile expenditure even without wall mounting the TV.

When not wall mounting the TV, it stands on a very nice square base, which is smaller than many of the normal bases, presumably due to the thinner nature of the screen.

Will I miss this TV?  Well, yes, in a way; the extra little technology (eg Bluetooth) and the sheer quality and brightness of the image will be missed, but for me, it’s not actually a great improvement over my current TV to warrant an upgrade right now; but if you are looking to increase your screen size, or move up to your first LCD TV, then this Full HD TV should at least be on the shortlist; the power savings and brightness of the LED Backlighting may not be obvious in store (where most TVs will be set to maximum brightness irrespective of the power draw), but are well worth factoring into the long term costs of the TV.

As to our competition winner; we’re in the process of contacting them, and arranging with LG for the TV to be shipped on to them, and we’ll announce who won later this week, and will look forward to seeing their review of the device in due course.

Thanks yet again to LG and The LG Blog for offering this competition prize, and thanks to everyone who entered.


42 TV Competition ends today!

Friday, December 4th, 2009

LG SL9000

Don’t forget our competition for the LG 42″ TV finishes today at 5pm; see here for the details on how to enter…


Still time to win a 42″ TV with UK Gadgeteer

Monday, November 30th, 2009

LG SL9000

Don’t forget, there are still a few days to enter our competition to win an LG 42″ LED-Backlit LCD TV.  For more information head to here.


Win a 42″ LG TV

Friday, November 27th, 2009

LG SL9000

Yes, that’s right, for our first ever competition we’re starting with a rather impressive prize; a Super Slim 42″ LG LED-Backlit LCD TV (SL9000). If you want to know more about the TV, read our article here when this range was announced a few months back.

The competition is quite simple; you simply have to email your answer (and your details) to the following question to info@gadgeteer.org.uk before 5pm Friday 4th December 2009.

Unfortunately, as with many competitions, there are a few rules we have had to impose; no UK Gadgeteer or LG staff (nor anyone living at the same address), you must be over 18 years old, you can only enter the competition once, and the TV will only be shipped to a UK address.  The winner will be selected by random from the correct entries. You will need to provide your name, address and contact telephone number, which will not be used for any marketing activities, although the winner will be expected to:

  • Take part in some limited marketing activities, and your name will be revealed.
  • Provide some feedback on the TV, in terms of a review with pictures and/or video of how the TV has fitted into your lifestyle.

That last point is key, but should not be too onerous!

Just to show this is real, here’s a picture of the TV (still in the box; more pictures next week of it out of the box…) and we’ll be providing a review of this very TV next week too, before it’s boxed back up and ready to be sent off to the winner.

SL9000 box

So, to win, all you need to do is email info@gadgeteer.org.uk your name, address and contact telephone number, along with the answer to this question:

What are the screen sizes of the two models in the SL9xxx range:

a. 32″ and 42″

b. 42″ and 47″

c. 32″ and 47″

The winner will be contacted and announced soon after (likely to be the following week).

Good luck!

Thanks to LG and the LG Blog for offering this fantastic prize.


Mobile Fun release Desk Genie

Monday, November 16th, 2009

Desk Genie

This is an innovative desk stand for your phone.  As well as including an 8-in-1 memory card reader, a 2 port USB hub, having a variety of connectors to charge your phone, and running solely off USB power, it also claims to be able to hold any phone in portrait or landscape formats without any additional support!

The Desk Genie is apparently made from a special rubberised material, which is strong enough to hold an phone in portrait or landscape positions, and should even still hold the phone in place when the phone is vibrating, yet should leave no sticky residue on the phone.  For only £15 (+ delivery) this looks an interest device, if only to hold your phone at the right angle for use on your desk, let alone all the additional properties it has.

Mobile Fun do warn that with time the rubbery surface’s ability to hold a phone will fade as dust collects on the surface, but a quick wipe with clean water should restore it back to normal.

As for those mobile phones charging connectors: iPhone, Nokia (both 2mm and 3.5mm), Sony Ericsson, Samsung and LG are all supported, as are the miniUSB and microUSB formats (the latter being the standard connector for many manufacturers moving forward).   This power connector does not use either of the USB ports on the device, although it would appear at first glance that this is a power only connector, so it may not be possible to sync and charge many devices (unless you use Bluetooth to sync between the device and your PC/Mac).

You can see more of the Desk Genie at Mobile Fun.


LG phone updates

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

LG GW620

Last night I was privileged to be invited to a small, cosy location in London 2 floors underground to discuss with LG some of their new phones recently released, and about to be released.

John Barton, the UK Sales & Marketing Manager, spoke candidly about the LG range, and there’s a summary of the devices that were discussed after the break…



LG Chocolate BL40 Final Review

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

LG Chocolate BL40

Well, I’ve had a LG Chocolate BL40 in for review for a few weeks now, and overall I have been impressed with the phone.  I already covered my initial impressions of the phone here, so I’ll add to that review.  Having now used the phone in a variety of lighting conditions, the 21:9 screen is still wonderful to use; bright and clear in most situations.  The split screen functions within the phone are still useful, although as this isn’t a true smartphone, some of the apps still feel a little limited compared to other more advanced phones on the market.

In use, the size hasn’t proved a major problem, although even today there have been comments like “that’s a large phone”.  The touchscreen is nice to use, and a great improvement on some previous LG models, with the whole phone feeling more responsive, and easier to use.  Some games and other Java applications seemed not well adjusted to the large screen size, causing buttons to appear very small, but this is a minor problem.

Overall, this is a very nice phone to use, and stylish to boot!

In fact there are only a couple of downsides to the phone.  Firstly, given the phone is a designer device, we wonder how many of the users will take advantage of the whole range of features available.  Secondly, with the rise of phones supporting Social Networking sites via built in applications (such as the INQ Mini 3G, or the newer LG GW520, reviews of both phones soon!), and the lack of such applications on the phone may not have been an issue a few months ago, but now seems a little oversight.

Allowing for these small concerns, I’ll miss the phone, which is available on a number of networks.

Thanks to LGBlog for lending me the phone.


LG Chocolate BL40 wins Phone of the Year

Monday, October 26th, 2009

LG Chocolate BL40

The LG Chocolate BL40 picked up Mobile Phone of the Year at the What Mobile? awards on Friday.  In terms of being quite an iconic phone, we can understand why, as the phone packs a lot of features into a novel new form factor, which makes watching movies on the device even more entertaining.

We’re planning to release our full review of the phone very shortly, so keep an eye out for it.


Sony Ericsson T715 Review

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

Sony Ericsson T715

This is an interesting phone, and shows that both the main mobile phone companies and the mobile networks can work together to produce a phone capable of more than just calls!  The phone (as we mentioned before) has Twitter and Facebook support, as well as the usual 3UK features (Skype on 3, Email on 3, Windows Live Messenger etc) and the phone also has some RSS support too.

Some features were well integrated, eg if you take a picture, the menu then offers to Send the photo to Twitter or Facebook as well as the more usual options.  However, others, such as the Social Networking apps themselves, weren’t so easy to find; Facebook wasn’t too bad, as it’s available from Menu / Messaging, but Twitter was only found in Menu / Entertainment / Applications, whereas, it would have made more sense in the Messaging area alongside Facebook.

However, in that app list, there were a number of other useful applications, including AccuWeather, YouTube, Yell, as well as the 3UK specific apps.  Also, was a Permier Football Scores app (although this requires you to pay a subscription to use it at all).

In other terms, the phone, and 3UK‘s integration was good (personally I don’t like 3UK taking over both softkeys on the homescreen, but this is a minor point).  I did like the way that 3UK recognised I had moved my 3 SIM into a different phone, and automatically sent the latest 3UK settings to the phone (including sending an SMS in advance telling me what was happening, and how to accept the settings).

However, all was not perfect; I didn’t like the back cover, which is held on with 2 clips at the top and 2 more at the bottom, therefore needing some force to remove it; no nice buttons / slide to remove here.  Okay, the rear cover only gives access to the battery, SIM and microSD card slot, so probably does not need to come off often, but it still detracted from the phone.  Also, the phone uses a proprietary connection for both the handset and charging; given the general move by the other manufacturers towards microUSB, this was a shame (some, like LG, are already shipping phones with microUSB).

In a normal week, I would be saying that this is a really good, all round phone, but I’ve just had the new INQ Mini delivered, and that seems to offer a similar package that’s easier to use, and has less negatives, but that’s for another article…

The Sony Ericsson T715 is available from 3UK in Pink and Silver, and thanks to 3mobilebuzz for the loan of the phone.


Social Networking on LG GW520

Friday, September 25th, 2009

LG GW520

Here’s a new and interesting phone; the new LG GW520.  It’s not a top end phone, but it has added a range of Social Networking features directly into the device.  As well as the 2.8″ touchscreen, you can see it’s got a QWERTY slide out keyboard, and it’s even got high spec features such as HSDPA support.  A 3.15 megapixel camera allows video and camera pictures to be taken, and finally there is an MP3 player and an FM radio.

So, those Social Networking features…?  For a start it offers threaded messages, but for those contacts you speak to the most, they will appear on the homecreen as avatars.  If you get a text from them, the avatar will tell you, and if you click on the avatar, it will take you straight to the message.

Well, to us, a phone needs more than the ability to link texts to contacts to be classed as having Social Networking, but we hope to have one of these phones to review in the near future to confirm either way.

Of course, if it’s like the previous LG QWERTY phone, it’ll be available on PAYG for a lot less than people would expect for a QWERTY phone, and we’ll report on where the phone is available from soon.