LG Crystal GD900 Review
The touch sensitive keypad of the LG Crystal that registers gestures (unlike the screen) allows you to perform different actions, like activating application shortcuts (unfortunately, up to 9). The permitted gestures are a bit more – 12. We would definitely like to see a larger set of applications and the option to, say, call favorite contacts through gestures – it´s a shame such functions have not been provided for.
When surfing the Web, the pad is used just like any laptop touchpad. This is quite thoughtful of LG, because the browser is not one of the best apps we have ever seen and clicking web links would have required heavy zooming if the keypad controlled screen cursor didn’t allow you to easily select even links that appear crammed into quite small a space.
The Crystal Touchpad supports multitouch as well and is controlled in much the same way as the screen itself. Say, span or pinch to zoom on images, internet pages, videos etc. or make a circular motion to turn the audio player volume up and down or zoom in camera mode. The LG Crystal GD900 is the first S-CLASS 3D handset that features handwriting recognition and the function is perfectly implemented thanks to the good sensitivity of both the phone screen and keypad. Gestures such as sliding your finger on the left as if erasing letters (backspace) are recognized even with the recognition switched off.
It´s the third time we have seen the S-CLASS 3D interface, but we can´t say we are bored with it. It is still among our favorite for cell phones with touch sensitive screens, looks beautifully and has been made with utmost attention to details. There are several changes, but most of them are cursory. The four home screens located onto the sides of a 3D cube remain unaltered. Let´s go over them again.
In a nutshell, the four home screens offer different shortcut options. The first houses up to 9 of your overused applications, the second not more than 30 of your favorite contacts (with pictures). All the rage widgets are present on the third - up to 10 in this case with no option to download more. Fortunately, most of them deliver extra functions – for an instance, the clock function allows you to set an alarm, calendar allows you to take a look at your schedule in monthly, weekly or daily view etc.
The last home screen is dedicated to multimedia – you can load up to 15 files (songs, snapshots or videos). The phone audio player, also stared from here, looks quite pleasingly and you use it in pretty much the same way as Cover Flow on the iPhone. Unfortunately, the rather small number of files that can be placed here gives this particular screen limited usability.
Changes can be made by keeping your finger pressed against the display for a short while; this is a common feature to all home screens, while sliding your finger sideways allows them to be switched between. Tapping at the top calls up (the band that shows the battery status etc) a menu, where you can turn on the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi functions, set an alarm, start the audio player, take a look at missed events or customize the ring style (profile). Quite a pleasing bonus feature that is, unfortunately, not accessible through the main menu. As a whole, this quite nice a function that unfortunately, cannot be accessed via the phone main menu.
The LG Crystal GD900 is the first S-CLASS 3D interface cell phone that by default comes equipped with two main menu themes and we have previously seen only the darker, called Cube. The new one is dubbed Water drop and we think it goes perfectly with the overall look of the handset. It makes main menu icons resemble water droplets that flutter slightly when touched. They are grouped in categories and can be rearranged, but must remain in the row they belong to. So, you will always have communication-related icons in the top row (contacts, recent calls, messages, browser etc.), multimedia ones below them (player, camera, video camera), organizer functions coming up next (calendar, notes, alarm list) and finally settings. Actually, the same division exists on previous manufacturer models as well, it´s just that everything is merged together now, so you have to scroll the rows sideways if you need to find a less important function. All icons become visible when the screen is in landscape mode.
The accelerometer left us with mixed feelings, really. It works adequately and turns the screen with a hardly noticeable lag at times, but sometimes it´s rather the opposite. For an instance, there is an option in the main menu that turns the screen to your left or right and fits the image on the screen. This, however, cannot be done if you are into your messages – it can only be turned to your left from there (counter clockwise), not to mention the accelerometer fails to work adequately in this case, which is an apparent software issue.
Despite the fact we are really pleased with the interface, we happen to have a few gripes. It´s really great that almost all your actions are accompanied with smoothly playing animations and transition effects, the thing is they are sometimes followed by severe lagging, like opening the calendar that takes about 6 seconds. We think it would have been much better if there was an option to switch off the fancy looking effects sometimes - say, you happen to be in a hurry, so the last thing you want is to wait, watching the rollers of the settings spin around.
Your contacts store up to 1000 numbers and you will have to get used to the fact that you must minimize the keyboard must be minimized after entering something and before going ahead. We hit the “go back” icon several times and ended up losing all entered information. Each contact entry comes with quite a few info fields – picture (here you can crop an image and assign just the part you like), personal number, email, group, ringtone, website, home address (with many options for cities, countries etc), company, position with it, office address, birth date, anniversaries and a short note. All groups can be customized with unique ringtones and pictures, plus backup copies of your contacts can be saved on the phone memory or sent to another device via Bluetooth.
Searching in your contacts is performed by both parts of the name. Entering digits in the search panel filters contacts as well, say 6-3-6 leads to both Neo and all phone numbers containing the digits (not possible on the LG ARENA KM900). Scrolling through them makes the letter you have gotten to appear on screen. Still, it would have been much comfier if the alphabet was visible as it is on the iPhone or the Samsung Pixon, so as to provide easier navigation to any letter.
There are two different options for those of you who need to quick-dial favorite contacts. We have already mentioned about the first that is available through the home screen. The other one is the “quick dial” function that allow up to 9 numbers to be assigned to dialing screen keys. Unfortunately, there is no way for you to restrict incoming calls and prevent intrusive fellows from bugging you. Voice command functionality is also unavailable on the phone.
A relatively large contact picture appears on screen when you get an incoming call (and if the contact doesn’t have one assigned, a spinning cube would pop up instead) with a small slider just below it. You can accept the call moving the slider to your right, while sliding it to your left will show a previously compiled list of messages that can be used to excuse yourself for being unable to pick up. You can also add your own message templates like “Boozing at a swim-up bar, call in a week”. Calls are also answered by opening the slider or with the send button.
1. AlaneCzeQ (Posts: 19; Member since: 12 Jun 2009)
WTF 8megapixels and sooo rubish quality ...
2. pathmarkpolice (Posts: 102; Member since: 05 Feb 2009)
LG's look nice, but the times I bought one for myself or a family member, I've always regretted it. The battery information is incorrect, phone's restart automatically (feature phones, not smarts) certain features on the phone stop working. With the gsm chocolate I would receive ghost text messages. My friend had the same problem with her env2. With another att lg phone text messaging just stopped working all together. And there's only one person out of the 5 I know who has a LG vu that didn't have a problem with it. Either the screen stopped working and wouldn't register presses, or the battery would ass out, or something else. LG's just always leave a bad taste in my mouth, so no matter how tempted I get by their cool features or designs, I just have to remember that they always manage to take a crap on anything good that they make. Also, the fact that they manufactured a 8mp camera phone that has BAD photo quality is a testament to how shitty of a cell phone manufacturer LG is.
3. legionsreturn (unregistered)
My experience with LG has been the opposite, they have proven to be the most reliable and innovative regular and feature phones ive ever used. I always reccomend that brand to friends and family. Maybe you just had some bad luck?
5. illusionado (unregistered)
some images taken by crystal seems to turn in color pink...or purple i think..maybe it was just an error of my pc?
6. Andrewtst (Posts: 302; Member since: 25 Jan 2009)
What happen to LG? this is the 2nd unit from LG which produce really bad image quality!
7. AlaneCzeQ (Posts: 19; Member since: 12 Jun 2009)
bought it for 329 pounds good phone, pics looks better than those in the review but its kinda slow imo
8. DJK314 (Posts: 4; Member since: 12 Jul 2009)
Os is not well documented, sdk is crap, LG like before is the king to make closed os phones... i had a Renoir and it was not so good as all tests i saw on the web. So be carefull when you buy LG you will be in a closed world..
9. OnlineFire (Posts: 1; Member since: 17 Jul 2009)
From what i have read on the web and what i know this phone has a FM TRANSMITTER in the option screen when playing a song please can you confirm that. I have also seen it in a video i think it was your preview video or maybe GSMARENA.com gd900 preview video also a source providing pictures of the fm transmitterhttp://www.knowyourmobile.com/
lg/lggd900crystal/lgcrystaluseitter_on_the_lg_crystal_gd900.html rguides/274505/how_to_use_the_ fm_transm
10. PhoneArena Team (Posts: 238; Member since: 27 Jun 2006)
Hello, Unfortunately, the LG Crystal does not feature an FM Transmitter. The images provided by knowyourmobile.com are of the LG ARENA, which indeed sports one, but the Crystal does not.
11. azizsilin (Posts: 2; Member since: 21 Nov 2009)
which phones have better camera and video quality? LG GC900 or LG GD900? please help me
12. Tsukasa (unregistered)
Just had it and found its quite good. Only con part is super sensitive as accidently touching it will revert u to shortcut menu. For camera its bad if you put on auto setting. However with ISO adjustment and EV and all setting. It is a capable shooter. But really auto suck like no one else ^^ .