LG Crystal GD900 Review
We have recently heard that LG is urging their horses to become the second largest cell phone manufacturer worldwide. The all-out effort also includes rolling out a new handset of the Black Label lineup, releasing the next installment of the PRADA series and creating a new, super-luxurious brand similar to Nokia’s Vertu. If this is true, the manufacturer seems to have adopted a different vision on the cell phone market as compared to its competitors. With most companies predominantly focused on smartphones and new operating systems, LG relies on the man´s inherent pursuit of beauty and aspiration for luxury items.
Is this the right strategy? This is a question that can only be answered by quoting sales figures. The plan seems to go well with the manufacturer´s corporate traditions. Let´s not forget that LG has become famous for their Black Label cell phone series – the Chocolate and Shine and that the PRADA handsets are widely known and esteemed by many women. If anything, luxurious products are among the best things money can buy.
Now, as they say, never let the future disturb you, so let´s get back to present. LG has managed to attract a lot of attention with their S-CLASS 3D interface. The first two handsets that utilize it – the LG ARENA KM900 and Viewty Smart GC900 did impress us, despite the few shortcomings, mainly in terms of multimedia. What we have in our hands now is the LG Crystal GD900 and we just cannot fight off the thought about the fairy tales, where three turns out to be the lucky draw. You know, the third son of the king is the smartest, the most considerate and initiative, the third mountain usually holds the secret he is searching for… and we believe we better go home after the third beer and live happily ever after. Erm, the last part is not from a children´s fairy-tale, you are right. Anyway, the question is “Is it likely that the third cell phone running S-CLASS 3D will prove to be the best?” The long answer to the question is to be found in the current review. Now, let´s get down to the phone.
The LG Crystal GD900 is a slider, equipped with transparent, touch sensitive keypad. It allows not only entering numbers and typing messages, but performing different actions through gestures as well. The device sports a 3-inch display that is also touch sensitive and you can control all functions of the phone with it. The camera has 8-megapixel sensor, although lacks the functionality of the Viewty Smart. The Crystal also supports DivX and Xvid content, but (again) with resolution up to CIF (not exceeding 352x288 pixels). The handset comes with a nice audio player and enough space to store files – 1.5GB built-in memory and support of microSDHC cards with capacity to 32GB. What you also get in the box is a pair of headphones (with a mike), software CD, user manual, wall charger, USB cable. Whether or not you get a TV-Out cable depends on your region and retailer.
If we tell you that the LG Crystal GD900 sports a downright unique design and you can only see the device closed, you would probably take us for a gang of nutcases or fibbers, because while not open, the phone looks pretty ordinary and resembles a cross between the Viewty Smart and ARENA – with the elongated silhouette of the former and the three touch sensitive buttons of the latter – two of them are the send and end keys, while pressing the middle calls up the 3D cube that hosts the four home screens. Keeping it pressed for a while takes you in the phone multitasking menu and from there, to a brand new function that allows fine-tuning of applications that are started via the phone gesture control. We will tell you more about it a bit later.
You can compare the LG Crystal GD900 with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.
The 3-inch touch sensitive screen that also permits multitouch control is just above the afore-mentioned three buttons. It supports 16mln colors, features WVGA resolution and delivers saturated and pleasing images. Colors become faded in direct sunlight, but as a whole, the display remains usable. Screen itself is enough to properly control all phone functions and is really… sensitive, so you it won´t give you any troubles. However, the phone looks much more strikingly when you use its touch sensitive keypad (with the original name “Crystal Touchpad”) that you gain access to by sliding the handset open. For the record, opening the device feels smooth and easy.
The first thing you´ll notice about the Crystal Touchpad is… that you can actually see THROUGH it. This doesn’t bring added functionality, but looks offbeat and impressive in times when design novelties are scarcer than hen´s teeth. The nice lights on the phone edges lend additional color as well, the soft glow looks stunning in the dark and thanks to it images of all symbols imprinted on the keypad are projected against the transparent back cover. Using the area as a normal keypad feels really comfy due to its incredible touch sensitivity, plus its vibration feedback helps a lot. What we find even more interesting is using the pad for gesture controls, but like we said, we´ll get to that a bit later, in the special section of the review. Keep in mind that both the Crystal touch and the main screen love fingerprints even more than Megan Fox - media attention.
There are only three buttons on the front side of the LG Crystal GD900, all of them touch sensitive. The volume rocker and camera shutter on the right hand side have pleasing travel and are easy to use. The really small phone lock button on the top side of the device is also easy to handle once you get used to its location. The flap-covered microUSB port is on the left hand side. Opening the slider allows you to access the microSDHC card slot and reveals 8-megapixel camera with flash.
The back cover is plastic, but doesn’t feel cheap, despite the fact it´s not solid. It is easy to remove using the lock mechanism at the bottom. The panel itself is not entirely transparent, but rather, causes the light and colors to gradate and the beautiful effect takes over the whole back side when the handset is closed. Perhaps, it would have been cooler if it was made of glass (like the coating of the Nokia Luna 8600), but on the other hand, this would have probably made the phone as heavy as an eighteen wheeler.
The transparent Crystal Touchpad is enough by itself to turn the LG Crystal GD900 into one of the most intriguing and stylish handsets of 2009.