Keeping in mind the disappointing performance of the LG Viewty Smart GC900 as a camera phone, we felt nervous and took quite a timorous approach to the test of the LG Crystal GD900. It sports an 8-megapixel sensor, autofocus and flash, but the interface lacks all the rage novelties like Intelligent Shot and artistic effects. The camera takes about 3 seconds to start and a second to focus. Unfortunately, there is just no way to switch off the image preview after taking a snapshot, so it takes the interface another 3 seconds to reload. Totaled up, a single shot requires whole 7-8 seconds and in other words, you just won´t be able to take images in fast sequence, which happens to be one of the basic functions of any camera phone.

The following options can be picked via the view-finder:

•    Flash – auto, always off, always on
•    Focusing – auto or macro
•    Exposure tuning

Unfortunately, there are no scene presets, which tend to come in pretty handy at times and often produce better results than the auto settings.

Here is what you will find in the menu that is designed like a switch, so as to resemble a digital camera more closely:
•    Camera switcher – the main, 8-megapixel one of the VGA device on the front side
•    Resolution – from 480х480 best fit for contacts entry pictures to full 8-megapixel one (3264х2448)
•    Effects – sepia, black and white, negative, emboss
•    White balance
•    Timer
•    Shooting mode – normal, sequence shooting of 6 images at 640х480 resolution
•    ISO – auto or from 100 to 1600 (the higher values are virtually unusable because they add too much image noise)
•    Picture quality
•    Used memory
•    Image stabilizer
•    Autofocus – normal, face detection or manual
•    Display grids

Pictures taken with the LG Crystal GD900 are blanched, with thin and unsaturated colors. Even more, there is noticeable purple fringing on all of them, taken outdoors in bright lighting conditions. The irritating image noise is always there even if you don’t zoom in on the image, so you will be able to yield better results if you choose a shady spot outdoors and cull the conditions carefully. Fine details are blurry except in macro shots, which typically come out good enough.

Image noise takes over in indoor snapshots and the flash is not powerful enough to provide proper lighting even to objects as far as two feet away. The result is pictures get even blurrier than outdoors. As a whole, the camera is certainly not among the major reasons to get the LG Crystal GD900.

You switch to video capture with the slider on the right hand side of the phone. Its interface is poorer in terms of available options and aside from setting the resolution (up to 720x480), you can add effects, change white balance, capture quality or size and whether or not to record sound. Modes known from previous models of the manufacturer, such as fast and slow motion shooting are also here. Unfortunately, despite the fact the device is a top ranging camera-phone, videos are captured at QVGA resolution only. All told, overall quality is not impressive, even if videos are smooth, thanks to the 30 frames per second capability of the phone. Still, people who were more than half a meter away are really hard to hear in the clips and everything is way too dark if shot indoors.

LG Crystal GD900 sample video at 720x480 pixels resolution.

You can navigate fast from the camera interface to the phone Gallery that is really comfy to use. It unifies all your pictures and videos and content can be easily sorted by date, file type, name or depending on what you would like to see – only pictures or videos, your favorites, ones saved on the memory card etc. Things get truly beautiful when screen is in landscape mode – gallery turns into something quite similar to the iPhone Cover Flow with images pouring down spectacularly. You better take a look at our video review to relish the effect in all its beauty. Aside from this, zooming is implemented through image spanning thanks to the multi-touch technology.

Multimedia and Software:

The music player is an odd bird, but you´ll eventually get used to it in time. It´s not trail-blazing, but it´s not a clone of the iPhone either. This is good, since we are all fed up with seeing clones. In portrait mode the player appears in between tracks and scrolling means you lose the relevant album art and effects from sight, because they get in the background. You can, however, start or stop playback with the control keys below. In horizontal mode audio player takes up about a third of the screen and somehow doesn´t go with the rest of the interface, plus here you don’t have access to neither the Dolby Mobile function, nor the one that allows you to define a song as one of your favorite. We must say that we do like the particular way of browsing albums – they appear as a list, divided by artists with the masterpieces visualized as separate CDs. We do love such small, beautiful things.

The LG Crystal GD900 allows you to relish audio playback with crystal clear quality. The loudspeaker is somewhat puny, but at least there are no crackling noises when going at full blast. Audio quality through earphones is very good, despite the sound tends to be slightly sharp. Audio volume at the highest setting may definitely cause hearing problems, so if you turn it down a bit (say to 80-90%), you will get an awesome playback that is pleasing even for prolonged periods of time.

The FM Radio can store up to 30 stations and features a really likeable interface. LG hasn’t equipped it with audio recognition, so you won´t be able to check the titles of unknown songs you like.

Similarly to both previous models utilizing S-CLASS 3D, the LG Crystal GD900 functionality is crippled in terms of DivX and Xvid playback. Movies can be played if coded at resolution not exceeding CIF (352x288 pixels), with less than 30 frames per second and bitrate lower than 1 Mbps. This is as disappointing as it gets, especially given the original device was able to play 640x480 pixel resolution videos without a hitch. This really degrades the video capabilities of the handset, since you just won't be able to download movies from the Internet and watch them right away. Like it or lump it, you will need to convert videos – and while you are at it, you might as well go for MPEG4 to make sure they are playable on all modern devices. MPEG4/H.263 and H.264 videos can have resolution of up to 720x480 pixels, bitrate under 3Mbps and be coded at no more than 30 frames per second. Image quality using the above mentioned settings is passable, although artifacts are still visible. They are very small in Xvid videos and don’t ruin the experience, but way too obvious and irritating in DivX content. Still, if watching videos on your cell phone is your cup of tea, you better go for the Samsung OMNIA HD i8910 or the iPhone – you will still need to convert content for the latter, but its 3.5-inch screen delivers awesome image quality.

If you are still up to creating a piece of art after taking the severe blow with the video playback, you can make a short video using snapshots. The functionality is nothing to write home about – add pictures, pick a melody, choose underlying effect, set the other in which pictures will appear (random or sequential) and you are game. Unfortunately, subtitles cannot be added as, say, on the Samsung OMNIA HD and the total video length is limited to the one of the melody. You will need quite a few pictures to come up with a proper video clip using a song with standard length though (3-4 minutes). Still, you can achieve some really entertaining results, despite your creation will be saved at QVGA resolution.




1. AlaneCzeQ

Posts: 19; Member since: Jun 12, 2009

WTF 8megapixels and sooo rubish quality ...

2. pathmarkpolice

Posts: 102; Member since: Feb 05, 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?

4. behold--me

Posts: 679; Member since: Jun 22, 2009

that much bad luck? no and nice phone

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: 697; Member since: Jan 25, 2009

What happen to LG? this is the 2nd unit from LG which produce really bad image quality!

7. AlaneCzeQ

Posts: 19; Member since: Jun 12, 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: Jul 12, 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: Jul 17, 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 gd900 preview video also a source providing pictures of the fm transmitter itter_on_the_lg_crystal_gd900.html

10. PhoneArena Team

Posts: 258; Member since: Jun 27, 2006

Hello, Unfortunately, the LG Crystal does not feature an FM Transmitter. The images provided by are of the LG ARENA, which indeed sports one, but the Crystal does not.

11. azizsilin

Posts: 2; Member since: Nov 21, 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 ^^ .
GD900 Crystal
  • Display 3.0" 480 x 800 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP
  • Storage 1.5 GB
  • Battery 1000 mAh(6.00h talk time)

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