LG GM310 Review

Introduction and Design
This is a global GSM phone. It can be used with AT&T and T-Mobile USA, but without 3G.

Introduction:

We have paid a lot of attention to high end LG handsets lately. We tested the ARENA KM900, Viewty Smart GC900 and Crystal GD900 in quick succession and the latter still comes first in our “offbeat design” ranking. Cell phones like these have made us forget that the manufacturer also sells simpler devices that don’t boast all the rage extra functions, transparent keyboards and the like, but come with affordable price tags. That´s exactly the case of the LG GM310 – a music-oriented slider that features an interesting overall design, 3-megapixel camera, 3.5mm jack and Dolby Mobile and LG Sound Engine support, so it should be able to deliver high quality audio playback. Of course, the first thing we noticed was the offbeat colors it comes in. Of course, many won´t like the golden edging that impressed us when the phone was officially announced on April 7th this year, but at the same time it´s something nice that lends color and style to the manufacturer´s musical series. Red and black are predominant with Nokia´s XpressMusic family handsets, the Samsung BEAT devices rely on purple to attract customers and LG seems to have chosen golden.

Design:

With its shiny upper body, the LG GM310 reminds us of the KF600 a bit. It sports a slightly larger screen (2.2-inches instead of 2) that has the same specs – QVGA resolution and 262k color support. It remains usable in direct sunlight and image quality is nice indoors even if it won´t fill you with admiration.



You can compare the LG GM310  with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

The biggest problem about the handset design is called touch sensitive keys. The LG GM310 is controlled in much the same confusing way as the Samsung Soul U900 - you need to touch at times then press at others, because both the softkeys and the button in the middle of the D-Pad are hardware and require quite an effort to handle. Moreover, we found ourselves inadvertently touching the touch sensitive arrows and activating different functions every time we opened or closed the phone. It´s hard to describe how annoying this feels.



We didn’t encounter any issues with the keyboard and the other buttons, but there is surely some room for improvement. As a whole, the phone comes in interesting, youthful design, but the build quality is low and the device has a cheap feel to it.

LG GM310 360 Degrees View:




Software, Music player and Camera:

We know the interface of the LG GM310 from the previous models of the manufacturer without touch sensitive screens that we have already reviewed – the KC550, KF510 and KF600. It´s a bit sluggish, but delivers all functions that ordinary users might need, like handy contacts, calendar with quite a few options and decent SMS/MMS messaging. You don’t have automated email setup and the phone browser is up to its task when it comes to simpler web pages. More complex ones like phoneArena.com however, won´t load. We have already examined the interface in details in our review of the LG KC550, so please read it if you want to know more. 



The musical capabilities of the LG GM310 are what the phone is all about. Fortunately, the audio player is quite good and offers a wide range of content filtering options – by artist, album, genre, MusicTea and Mix&Match. The latter two options are pretty similar to SenseMe Sony Ericsson equip their Walkman handsets with. Basically, there is PC software that will scan your library, determine the tempo and mood of your tracks and use the information to create playlists that you can pick depending on your mood. This is not a function we tend to use a lot, but still, it´s nice to have extra features like this one. The player itself is easy to handle, visualizes large album art and the equalizer features options like Bobcat Mobile, Dolby Mobile, LG and that can be personalized. You also have music recognition of recorded tracks via Gracenote and we can say the function works accurately.



The audio playback quality is very high for a mainstream device and definitely superior to what the Sony Ericsson W595 delivers. Sound through a headset is a bit sharp, but packs quite a punch plus basses are really pleasing. The loudspeaker is an irritating weakling, especially when going at full blast. As a whole, listening feels nice for prolonged periods of time and the 3.5mm jack allows you to plug in your favorite headset without a problem. Finally, the phone takes expansion cards with capacity of up to 32GB, so you will also have more than enough space to store anything you like.

We are really unpleasantly surprised by the FM Radio of the LG GM310. First, it doesn’t support RDS and second, it won’t work when minimized. In other words, if you opt for listening to radio, you will have to endure the rather ugly interface while being unable to do anything else. Odd indeed, since even models that rolled out like 7 years ago allowed for radio running in the background.



Camera is not one of the phone strengths for sure. It´s equipped with 3-megapixel sensor and comes without autofocus or flash. As you can see for yourself, details are blurry and colors look surreal. Surely, we have seen worse, but not quite often. The phone captures videos with QVGA resolution and their quality is rather low.






Performance and Conclusion:

Aside from being great for music, a nice cell phone should be able to provide decent in-call quality. Sadly, this is not the case with the LG GM310, because voices sound sharp and unreal. People we talked to said they could hear us well, but we are so not buying a cell phone just because it delivers good in-call quality on the other end of the line. According to the manufacturer, the battery should be able to provide no less but the astonishing 60 hrs of continuous audio listening (through a headset) and 3.6 hrs of talk time.

All told, the LG GM310 is a decent phone when it comes to listening to music; audio is great through a decent pair of headphones, the device is equipped with 3.5mm jack, robust battery and handy music player. All its strengths, however, cannot make up for the discomforting controls, bad in-call quality, mediocre camera and FM Radio that lacks RDS. We think you will be better off opting for any of its rivals, the Sony Ericsson W595 and W395, Samsung BEATs and F400 as well as the Nokia 5610 XpressMusic. They are at par or better than the LG GM310, so it´s probably their design that will prove to be the decisive factor.


LG GM310 Video Review:



Pros

  • Very good audio playback quality
  • Handy music player equipped with nice functions
  • Robust battery, at least when it comes to music

Cons

  • Unhandy navigational buttons
  • Camera is below par
  • Radio without RDS
  • Bad in-call quality

PhoneArena Rating:

6.0

User Rating:

8.3
1 Reviews

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