LG GW620 Review

5
Introduction and Design
This is a global GSM phone. It can be used with AT&T and T-Mobile USA, but without 3G.

Introduction and Design:


Android is an operating system that failed to bring about the eagerly anticipated revolution in the cell phone world, but has managed to become overwhelmingly popular. At this time, probably the only cell phone manufacturers that are not heavily preoccupied working on Android-based devices are Apple, Nokia and Palm. Many studies prove the platform is getting more widespread and influential by the day and most of them also indicate that Android will rank second to Symbian in just a few years.

Android and LG. These are words that we don’t typically use in one and the same sentence. So far, the Korean manufacturer has introduced two Android-based handsets to be sold globally – the LG GW620 (also known as the Eve) and the GT540. What the company seems to be trying to accomplish with them is get a proper feel of the market and showcase its personalized S-CLASS interface on a brand new platform. Neither of these two comes with powerful hardware or contemporary software. LG GW620 hit the shelves equipped with somewhat obsolete software, because is runs Android version 1.5, while the current OS edition as the time of this review is 2.1.

Now, let´s focus on what LG´s first Android-based handset has to offer. The LG GW620 is a potbellied and hefty device equipped with side-sliding QWERTY keyboard. As a whole, we are fairly satisfied with the build quality, plus the glossy edging and cool color scheme of blending black and blue are quite eye-pleasing. Still, you will clearly feel the presence of the LG GW620 while carrying it around in your pocket and that´s that, we are certainly not going to spring trite quip lines on you, say, “wow, is this the LG GW620 or you´re just blissfully happy to see me?”... Oops, we did it.



You can compare the LG GW620 with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

One of the disadvantages here is that the 3-inch screen with HVGA resolution utilizes resistive technology. You know the drill – it is usable even if you put your gloves on, but feels quite less comfortable than its capacitive counterparts. On the other hand, the image quality is good and thanks to the light sensitivity sensor display remains relatively usable in direct sunlight. Well, you cannot expect anything like the HTC Nexus One obviously, but it will do.

The touch-sensitive keys to get to the home screen or take a step back in menus are not among our favourites either. Perhaps it was just us, but we ended up pressing them involuntarily and exiting applications on random way too often (which can give you a nervous breakdown, say, if this happens while you capture snapshots). We would have like them better if they were normal, hardware buttons like the one that calls up the main menu or the other on either side of the handset. The latter are not particularly large, but are raised enough, clearly felt when pressed and feature great travel.



Whatever way you look at it, the QWERTY keyboard that consists of 5 rows is top notch. The key layout is similar to that of normal computer keyboards and the presence of dedicated numeric buttons gives you the opportunity to type away really fast. There are arrow keys that come in handy when you scroll and (eventually) will help you to play games. Fortunately, all buttons are large enough and properly separated, so you won´t have any troubles with them. We would have liked the “space” better if it was a tad larger, but still, its current size is something you can live with. All told, the keyboard is certainly not the best we have seen, but does provide above average comfort of use.



The LG GW620 is equipped with standard ports only – microUSB for charging, 3.5mm headphone jack and microSD slot that takes expansion cards of up to 16GB.



As a whole, the LG GW620 has its charm, although no one would be caught dead calling it irresistibly attractive. Its affinity for fingerprints gets slightly annoying at times, because you will have to wipe them constantly and not last, you do need to look after your handset, because its rubber-coated back can get scratched in an instant.

LG GW620 360 Degrees View:




Interface:

As we have already mentioned, the LG GW620 runs Android version 1.5, meaning you just cannot take advantage of the extra features the latest editions brought forth, say, you are not allowed to add several accounts to your contacts or email setup, there is no integrated support of Exchange server (it´s actually available through the pre-installed Moxier applications) and a quite a few other improvements. Still, LG´s personalization fixes some of the issues. Similarly to Samsung and its TouchWiz, the manufacturer is falling over backwards to popularize its S-CLASS interface by developing versions for all contemporary OS platforms. Unlike LG´s range of Windows phones, however (take a look at our preview of the GM750), the personalization pack for Android is not as similar to the software running on the feature phones of the company. Rather, we are talking about a remote resemblance relating to icons and certain functions.

So, what are the advantages of the personalization pack? Well, here is a list:

-    Four icons on the home screen that provide fast access to the dialling, contacts, messaging and main menus.
-    Set of shortcuts picked out by LG for you. Grouped by relevant categories (basic functions, multimedia, internet-based), they are useful on the overall.
-    Phone theme with funny icons. It looks great and is best suited for... kids. The icons proved to be slightly confusing to us, but other people may like them.
-    Main menu organized by categories. You can freely rearrange its elements and create new groups. All told, it´s much better than the chaos typical of the standard Android menu, but we would have liked it better if a larger part of the icons with the interface switched to landscape mode.
-    Personalized media player and gallery.



Well, there are other similar, but minor extra features like favourite contacts with pictures, buttons to turn on the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth functions via the notification screen etc. The LG GW620 comes with several pre-installed programs, including Quickoffice (opens Office 2007 files without a hitch) and the Moxier applications that we have already mentioned (provide Exchange server support).



The LG GW620 runs smoothly (or there are just slight delays) no matter the active application and the handset is totally usable. Eager fans of high speed, however, would be probably disappointed to find out the cell phone is not as lighting fast as the HTC Nexus One. Not that this would be possible anyway, no matter the software, given the GW620 is equipped with a processor running at 528MHz and just 256MB of RAM.

As a whole, LG´s personalization pack caters for visuals and makes the phone much more colourful than standard Android devices. It adds almost no extra functionality and we just cannot compare it to the HTC Sense for an instance, but ordinary users would probably like it.



Phonebook, Social functions and Messaging:

The phonebook have had a facelift and you´ve got buttons to search and create new phone book entries quickly. The favourite contacts have been replaced by relevant groups, where people are classified by whether or not the details about their profiles with social networks (Facebook, Twitter) or have been marker with star. Finally, you are allowed to create your own groups.



So, where do you get the details about their social profiles from, then? The SNS application, where you enter the relevant information regarding your Facebook, Twitter and Bebo accounts. Respectively, you add people´s accounts to your contacts manually, one by one and can take a look at status updates and messages on opening any contact entry you have already updated accordingly. The Facebook application allows you to add your online buddies as a new contact to your phonebook, although for some unfathomable reason the function is called “link to a contact”. All told, the manufacturer needs to keep working on the proper integration of social networks into its interface and can certainly use some edifying ideas from the HTC Sense interface, where the whole process is fully automated and people´s pictures and status updates are visible on the main page of the phone book. SNS also gives you the opportunity to browse social networks, but its functionality is rather limited and it certainly cannot replace the proper applications that can be easily downloaded from Android Market.



We have already mentioned the hardware keyboard is good. The thing is people rarely feel like opening their phones to send a short reply like “I´m waiting” and prefer using screen keyboards instead. The one the GW620 comes with sports a fairly standard numeric layout and despite the large size of its buttons and the fact that it provides relatively comfortable text entry, we would have liked it better if featured QWERTY or half-QWERTY layout.



Connectivity:

Hm, the browser. It is usable, because pages load properly (without their flash elements) and scrolling feels smooth. Unfortunately, there is simply no way to zoom in or out on something easily – forget about double taps, spanning etc. The only way to do it is use the two screen buttons and the whole thing is rather clumsy. LG has added a shortcuts menu (bookmarks, options, back etc.) that we cannot define as particularly useful really.



The LG GW620 features proper connectivity options – you´ve got HSDPA 3.6Mbps in case you need to remain online on the go and Wi-Fi to take advantage of nearby hotspots. We have to point out that the handset cannot send files over Bluetooth, since the relevant program available at Android Market is not compatible with the device.


Camera:

The latest Android cell phones come with pretty decent cameras really. The LG GW620, however, knocks them down to size with the stunning number of available options. The manufacturer has equipped the interface with virtually all functions that we are used to when using top cameraphones, including macro mode, exposure control, white balance, various shooting modes (consecutive shots, panorama, flaw removal), ISO sensitivity, a number of presets, manual and auto focus, face and smile detection etc. Unfortunately, the camera is not exactly lighting fast and needs about 2 seconds to start up, another 2 to focus on objects and 4-5 seconds to save an image.



The quality of the snapshots (without tampering with the settings) is satisfactory. Similarly to other models of the manufacturer (LG Viewty Smart, Crystal), their colors are not saturated enough, but have proper details. The flash is relatively weak and doesn’t help much in case you decide to take a picture in poor lighting conditions.




The LG GW620 captures videos at QVGA resolution and 30 frames per second. Said resolution equates to clips that are only suitable for being watched on handset displays, which is rather disappointing and frankly, renders the video capture virtually pointless.

LG GW620 sample video at 320x240 pixels resolution

Multimedia:

The LG GW620 comes with personalized image gallery that provides access to both your images and videos. You can filter and tag content or just let the phone detect the faces in your snapshots all by itself. If you go for the latter option, you are allowed to nickname the person or link them to a phone contact, so you can dial the person directly from the picture. Frankly, we just don´t see how the option could make your life easier, but some people may find it useful.



The multimedia player is personalized as well. The problem with video files is they are accessible from one place, so finding the one you´re searching for in case you´ve got plenty can be time consuming. Fortunately, there is an alternative application, available at Android Market. The handset plays DivX and Xvid files with resolution of 480x360 pixels. When watching clips with this resolution we noticed some lag with action-packed scenes, so we would recommend you use videos with 400 pixels width. The image quality is pleasing indeed and we would use the LG GW620 for watching movies and clips any day. Unfortunately, the limitation means you will have to convert your files and that renders the DivX/Xvid support nearly pointless. Compare this to the much more acceptable performance of the Samsung Galaxy Spica i5700 – the playback of files with resolution of 720x480 pixels is affected by some stuttering issues, but 640x480 content plays smoothly and without a hitch.



The multimedia player is the default application for listening to music as well, but you need to press the menu button in order to switch it over to audio mode (no need to thank us for the tip). The personalized audio player features interface that is definitely more spectacular to look at than the standard, but fails to offer more options and tends to lag a bit, so you might want to avoid using it. Fortunately, the loudspeaker offers sound that is loud and clear and, in case you plug in a headset of proper quality, you will truly be able to relish your favourite music. We didn’t have the chance to test the boxed earphones, but the sound quality through one of our sets was amazing.





Performance:

The LG GW620 is not exceptional in terms of in-call quality – our caller´s voices were sharp and the sound was plagued by environmental noises that prevented us from being able to have a normal conversation. These noises, however, disappeared with volume at its mid setting and although not perfect, the sound quality got totally acceptable. Our callers complained about the excessive sharpness and muffled echo on their end, but all told, the in-call quality is about average.

We are pleasantly impressed by the battery life. The LG GW620 can make it through three whole days in moderate usage scenarios, i.e. if you use it for talking and surfing the Internet via 3G. According to the manufacturer, the battery should be able to provide almost 8hrs of continuous talk and keep the device operational for 500hrs in standby (over 3G networks), which is a commendable accomplishment indeed.

Conclusion:

We believe the LG GW620 is a decent first attempt at an Android handset. It cannot hold a candle to the HTC Nexus One, Hero or Motorola DROID, since it´s a far cry from them in terms of hardware and software. However, the proper messaging and email functionality, as well as the particular personalization of the interface, make us think the handset is aimed at young people and ordinary customers and not seasoned smartphone users. This is a good cell phone, given the target audience, although we tend to think the same customer group would probably opt for the Motorola CLIQ, because of its better social networking functionality.

The LG GW620 will certainly find its devoted followers, especially among people loyal to the brand. Still, we do hope LG´s future Android-based handsets will be equipped with capacitive screens, more powerful processors and contemporary versions of the OS.


LG GW620 Video Review:





Pros

  • Good QWERTY keyboard
  • Good audio playback quality
  • DivX and Xvid support (even if at limited resolution)
  • Camera interface with extremely rich functionality
  • Robust battery

Cons

  • Runs obsolete OS version
  • Resistive screen
  • Needs better integration of social networks
  • Interface personalization with a lot of room for improvements

PhoneArena Rating:

7.5

User Rating:

10.0
2 Reviews

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