LG Viewty Smart GC900 Review
If you are unaware of our opinion on the S-CLASS 3D interface that has first appeared on the LG ARENA KM900, let us briefly fill you in on the details. We do like it a lot, because except for being beautiful and comfy, it has been made with great attention to details. Its four home screen pages are located onto the sides of a three dimensional cube, which is most easily seen when you press the dedicated button on the left side of the phone.
In a nutshell, the four home screens of the LG Viewty Smart GC900 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. Before we get down to the latter, let us first take a look at the icons at the bottom. They are shortcuts leading to your phone dialing menu, contacts, messages and well… the main menu. Now let´s get to it.
The main menu is the major reason that might make you think the interface resembles the Apple´s when you first see it. The main difference is LG designers have arranged all icons by relevant categories. Icons can swap places, provided they 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 combination of many shortcuts on the home screen, widgets and comfortable main menu allows you to get to the basic functions really fast. The most complex action we had to take (without using a shortcut) was to check our emails and required as many as five clicks. 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 adding new entries no longer feels like a proper torture (as it does with the LG Renoir), because you can see more info fields on the screen. Moving up and down between them feels adequate and you just need to get used to minimizing the keyboard if you want to go 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 the screen of the LG Viewty Smart GC900 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. So, why don’t you add something nice here, such as “Bugger off, watching football and boozing beers!”