LG eXpo GW820 Review

Introduction and Design
LG eXpo GW820 Release Date - December 07, 2009


LG’s last Windows Mobile outing on AT&T was anything but forgetful, but fortunately they’re coming out of the factory with a heavy duty smartphone that may rival HTC’s dominant offerings. The LG eXpo GW820 isn’t just your typical Windows Mobile powered handset; it’s running LG’s spiffy looking S-Class interface with a 1GHz Snapdragon processor working under its hood. Did we mention that a pico projector accessory can be attached to it? There’s a limitless amount of implications this neat concept has in store for just about everyone, but let’s see if this time around LG can impress users with a stellar Windows Mobile smartphone.

The package contains:
•    LG eXpo
•    Charger
•    USB Cable
•    Hands-free headset
•    3.5mm adapter
•    Stylus
•    Quick Start Guide


We’re pleasantly content with the somewhat slim confines of its design – it’s not as bulky looking (0.63” thick) as the HTC Touch Pro2 variants. It may not exude the industrial design HTC has aimed to produce, but the LG eXpo does offer a refreshing narrow looking handset that does well to conceal a QWERTY keyboard. The brushed metallic rear feels extremely sturdy while the chrome bezel outlining the phone always accents perfectly. For a handset that’s lightweight (5.2 oz), we’re glad to see the Korean manufacturer step forward from their last outing on AT&T with the LG INCITE.

You can compare the LG eXpo GW820 with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

Part of its compact form is mainly due to the smaller 3.2” TFT resistive touchscreen that retains a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels with support for 16 million colors. It’s detailed and responsive enough to say the least – even with vibrant color tones perfectly being displayed. When set to its highest brightness, you can still faintly make out what’s on-screen in direct sunlight. Plus the proximity and light sensors work in conjunction to allow optimal battery life on the handset.

Navigating may be accomplished primarily through the touchscreen, but the finger print reader used to unlock the phone acts as a navigational option as well – it actually works pretty well when scrolling. Other hardware buttons on the phone are all well sized and easily pressed without much effort. Unfortunately, the LG eXpo does not pack a 3.5mm headset and will require the microUSB adapter to connect your own pair of headphones.

The LG eXpo has a 4 row QWERTY keyboard that has rectangular shaped buttons; resembling the ones found on the LG Xenon. They’re flush to the surface and have a decent tactile feel that rivals even the keys on the HTC Touch Pro2. The bright backlighting of the QWERTY didn’t hinder us from seeing the buttons in any lighting condition.

LG eXpo GW820 360 Degrees View:


It took long enough for US consumers to finally be graced with a handset featuring LG’s S-Class interface, however, it isn’t the full version that powers LG feature phones – it’s actually a personalization for the WM platform. Thanks to its lightning quick 1GHz Snapdragon processor, moving through either the standard Windows Mobile or S-Class interface came without a hitch. There are 3 homescreens available for you to move around – LG Contacts, Favorite Multimedia, and the Main Screen. We definitely liked the LG Menu which lays out icons side-by-side and fills up the entire screen. Other than that, it’s your normal Windows Mobile 6.5 experience.

The LG eXpo offers all the items associated with your messaging needs – this includes e-mail, text messaging, and instant messaging. On top of the usual on-screen input methods Windows Mobile provides, LG throws on their own QWERTY with XT9 prediction that only works in portrait mode, which is a shame really. We feel that the portrait one’s cramped confines make it difficult to speed type without making mistakes – so using the physical QWERTY is still the best option.

The 5-megapixel auto-focusing camera may have a slightly higher than normal pixel count, but it does little to improve the overall quality of photos taken on the LG eXpo. Images captured tended to be overexposed with average looking detail in the shot to make it passable for print outs. The interface adds the allure of a dedicated camera with its rotating dial that allows you to modify certain settings. Taking a photo is almost instant soon after the phone auto-focuses on an image.

You can capture videos at a maximum resolution of 640 x 480, but it’s littered with plenty of loose detail. For the most part, they played smoothly at all resolutions with colors looking decent. Even when switching from bright to low lighting conditions, the eXpo didn’t stutter or slowdown during the transition. Sound from the recorded video had a decent tone without any noticeable background distortion.

The S-Class music player is a nice departure from the usual experience we get out of using Windows Media Player – it has nice looking equalizer visuals that run as you play a song. Using the Favorite Multimedia homescreen, you can scroll through some of your albums with ease and select one to play. Sound quality from the speaker phone was clear with accurate tones.

With a detailed WVGA display, the LG eXpo makes for a good candidate to watch videos leisurely. After loading up a movie trailer coded in H.264 at 720 x 306, we weren’t too surprised that it ran almost flawlessly without any choppiness thanks partly to the lightning quick processor. Even when moving the phone to landscape, the orientation of the video playing changed almost instantaneously.  Regrettably there’s no support for DivX or Xvid codecs out of the box.

Not to be outdone just yet, the pico projector accessory does make the LG eXpo very unique as being one of the few available handsets to offer such functionality. Snapping it onto the phone makes it extremely bulky looking and weighs you down if it’s placed in a pocket. It doesn’t have its own internal power source and relies on the eXpo’s battery. After turning it on, we were greeted to a projection of the phone’s display. There are a few options you can change, such as brightness or focus, but we still found colors not looking as vibrant as we would’ve liked. When projecting to a flat white surface in complete darkness, the white color had a slight bluish tint to it, but didn’t take away from the overall visual look. It’s definitely great for any business oriented user looking to quickly make a presentation directly from their handset. In addition, movie buffs may be enticed by its ability to project up to 40 inches in size. There’s a decent amount of heat buildup around the pico projector after it has been left on for some time, so we’re just a bit curious as to how this would affect the phone during long term use.

There’s ample memory on the LG eXpo to save various files – it comes with over 50MB of memory for installing programs while a separate 86MB is reserved for storage. If you require more space, you can always supplement it with microSD cards up to 16GB in capacity.

Not only with this quad-band GSM phone (850/900/18000/1900 Mhz) will you be able to place phone calls just about anywhere, but its tri-band UMTS connectivity (850/1900/2100 MHz) makes for a great solution to get 3G speeds internationally.

Web browsing on the LG eXpo is your standard fanfare with Internet Explorer. Scrolling is pretty intuitive once a page is completely loaded up, but it still doesn’t seem as snappy as Opera Mobile. It will run Flash to an extent – which works great with the pico projector so you can play a YouTube clip and project it for everyone to watch.


Getting in touch with someone through a phone call on the LG eXpo came out with positive results. Callers said that our voice sounded clear without any static or background noise; it had a normal tone. On our end we were able to make out the conversation without any problems. When switching to the speaker phone, we still received decent calling quality, but it sounded just a tad low for us to clearly comprehend the conversation without our callers having to speak up heavily.

Pitting it with other AT&T phones, the LG eXpo was able to retain a solid connection to the network and didn’t drop calls during our testing in the greater Philadelphia area.

One of the biggest hurdles to overcome with any smartphone is its longevity with battery life. With the handset set to automatically adjust brightness levels, we were able to get almost a full working days use out of the LG eXpo before the indicators started telling us that battery was low. You’ll need to constantly charge this phone whenever you can if you plan on using it for the long haul of a full working day. LG has the phone rated for 4 hours of talk and 408 hours of standby time.


LG did a wonderful job in disassociating itself from the sour after taste that left us with the LG INCITE. They’ve clearly reworked their designs and managed to produce a worthy Windows Mobile smartphone that will aim to please a wide range of users with its impressive lists of features. Not only does the S-Class interface make its US debut on the eXpo, but it adds a lot of visual flare that we haven’t seen stateside to make it a refreshing option for users consistently seeing either TouchFLO 3D or TouchWiz dominating the scene. Finally, the implementation of the pico projector opens up a plethora of implications that can cater to a whole new list of needs. The X in eXpo marks the spot where LG clearly differentiates itself in being a prominent figure in the Windows Mobile landscape.

LG eXpo GW820 Video Review:


  • Smooth looking S-Class Interface
  • Great calling quality
  • Pocketable form factor
  • Tactile QWERTY keyboard


  • Bulky looking with pico projector
  • Poor battery life

PhoneArena Rating:


User Rating:

3 Reviews

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