LG GD900 Crystal

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LG GD900 Crystal

LG GD900 Crystal's sleek drop-down transparent keypad is more than just great looks. Rather it is a fully functional touch key pad that works similar ...

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Review of "LG GD900 Crystal"

published 16/09/2009 | Luc2oo9
Member since : 01/07/2009
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"Review - The LG GD900 Crystal"

The LG GD900 Crystal


I've reviewed a lot of mobile phones, and after a while they all start to look alike, that was until I got my hands on LG's latest handset, the LG Crystal GD900, which looks like nothing I've ever seen. When you add a range of impressive features including a responsive GLASS keypad, multitouch capability, Wi-Fi and HSDPA connectivity, the GD900 was shaping up to be a great handset.


Design and Features


I have to admit I have new found respect for the normally rather reserved LG design department for trying something completely different with the GD900. The Crystals touchpad is made of tempered glass lit up by a bluish/white glow, which I have to say looks great. Despite the fact that the back of the touchpad is made from flimsy looking plastic, the tempered glass front feels solid and well made.


As well as looking good the GD900's keypad is also a touch sensitive control pad, allowing you to navigate items with a simple swipe of your finger. Anyone familiar with either the iPhone 3GS or HTC Hero will be aware of the useful multitouch function, which the GD900 utilises on both its 3 inch touchscreen and tempered glass touchpad, allowing you to zoom into pictures or those tiny internet links by pinching your fingers together.

Touch Screen Typing


Some of the touch-sensitive features of the GD900 are very good, in particular the one that LG seem to be most proud of, what they call 'Gestures'. By drawing a shape on the screen you can launch an application of your choice, your web browser for example. However, while I had the phone the same problem arose time and time again. With two touch screens and almost no buttons there is no surface which doesn't result in some type of response from the phone, every surface is very, very sensitive, so while drawing my shape to launch the browser I would launch the contact list, dial a number or scroll a few random icons before the browser finally opened.


When I did finally get the browser to open, I was actually quite impressed, due largely to the built in Wi-Fi and 7.2Mbps HSDPA, browsing over 3G allows the GD900 to do an excellent job of rendering even very complex pages. I mentioned the GD900's pinch function earlier, and while it works, it is no where near a slick as seen on HTC's Hero or the iPhone 3GS, as it tends to be a little sluggish while using the Crystal's browser.


The GD900's touchpad allows you to navigate through all the phones features without obscuring the screen, and when its not needed it just slides away, at first I thought that the GD900's touchpad was a great idea but after having the handset for about 24 hours I realised that I hardly ever used it, even forgetting about it from time to time. Even when you are browsing web sites crowded with links, there really isn't any time you would need the touchpad. That was until I tried to use the GD900's on-screen keypad…

I thought that the over responsive, ticklish nature of the GD900 was going to get very irritating, but one area that is works very well is for composing SMS messages and dialling numbers, which is a very good job because the GD900's on-screen keypad is among the worst I have ever tested. It was unresponsive and the lag was terrible, as a result so many letters where missed out that text messages where simply a group of erratic and ineligible letters. So I thought I'd try the GD900's T9 predictive mode… which was even worse; I couldn't find any way of rejecting the handsets ridiculous and overly complicated suggestions.


User Interface

The GD900 uses LG's 'S-Class' user interface, which I am not a huge fan of. I respect the fact that LG has tried to improve user friendliness, but the S Class user interface seems to me to be a little pointless. I tested the LG Arena a while ago now and like the GD900, it sported the same spinning cube, complete with it own dedicated button - I didn't see any need for it on the Arena and my opinion hasn't changed since - LG get rid of the stupid spinning cube… no one cares!


Although the GD900's multiple home screens are nice, the widgets contained in it aren't. They demonstrate the lack of computing power, really demonstrating the Crystal's slightly sluggish nature. I did have some other issues with the GD900's use of widgets too, they somehow feel unfinished, poorly thought out and poorly designed. The weather widget is a perfect example, I got up the first morning I had the GD900 and the widget had a picture of a bright sun… When I opened the blinds it was poring with rain, it was then I realised that unlike many handsets which incorporate a weather widget, the GD900 displays a bright, shinning sun regardless of the weather, effectively reducing the 'widget' to a shortcut, meaning that you have to actually open the application.


While all of LG's design, feature's and UI ideas are good in theory, the more that you are forced to actually live with it, the more infuriating they get, and that is before you get to the Crystal's 8 megapixel camera.


Camera Function

I recently tested the GD900's older sister, the LG Viewty GC900 and hated it so much that I didn't even bother to write a review… Without going into too much detail, my main issue with the GC900 was that despite being called the 'VIEWTY' it took awful pictures. I bring it up because the GD900 suffers from the same flaw, despite its 8 megapixel camera, it takes rubbish photos!


In poor light conditions the photos were almost unusable, rather than providing extra light the LED flash made everything turn a strange tint of pink, even in good conditions the pictures produced by the GD900 were below average. I freely accept that very few mobile phones have the capability to match the quality of photographs taken by a digital camera, but despite the Crystal's huge 8 megapixel camera, the quality of its images would leaving it falling behind even the cheapest of compact camera's.


As with Apple's hugely popular iPhone, the GD900 has a wide range of editing options for both photos and videos. I found them all very easy to use, and all take full advantage of the touch screen.


As far as onboard memory is concerned, the GD900 has an adequate amount, there is 1.5GB of onboard memory, but this can be further supplemented by a MicroSD memory card, so all in all, there is ample space to store your blurry pictures and stuttery videos…


The Verdict


I liked


It is unique looking; it is unlike any other handset available


The responsive glass keypad lets you navigate without obscuring the screen;


Multitouch capability


I respect the innovative use of multiple touch screens, even if they aren't completely successful


Wi-Fi, HSDPA connectivity produce good 3G browsing


I disliked


Lacks any real muscle, which means that it can be very sluggish


Poor widgets


Although I like the idea of multiple touch screens, in reality, there over sensative nature would be infuriating over time.


Despite its 8 megapixel camera it takes poor photos/video


Conclusion


The touch screen Crystal's transparent, touch sensitive, tempered glass touchpad may look nice and make up for the terrible onscreen keypad, but in reality, the inclusion of two touch screens, although a nice idea in theory just doesn't work.


Despite the inclusion of an 8 megapixel camera, its media capturing capabilities are poor and the S-Class user interface needs to be drastically improved before using the GD900 is a pleasurable experience.


I don't usually have an issue with mobile phones that have no point, no function other than to look good, I actually quite like the idea of a phone as a fashion accessory, but the GD900 takes it too far, even for me. All the gimmicks have a detrimental effect on its user interface and usability, even the tempered glass isn't enough to persuade me that I need this handset in my life.


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Comments on this review

  • TheHairyGodmother published 17/09/2009
    well reviewed
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Product Information : LG GD900 Crystal

Manufacturer's product description

LG GD900 Crystal's sleek drop-down transparent keypad is more than just great looks. Rather it is a fully functional touch key pad that works similar to a mouse pad found on Laptop computers. It's mouse mode feature lets you browse the internet in smooth movements and flip through your contents with swift easy strokes while the exclusive Multi Finger Touch feature Enables two-finger touch recognition for faster response time. Taking touch technology one step further, LG GD900 Crystal features a drop down crystal touchpad that is both extremely beautiful and remarkably usable. A superior scratch-resistant design made from tempered glass ensures extended use while maintaining its overall look of seamless sophistication. Do not expect the expected. You must see for yourself.

Product Details

Product Description: LG GD900 Crystal - 3G GSM - mobile phone

Product Type: Mobile phone

Mobile Broadband Generation: 3G

Service Provider: Not specified

Mobile Services: Video Call

Form Factor: Slider - touch screen, full keyboard

Dimensions (WxDxH): 53 mm x 14 mm x 105 mm

Weight: 126 g

Technology: WCDMA (UMTS) / GSM

Band: WCDMA (UMTS) / GSM 850/900/1800/1900

Integrated Components: Digital camera, 2nd camera, FM radio, digital player, voice recorder

Rear-facing Camera Resolution: 8 Megapixel

Wireless Interface: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi

Display: LCD display - colour - 3" - TFT

Input Device(s): Keyboard, touch sensitive screen (multi-touch)

Playback Digital Standards: WMA, AAC, Ogg Vorbis, AMR, MP3, WMAPro

Supported Memory Card: microSDHC

Talk Time: Up to 360 minutes

Standby Time: Up to 300 hours

General

MPN: lg gd900 crystal, GD900

Product Type: Mobile phone

Form Factor: Slider - touch screen, full keyboard

Integrated Components: Digital camera, 2nd camera, FM radio, digital player, voice recorder

Aerial: Internal

Width: 53 mm

Depth: 14 mm

Height: 105 mm

Weight: 126 g

Cellular

Technology: WCDMA (UMTS) / GSM

Band: WCDMA (UMTS) / GSM 850/900/1800/1900

Mobile Broadband Generation: 3G

Service Provider: Not specified

Software Platforms Supported: Java MIDP 2.0, CLDC 1.1, Java

Input Device(s): Keyboard, multi-touch

Messaging & Internet

Cellular Messaging Services: MMS, SMS

WAP Protocol Supported: WAP 2.0

Messaging & Data Features: XHTML Browser, PDF support, Microsoft Word support, Microsoft Excel support, Microsoft PowerPoint support

Mobile Services: Video Call

Communications

Data Transmission: GPRS, EDGE, HSDPA

Wireless Interface: Bluetooth 2.1 EDR, IEEE 802.11b/g

Bluetooth Profiles: Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP)

Communication Features: Mobile Email client, Internet browser

Phone Features

Phone Functions: Speakerphone, call timer, conference call, vibrating alert

Polyphonic Ringer: Yes

Polyphonic Ring Tone Voice Qty: 64

Sensors: Accelerometer

Additional Features: TV Link

Organiser

Personal Information Management: Calendar, synchronization with PC, calculator, reminder, alarm clock

Phone Book Entries Qty: 1000

Media Player

Supported Digital Audio Standards: WMA, AAC, Ogg Vorbis, AMR, MP3, WMAPro

Memory

User Memory: 1.5 GB

Supported Flash Memory Cards: microSDHC

Digital Camera

Rear-facing Camera Resolution: 8 Megapixel

Optical Sensor Type: CMOS

Digital Zoom: 16

Video Recorder Resolutions: 720 x 480

Digital Video Formats: H.263 video and AMR audio

Display

Type: LCD display - colour

Technology: TFT

Diagonal Size: 3"

Display Resolution: 800 x 480 pixels

Colour Depth: Up to 16.2 million colours

Battery

Technology: Lithium Ion

Capacity: 1000 mAh

Run Time Details: Talk - up to 360 min ¦ Standby - up to 300 hrs

Miscellaneous

Included Accessories: Power adapter

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