For the last few weeks we’ve been playing with the LG GW620, the first Android phone from LG. Here is our quick review on how we got on.
The LG GW620 is a decent entry into the Android phone market. The Google integration is excellent and there are a large selection of free applications you can install.
It needs a more responsive touch/slide interface, a larger screen, improved browser and an upgrade on the installed Android 1.5 firmware.
If LG can improve these areas this would become a very attractive phone.
Out of the box the phone looked good and of a decent build quality, nothing too flimsy and the phone looked like it would survive a few knocks and bumps quite easily.
The phone was a bit chunkier than we were expecting but nothing excessive, the phone easily fits in the palm of your hand. Considering the slide out keyboard the overall dimensions of the phone are pretty good.
The touch/slide interface at times is fiddly to use, and is not as responsive as the iPhone interface. You have to press the screen quite firmly before you can scroll the screen. This can make it difficult when navigating a list of options, you can end up selecting an item from a list when all you want to do is scroll down the list.
Our other minor niggle was the proprietary USB port on the phone. For a phone that is trying adopt open standards we would have liked a standard USB port like those used on other devices like digital cameras for example.
Other phone manufacturers are equally to blame in this area but it would be nice to see some standards between manufactures here. It certainly would save having different flavours of USB cable scattered around your home.
We were disappointed to find that under the covers the LG GW620 is only running Android 1.5 (Cupcake). We would have preferred an Android 2.0 phone. The 2.0 version is better, more robust and provides a greater selection of applications.
Since this is an Android phone the integration with Google services such as GMail and Google Maps is excellent.
GMail contacts can be synchronised with the phone. This can provide a very powerful contacts management system on the phone, especially if you hold information like a person’s address and web site within your GMail contacts list. You can select a contact on the phone, click on their address and Google Maps will automatically start up and show you their location on a map. Click on a person’s web site URL and the browser will display their web page.
There are a good number of applications available, both free and non-free, via Android Market, such as the BBC iPlayer. Android Market works pretty much the same way as the iTunes store does on an iPod, just search for an application and install it on your phone.
The LG GW620 provides good integration with social network sites like Facebook and Twitter. Twitter applications like twidroid can be downloaded from Android Market.
The built in browser worked well in our tests. Web pages don’t render as well as the iPhone and the LG screen size could do with being a bit larger, but it’s not a bad effort.
Text messaging works slightly different than some other phones. Text messages are displayed on screen as if you were having an instant message conversation with a person, which can make tracking conversations easier.
The keyboard on this phone is pretty decent overall, it is easy to use and keys were just about sufficiently far apart to avoid hitting the wrong keys.
Our only gripe was the delete key positioned directly above the enter key. We had a tendency to press the enter key by mistake on a number of occasions, this was most annoying when performing tasks like updating your Facebook status. The result being a half finished sentence posted to Facebook.
The LG GW620 sports a 5 megapixel camera with a good selection of options available to tweak items like exposure and metering mode. The quality of photos taken with this phone was very good too.
Overall this a decent phone from LG with some really nice features, but it needs to improve in several areas before we would consider buying one.
If LG can provide an Android 2.0 phone with a touch/slider interface to rival the iPhone then we’d seriously consider buying one.