By September 2, 2009

LG GD900 Crystal review

A phone with a transparent keypad, surely not. But yes that’s the major selling point behind LG’s latest creation, the LG GD900 Crystal. The question is though, is it any good or just a selling gimmick?

The LG GD900 Crystal

The LG GD900 Crystal


The ten second review:

Device: LG GD900 Crystal

Price: £339.99

Summary: A fun packed feature phone with a crazy transparent keypad.

Best of: HSDPA, WiFi, Easy to use.

Worst of: Keypad/Touchpad, No GPS.


What’s in the box?

  • Handset
  • Battery
  • Charger
  • USB Cable
  • Pouch
  • Software
  • Software Install Instructions


Have a look at Matt’s LG Crystal unboxing video for more details.

LG GD900 Crystal Specification:

  • Networks: GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 HSDPA 850 /2100 HSDPA 900 /2100
  • Dimensions: 105 x 52.5 x 13.5mm   Weight 127 g
  • Display: 3 inch TFT capacitive touch screen 16M colours
  • Resolution: 480 x 800 pixels
  • Device Input: Touch screen & Transparent Keypad
  • Internal Memory: 1.5GB storage (Expandable to 32GB with microSD card slot)
  • Connectivity: GPRS, EDGE, HSCSD, 3G HSDPA 7.2Mbps, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth v2.1 with A2DP, USB v2.0 microUSB
  • Messaging: SMS, EMS, MMS, Email, Instant Messaging
  • Camera: 8MP 3264×2448 pixels
  • Video Capture: D1 720×[email protected] [email protected] QVGA time-lapse slow-mo video capture
  • Video Playback: DivX/XviD Mpeg4 
  • Audio: MP3 AAC AAC+ WMA
  • Battery: Li-Ion 1000 mAh
    – Stand by Time: Up to 300 hours on 3G
    – Talk Time: Up to 240 mins 3G
  • Misc: TV-out, Picsel Viewer for Word, Excel, Proximity sensor for auto turn-off, Handwriting recognition


The design of the LG Crystal is rather nice. The phone feels fairly heavy in the hand, which I like, and sturdy. The slide out keypad is made from clear plastic and with it “closed” it covers most of the back of the device and gives it a quite unique feeling. Good or bad I’m not really sure but combined with the shiny metal around the edges of the handset it looks pretty nice.


The LG Crystal


The top of the phone contains only a power on/off switch.

LG Crystal Top View

LG Crystal Top View


The left hand side has only the USB socket.


LG Crystal left side


The right of the device houses an up/down volume rocker and a dedicated camera key.


LG Crystal right side


On the front of the handset is the send/end keys and cube menu button at the bottom and at the top is the speaker grill, front facing camera and a proximity sensor.

LG Crystal front view

LG Crystal front view


The rear of the phone is flush when closed but when opened it reveals the lens for the 8MP camera and also the flash.

LG Crystal camera

LG Crystal camera

Highlights & Lowlights:


+ WiFi

– No GPS

– No 3.5mm Headset Jack


Clearly the most obvious feature of the LG Crystal is the clear keypad and this is what will attract potential buyers to the device. This is basically another touch screen for the device with numbers etched onto the plastic. Unfortunately I am starting on a bad point as I found the keypad to be way too sensitive. Its so sensitive it cost me £1.50!

The first thing I wanted to test out on the device was the web browser. Now, when the browser opens a small mouse arrow appears on screen. This is controlled by the clear keypad much the same as a touchpad on a laptop. First thoughts were “this seems quite nice” but with seconds I had unintentionally clicked a link on my Orange home page and purchased a calling tone! This is something that has never happened before on any device and it’s clearly down to the fact that the slightest tap on the touchpad acts as a click/select option.

As you can imagine I wasn’t too impressed but it could have been worse. At least I bought Knight Rider and not the Teletubbies!!!

The keypad does however have a couple of cool features. When web browsing you can use pinch-to- zoom like on the iPhone and this works pretty well. The other feature is that you can use the keypad to set up gesture shortcuts.

The LG Crystal runs the S-Class UI that has also appeared on the LG Arena and Viewty devices. I recently reviewed the LG Arena and was fairly impressed with this new UI.

Like the other devices the Crystal has four home screens which can be accessed by a swipe action either on screen or using the keypad. These can be customised and therefore can contain your most used programs/contacts etc.

At the bottom of the screen are four on screen buttons. These are phone, contacts, messaging and a link into the main menu.

The main menu is fairly nice. It consists of four rows of icons that can be swiped left and right to view all the icons on the row. If the phone is turned into landscape mode the icons shrink to show all 32 icons on screen at once.

The screen on the Crystal is very responsive and using the screen was for me a nicer option than using the keypad/touchpad. The best test for this was messaging. Messaging was simple and with me not wanting to use the keypad I had a choice of a standard 12 key on screen keypad or when rotated a full QWERTY option.

Like a few other handsets out there the Crystal also supports handwriting recognition and like those other devices using it takes far too long and it’s not really an option for sending a quick text/email.

Disappointingly the camera and the video capture on the Crystal was not as good as I thought it was going to be. After reviewing the LG Arena a short while ago I presumed the camera on the Crystal would be as good if not better. I took several photos and videos in sunny daylight conditions and although they looked great on the device once on my computer they appeared a little bit grainy, even though I was using the highest settings. Shame.

Listening to music was good though. Using the speaker didn’t sound fantastic like on the Arena, but with the headphones connected it was rocking! The Crystal does not come with a 3.5mm headset jack but at least LG supply a converter with the device so you can use any headphones if the LG ones are not to your liking.

Connectivity is super on the Crystal. Web browsing is as quick as it can be with the options for either using HSDPA or WiFi. Of course Bluetooth is built in, but so is A2DP which will allow you to listen to your music using a Bluetooth headset if preferred.

The other let down for me was the lack of GPS. Google maps come pre-installed on the device but without GPS it will never be spot on.



Overall the LG Crystal does what is says on the box. I strongly believe that that anyone buying this device will soon get bored of the clear keypad/touchpad as in my opinion it’s a bit of a novelty.

If you are a fan of LG phones I would suggest purchasing the Arena or the Viewty and if you are open to other manufactures then go get a Samsung Jet. It does the same job as the Crystal only so much better.

Sorry LG, better luck next time.


Review by: James

Posted in: Reviews

About the Author:

More than 20 years in the IT industry. Blogging with a passion and thirst for new technology since 2005.
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