More and more manufactures are now offering slide out QWERTY devices and heres another one to add to the list. The LG GW520 is not a high end smartphone but I am pretty sure there is a place for it in the market. Lets check it out:
LG GW520 both open and closed
What’s in the box:
The ten second review:
Device: LG GW520
Summary: A nice touch screen feature phone with a decent slide out keyboard.
Best of: Keyboard, 3G, Camera
Worst of: No Wi-Fi, Screen Unlock
Get it now from: Orange
LG GW520 Specification:
Size: 106.5 x 53 x 15.9 mm
Screen: TFT resistive touch screen, 256K colors, 240 x 400 pixels, 2.8 inches
Memory: 40MB Internal, MicroSD up to 16GB
3G: HSDPA 7.2 Mbps
Bluetooth: v2.0 with A2DP
Camera: 3.15 MP, 2048×1536 pixels
Messaging: SMS (threaded view), MMS, Email, IM, Push Email
Browser: WAP 2.0/xHTML, HTML
Colours: Blue on Black, Red on Black, Silver, Pearl White
Battery: Li-Ion 950 mAh
The top of the LG GW520 contains the USB connector for charging, and also for connecting the headset.
LG GW520 Top
The left side of the handset houses only a up/down volume rocker.
LG GW520 Left Side
There is plenty of action on the right side. The slot for the MicroSD card is here and also buttons for the camera and locking the device.
LG GW520 Right Side
On the rear of the handset can be found the camera lens and speaker grill.
LG GW520 Rear
On the front of the device is the call send/end keys as well as menu button.
LG GW520 Front
Lack of Wi-Fi
I’m a big fan of slide out QWERTY devices but as this one is lacking a few features I am used to I was thinking it is not going to be great. I was pleasantly surprised.
Handling the handset for the first time I was impressed with how nice it looks. The black around the screen and keys looks great sitting beside the silver satin finish that runs around the outside of the device and covers the back. It also felt great to hold. Its well built and although the battery cover feels very “plasticy” the whole thing feels like its built to last.
On the front of the device are three keys that sit below the screen. These are send and end as well as a circular menu button.
LG GW520 Buttons
This menu key provides two choices when pressed. The first is a list of favorite applications which can be edited to give you quick access to the most common features. Secondly it provides you with a task manager. This enables you to see which apps are running and then the option to end them all. A nice feature which is easy to access.
The main attraction to this device has to be the keyboard and its pretty good. The sliding mechanism when you open it is smooth and feels comfortable. It even makes a noise when you open and close. I’m sure this can be edited as its driving me up the wall!
LG GW520 Keys Close Up
As you will see above the keys are slightly raised and although not the biggest keys we have seen on a slide out keyboard they are not bad.
LG GW520 Full Keyboard
Pressing the keys gives a nice click and also another annoying beep noise! When typing this ensures you know you have defiantly pressed the key hard enough. Compared with some other similar devices you do have to use quite a firm press but its just a case of getting used to it.
On the right side of the keyboard are the direction arrows. I personally prefer these to having a D-Pad on the keyboard like on the Nokia N97 and Motorola Dext. Overall the keyboard is better than I expected. Its not the best but it works and that’s what maters.
LG GW520 with Motorola Dext and HTC Touch Pro2
Onto the user interface. Its very similar to other LG devices. This device has two home screens. The first, and main one, allows you to add widgets which really makes it your own. The second screen which, is accessed by swiping the screen left or right, is called Livesquare, which has been seen before on LG phones. The Cookie I think. Its really bad and so much of a waste of time im not talking about it!
At the bottom of the home screen are four on screen keys/tabs. Like on other devices these consist of: phone (which brings up the dialer), contacts, messages and main menu.
The menu consists of a further four tabs. This shows the phones features in categories – Communication, Entertainment, Utilities and Setting. All fairly straight forward.
The screen on the LG GW520 is very touch sensitive and supports haptic feedback. Obviously it auto rotates into landscape mode when the keyboard is opened. One thing that did really frustrate me is the screen lock. Its all well and good locking the screen and I am all for it but what I really hate is having to hold the unlock button (either hardware or on screen) down for three seconds just to activate the screen. It I want to unlock the screen I want it to be instant.
So, what else is the GW520 good for?
Although the camera is only 3MP it produced some nice photos. Not the best quality but good enough for uploading to the web. The video camera was also ok. Slightly grainy but as good as can be expected from the hardware.
Listening to music was reasonable. The external speaker is fairly loud but as usual using the headphones is where the quality can be found. On the GW520 the quality was not amazing but okay. There were no options to change the the music settings but it was easy to use. You will most defiantly need a MicroSD card if storing music on the device due to its internal memory storage being low. You can also use Bluetooth headphones with the GW520 as it supports A2DP.
Web browsing was also okay. Its never going to compete with Internet Explorer or Opera Mobile but for simple viewing of pages its not too bad. I think the kids are going to be spending most of the time on Facebook hammering out messages on the QWERTY keyboard. Shame about the lack of Wi-Fi but at least its 3G.
Setting up email accounts on the LG GW520 was simple. I set up a hotmail account in seconds and it downloaded all my emails instantly. Its not the best email interface but it works and I don’t suppose business users are going to be buying this device anyway.
Overall the LG GW520 is a nice feature phone. I’m not sure how many people would get this on a contract but as a PAYG phone its a real bargain if you ask me. The keyboard is not as good as on the high end smartphones but its still good.
If you are looking for a new pay as you go device and are big on messaging it may be worth adding this to your Christmas list. I will email Father Christmas the review so he knows how nice the phone is!
Posted by: James