Product Type: LG Electronics Smartphone
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LG GT540: Ideal first smartphone if a little buggy
Member Name: princesschickpea
Advantages: easy to use, looks good
Disadvantages: can be slow, prone to bugs
I've had the LG GT540 for nearly two years now, and upgrade time is fast approaching, so I thought this was the perfect time to review it. This was my first smartphone. I had previously only had very basic handsets and found the world of the smartphone to be a bit daunting. The GT540 seemed like the best value for a newbie like me, and an ideal first step on the smartphone ladder. And, to be fair, that's exactly what it was.
I got the phone on a £15 a month contract with O2 and didn't pay anything up front, but I made the mistake of not opting for a contract which had a data allowance, so I ended up paying on average £10 extra each month. The phone itself ticks a lot of the boxes for someone wanting a mid range smartphone. It can download apps from the android market, read PDFs, surf the web and send and receive emails. I used it mainly for these functions, and attempts to use other features, like google maps when I was out and about, were disastrous. While I will admit that it got slower with age and punishment, I don't think I've ever successfully loaded a map on this handset.
The display is bright and the touchscreen is nicely responsive. I didn't have any problems with calibration. The handset feels light, but sturdily constructed. It's not the slimmest phone on the market by a long shot, but it isn't a brick either. Battery life was pretty average, but if you're connected to the internet a lot, it will drain pretty quickly. It also has a micro SD slot which is very helpful for expanding the storage capacity. However, I never actually needed this function. For some reason I would regularly get error messages saying the SD card had suddenly been removed from the slot, despite there never being a card in the slot, and this would often cause problems for the phone's operation, for example, media closing or text messages being abandoned.
I also had constant problems with the phone call interface. For example, if on the phone to the bank or other call centre, and I needed to use the keypad to select choices, there would be a pretty lengthy delay in the touchscreen activating again after having been dark during the call. It also took several attempts to hang up on every single call I made, as the swiping action for hanging up was not at all responsive and it would often freeze or crash instead. The camera was also only okay. I prefer to take pictures on my digital camera than on my phone, so the limitations of a 3 megapixel camera weren't a deal breaker for me, but it is worth knowing that the zoom is pretty dire, with much of the detail being lost. It's perfectly adequate if you use apps like instagram or vignette to take photos though.
But, for the newcomer to the smartphone market, it is a pretty good start. Not ideal for heavy usage by any stretch of the imagination, but for those of you who want to check emails periodically or download the odd app, it's a nice introductary handset.
Summary: The training wheels of the android smartphone market