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LG GT540 Optimus review

Barry de la Rosa
20 Jul 2010
LG GT540 Optimus
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
150
inc VAT

Although it's good value, the sleek Optimus has an out-of-date version of Android, and LG hasn't done much to improve on the basic interface

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Specifications

Android 1.6, 3.0in 320x480 display

The LG Optimus is a new Android phone available only on a pay-as-you-go tariff from O2 for £150. It's only LG's second Android phone after the InTouch Max, and it's a completely different animal: it has a 3in touchscreen rather than a QWERTY keyboard, and it's much slimmer and easier on the eye.

Sadly, LG hasn't learned any lessons from the InTouch Max and the Optimus uses Android 1.6 rather than a newer 2.x version. While it's an upgrade from the InTouch Max's Android 1.5, it means you'll miss out on a slew of new features, such as support for multiple accounts, multi-touch and improvements to the camera application.

LG includes a copy of the QuickOffice viewer and its own Social Networking app. The latter lets you connect to your Facebook, Twitter and Bebo accounts, but the interface for each service is sparse - you can't retweet, for example - and contacts imported from these services can't be merged with contacts on your SIM, so you'll end up with duplicates.

There's also a video editing app, which is unusual. This lets you create slideshow videos of a group of photos, for example, with a range of cheesy effects available. It can also take a video and extract the best scenes based on movement, faces or landscape changes. It's no match for a proper desktop video editor, but it's a fun way to spice up videos to send to friends.

Design-wise, the Optimus is pleasingly slim, with rounded ends and an attractive brushed-metal finish. The case is actually made of plastic and it's quite light as a result, but still feels well built. As well as dedicated buttons for answering, hanging up and Home, there are two touch-sensitive controls for the Menu and Back functions, but there's no cursor control.

If you have the money and prefer PAYG to contract, the Optimus might be good value. However we found the design a bit bland, and the fact that LG hasn't yet shipped an up-to-date version of Android is disappointing. There are better phones at this price.

Details

Price£150
Rating***

Hardware

Main display size3.0in
Native resolution320x480
Second DisplayNo
CCD effective megapixels3-megapixel
Video recording format3GP (H.263, MPEG4)
ConnectivityBluetooth, USB, WiFi
GPSyes
Internal memory130MB
Memory card supportmicroSDHC
Memory card included2048MB
Operating frequenciesGSM 850/900/1800/1900, 3G 900/2100
Wireless dataEDGE, HSDPA
Size109x55x13mm
Weight116g

Features

Operating systemAndroid 1.6
Microsoft Office compatibilityWord/Excel/PowerPoint/PDF viewers
Email clientPOP3/IMAP/Exchange
Audio format supportMP3, WAV, WMA, eAAC+
Video playback formatsMP4, DivX, Xvid, H.264, H.263, WMV
FM Radioyes
Web BrowserWebkit
Accessoriesheadset, data cable, charger
Talk time7.3 hours
Standby time20.8 days
Tested battery life (MP3 playback)20h 41m

Buying Information

SIM-free price£400
Price on contractN/A
Prepay price£150
SIM-free supplierwww.theorder.co.uk
Contract/prepay supplierwww.o2.co.uk
Detailswww.lg.com

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