LG GT505 3 Stars

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Here’s a surprise – the LG GT55 makes you feel good from the moment you turn it on, thanks to the rather charming birdsong that plays. Once on, you will find yourself using a touch-screen phone that uses LG’s own operating system. LG has done well with this combination in the past – just take a look at the popular budget handset, the Cookie.

The GT505 has a business-like look about it, thanks to the demure styling, which features a gloss black edge and surround, with a textured matte black finish to the rest of its chassis. There are three buttons to the front (they can be used to start and finish calls or launch a screen of favourites), and you’ll find more on the right-hand edge for volume, screen lock and camera. The only thing is, there are so many buttons that it’s easy to hit them by mistake. For instance, try out the rather nifty function that lets you tidy up your on-screen widgets. You have to shake the device to auto-align. All well and good, but in doing so, we nearly always managed to accidentally hit one of the side buttons. 

Build quality is mediocre – press hard on the touch screen, which measures three inches – and you’ll hear a faint clicking noise, which sounds like the screen has been stretched and is bouncing back into place. But you can’t help it, because the touch-screen is of the resistive type, and pressure sensitive, so you have to use a firm touch.

Don’t get lost

But it’s not all negative by any means. There are plenty of positive aspects to the GT505. First is its affordable price tag, which still includes Wi-Fi, GPS and a camera. The GPS facility includes Orange Maps (though there is an extra charge for this – either £5 or £7.50 a month). And the camera is pretty decent too – offering five megapixels and an LED flash. However, as you’ll find with many camera phones, there is rather a lot of shutter-lag, which means you have to wait before the camera takes its shot – especially in lower light, where the auto focus takes more time.

The GT505 is a 3G phone offering fast data speeds – up to 3.6Mbps. It also has Bluetooth, which is a good thing, as it’s lacking a 3.5mm headphone jack – if you want to use your own headphone you’ll have to use the supplied adaptor. Mislay that and you’ll be left using the supplied headphones or paying out for a Bluetooth-enabled set.

Users should find LG’s operating system pretty straightforward and accessible. The main screen features four icons at the bottom, which will launch the virtual keypad, show contacts, the menu and messages. It is also possible to add widgets to the main display. Swipe across the display to bring up a new screen, where you can keep your favourite contact information. A tap on the top of the screen will reward you with a convenient status summary, which shows memory usage, profile, Bluetooth status and so on. 

Surprisingly, there is no Facebook or Twitter app – you’ll have to go online yourself and use the web browser to search for social networks. It’s a shame because this would have been a nice feature.

The phone offers two themes – white brings you bright menu screens and a cute background of orange flowers and a bicycle; black gives you a dark screen covered in subtle grey whirls. Both are very usable, with the white one being aimed at women and the dark at men.

Looking good

This neat and compact phone is light enough to be carried around, and looks good enough to take out in the evening. However, if you use the device a lot, you may find the rather sluggish touch-screen starts to jar, and while the user interface is decent enough it’s nothing to write home about.

You’ll find it easier to write a text message with the phone in landscape mode, when the QWERTY keyboard pops up and offers a good set of suggested words. But the keyboard is rather cramped, which can lead to typing errors. However, apart from the lack of a 3.5mm headphone jack, the GT505 offers higher specs than you would expect for the price tag.

The verdict

If you hanker for a touch-screen phone, but are put off by the high price, the GT505 is an affordable option – as long as you’re not after thousands of apps. The low price does not affect the number of features offered, but you will lose out on the super-slick operation of some more expensive devices.

Pros:
Handy size, nice styling, decent camera.
Cons:
Texting is hard; the touch-screen is sluggish and there is no 3.5mm headphone jack.
Rating:
  • Look and Feel 4 Stars
  • Ease of use 2 Stars
  • Features 4 Stars
  • Performance 3 Stars
  • Battery life 3 Stars

Final verdict: 3 Stars

Review by Mobile Choice