LG GW520 review -

3

Review by Sunetra Chakravati, 12/12/2011 3:56:13 PM

6out of 10
Performance
6 out of 5
Look and feel
6 out of 5
Ease of use
6 out of 5
Features
6 out of 5
Battery life
Pros:

Push-email was a breeze to set up and enabled us to keep tabs on all our email accounts.

Cons:

The touch-screen is not the most intuitive that LG has produced.

The LG KS360, the manufacturer’s dabble into the QWERTY keyboard market, enjoyed great success when it hit stores at the end of 2008. Geared towards the social networker and avid texter, it flew off the shelves, in part thanks to the fetching £79.99 price tag. However, we had our reservations. Firstly for a social networking phone to not even have 3G let alone HSDPA seemed a tad odd, while we also had some issues with the keyboard itself. Thankfully, these concerns seem to have been addressed with the more advanced LG GW520.

Packs a punch

As with its predecessor, the LG GW520 is a hybrid of touch-screen and a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. Due to this tucked away keyboard, the GW520 packs a degree of girth. It’s not overly thick, but it’s certainly no size zero. Adorning the front of the handset is a 2.8-inch display that hovers above a call key, a menu button and a call end key. These keys are coated in a plastic that we hate to say, gives the phone a slightly tacky look and feel.

The screen itself packs a haptic response that gives a short vibration each time you press it. Unfortunately, it’s not as slick as some of LG’s other creations – namely the Arena and Viewty. When scrolling through our phone book for example, we’d often have to make three or four swipes to get from our contacts beginning with ‘A’ to those starting with ‘M’, rather than one fluid movement, which proved frustrating.

LiveSquare

There are two home screens on board the GW520; one to customise your widgets and shortcuts and another that LG has called LiveSquare. This was first seen on the KS360 and basically involves your most used contacts. Each one is symbolised by an avatar. Press on your desired avatar and the call, phonebook and messaging icons at the bottom of the screen will begin shaking, enabling you a quick way of calling that person, updating their details or texting them.

A Facebook widget gives you direct access to your page with the GW520 cleverly splitting content into something of a dual screen – at least when you have the QWERTY keyboard slid out. On the left of the screen are four icons representing your friends’ updates, your own wall, your photos and your inbox. Click on any of these and the right-hand side of the screen will display the corresponding content. It’s an efficient way of condensing your entire Facebook goings on into one manageable display.

Push-email

However, it’s not just social networking that’s at the heart of the LG GW520. Email and specifically push-email are also at the forefront. It took us less than a minute to sync our hotmail with the aid of Setup Wizard. Each time we received a new email our phone beeped to alert us. Of course, push-email is nothing new, but it is something of a rarity that you are able to do so with the likes of Hotmail or Yahoo, or at least do it so easily. You can select how often you want your phone to retrieve your mail, with the shortest period being 15 minutes. It’s worth noting however, that you will be charged each time your phone retrieves your mail as you are affectively logging onto the net.

Conclusion

Social networking is big business and the LG GW520 is cleverly cashing in. With its push-email capabilities, finger-friendly QWERTY keyboard and shortcuts to the likes of Facebook, this handset is bound to be a hit with the text and social network generation, if not with early adopters.