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LG Optimus GT540 Android smartphone

Economy class social networker?

LG Optimus GT540

Review LG's first Android phone was the InTouch Max, which impressed with its slide-out Qwerty keyboard, social networking features and low price. Dispensing with the keyboard and utilising a lower quality camera, the Optimus adds to LG’s growing range of Android handsets, and offers social networking features with a few other tricks besides.

LG Optimus GT540

Socially aware: LG's Optimus GT540

The Optimus GT540 is a decent enough looker, with its faux brushed metal casing (read: plastic) and aluminium striping at the sides. Top and bottom curve attractively and it's not too bulky at 109 x 55 x 13mm and 116g. The 3in, 320 x 480-dot, resistive touchscreen sits above a pair of touch-sensitive keys for back and menu and beneath those is a sliver of hard keys for call start and stop plus home.

On the sides are camera shutter and search buttons – the latter is the Android type that searches your phone as well as the Internet simultaneously – along with a volume rocker and a micro USB power/sync slot covered by a plastic grommet. At the top is a 3.5mm headphone jack and on the back the 3Mp camera lens sits recessed behind the casing.

The Optimus runs Android 1.6, which is beginning to feel a bit old, especially since many handsets are running version 2.1, with 2.2 models imminent. So there's no voice search or native support for Exchange e-mail and the browser is the older, clunkier version.

 LG Optimus GT540

The 3Mp camera turns out to be quite a respectable snapper

You can switch between the standard Android UI with three home screens and a slightly augmented one from LG, which gives you the option of three, five or seven home screens to populate with widgets and shortcuts.

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