LG Optimus GT540 Android smartphone
Economy class social networker?
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.
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.
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.
Take care with Orange
I've recently discovered a rather nasty scam being orchestrated by Mobile Phone companies and Smart Phones.
I've got a LG Arena locked to Orange which has Wi-Fi and 3G, etc. which you'd expect in a modern phone.
But whilst I can web browser via Wi-Fi or 3G and manually choose from these two options so I can web surf for no extra cost on my own private Wi-Fi connection. I can't do this with Email.
I am forced by a locked setting to use 3G if I want to read my email! I was flabbergasted!
I was wondering why my balance was quickly dwindling away as I sat on my own sofa reading my email thinking that because I had connected to my Wi-Fi that my phone was using it.
To my horror it wasn't.
A quick phone to Orange Support and they apologised and would get my balance refunded. A Support person would get in touch with me in 24 hours to 'sort my phone out'.
Well needless to say they didn't and I soon discovered why....
A phone call back to them 2 days later and they confirmed it's a 'feature' with many of their Locked Phones. You are forced to use 3G and not Wi-Fi to use the built-in GPS or email.
Nice little earner for Orange but it leaves a bad taste in their customers mouth once they find this out. Needless I'll not be buying Orange again.
Orange Support told me this was a common 'feature' offered by other Mobile Phone companies on Locked phones and I could now believe it...
Are these companies allowed to get away from locking a feature of a phone just so they can force you to spend more money with them?
Maybe The Register could sniff this out?
Had my Optimus for around 8 weeks on O2 PAYG, paid just over £100 and I am very happy with the device and its a great introduction to Android.
2.1 due for release from LG soon apparently, that should tide me over until I get my next device.
Cheap but fun
I'm an iPhone user, have been since the original iPhone and very little could change that for me, but I've always been interested in the Android Market, so decided to get me a little Android nasty.
I bought this phone SIM free from a well known high street phone store a couple of weeks ago for £99.99 on PAYG (so somewhat cheaper than the review price), it also doesn't appear to be network locked which is a bonus, and came with a free 2Gb micro-SD card.
Android 1.6 is a bit old now, but I'm reliably informed (as are other users who have asked LG) that there will be a major update to 2.1 this month - it can't come quick enough.
The stock keyboard is shockingly bad, but if you install 'Swiftkey' from the Android Market (for free) you get a prettier (iPhonesque) and much more accurate keyboard.
So many of the cheap Android phones have a QVGA 320x240 screen with which a large number of Market apps will not work, however LG thankfully went with the 320x480 resolution.
For £99.99 you can't beat it really!
I've got one of these and I really like it, as it does pretty much everything I want from a phone.
For reference Argos have one on O2 for about £130 with 2gb card included...
Not to sound like an advert, but £20 cheaper at CarphoneWarehouse, and the handset would be unlocked.