LG GT505 review

Reviews Andrew Williams 18:59, 19 Oct 2009

We review the LG GT505, a mid-range affordable touchscreen handset with an impressive roster of connectivity options

If you want anything approaching a smartphone-like feature set, you’ll generally be looking at a fairly hefty price tag. However, for every high-end feature there’s a budget alternative.

These are the kind of compromises that, much like the LG Cookie before it, allow the GT505 to retain the impression of a relatively cutting edge phone, if only at a distance. For starters, it uses a resistive touchscreen rather than a capacitive one.

However, these days even this lower-end type of touch interface is responsive enough to be navigated using a finger alone. So, surfing around the GT505’s menu system seems not entirely unlike using an iPhone or Android phone – again, from a distance.

In order to make sure the resistive touchscreen remains viable – amongst other budgetary concerns - the GT505 also uses a LG’s low-end touchscreen proprietary OS, as opposed to the S-class interface used in devices like the LG Arena. This is less refined, and quite a lot less flashy, but it works well with the low-fidelity coupling of a finger and a resistive screen thanks to its large-icon’d look.

It revolves around a widget-based homescreen and a rather basic menu based on four tabs – Communication, Entertainment, Utilities and Settings. To break these down, Communication houses all your phone and message functions, Entertainment the camera, music and any game you have, Utilities is the web and your organiser, and finally Settings deals with any behind-the-scenes features.

Within this menu, you’ll find that the LG GT505 doesn’t fare too badly on the connections front either, with Wi-Fi and HSDPA on the set list. For web browsing, finger navigation doesn’t work so well. However, there’s a discreet stylus that slots into the top of the phone, horizontally. Despite snuggling into the GT505’s second smallest dimension, the stylus is not that tiny as it’s telescopic.

Thanks to the largely resistive touchscreen-friendly interface, you’ll only really need to pull it out when web surfing anyway. Email functionality is all integrated, so for most personal accounts, such as Gmail, Yahoo and Orange, you’ll just have to enter in your login details to sync the phone up. If you’re looking to use the GT505 to look at Microsoft Exchange emails though, you’d have to log in through a web portal since the GT505 can’t log into them as standard.

Still, the phone does have something of a focus on its email skills since notifications of new ones do show up on its standby screen, alongside any new text messages.

This sort of middle ground of features represents the LG GT505 well. It’s got enough functionality under its belt to contend with phones in a couple of price ranges above, even if it doesn’t have much of a chance of actually trumping any of them.

The camera is another case in point. It’s actually not too bad at all. With a 5-megapixel sensor and the ever-crucial autofocus, it’s not going to worry the top end camera-focused devices like the Sony Ericsson Satio and Samsung Pixon12, but it’ll do a lot better than the iPhone 3G, for example.

There is a sense that the GT505 is straining a little too far away from the blueprint of its forbears, like the LG Cookie, for comfort – that really more up-to-date handsets like the Android HTC Tattoo, available for not much more money, would be a better choice for many users. If you’re only an occasional user of online services, and are looking for strong all-round feature set with a side order of connected features rather than the opposite, the LG GT505 represents a good choice.

Considering that the GT505 is arguably little more than a refinement of previous budget-conscious LG touchscreens, it’s disappointing that it doesn’t include a 3.5mm headphone socket, rather leaving you with a micro-USB connection that doubles – no, triples – as the AC adaptor socket and direct computer connection point.

If you’re looking for a cheap way to functionality that’ll challenge the big boys of the smartphone scene – the Android top dogs, iPhone and Palm Pre – because it includes higher-end connectivity options such as Wi-Fi and HSDPA, you may well be disappointed. Thanks to the lack of an app store, the resistive touchscreen and comparatively compromised UI, the GT505 has a slightly clumsy vibe to its operation.

However, if you’re after an all-rounder that won’t cost you the world even on a low-cost contract, the GT505 is worth further investigation. If you’re heading to the £25 and upwards contracts, with Mobile Internet allowances included, other phones will give you a more slick online experience.

LG GT505 info

Typical price: From £48.50 on a £15 a month contract

Latest LG GT505 Prices

Pros:
Decent autofocus camera
Interface suited to resistive touchscreen
Covert stylus

Cons:
UI starting to feel a tad clumsy
Faces harsh competition from low-cost Android handsets
Limited widgets

Verdict: The LG GT505 takes the blueprint made popular by handsets like the LG Cookie and adds in a better camera and superior connectivity options, but it's now facing harsh competition from the emerging low-end Android devices.

Rating:

More info: LG website

Recycle your phone: Sell LG GT505

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