Sunday, 4 March 2012



Another flat, sleek smartphone invades the market. This time, it's the LG GT540 Optimus, which comes in black, white, and pink shades. As it quietly presents itself and produces only a minimal buzz, it boasts  multi-connectivity options, an Android platform, and a collection of common and usual smartphone functions.  Perhaps it attempts to summarize what select users long for, and certainly succeeds in doing so.LG GT540 Optimus could be the default reference for entry-level smartphones. It has a thin rectangular unit, and curved edges that speak of sophistication. Its shiny black frame commands elegance, which also comes in light colors - white and pink. This plastic phone weighs only 115.5 grams, with dimensions 109 x 54.5 x 12.7mm. The size is enough for an easy grasp, or a dunk inside  any side pockets.

The front panel is mostly covered with the 3" resistive touchscreen. On top at the center  is the earpiece. Below the screen there are a combination of hardware keys (Home, Call, End Call) and resistive touch-sensitive keys (Back, Menu).

The volume keys are found on the left side, while the Search key, microUSB port (hidden behind a plastic strip), and the camera key can be found on the right side of the handset.

On the top side  the standard 3.5mm audio jack is located. The hardly exciting 3megapixel camera located at the back  has no lens covering, but considerately sunk and framed for protection. Upon removing the battery cover, the microSD card is revealed. One great feature of the LG GT540 Optimus is that it handles microSD and microSDHC cards, even up to 16GB.LG GT540 Optimus comes with 3 homescreens, plus an extra one for widgets. It runs on Android 1.6, which is a little obsolete, but quite compatible for an entry-level smartphone. The cool notification area is updated to 4 functions: Sound, Bluetooth, GPS, and WiFi.  Some preloaded widgets allow real-time updates from social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.

The phonebook is designed with focus on social networking profiles. Each contact can be viewed with complete info including name, photo, number, address, social networking profile status, latest shout-out, a call button, etc. A limited feature of importing contacts from Twitter, Facebook, and Bebo only makes the unit a little outdated. Nevertheless, it is better than nothing.

LG GT540 Optimus' messaging system, which includes SMS, MMS, and Emails/Gmail, is very much up to par.  The virtual keyboard can be tapped for composing messages, which comes in two options - phone dial pad/keypad, and the landscape QWERTY keyword, which is the default. The phone also has an accelerometer for screen auto-rotate.

The Media Player accommodates the music and video files. It supports DivX, XviD, and mp3 formats. The music file browser allows users to sort them by playlists, songs, artists, albums. The FM radio with RDS offers a simple UI, which allows saving  approximately 50 stations.

These days, a 3-megapixel camera is not notable at all.  For the price the LG GT540 Optimus dictates, the low camera version is disappointing.  It has  auto-focus, but no flash. Photos are expected to be at entry-level quality as well, nothing much to rave about. The video recording / camcorder feature manages up to 17fps. The quality is of the same 'good enough' category.

Although it doesn't support Flash webpages, it still carries the basic browsing functions like Back, Bookmarks, and New Tab among others, and extended features like Search, Select Text, Settings, etc. As if to compensate for its lack of Flash support, the LG GT540 Optimus offers a pre-installed YouTube app.

Other common features thrown in are the calendar, alarm clock, voice recorder, and calculator. Google Maps are synonymous to Android packages, and the LG GT540 Optimus gets the voice-directed navigation version (US and UK models only).

Exploring the Android Market will divulge a list of apps available for downloading, including arcade games, finance apps, etc. It can be sorted through Games, Downloads, and Applications.Here's where the LG GT540 Optimus shines. It gives excellent options for connection. It locks in WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1, quad-band GSM/EDGE, 3G, HSDPA and HSUPA.Aside from some misses in the features, the LG GT540 Optimus gives a top-notch performance with what it's got.

 The calls prove to be crisp and clear. Internet surfing is smooth. Battery can last for about 4 days straight with full phone tinkering, including calling, browsing, taking photos, texting. As with most gadgets, when the storage overloads (or too many photos or files are saved), it causes a few lags here and there. However, when everything is within limit, the LG GT540 Optimus poses no lags at all, instead, it delivers an exceptional performance. Except when used outdoors, the screen legibility is poor.

Phone manufacturers tend to mix and match selected features to increase or decrease a phone's price. For an entry-level smartphone, the LG GT540 Optimus demands a high price for what it offers. Sure it's got loads of connectivity options, a camera, video, web browsing, and more. Though, the missing essentials like a higher megapixel camera, and Flash support browsing could Have made it a lot more worth it.

Wifi, Bluetooth 2.1, quad-band GSM/EDGE, 3G, HSDPA, HSUPA
microSD / microSDHC card support
FM radio with RDS
Auto-integration of Facebook, Twitter, Bebo accounts3-megapixel camera with no flash
runs on Android 1.6 version
no Flash support for web browser


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