The LG GD900 Crystal was one of the most awaited phones of the year owing to its unique transparent design. The Crystal certainly looks great and is packed with features but certain design flaws, a bad camera and an inconsistent interface keep it from a very good score.
LG GD900 Crystal: Features
The LG GD900 Crystal scores high on features but a glaring fault is the lack of GPS. For a phone that costs as much as the Crystal does, LG's decision to not give it any navigation tools looks decidedly strange. Overall connectivity is taken care of by Wi-Fi and 3G support and a useful microUSB port. The Crystal sports a 3-inch touchscreen and another touch-sensitive transparent alpha-numeric keypad. For imaging it has an 8MP camera with an LED flash that is able to capture videos in 720x480 resolution at 30fps. It comes with 1.5GB of internal memory expandable up to 32GB through a microSD slot.
LG GD900 Crystal: Design & Usability
At first glance, the LG GD900 Crystal looks very classy. The phone uses a mixture of plastic and metal which feels solid when the keypad hasn't been slid out. Once the keypad slides out, the Crystal's USP comes into view. LG touts the Crystal as "the world's first transparent phone." In truth it's only the keypad that is transparent. When in use the keypad lights up with a soft blue glow which is a very neat effect. However, this same design element has some drawbacks, the first of which is the keypad's feel. While the front feels solid, the back of the transparent keypad feels uncannily like a Tic-Tac box. We were wary of handling the phone since it felt fragile and quite frankly, cheap. Also, fingerprints and smudges quickly get into the process of reducing the keypad's transparency so you will have to constantly clean it.
The LG GD900 Crystal's 3.0-inch screen might not be an AMOLED but it's still one of the best we have seen on a phone. The screen supports a resolution of 480x800 and is able to output 16m colours and as a result, it looks very vibrant. Under sunlight too, it doesn't lose any clarity.
The LG GD900 Crystal uses LG's proprietary S-Class Touch UI. You get a choice of four home screens all of which you can customize to add widgets, favourite contacts, shortcuts etc. Since the screen is capacitive, it is optimized for finger usage. Basic usage is fine and intuitive but problems started to emerge after we used the phone for a while. There is a degree of inconsistency as sometimes the phone refuses to acknowledge any touch input which resulted in us tapping the same icons more than once to get a response. Also, although the phone keeps things breezy, accessing multimedia functions makes it slow down, especially when using the music player.
LG GD900 Crystal: Multimedia
In spite of the slow operation, the LG GD900 Crystal has a very good music player. The phone is very good at playing all kinds of music. It also offers a wide variety of EQ options including a Dolby preset that really changes the way music sounds. All in all, even if you are not a fan of how the phone sounds in its default mode, it lets you tweak around the settings to find the perfect balance. The bundled headphones are also very good (a pleasant surprise considering the extremely varied quality of headphones that phones nowadays ship with). The speakers are also good though at high volumes the audio does get distorted. Video playback, surprisingly, is just about average in spite of the great screen.
Although the LG GD900 Crystal comes with an 8MP camera, it is unfortunately a poor imaging device. Although colour levels were satisfactory, the images we shot with the phone lacked clarity and let in too much noise. The images were also quite blurry and lacked sharpness. The flash is useless and without red-eye reduction photos taken in low-light conditions were very mediocre. Videos were only slightly better as the ones we captured were also quite noisy. The only plus point was that the frame-rates were acceptably crisp.
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