The LG GW550 mobile phone has an understated look and runs on Windows Mobile 6.5 Standard Edition.
LG GW550: Features
Although, the LG GW550 may attract a couple of feature-phone users, it seems to be aimed quite directly at business users looking for an inexpensive option. It boasts of Wi-Fi, 3G and GPS support. It has a microSD card that can accept cards up to 16GB. Imaging is taken care of by a barebones 3.2MP camera without a flash or autofocus. The LG GW550 has a 2.4 inch display that can show 65K colours at a resolution of 320x240. Apart from the camera, the phone's back also sports twin speakers set in a steel bar.
LG GW550: Productivity
The LG GW550 comes with the Office Mobile suite that lets you view and edit Word documents and Excel sheets while letting you view PowerPoint presentations and PDF documents. The organiser/scheduler application, like in other WinMo phones is quite useful. You can create new tasks, set priorities for different tasks and decide how many times you should get alerts for a particular task. Alternatively, you can just access the calendar and set a task for any given day.
For email, the LG GW550 supports Microsoft Exchange Active Sync, allowing you to keep your contacts and emails synchronised. We set up a Gmail account on the phone and it worked very well. You can set up the phone to automatically receive/send emails according to a schedule and the entire process of setting up and using the email feature was simple.
The LG GW550 has two repositories of apps that it can dig into - one being the Windows Mobile Marketplace and the second being LG's own Application Store. While LG means well with its App Store, it's woefully under-populated. Windows Marketplace is a better option but even that needs a lot more free, useful apps to reach the heights that Apple's App Store and Google's Android Market have reached.
LG GW550: Design & Usability
The LG GW550 looks alright, albeit it does look uncannily like a host of Windows Mobile 6.1 phones from 2008. However, we're sure there will be many people out there who wouldn't mind the simple design. We have no complaints with the GW550's build quality. The phone feels solid in the hand and it uses a combination of regular plastic and rubberised plastic. The keyboard comprises of large rounded keys that are excellent to type on.
If there is one thing that accentuates the fact that the LG GW550 would have fit in better in 2008 is its interface. Although, it uses WinMo 6.5, the Standard edition means that it's stuck with an interface that looks exactly like WinMo 6.1. As a result, I found the interface confusing and unwieldy and rife with inconsistencies. One of the really irritating aspects is that in some apps, the right navigation key can be used to exit the app, while in some it pops up a menu where you need to select the exit option and then press the central d-pad. And again in some apps, the dedicated back button works fine to get you back one level, while in some others it doesn't. Yes, the WinMo OS does bring with a bunch of powerful features aimed at business users but its interface really feels archaic. Another problem that we faced with the LG was that the interface regularly slowed down and sometimes even froze for a couple of seconds.
LG GW550: Browsing, Multimedia, etc.
The LG GW550 uses Internet Explorer as its default browser and although its functional, we wouldn't really recommend it as a browser to use if you intend to spend a large amount of time on the web mainly due to the phone's small screen and navigation follies.
The LG GW550 isn't a powerful multimedia device either. Its 3.2Mp camera captured average pictures with fewer details and above average noise levels. However, the camera's colour reproduction is decent and colours on the images captured looked sharp. The videos we recorded were terribly grainy with low frame-rates.
The LG doesn't have a 3.5mm jack so we were forced to use the bundled earphones. Predictably, the output wasn't up to mark with music sounding really bright with no mids and absolutely no bass. At least, the volume levels were high and the twin external speakers loud and clear.
Call quality on the LG GW550 was good, although there was some echoing and static audible. Call quality using the hands-free was better and the hands-free mic was very sensitive. The GW550's battery was average and just about managed to last more than a day of regular usage.
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