The LG GB220, also known as the LG GB220 Kate, is a budget flip phone which promises to handle the essentials for next to nothing. But will it cut the mustard with those who want a straightforward phone for calling and texting?
What we like
The LG GB220 is small, lightweight and fits easily into the pocket. Despite this it doesn’t feel flimsy or insubstantial. The hinge mechanism also feels reassuringly solid.
The screen, although small (1.7-inches), is bright and clear so text messages and menus are easily legible. Calls are a little on the tinny side, but voice quality is clear and loud enough for conversing comfortably. Like many flip phones, the LG GB220 features a convenient secondary screen on the front which displays the time, signal strength and battery life.
Dialing and texting are easy enough. The numeric keys respond well despite being virtually flush with the body of the phone. The layout of the menu keys is also sensible, giving you quick access to the camera and music features of the phone as well as the usual call and cancel and context-sensitive keys.
We also quite like the reflective finish on the front and the mosaic style pattern. Ok, so it’s not the most stylish phone we’ve ever seen but it’s not something you’d be embarrassed to get out in the pub either.
What we don’t like
Using a phone with a 1.7-inch display feels like stepping back in time. We know that the LG GB220 is a budget phone and we’re not expecting it to boast a super sharp High Def AMOLED screen or anything but compared to basic handsets from a couple of years ago like the Nokia 6300, the LG GB220’s screen looks very dated.
Web browsing is also limited. O2 Active was set up on our review model and, while this allows you to check emails and get news headlines, it’s not ‘the internet’. Lack of 3G and the screen size meant that browsing was a very frustrating experience.
The LG GB220 comes with a microSD card slot but you can only expand this up to 2GB, which isn’t huge. This, combined with the absence of a 3.5mm headphone jack, limits the LG GB220’s use as a music phone. For some reason LG has decided to make the GB220 support every music file format under the sun (MP3, ACC, AAC+ eAAC+, AMR, MIDI and WMA) but hasn’t given it enough storage space for a decent-sized music collection or a more universal headphone slot.
Pictures taken on the 1.3-megapixel camera are blurry, pixellated and don’t look that great on the small screen. There’s no flash either so you can’t even take shots at night, although they’d be grainy and horrible anyway. In this day and age of high-end 8 and 12-megapixel camera phones a 1.3-megapixel camera doesn’t cut it at all.
The clear plastic covering on the front of the LG GB220 is a bit of a fingerprint magnet so if you’re bothered about appearances then you might find yourself wiping the front of the phone quite regularly.
The LG GB220 isn’t a bad budget phone but it’s not a great one either. It could have been improved considerablly by adding a better camera, a 3.5mm jack, more memory and perhaps a sharper screen as well. Customers who just want an inexpensive mobile to call and text on won’t be disappointed with the LG GB220 but it’s unlikely to satisfy those who want anything more.