The LG GM205 may be easily dismissed as another basic handset with some minimal music playing functions – but don’t let looks deceive you. On the back of this cheery red handset sits a Dolby Mobile 2.1 channel speaker which is deceptively powerful. So we’re expecting great things from the music player, but how will the rest of the handset’s functionality measure up?
What we like
When you first turn the handset on, you’re greeted by a nice little set-up guide which allows you to change even minor things like whether or not predictive text is on. Something the dinosaurs who refuse to allow our gadgets to second guess us will appreciate. The downside to this, however, was that the handy date and time auto-updater was out by 3 months and 10 hours.
The handset itself is very light and although the case is plastic it doesn’t feel too insubstantial in your hands. Call quality is quite good for such a basic handset, although there were times when it could sound a little muffled.
The MP3 player and FM Radio have dedicated buttons on the side of the handset. The radio player auto-scans for channels allowing you to save them all to the channel menu in one quick go. That beast of a 2.1 channel woofer on the back is Dolby Mobile and works with the two side mounted speakers – it looks the part and actually does a fairly good job – MP3 playback is really high quality for an internal speaker, especially considering the basic cheapness of the handset. Although we’re in no way condoning its use in public (on the bus, for example – big no-no), it does a great job for acceptable social situations – at parties, on the road and at home.
There’s a 3.5mm headphone jack as well as the proprietary connection so you’ll have no problems listening on the bus without annoying the rest of the passengers. You can keep the MP3 player pumping out the tunes while you use another phone function by minimising it – this could have been more obvious (e.g. dedicated option on screen) but we’re glad to have it as an option.
The camera is just a basic 2-megapixel affair, but it does the job and photos don’t come out too pixelated like some other phone cameras of this calibre.
What we don’t like
The keypad is not very responsive – often we’d click the button three times and it would only register two. Maybe we were going too fast for it, but nimble teenage fingers would be even less forgiving.
There’s no dedicated camera button on the side of the handset – we can’t help but feel that one button could have sufficed for MP3 player and FM radio, leaving the other free for the snapper.
Email is pretty painless to set up – but don’t fool yourself into thinking this is an email phone. It isn’t – typing ranges from acceptable to frustrating and the minimum retrieve interval is 30 minutes.
We couldn’t get the handset to talk to a PC without a Micro SD card installed, so you’ll have to pony up for external memory in order to use the music player functions. Once the card was installed though, it was painless enough to move music and image files between the computer and handset.
For all the great sound quality of MP3 playback, the music player could be more intuitive and nicer to look at.
The LG GM205 does a pretty good job for a handset you can pick up for as little as £10 a month on pay as you go on Virgin Media. There are no real issues with basic phone functions, and if music playback is what you’re looking for in a handset then you won’t be disappointed with the built-in speakers. However, for more advanced functions like email and web browsing, you’re better off looking elsewhere.