The Qwerty keyboard is designed to have you social networking your socks off, although there’s few other things about the GW520 that might put you off.
What we like
There’s an excellent keyboard on the GW520 – the keys are nicely spread apart, and large enough so that you don’t find yourself mistyping. There’s also arrow keys, which are a useful way of navigating if you’ve got a number of messages to scroll through (particularly given the lack of sensitivity of the touchscreen).
Swipe your finger across the home page, and you’ll enter LG’s Livesquare – here your favourite contacts will appear as little avatars, displaying the number of messages they’ve left for you and any missed calls. They occupy a zoo, field or park, and are undeniably pretty cute — especially when they wave.
Other touches that make the phone likable is the auto-predict when you type in numbers manually – useful if you find yourself calling a number frequently but are too lazy to enter it as a contact. There’s also the ability to drag a limited number of widgets to your home screen, so you can quickly access things like your email, weather or alarm.
What we don’t like
It’s difficult not to ask ‘where to start?’. Whether it’s the incredibly unresponsive touchscreen, the sluggish response when you open the Qwerty keyboard to start typing or the muddy photography that comes from the 3 megapixel camera, this phone doesn’t have a huge amount going for it.
The features that do make it noteworthy, sadly never quite make the grade – there’s a Facebook app you can access from the home screen, but it looks incredibly cramped on the 2.8-inch screen. Since you can’t add apps, if you’re more Twitter than Facebook, you’re out of look.
There’s also Push email in the form of an application but unfortunately applications can’t run in the background, so you need to constantly keep it open, making its usefulness limited at best. Alternatively, you can set up your email through the Microsoft Exchange Server, which is a longer and more involved process. And, quite frankly, if you’re on Gmail, forget it – you’ll have too many messages for the phone to handle — unless you have a particular need to see your emails from March, but not yesterday.
Even the fact that this is a mid-priced phone fails to let it off the hook to its many shortcomings. Fans of Facebook will be disappointed about the usability of the app, while email obsessives will find the Good Push email app, that’s actually more of a pull app, a frustrating experience.