LG GD510 Pop review: Mobile pop culture
LG GD510 Pop 360-degree spin
LG GD510 Pop stands at 97.8 x 49.5 x 11.2mm and that's probably the most significant difference from the larger Cookie (which is 106.5 x 55.4 x 11.9 mm). The Cookie is commendably compact and palm-friendly but the Pop is (rightfully!) pitched as the smallest 3" touchscreen to date. The Pop's compact appearance and feel will surely be appreciated. By the way, the Pop does look more grownup and business-like too - and that may be another point in its favor.
The weight of just 87g is quite nice as well. The compact touchscreen feels secure in the palm without being a burden. The handset is all plastic but by no means plasticky. Single-handed use is very comfortable - the single hardware button up front is a rare design decision, which works well enough most of the time.
Design and construction
The LG Pop is notably smaller than the Cookie but the more important design feature is its obviously the more mature styling. We still think the LG KP500 Cookie was fabulously shaped and built but the Pop may be able to appeal to more diverse age groups. The peculiar pet name is kinda set to prove us wrong but we hope you get the point. The Pop rides on minimalist unisex design and clean lines. There isn't too much gloss and glamor but the handset is compelling enough.
The touchscreen form factor is limiting to the choices of styling and the GD510 Pop has chosen a rather unusual way to stand out. It has a single hardware button up front, which serves different purposes depending on context. This is very much in line with the clean minimalist styling of the handset. The asymmetrical placement of the button in the bottom right corner gives the phone a distinct face too.
Unlike the Cookie which is available in several different colors, the Pop only has a black and a silver paintjob (however, this is likely to change). On our silver unit, the front and the sides are very light silver while the back is dark, with faux brushed metal finish. Long story short: the Pop has what it takes to catch your eye.
The 3" screen has a thin blue frame and mirror-like finish. The mirror finish might be a plus when it comes to the looks but the sunlight legibility definitely suffers. But you'll find more on the display further down after we're done covering the design and construction.
Right above the screen there is the earpiece which also serves as a loudspeaker. It turned out quite loud but it unpleasantly distorts music at its highest volume setting.
Under the screen there is a single hardware key, which is in effect a multi-functional home key. It can serve as a Call/End button during calls too and the only limitation is it can't be used to reject an incoming call. Your only option for that is the on-screen slider. The home key has varying backlighting (green or red) to denote its current context purpose.
On the left-hand side of the LG Pop we find the volume rocker, which has metal-like finish and great tactile feedback. All the way down on the left is the standard microUSB port covered by a plastic lid. The port serves for plugging in the data cable, charger and headset connections.
The right side of GD510 Pop hosts the camera key. We'll hardly surprise you when we say it is multi-functional too. A short press will launch the task switcher/application launcher. Effectively, you're faced with a two-tab menu - the first tab contains shortcuts to favorite apps, the second is the actual task manager.
Pressing and holding that same key will activate the camera. A single control accommodating the shutter key and task switcher is nothing new really - we've seen that solution on a number of Samsung handsets (not that we quite like the Samsung implementation). The LG Pop has no camera autofocus, so it doesn't need a two-step shutter key - taking pictures is a matter of a single press all the way down.
The top of the LG GD510 Pop accommodates the lanyard eyelet as well as the power button, which is also used to lock and unlock the screen.
The bottom on the other hand is quite plain and features only a mouthpiece.
The back side of LG GD510 Pop features the 3 megapixel fixed focus camera lens, which has no flash whatsoever.
Removing the rear cover reveals the 900 mAh Li-Ion battery. To open the cover you just slide it down as the indicated by the arrow.
Updated 02 Dec: The LG GD510 Pop emerged as quite a long-distance runner. The handset lasted some good 7 days on a single charge, which included a total of about 90 minutes of talk time and shooting occasional photos, plus a bit of tinkering with the other phone features.
As it recently became clear, LG will be also offering an optional solar panel for the LG Pop. The solar panel is said to provide over 2 minutes of talk time or 180 minutes of standby time per every 10 minutes of sunlight exposure, which sound quite efficient.
Under the battery cover we also find the hot-swappable microSD card slot. The phone had no problems handling a reasonably full 16GB microSDHC card.
Update 12 Dec: The build-quality of LG GD510 Pop is flawless. We had case of a wobbly battery cover with our pre-production unit. But since then we received a final testing sample and we're happy to report the build quality is now rock solid much like the LG Cookie.
Indeed, the LG Pop is entirely made of plastic but that doesn't seem to compromised durability or looks. In fact, the handset feels quite a bit more sophisticated than it (supposed) price tag suggests. The hand feel is commendable and operating the device is a breeze.
The LG GD510 Pop has a 3" display which is probably the same unit as that on the LG Cookie. Both devices share screens of identical size and resolution (WQVGA), which is perhaps the standard in the lower midrange.
The resistive touchscreen on the LG Pop certainly is no capacitive display and needs a push to accept your commands but it's still nice. Its image quality is excellent too, but only indoors. The letdown - quite predictably - is its sunlight legibility. We have to note though that the LG GD510 Pop's display is above the company average in terms of performance under direct light.
There are also quite a number of settings for the touchscreen feedback. You can choose between gentle vibrations (haptic feedback), or a tone when a click is accepted. You can also turn both off if you prefer.
You also get to pick the haptics vibration type and intensity, as well as the type and volume of the tones. Finally, you can calibrate your screen to optimize touch control. The only thing missing is an ambient light sensor to adjust the screen brightness to the ambient lighting.