Quite in line with its market positioning, the LG GD510 Pop comes with a bunch of preinstalled games.
We start with the two accelerometer based titles. While not exactly games they are a nice way to demonstrate the sensitivity and precision of the built-in sensor.
The first one, Flying Dice, lets you roll a pair of dice by shaking the handset. The Flying Dice also offers a set of really simple mini games, including a drinking game. Maybe this is the right handset to get a party off the ground.
The Golf Slope is a golf simulator using the accelerometer. We're not sure it will really enhance your golfing ability.
Then, there's the Music World game where you have to tap some jumping yellow creatures in the right moment in order to reveal some puzzle picture. Thomsons and Touch is a set of six mini touch-controlled games.
Finally, we have the well familiar Brain Challenge 2 and Diamond Twister, but they are just demo versions.
Of course, you are free to install other games of your choice without worrying about the unconventional resolution - titles for QVGA screens run just as fine on the Pop, taking only the upper two thirds of the screen. The unused space is occupied by virtual controls that make up for the lack of a D-pad and context keys.
There are apps like Opera Mini that don't need the virtual controls as they're enabled for touch operation, while others will depend on the virtual on-screen controls for all navigation.
The LG Pop seems a reasonable move given the generous return of investment by the Cookie. We still think the Cookie is very hard to beat but the LG GD510 Pop may have taken the right approach. It's striving to repeat a huge success and uses the same concept but does well to distinguish itself. The Pop is just a bit more conservative - but equally appealing - and that may secure it more diverse demand.
It's true though that the LG Pop hardly outdoes the Cookie in terms of features save for a few little S-Class touches to its interface. Comparisons will be inevitable and the LG Pop may find it hard to motivate as many users. It seems 3G and WLAN are too much to ask in the kind of market the Pop is aiming at, but DivX support could've made a lot of sense for the target audience. LG chose to go green instead but it's not certain that the optional solar panel will make that much difference.
Anyway, we have to admit the Pop is facing a much harder task than the Cookie. And we're not talking pure sales. The Cookie was pretty much unchallenged in its day - free to take on the more or less empty niche of basic touchscreens. The Pop in turn has to strike a difficult balance. It could've easily been expected to match the Cookie track record if it offered a couple of upgrades but it would've stood right in the way of higher-ranked devices like the Arena. In the end, it follows the Cookie recipe almost literally, so let's see how that works on the market.
Today basic touchscreen phones are all over the place. There are still enough high-end gadgets that cost a fortune but the first icebreakers like the LG Cookie and the Samsung Star really made touch available to the masses. Keeping an eye on Samsung is actually very important for LG and the Pop is their response to the growing Samsung presence in that segment.
A couple of other Samsung alternatives are the still hot S3650 Corby and the old but gold F480 Tocco, which is getting cheaper as it grows older. The Corby has just been released and specifically targets youth with a basic feature set and lively paintjobs. On the opposite site, the F480 Tocco may cost 30 euro more, but it's easily a fashion statement on its own and it's got an excellent camera.
Nokia offerings in the same class are an important indicator of how much the market has evolved since the Cookie. We're talking serious smartphone competition. The Symbian S60 based 5530 XpressMusic offers a higher-res screen plus Wi-Fi, while the Nokia 5230 swaps Wi-Fi for 3G connectivity and a GPS receiver.
So, the Pop is a neat little gadget that's keen to build on the Cookie success. It does follow the Cookie concept closely but tries to write its own story. The good thing is the Pop has a distinct feel and in the same time manages to match the easy-going friendly attitude that did wonders for the Cookie.
The bad… well, the Pop doesn't really offer anything much over the Cookie except some visual upgrades. But the Cookie will eventually start to phase out. So, if the Pop is supposed to come off the bench and keep up the pace, it may as well do a good enough job for LG. And it will sure do a great job for users who want a neat and friendly touchscreen that looks better than its price tag.