The GD880 Mini sports a 5 megapixel camera. It's capable of taking photos with maximum resolution of 2560 x 1920 pixels and offers geotagging, face tracking, manual focus and smile detection.
The Mini comes with the same camera interface as the Viewty Smart and the Arena. Access to all the camera settings is via the left taskbar in the viewfinder. There you get virtual buttons for exposure compensation, digital zoom, focus mode (auto/macro) and advanced settings.
The GD880 Mini Advanced settings camera menu is a nifty rotating dial ( style) with the available options for each setting displayed as a list on the right. The interface is very handy, neat and usable. In the advanced settings you will find ISO options, white balance, color effects, picture size, extra focus settings, scenes, etc.
There's another bar on the right hand-side of the screen. It offers a virtual shutter key, along with an exit and a gallery button.
The more than decent picture quality for a pre-production managed to surprise us. The colors on the sample images are very lively and accurate. The automatic ISO is quite precise and the picture detail is good enough.
The full-res samples below revealed signs of more aggressive noise reduction in the shadows and the sky. There's also noticeable corner softness, which is usually suggests a low quality lens but it may as well be our early sample only. The colors also have a greenish color cast but we think that will also be fixed in the final unit.
Unfortunately, the video is quite disappointing, just as it was with the BL40 camcorder. The GD880 Mini does VGA videos at 15fps at this point, and we hope the overall quality and framerate might improve in the retail unit.
Here's a sample video for you to check out.
The LG Mini web browser is identical to what previous S-Class devices offered. Unfortunately, scrolling and panning hasn’t improved a bit since.
As usual, the pinch zoom also works in the browser. LG have done a good job here but the actual zooming is a bit more fluid in the image gallery than it is in the browser. Still it’s better than the previous S-class phones.
Loading speeds are not enviable though. Over Wi-Fi, the LG Mini browser takes twice the time to fully load a page than the iPhone 3G and you can't really pan around while the page is still loading.
The controls are found at the top of the screen and don't auto-hide. The only option to make them disappear is to turn on the full screen view from the browser menu or flip the phone landscape. Then the accelerometer comes into play and does its job pretty well.
The rest of the features include support for multiple pages, visual history and search-on-page. There is Flash support too and YouTube is nearly as good as on desktop.
Mini sure is a name that carries similar connotations as Cookie and Pop. But that’s absolutely misleading. We’re talking different horsepower here and a phone cool like Mini Cooper. The LG GD880 Mini seems to believe that the best design is no design and has the cool urban feel of a gadget you can trust and show off.
In fact the Mini has everything you may want in a feature phone – a full connectivity package, fancy UI with lots of goodies, really capable media players, decent camera, and GPS. The brilliant screen is perhaps the first thing to get attention and it may as well convince you this neat little package is not too willing to compromise on style and performance.
Compromises are inevitable of course – the Mini has a flashless camera, poor video, inadequate built-in storage, etc. But after all, it looks likely to succeed in its main objective: take the Pop and Cookie to the next level and offer more advanced users a better all-round experience. The first to come with the new LG Air sync service and social networking support, the Mini even has an advantage over its S-Class siblings.
We find it hard not to like the Mini at this point even if it doesn’t bring innovation. It will sure have to stand another trial in a full review and we’d be glad to have it back.