LG GD900 Crystal review: Crystal clear
File management is OK
The LG Crystal comes with 1.5GB of onboard storage and of course it's expandable via the microSD memory card slot. Hot-swapping a memory card is easy, especially given that this time the slot is not under the battery cover. We can also confirm that 8GB and 16GB microSD cards worked fine on our unit.
The LG GD900 Crystal file manager appears as the My Stuff item in the menu. It includes separate factory-preset folders, but you may put various content in them.
File browsing is generally fast, even when your memory card has loads of images on (800+ in our case). Fortunately, the files on the phone memory and the card don't get listed together as it was on some previous LG handsets. That eliminates the problem of always seeing the files from the microSD first on the list.
Gallery still pleases us all
LG Crystal offers two gallery modes depending on the handset's orientation, the same as in the Arena and Viewty Smart. In portrait mode images and videos are displayed in a grid sorted by date, type or name, while in landscape mode one image is displayed in the center with two more on its sides in a nice 3D spatial view.
Did anybody say Cover Flow? Yes, the layout is quite similar to the Apple iPhone Cover Flow album art browsing, but let us remind you that the iPhone only offers that view mode in its iPod app.
As the LG GD900 Crystal supports multi-touch you can zoom in on images with the pinching gesture familiar from the iPhone. Bear in mind that quite naturally the 8 megapixel photos zoom slower than 2 or 3 megapixel snaps taken with an iPhone.
Apart from the standard options such as rename, delete, print, send and info, there is also a slideshow mode. You can choose the time interval and the display order (shuffle or not). The nice transition effects are random, we couldn't find a dedicated option for choosing a specific one.
Finally the "star" button is also here for creating picture shortcuts on the multimedia homescreen.
Using the hardware keypad is as easy as using the screen and the advantage here is that your fingers don't get in your way while scrolling/zooming. Multi-touch is also available and frankly we very much liked the whole idea of using an external sensor glass for exploring the gallery. You get the full touch experience, but you don't obstruct the view with your finger. When you add the transparent factor, the whole thing is so wonderfully sci-fi (geeks silently rejoice).
Dolby Mobile as usual
The LG Crystal music player is accessible both from the Cube interface and the main menu. The Cube-accessed music player is rather basic but it does offer a quick route to your tunes.
The individual music tracks are displayed on a rotating reel and come with their album art "printed" on virtual vinyl records. You can scroll with your finger through them to change tracks.
The full-featured music player sits in the main menu. You can sort tracks by artist, album, genre and rating. The current track's artwork, name, album and artist are displayed in the screen's center while the next and previous tracks are visible at the top and bottom of the screen.
The new addition here is the huge Shuffle button on the top of the playlist, which is quite comfortable.
Thanks to the built-in accelerometer, the music player automatically switches its orientation from/to landscape mode when you rotate the phone.
A very useful feature is the Search option. However, if you have applied some kind of sorting such as Album view, for instance, you can only search the album names and not the actual tracks.
There are tons of equalizer presets (all non-customizable, though) and among them two managed to impress us. The first is the highly promoted Dolby for Mobile sound enhancement.
With Dolby Mobile the sound is richer and more spacious. Bobcat Mobile was also a really nice preset which is best suited for techno tracks. With all the presets available we're sure you'll find the one to suit your needs.
The Crystal comes with an FM radio that you can listen to both via the headphones and the loudspeaker. In either case you've got to have the headphones plugged in as they serve as an antenna.
The radio stores up to 50 stations and there is support for receiving two-line radio station info over RDS. Scrolling stations is very easy and intuitive - you have quick access via the two rows of buttons below the main window.
Much like the music player, when the FM radio is running in the background you can control it using the home screen widget.
Naturally A2DP is also supported, allowing you to listen to music via stereo Bluetooth earphones.