LG GD900 Crystal review: Crystal clear
Wireless connectivity is complete on the LG Crystal. Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE is on board and so is the HSDPA 7.2 Mbps.
The phone also supports the two local connectivity standards - Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. The Bluetooth version is 2.1 with A2DP support for stereo streaming while the Wi-Fi antenna works with 802.11 b/g.
Wi-Fi options have a simple interface - you choose the desired network, type the pass key and voila. Of course there are plenty of advanced options available for the geeks out there.
The last and most important thing is that every installed Java application which requires internet access prompts you to choose between UMTS and Wi-Fi, which is a great option.
The proprietary universal connectivity port is used to connect the charger or a USB cable. Speaking of USB, Mass storage mode is also supported so you can use the phone as portable memory storage.
An optional TV-out cable can also be plugged into the connectivity port as the Crystal supports the feature. PAL and NTSC are supported, so it should work on most TV sets.
Similar to LG Arena, the Crystal's internal memory gets listed as a second removable drive along with the memory card contents. We were also impressed that the Crystal can even receive calls in this mode.
A welcome decision by LG is to change their standard proprietary cable to a microUSB one. For people with more than one phone it may turn one of the most important changes, easing the work with cables, chargers and headsets.
Synchronizing PIM details is done through the LG PC Suite that comes on the bundled CD.
The browser lacks Flash
The browser is identical to the LG Arena's. Unfortunately, scrolling and panning is not really that fluid. Thanks to the multi-touch implementation, the Crystal delivers where other browsers fail - the legendary 'pinch' zoom of the iPhone (well, the Hero and Pre are to offer that as well).
Loading speeds are not enviable either. Over Wi-Fi, the LG Crystal browser takes twice the time to fully load a page than the iPhone's and you can't really pan around while the page is still loading.
The multi-touch zooming has been tweaked since the latest LG Prada phone, but not at all since the LG Arena. There still is a slight lag, though nothing major. It's not as fluid as the iPhone but still does an ok job.
The controls don't auto-hide and the only option to make them disappear is to turn on the full screen view from the browser menu or rotate the phone to landscape. There the accelerometer comes into play and does its job pretty well.
A useful feature is that you can have two pages open at the same time in tabs and switch back and forth between them. Saving pages for offline viewing is another thing that you'll probably use quite often.
Another handy browser skill is searching web pages for specific words - the first match gets highlighted and the total number of matches is displayed with up and down buttons to scroll through them.
A visual enhancement of the plain browsing history list is the option to view snapshots of the pages you've visited. You can flick between the pages and tap to open the one you are looking for.
The sensor keyboard really makes a difference in the web browser department. Besides zooming, you can also use it as a trackpad. Sweeping a finger across it moves the mouse on the screen. This eliminates the continuous tapping on some hyperlink or a button until the browser understands that you want to select it.
Unfortunately, desktop YouTube watching is a no-go, as the browser lacks full Flash support. But, as we already pointed out in the video section of this review, you can go for the mobile version of YouTube found at m.youtube.com once you tweak your streaming settings.
We also tried the Opera Mini browser and it worked just fine. It's very fast loading pages, zooming or scrolling them, and there is also a nice integrated RSS reader. Especially the version without the Java aid controls and it worked just fine. There is no multi-touch in this one, but if you want speed, then Opera Mini is the way to go for now.
Organizer does a nice job
Keeping a schedule is an important part of the LG Crystal and it has several applications to help you. The nice Organizer combines a calendar with monthly and weekly views and a task list. Event alarms can be set to go off up to a week earlier to give you enough time to prepare.
The option to choose whether the week starts Monday or Sunday is also included. There's even an option to mark some days as holidays and set the Alarm not to ring on those days. 'Holidays' are not repeated annually so it's more useful to mark your vacation rather than national holidays.
A To-Do application lets you keep a list of tasks sorted by their importance. If those reminders aren't enough you can always jot down a Memo.
The LG GD900 Crystal can store up to 500 calendar events, 500 To-Do notes and 100 memos and making a back up to external memory is just a few clicks away.
With the S-class interface the alarm functions have been completely revised for the better. Forget the ugly old settings used on the previous LG flagship phones. Apart from the default widget alarm you can create as many alarms as you want. This gives you access to another eye-catching interface - an analog clock where you set the hand at the desired time. Of course there is a digital one for those who'd rather. The other available settings are alarm tone, vibration type and availability, while the snooze option makes sure you are not late for work.
Naturally, you also get a Calculator with the new touch-optimized interface and a wide array of functions (basic and advanced mathematical functions), a Unit Converter, a World Clock and a Voice recorder.
The Voice recorder does not have a limit on the maximum length of a voice note and once you are done recording you can send it via MMS, email or Bluetooth.