LG GW300 review: No-frills messaging
Poor 2 megapixel snapper
The LG GW300 is equipped with a 2 megapixel camera with image resolution of up to 1600 x 1200 pixels. There's no flash or auto focus, but given the low price of the handset we aren't that surprised.
The camera is more of a complementary feature on the social networking oriented GW300, as it was in the GW520 other devices of that kind.
The camera settings are quite a lot for this kind of shooter. They include white balance, three quality levels going from basic to high, timer, and various effects. Sequence shots are also among the available extras.
There are a few things likely to disappoint - there is no cover to protect the lens from scratches, the lack of a flash rules out night portraits, while the fixed focus is sure to ruin any attempt at a close-up.
Luckily, there is a dedicated shutter button which quite naturally is used not only for shooting but also for starting the camera.
The image quality is not the best as the image noise levels are quite high and there are traces of oversharpening, however the results are similar to the ones achieved by the competition.
The GW300 camera captures only QCIF resolution video clips. While they can be unlimited in length, their quality and resolution is only good for an occasional MMS.Here is a sample video from LG GW300's camera.
Stone age web browsing
The LG GW300's web browser is among its weakest points. We couldn't even open our web page - all we got is a message telling us there's not enough memory. The only way we succeeded was in text-only mode.
However, the guys from LG should take a better look at the calendar. The year is 2010 already and modern phone browsers are supposed to have no problems working with HTML content (that includes the embedded images, of course). WAP sites are a thing of the past!
If we have to describe the LG GW300 with only a few words, then maybe we'd start with that: what you see is what you get - no more, no less. This is just an affordable texting handset with access to Facebook. Yes, it also packs some other features but all of them are cut down one way or another.
You get a camera, but it is only capable of taking low-resolution images and MMS-fit videos. You also get a web browser but it's actually unusable. The only extra feature that we were pleased with is the music player, which is accompanied by a nice user interface, stereo Bluetooth and, most importantly, a standard 3.5mm audio jack. However, the phone lacks some substantial connectivity goodies such as Wi-Fi and 3G support.
On the other hand, it does very well where it's supposed to. Its QWERTY keyboard is very comfortable and we've been enjoying texting on it since day one. And when it comes to Facebook, it's been integrated in a great way. The Facebook app isn't just a link to the site but is actually a fun and useful application allowing access to your account as well as the ones of your friends. And browsing image galleries works like a charm.
And when it comes to the competition, there are only a few other devices of that kind. The only direct GW300 competitor is the Samsung B3210 CorbyTXT which feels like a GW300 clone. Save for the exchangeable back covers, the rest is almost the same. Well, almost - the B3210 CorbyTXT display is of lower resolution and the battery of lower capacity.
There are two more devices sharing GW300's form factor and price range, namely the Nokia E63 and perhaps the BlackBerry Curve 8520. Both sport Wi-Fi and the E63 even comes with 3G support. But what is even more important, both handsets are smartphones and cost only a bit more than the GW300.
When it comes to affordable messaging devices, there are few more names that we can think of. Of course, we mean handsets that have a slide-out QWERTY keyboard such as the LG GW520, the Nokia 6760 slide, the Samsung B5310 CorbyPRO or the Samsung B3410. The main difference between them and the LG GW300 is actually their greatest selling point; namely, the keyboard which - thanks to the form factor - tends to be more spacious (read: more comfy).
The LG GW300 is limited in many ways, but it does the job it was made for. So if you can live with the flaws we've mentioned and the price suits you, then perhaps all that's left is choosing the paintjob.