LG GW620 review: Start-up package
Camera is heavy-handed with compression
The LG GW620 is outfitted with a 5-megapixel auto-focus camera and a LED flash.
The camera interface got a complete makeover and it’s almost a one-to-one copy of the camera interface on the LG Viewty Smart for example. That has its good and bad points.
The interface is pretty simple but still finds room for some of the essential functions on the screen. Selecting the auto-focus mode, the flash mode and the exposure compensations is a single tap away. The controls on the left can be hidden to free up space in the viewfinder.
Switching between still camera and camcorder is done with the trademark slider/shutter combo (virtual) we’ve seen on previous LGs.
Here comes the not-so-good part – the extended settings menu. It uses the well-known rotating dial and its problem is that it’s quite slow. You can access only one item at a time, to get to the others you need to rotate the dial, which is rather slow on two accounts.
You can’t skip over items – you need to rotate over all of them till you get to the one you need, and the dial can be unresponsive sometimes. Using a simple list - while not as pretty - would have been much faster.
Usually, only the rarely used settings go into the extended settings menu, but in the LG GW620 things like shoot mode and scene mode are buried in there. And scene mode was supposed to be a quick way to set up the camera for a particular kind of shot.
The shooting experience is average – the camera is a little slow to focus and so is snapping a shot.
As for the image quality there are three forces at play here that give their best to mess it up. First is the noisy image sensor, then comes the poorly tweaked noise reduction that smears everything so that there’s banding over the smooth gradients; and finally the heavy JPEG compression that leaves a lot of compression artifacts and nasty pixelization in the worse cases.
Downsized photos in favorable lighting conditions are usable.
A strange and very unpleasant bug we encountered is that when you set macro mode, it gets stuck – even though the icon shows “auto”, all the non-macro photos come out blurry.
We also snapped our resolution chart with the LG GW620. You can check out what that test is all about here.
You can certainly see a pinkish tint to the center of the frame.
The video camera on the LG GW620 performs quite poorly. It shoots QVGA videos at 30 frames per second, which doesn’t sound particularly exciting. However the compression is too heavy and the videos don’t usually make the full 30 fps. Overall, the clips are good for MMS only.
The camcorder interface is almost identical to the one on the still camera. The same criticisms we leveled at the still camera UI apply here too.
Great connectivity, except the poor Bluetooth support
The LG GW620 offers the full connectivity package. It covers the basics with quad-band GSM/EDGE but also offers speedy connectivity over 3G with 7.2Mbps HSDPA and HSUPA.
For local connectivity, there’s Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.0 (just the headset profile though, you can’t send or receive files). The GW620 features a built-in GPS receiver with A-GPS support, microUSB and a hot swappable microSD card.
There’s also a 3.5mm audio jack so you can plug in your favorite pair of headphones.
The Wi-Fi and Bluetooth switches come in handy when you need to quickly turn on or off either wireless connectivity option. A switch for GPS and even an Airplane mode toggle would have been great additions.
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