The sharp and compact LG GC900 Viewty Smart looks quite attractive with an almost all black front and a silvery faux-brushed-metal rear. Unlike the LG KM900 Arena, the back cover of the GC900 is all plastic.
A version with an all-silver casing is also available and judging solely by the press images it looks as neat as the black one.
It turns out the Viewty Smart hasn't changed much since our last encounter with a pre-market sample.
The Viewty Smart measures 108.9 x 56.1 x 12.4 mm, which is just about a millimeter bigger than the LG Arena in each direction. The LG GC900 Viewty Smart has a higher-res camera of course, but skips the 3.5mm standard audio jack and FM transmitter. However, a 3.5mm adapter is available in the retail package. The rest of the stuff to find in the box includes a data cable, wall charger, software CD and a user guide.
The GC900 Viewty Smart is a bit smaller than the Apple iPhone 3GS and the slanting top and bottom give it a keener stance.
The front of the LG GC900 Viewty Smart is almost all a 3" 16M-color capacitive touchscreen. It uses the TFT technology as opposed to the AMOLED screens on recently reviewed Samsung handsets. We have no issues though with picture quality. The brightness and contrast levels are excellent, comparable to the best examples in the class.
As you can expect of a capacitive touchscreen, the LG GC900 Viewty is marvelously responsive. You'll be amazed by the keen to react cube interface and the fluid scrolling.
Unfortunately, sunlight legibility is a huge letdown. In fact the Viewty Smart (just like the Arena and the original Viewty back in the day) is one of the worst performers on the market.
At the top of the Viewty Smart front panel is earpiece, video-call camera and the ambient light sensor used for automatically controlling the screen brightness.
The regular receiver keys at the bottom are gone in favor of a long and slim Back key that goes from side to side.It's actually only the central part of the strip that can be pressed. The Back button on this unit is not as stiff as on the pre-release sample we previewed but has a rather flimsy press. Oftentimes we were unsure if we pressed it right.
There are no actual Send and End buttons on the device and you can either use the virtual onscreen keys or the Back button instead. Upon an incoming call, a single press of the Back button mutes the ringer and another one rejects the call. The not so great tactility aside, the Back button is quite handy given the Viewty Smart's flat menu structure.
The right side of the LG Viewty Smart features the LG proprietary connectivity port hidden under a protective cap. The port is used for plugging a charger, data cable, headphones or a TV-out cable. As we already mentioned, the Viewty Smart lacks the 3.5 mm audio jack of the LG Arena.
The right-hand side also hosts the volume rocker and the camera shutter key. For some unknown reason, the shutter key will only launch the camera if you're on the standby screen. Pressing it elsewhere through the menus won't do a thing.
On the left side of the Viewty Smart are the microSD card slot (supports up to 32GB) and the Cube Interface key, which also launches the task manager upon a press and hold. The Cube is the 3D version of the four homescreens of the S-class user interface. As for the microSD cards, the unit had no problems dealing with our 16GB card carrying tons of files, and the initializing time was more than acceptable.
The bottom part of the LG Viewty Smart is perfectly plain, featuring only a mouthpiece, while the top hosts the On/Off key, which quite comfortably now also doubles as a lock key for the screen.
The back side of the LG GC900 Viewty Smart hosts the 8 megapixel camera and its Power LED flash. The lens doesn't have any protection at all but is lower than the surrounding surface so it won't get easily scratched when you put the phone on a flat surface.
As we already pointed out, the back of the Viewty Smart looks quite the part with its brushed metallic finish, though in reality it's all plastic. We do suppose that once the plastic starts wearing off the Viewty Smart's back will lose much of its charm.
Undreneath Viewty Smart's battery cover we find the SIM card compartment and the 1000 mAh Li-Ion battery which is almost identical to the one we came across in the LG Arena. It will last about two days under some pretty extensive usage and to be honest we expected less. The huge number of pixels to refresh and the power consuming features such as GPS and Wi-Fi are known to usually drain similar batteries in a day.
Our overall impressions of the LG GC900 Viewty Smart build quality are on the positive side. In fact, our main concern is the vulnerable camera lens. Everything else seems just about fine. The touchscreen bar is well put together and feels quite solid. The sharp looks are an added gain and the only thing to fear would be the plastic wearing off at some pint. The handling is very comfortable - we guess the Back key works better as a design accent than an actual control but it's not a major issue.