The LG GD900 Crystal is a unique handset in a class of its own. The glowing transparent keypad is an eye-catcher that will most definitely get a lot of attention at your new toy. It's quite rare actually to see a handset that's so different than the rest that it turns into a genuine eye-snatcher.
LG GD900 Crystal isn't the slimmest of sliders around but its measures of 105 x 52.5 x 13.5 mm still make it compact enough to slip effortlessly in your pocket. Only the weight of 127 g may sound a bit hefty for such a device but it actually makes for a nice solid feel in your hand - a nice contrast with the otherwise plastic finish.
Out and out, what makes the LG GD900 Crystal design so magnetic is the see-through keypad and its white glow which looks fascinating, especially in the dark. You are probably sitting there wondering just like us how it was done. Well actually, the keypad is one big piece of glass with a metallic frame. At the back of the keypad there is the plastic battery cover that's also transparent but with a nice grey gradient.
As expected, when the keypad is out the whole weight still concentrates in the upper half, which makes the phone quite easy to drop.
Design wise, the LG GD900 is quite reminiscent of the LG KF510 but the similarities are so small that they only serve to suggest the same roots.
Interestingly enough, the entire LG GD900 body is covered with a thin layer of transparent plastic, which kinda makes it look like covered with ice. Due to the heavy plastic finish, the back panel feels a bit cheap.
Under the transparent plastic on the front there is a grey frame surrounding the display. The three touch sensitive buttons below the screen are etched below the display and are covered by some thicker transparent plastic. Those keys include a shortcut to the cube interface and the two standard call handling keys - Call and End.
At the top you get the earpiece, the ambient light sensor and the video-call camera. There is also a proximity sensor that locks the display automatically when you pick the handset to your ear.
The rest of the GD900 Crystal front is taken by the 16M-color TFT capacitive touchscreen display measuring whole 3 inches in diagonal (480 x 800 pixels). Even if colorwise it may be a notch below the nice AMOLED screen of Samsung S8300 UltraTOUCH, the LG Crystal display delivers nice image quality. Unfortunately it doesn't fare quite well under direct sunlight.
Much like with the LG Arena, the LG Crystal has multi-touch support. You can take advantage of it while browsing websites or you go through the images in the gallery.
The multi-touch support goes for the touch sensitive keypad too, which by the way is next on our list.
The touch-sensitive keypad is made of completely transparent colorless glass. It is a pleasure to use for being smooth and very responsive. But the coolest thing about it is that it doubles the touchscreen as an input option. It doesn't only support simple multi-touch gestures like pinch-to-zoom but you can also use multiple gesture shortcuts to access your favorite applications. We'll take a closer look at them in a sec.
When the keypad is slid out, at first it glows stronger but in a while the lights get dim.
The only element on the left side of LG GD900 is the universal connectivity port. Notice how we don't say "the proprietary LG port". The reason is that the LG Crystal is the first LG handset to pack a standard microUSB port - an industry trend that LG seemed slow to pick up.
The right side of the Crystal hosts the camera key and the volume rocker. They work fine and have a nice tactile feedback.
The top of the LG Crystal features the On/Off button which, much like on the LG Arena, is used to toggle the device in and out of standby.
The back of the GD900 hosts the 8 megapixel camera and its companions - the self-portrait mirror and the LED flash. Those are of course only visible when the slider is open, giving them plenty of protection from scratches. Nearby is the microSD card slot.
As we managed to confirm, the Crystal can handle a 16GB microSD card, which is the largest currently available on the market. It also has an acceptable initializing time with that kind of cards.
The battery cover is as interesting as the see through keypad. At first you might be wondering how to get to the battery but then you'll notice the small shiny latch at the bottom of the phone.
Under the semitransparent battery cover is the 1000 mAh Li-Ion battery as well as the SIM card slot. The battery is quoted at 300 hours of standby and up to 6 hours of talk time.
The general build quality of LG GD900 Crystal is good. There are only slight creaks on the back. The slider is also nicely done - as is usual for LG, it's smooth and stable.
The only bad seed is the battery cover which scratches easily. And strictly subjectively speaking - all that plastic used is a bit too much for our taste.
But putting the bad behind our back, join us on the next page, where we take a tour of the latest LG S-Class Touch UI.