The LG GT540 is a reasonably sized handset, standing at 109 x 54.5 x 12.7 mm. It’s no big deal to comfortably find room for it in most pockets. It’s hardly too heavy (115.5 g) but this was to be expected in an all-plastic phone.
Back at the Barcelona MWC, we were not quite sure what to think of the LG GT540 design, but the curves work quite nice actually. Maybe it’s the black unit we’re reviewing that changed our minds. The finish on our unit (each color version has a differently styled surface) successfully imitates brushed aluminum and the time-tested black paintjob might not be the most creative but is certainly attractive nonetheless.
The high quality plastics used for the body of the LG GT540 also contribute to the overall design.
Almost the whole front of the GT540 is taken by the 3” resistive touchscreen of HVGA resolution. The image quality of the TFT display is decent, although, as is to be expected in this price range, won’t blow you off your feet. The touchscreen is quite responsive for a resistive unit too.
There is a 3” HVGA display up front
Unfortunately, the sunlight legibility of the LG GT540 is disappointing. It’s not impossible to operate the phone outside on a bright sunny day, but it isn’t a pleasure either.
Above the screen we find the centrally located earpiece. There are no ambient light and proximity sensors on the GT540.
Below the screen there are a handful of buttons. Back and Menu are resistive touch-sensitive controls while the two call keys and the Home key are regular press buttons. It’s a bit confusing to use much like it is to explain.
There’s a mix of touch-sensitive and regular keys below the display
All of those keys are large enough and reasonably spaced to use comfortably, but the transition between touch and non-touch can be a little confusing at first.
The left-hand side of the phone hosts only a volume rocker.
The volume rocker is on the left
On the right, you’ll find the dedicated camera key, the Search key and the microUSB port. The connectivity port is hidden under a small plastic lid.
A short press on the search key will open the Quick Search Box.
A couple of keys and the covered microUSB jack are on the right
The shutter key is on the small side but has good enough press. You can of course also use the virtual on-screen shutter key but it doesn’t have half-press and that makes taking photos awkward.
The top has nothing but the 3.5mm audio jack. We haven’t got the full retail package of the GT540 and have no idea what the supplied headset will be like. The standard audio jack however gives you unlimited choice of headphones to use.
Headphones and handsfrees plug in at the top
The all-plastic rear hosts the 3.2-megapixel autofocus camera lens. There is no protective cover but the lens is sunk and enclosed in a frame for food enough protection against scratches.
The 3.2 MP camera lens are at the back
The microSD card slot is under the rear cover but is luckily hot-swappable. The GT540 supports microSD and microSDHC cards. It had no problems handling our reasonably full 16GB microSDHC card.
Although it is under the battery cover, the microSD card slot is hot-swappable
The battery is impressive – 1500mAh kept the LG GT540 running for nearly four days under regular use (half hour of browsing, half hour of telephony, taking a few pictures and briefly using the other features).
Overall, the LG GT540 handles nicely and the hardware controls are reasonably comfortable. It sits well in the hand and feels sturdy. We have our doubts about the durability of the back cover, which is slightly thinner than usual. If you’re careful enough not to drop it from a few meters height, it should last too.
The GT540 will also ship in white and pink, and the varied colors and distinctive styling of each color version suggests LG will be counting on robust demand from both male and female users.
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