The LG GW620 comes with a built-in GPS receiver. It got satellite lock in a minute and a half even without the A-GPS on, which is a pretty decent achievement.
Google Maps is a standard part of the Android package and of course makes an appearance on the LG GW620 as well. Its voice-guided navigation version, the Google Maps Navigation is available only in the US, the rest of the world is in no luck here.
You can still plan a route and track your current location so it is better than nothing but you still have to rely on network data for downloading the map info. Unfortunately, once again double-tapping doesn’t work so your only option for zooming in and out in Google Maps are the on-screen controls.
Street View mode is supported and it’s probably the most fun part of Google Maps – it gives you a 360-degree view of the surroundings where it’s available. When the digital compass is turned on it feels like you’re taking a virtual tour of the location.
There isn’t a dedicated nav application, so if you want one, you will have to visit the Android market and pick one yourselves.
LG GW620 comes with Android 1.5 and the older version of the Android market. The changes are purely cosmetic so it’s not much of an issue. Of course the Android version number is somewhat limiting here but there are still thousands of apps available for download.
The structure of the Android Market is quite simple – featured apps on top and below them, three sections (Applications, Games and Downloads). There is also a shortcut up there for initiating a search.
The Applications and Games sections are divided into subsections (e.g. Communication, Entertainment etc.) so you can filter the apps that are relevant to you. Of course, there is also an option to display them all at once, but you will probably need days to browse the entire list that way.
Searching is very easy – just tap the search button, type what you’re looking for (e.g. “file manager”). From then on, it’s pretty easy to choose – each app has a rating, a short description by the author, user comments and screenshots.
The low-profile LG GW620 turned out a decent gadget indeed. A solid QWERTY messenger with proper computing power, it will meet most users’ needs without breaking the bank.
Suitable for a younger audience in both design and software (social networking stuff is still more or less an age thing), the LG GW620 comes with an appropriate price tag and looks eager to serve a wide base of potential upgraders coming from the Cookie and the likes.
As the company’s first Android-based smartphone we’re surprised it didn’t get enough publicity. It could be their long declared commitment to Windows Mobile (soon to be Windows Phone) or else, but for whatever reason they chose not to promote their Android device.
The consequences of this will probably be less handsets sold in the short-term and not quite enough support in the long run. And since after-sale support is vital to any modern smartphone (unless you are changing them every three months or so) this probably reduces the consumer value of the GW620. One thing to look out for would be potential OS upgrades but we don’t think it’s too likely. We’d be glad to be proven wrong of course.
Let’s take a look at a few alternatives of the LG GW620 that you can find on the smartphone market today.
The Motorola BACKFLIP and the MB220 DEXT are two QWERTY-enabled droids to offer you the MOTOBLUR UI, which takes social network integration to a whole new level. The BACKFLIP is so unafraid to bend the rules it will rate high with users who like to be different.
If you have the extra dollars to spare then by all means, check out the Motorola MILESTONE. Motorola are tipped to be working on the second Google-branded phone, which should pack a QWERTY slide-out keyboard and this is telling of the response to their other devices in this class.
At this stage, the Milestone is the top droid messenger and looks quite a bargain as its current price (some 100 US dollars more expensive than the GW620). We do think though LG are targeting a different set of users.
Not caught in the Android hype, Nokia still have a couple of handsets to try and upset the GW620 sales. The Nokia N97 mini and the upcoming C6 are the Symbian-running rivals. The N97 mini is a metal-clad messenger that aims to serve the same demographics as the GW620. The Nokia C6 is likely to come so cheap, it may as well become the ultimate entry-level smartphone.
Now, the MOTOBLUR-equipped Motorola messengers are certainly easy to recommend to social networking buffs. And if you want the ultimate performer, the MILESTONE is your kind of phone. So, where does the LG GW620 stand in all this? A more than decent spec sheet and the performance to back it up – it’s a smartphone that - above all - will put you at ease.
Geeks won’t be wowed and the GW620 won’t change the Android game. But it comes on a well set stage and million Cookies are giving the cue.