Competition to be Android top dog has been heating up, with nearly every big player committing to the cause. Does LG’s first foray into Google phone territory do enough to distinguish itself in this crowded arena? Find out in our LG GW620 InTouch Max review.
The eyes of the Android world may be fixed solely on the recently-launched Google Nexus One but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other Google phones out there worthy of note. While it unquestionably resides at the other end of the spectrum when compared to the high-profile Nexus, LG’s GW620 InTouch Max remains a decent enough first try from the Korean manufacturer.
One area where the LG GW620 InTouch Max scores brownie points is the inclusion of a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, which makes composing emails and texts a breeze. Unlike its rather bulky Android stable mates the HTC Dream and Motorola DEXT, the GW620’s girth isn’t radically inflated due to the inclusion of this physical interface; in fact, it’s one of the smallest Android devices we’ve seen so far.
Given the LG GW620 InTouch Max’s budget aspirations it’s not all that shocking to discover that LG has been forced to make concessions with certain elements of the design; the resistive touch screen is one of the better examples we’ve witnessed but we would have preferred a capacitive version. The screen’s 3 inch size is also a little on the small side.
Other aspects of the design are more encouraging, though; a 3.5mm headphone socket is offered and the microSD card slot is located on the side of the LG GW620 InTouch Max rather than being secreted deep inside the battery compartment, like on so many other handsets. This means you can quickly hot-swap your storage media, which comes in handy if you happen to have several cards on the go at once.
The rapid fragmentation of the Android market has resulted in different phones running older iterations of the operating system and sadly the LG GW620 InTouch Max is no exception. Because it’s packing LG’s own OS – an off-shoot of the S-Class interface seen on the LG Arena and Viewty Smart – it can only be updated by LG itself. The GW620 is therefore lagging behind with the archaic Android version 1.5. To put the gulf into perspective, the Nexus One has version 2.1 powering its innards.
Of course it doesn’t make a massive difference when it comes to functionality, but it does mean you will miss out on elements such as the improved Android Market and augmented versions of Google software, such as Google Maps and Google Goggles.
While it’s far from being the perfect Android phone the LG GW620 InTouch Max’s bargain-basement price point and pleasing aesthetics make it well worthy of consideration if you’re on a tight budget. As long as you don’t go expecting the same kind of experience rendered by the leading Android handsets you should come away pleasantly surprised by LG’s first Google phone effort.