Review : LG Optimus (GT540)

Introduction
The LG GT540 known as the LG Optimus was launched in India in August. It’s an entry level Android device. It’s a Quad-band GSM and dual-band 3G (with HSDPA) supported mobile.  It's powered by Google Android 1.6 device and has a 3 inch resistive screen. The mobile comes with 2GB sd card but expandable upto 32 GB. The retail package includes headset, charger, data cable, stylus, pouch and the manual.

LG Optimus GT540 Intro 1 

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LG Optimus GT540 Intro 5

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LG Optimus GT540 Intro 6

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LG Optimus GT540 Intro 3

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LG Optimus GT540 Intro 2

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LG Optimus GT540 Intro 4

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LG Optimus GT540 Intro 8

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LG Optimus GT540 Intro 7

 

Design and Construction
At 115 grams, the device is light weight and its reasonably compact. Its very comfortable to hold and operate it. The body is plastic, but it doesn’t feel cheap. The beautiful curves and the brushed metal finishing give the LG Optimus, a distinctively enhanced look.  The 3 inch resistive display occupies the whole of the front. The remnant is held by the telephony receiver, speaker and the menu keys. These menu keys are quite strange. 3 of them are hard buttons, while 2 are touch buttons. I couldn’t figure out the reason between this non-uniformity. On constant usage, this inconsistency in design could irritate some users. The left side houses the volume rocker while the right side has the USB socket, search button and dedicated camera button. Yes the search button is at the side. I bet no one would ever figure it out or use it. It’s a bad layout of keys.

The back of the mobile has the 3 mega pixel camera and nothing else. That’s quite minimalistic and elegant. When you open the back panel, it reveals the large 1500 mAh battery and the SIM card slot underneath the battery. The SD card slot is above the battery and its hot swappable. Interestingly, the box comes with a stylus but the handset has no slot to accommodate it.

Its powered by 600 mHz processor. GT540 lacks the front facing camera and the proximity sensor or the ambient light sensor. It’s a truly entry level device. But the design and construction is solid, elegant, stylish and very comfortable.

LG Optimus GT540 hardware 1

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LG Optimus GT540 hardware 2

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LG Optimus GT540 hardware 3

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LG Optimus GT540 hardware 10

 

Display
The display is a 3 inch resistive TFT touch screen. It supports a resolution of 320 x 480 pixel with 256k colors. The display is quite brilliant and it produces crisp images and fonts to enhance the user experience. But it’s a resistive screen and you need to use your nail or the stylus for accuracy. Sunlight visibility is very weak. The screen is responsive, but does not do any justice to the Android user experience. I believe Android is truly enjoyed on a capacitive screen. But as we mentioned already, its an entry level device. The display lags responsiveness but makes up for that by its brilliant resolution specifications.

LG Optimus GT540 2

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LG Optimus GT540 1

 

Multimedia
The mobile supports MP4, DivX, Xvid playback out of the box. It also has stereo FM radio with RDS support. The audio player supports MP3/WAV/WMA/eAAC+ formats. The media player interface is minimalistic and effective. It opens up to show 2 options: Video and Music. The video section shows the list of video files in the memory card. The Music button launches the default android music player. It’s just the plain vanilla music player with minimal features and controls. Lack of equilazer or visualization is quite a surprise. The quality of sound reproduced is good for a entry level device. The bass and treble are reproduced quite well to give a clean audio output.

Camera
The camera is a 3 megapixel camera. There is no flash but its autofocus camera. The camera interface is quite interesting. Its pretty simple and the essential functions are persistent on the screen. The secondary level options are visible after a single tap on the screen. The conscious effort to match the interface of a digital camera is clearly evident. Though the software aids Geo-tagging, face and blink detection, the image quality is very mediocre. Switching to video mode is quite easy. But the video recorder is an average performer. It records videos at 17 frames per second and the quality is very mediocre. This 3G handset badly misses the front facing camera.

LG Optimus GT540 Camera 1

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LG Optimus GT540 Camera 2

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LG Optimus GT540 Camera 3

Connectivity
The mobile packs a wide range of connectivity option. It has 3G connectivity with 7.2 Mbps HSPDA and HSUPA. For local connectivity, it features wi-fi and Bluetooth 2.1. The handset has built in GPS receiver with A-GPS support. It gets a satellite lock under 2 min on the clock. The microSD is hot swappable and it also has the 3.5mm audio jack. The phone charges via the USB port when connected to a PC or the power socket.

Internet
You could connect to the internet via the 3G/GPRS or the wi-fi. But the bundled browser doesn’t quite offer an intuitive browsing experience. The UI elements of the webpage are not aligned as expected. The browser controls are mostly hidden and it doesn’t offer multi-touch or double tap zoom. The browser lacks support for Flash. To get a better browsing experience, its recommended to download a 3rd party browser from the market place.

Software
The GT540 is powered by Android 1.6 and upgradable to 2.1. But it is not upgradable to Froyo. The mobile comes with 2 homescreen applications. The default Android homescreen and the LG homescreen application. The mobile comes bundled with loads of applications. Many applications have been customized for the phone and tightly integrated with the shell. Social networking integration is available out of the box. The software area is a clear winner for this mobile. You could add the obvious advantage of Android market place to this mobile’s feature list. But 150 mb of internal memory is not quite sufficient to install many applications. The virtual keypad is customized by ZTE and it was very comfortable to use. But due to resistive screen and the overall size of the screen, people with big fingers may find it difficult to use. They can use the stylus, if comfortable.

LG Optimus GT540 Software 1

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Battery
The handset is powered by a decent 1500 mAh lithium ion battery. It promises a talk time of 5 to 6 hours, but with an average usage, the battery stays for 2 days under Indian network conditions.

LG Optimus GT540 battery 1

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LG Optimus GT540 battery 2

 

Telephony
Its very comfortable to hold and operate the mobile in single hand. The loudspeaker was quite weak under noisy conditions. But the regular receiver was very loud and clear for the telephonic calls. Voice dialing is absent. It supports threaded view SMS, MMS, Email and instant messaging. The dialer is quite simple and offers minimal features. GT540 does it job perfectly in the telephony section.

Conclusion
Priced at Rs. 12000, this mobile has some serious market competition both from the mobile giants and the newbies. But this is a very good choice, if you are looking to buy an entry level Android device. The design is fashionable and desirable. It has the right software and applications for the new age social media freaks. Infact its audience will never worry about Android 1.6 or the resistive screen. So it definitely hits the sweet spot for its intended audience.

lg optimus scorecard

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