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LG GC900 Viewty Smart - LG GC900 Viewty Smart
Despite not having the best touchscreen, LG has made the GC900 feel nice to use due to a clean and simple interface, which is essentially the same one we saw on the KM900. Icons are consistently large (finger sized) and all the usual flick and swipe actions for scrolling through menus have been well implemented. Support for multi-touch is also present with the now ubiquitous pinch action zooming in and out of pictures and web pages. Even the on-screen keyboard is easy to use, though we found we couldn't type very fast with 15 words a minute being our best result using the number pad interface (with T9) and 20 words a minute using the 'qwerty' landscape interface. Compare this to the 40 words a minute we can easily manage with the iPhone and you realise how slow this is.
The interface also falls down when doing anything challenging. In particular the browser feels sluggish when trying to zoom in or move around the page and while it renders most pages properly it simply refused to load TrustedReviews. Our last little complaint about the interface is the rotating desktop. This lets you swipe from one home screen to a choice of three others, each with a variety of shortcuts. One is for quick access to favourite contacts, another is for photos and music, while the third gives you access to a customisable set of widgets, including a calculator, analogue clock, calendar, and notepad. The problem lies with the fact it takes an age to swipe between each one (well, up to two seconds) and also that there's no reason why most of these shortcuts couldn't simply be put on a single screen. There's also a completely pointless 3D version of this interface which you can see in our video review.
In terms of software features, Google Maps (the aGPS for which works very well) and YouTube come preloaded and there's Java support so many games and other apps should work. There are also world clock, memo, stopwatch, organiser, voice recorder, unit converter, Movie maker, and FM radio (the sound quality and reception of which seemed particularly good) apps but there's no app store or equivalent to easily download extra apps.
Moving back to the hardware and one of the Viewty's most appealing features is its 8-megapixel autofocus camera. Unfortunately it's not as good as we hoped. In bright light it can pick up quite an impressive amount of detail but the images are noisy and it struggles with any sort of high contrast shots. Add in the fact the lens is left unprotected and easily gets covered in fingermarks and you'll very quickly find many of your shots come out looking pretty rough. What's perhaps most disappointing is that LG has dropped the Xenon flash of the original Viewty and replaced it with an LED one. It's powerful enough to illuminate objects within a couple of metres but is definitely a step down. That said, it does at least enable you to use a light while shooting video, something the GC900 can do at up to 720p resolution.
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