This phone features widgets but rather than the complicated rotating desktops of LG's fancier phones, the GT500 has a single desktop. To add or remove widgets, you press the cogwheel in the bottom right of the screen and a list of them appears at the bottom. There is the usual selection of calendar, music player, analogue clock, weather, radio, and picture viewer apps on offer.
The main menu is split up into four sections; Call & Message, Entertainment, Utilities, and Settings. The first adds email, call log, and video-calling to the messaging and calling options already on the homescreen. Entertainment gets you access to T-mobile's web 'n' walk, mobile jukebox, and mobile TV online portals, as well as the camera, file explorer, music players, radio, and games/apps. You get two games preinstalled - Sudoku and Thomsons and Touch - the latter being a sort of WarioWare-esque set of mini games. More games can be downloaded through T-mobile's portal though few of them seemed compatible with this phone.
Utilities adds alarms, a voice recorder, calendar, calculator, unit converter, world clock, stopwatch, and jogging buddy into the mix. The latter is a basic GPS-based distance tracker. You can also access the trial version of Apello's Wisepilot turn-by-turn sat-nav software. It's certainly not the most sophisticated of software but it seemed to work fine. However, we certainly wouldn't consider using it instead of a dedicated sat-nav device, especially as Google Maps is onboard for basic navigating.
All told, the OS feels quick and responsive and is very simple to use. About the only complaint we have is the same problem we found with the LG GW520: the web browser won't show TrustedReviews' site. It comes up with an error message saying the phone is out of memory. It's a shame because otherwise the web browser's perfectly decent, if a little slow.
The battery is a 1,000mAh unit that kept this phone going for three days of medium usage. Meanwhile, LG quotes figures of four hours talk-time and 350 hours standby. Call quality was perfectly adequate and we had no problems with picking up a signal despite our offices being located in a notoriously poor area for reception.
The LG GT500 certainly isn't the most spectacular phone we've ever seen. In fact, its rather uninspiring design, web browser problems and the lack of a proper 3.5mm headphone jack firmly place it behind some of the competition. However, it does the 'phone' basics well, is low cost, small, light, and has a reasonable touchscreen. So if the negatives don't concern you too much, it's still worth considering.