In between the softmenu and Call/End keys sit a Clear key and a switcher. The latter is very useful as you can use it to move quickly between applications that you’ve already opened on the phone. There’s another handy option on the left softkey when you are in the home screen. Labelled ‘My stuff’, this takes you directly to a list of folders containing images, sounds, videos, games and apps, downloads and flash and other stuff stored on the phone and on a microSD card.
As usual for LG, menu options are hardwired into number-pad keys, so you can either tap the corresponding number key or use the D-pad to get around. The numberpad keys should suit anyone who does a lot of texting. They are large and give out a little click when pressed. I’m not convinced about their durability, though. There is a lot of flex around the number pad as you press keys, and mechanical longevity could be suspect.
The D-pad has a little trick up its sleeve. A central select button and surrounding directional pad, complete with arrows to remind you about its up, down, left and right functioning can be made touch-sensitive.
You can configure this feature to be off, on, or only functional for Web browsing. You can also set its speed to high, medium or low. Turned on, you move your thumb around the sensor to make selections. It’s not exactly a new idea, and while it is nice to see it implemented on a lower cost mobile I did find it a bit fiddly. The D-pad’s select button has a sensitive area with a circumference of about 8mm, which I found to be pretty small to work with.
The music player is adequate. There is 30MB of on-board memory and a microSD card slot for you to add more. The player automatically found tunes stored all over the place on my microSD card which is just how I like things. Having to put songs into designated folders is a no-no where ease of use is concerned.
Loudspeaker volume is not as high as on some handsets but perfectly good enough. The quality of the provided headset is reasonable, and the equaliser settings, of which there are several, do make a noticeable difference. LG falls over by not offering user defined equaliser settings and, more importantly, by having a proprietary connector for the headset. This is the same connector required by PC cable and mains power. The player supports the genres tag but not composers.