LG has steadily been churning out and improving its low-cost touchscreen phone offerings and so we’re keen to find out if this latest model, the GT500, is a fine example of the progress it has made.
Built around a relatively small 3in resistive touchscreen and with full dimensions of just 116 x 55 x 12mm, this phone is certainly easy to handle and its weight of 100g is of the featherweight persuasion as well. It’s angular design makes it slightly less comfortable than some rivals but certainly not enough to be of concern.
The styling is plain and simple with a glossy front accompanied by a matt black back but otherwise it’s as unprepossessing a phone as we’ve seen. The front is an absolute fingerprint magnet and because of the soft screen you need to be careful not to scratch it when wiping them off. The rest of the phone is constructed from a relatively soft plastic as well, so will either pick up scratches or rub smooth relatively rapidly. Therefore, you’ll probably want to protect it with a case of some sort.
Under the screen sit the three main control buttons for call answer, program switcher, and call end/power. While the outer two of these are self-explanatory, the middle one pops up a menu showing your favourite apps and a list of the apps you have running so you can switch between them or close them. Locking the phone is done with a button on the right-side that sits next to the camera shutter button and the volume rocker. The micro-USB data and charging socket is also present on this side and sits under a little protective cover. Meanwhile on the left edge, a microSD slot is hidden below a plastic flap and the top corner is home to a lanyard loop.
Moving onto the back, we find the 5-megapixel camera with its LED flash. It has autofocus but you can’t pin-point what you’d like to focus on by pressing the screen, like on some touchscreen models. Results are perfectly acceptable and the flash is powerful enough to help out in dark situations at short range. It certainly won’t fill a room, though. Shot to shot time is quite slow at around five seconds but a continuous mode is on hand if you want to capture some action. Unfortunately, this does drop the resolution to 320 x 240 pixels.
Video is available, too, captured at a resolution of 320 x 240 pixels. HD this certainly isn’t but combined with a reasonable framerate it’s good enough for recording the odd bit of tomfoolery.
Housed above the camera is something we’ve not seen with a phone of this type for some time – a stylus. It’s metal, stored horizontally and is telescopic, extending to 7.5cm. Were this a Windows Mobile device we could understand its inclusion but the operating system LG uses creates very few situations where resorting to a stylus is needed. About the only thing is picking out hyperlinks on web pages but then you can always zoom in to make the selection easier.
The screen, then, requires only the slightest bit of pressure to register a ‘touch’, and for the most part we found it didn’t hold us back. It’s certainly not a patch on the best capacitive screens but is fine as long as you have a little patience when it comes to typing.
It also looks decent enough with ample brightness and vividness. With a resolution of 240 x 400 pixels, it can’t fit as much detail in as the largest touchscreen handsets but it’s enough that we never felt overly restricted. With very limited video support and few games of note, this certainly isn’t going to be a rival to a dedicated multimedia player. In fact, with no 3.5mm headphone jack and just a micro-USB single-piece headset (that sounds very poor) in the box, there’s even limited provision for using the GT500 as an mp3 player.
The operating system is the same basic one LG has been using for a while. Along the bottom of the homescreen you get links to the dialler, contacts, messages, and main menu while up top are notifications for Wi-Fi, cellular signal strength, battery level, and time. Tapping on the top section then drops down a status summary that further elaborates on the above information and adds memory status for the internal storage as well as any microSD cards you may have inserted. You can also change the profile from this screen.
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.
How we test phones
We test every mobile phone we review thoroughly. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly and we use the phone as our main device over the review period. We’ll always tell you what we find and we never, ever, accept money to review a product.
Score in detail
|Screen Size (inches) (Inch)||3in|
|Talk Time (Minute)||210m|
|Standby Time (Hour)||310hr|
|Camera (Megapixel)||5 Megapixel|
|Front Facing Camera (Megapixel)||Yes Megapixel|
|3.5mm Headphone Jack||No|