A 3-megapixel sensor is all you get in the GW520’s camera, and it lacks autofocus and a flash as well. It’s no surprise, then, that the best images are those shot outdoors in good light and from a distance. At least the lack of any sophisticated features means there’s next to no ‘shutter’ lag (a ”feature” I always defended the iPhone for also having). Likewise, video is pretty poor, particularly because it has a low frame rate but also because the maximum resolution is just 320 x 240 pixels.
One of the more exciting things to find on this phone is a microSD slot that can take cards up to 8GB. This gives the phone potential to double as an mp3 player as well as making it easy to transport photos and other files to and from the device. Unfortunately, unless you have a particularly lackadaisical approach to mobile music listening, the GW520 doesn’t pass muster as an mp3 player because you can’t use decent headphones. There is a headset included in the box and it plugs into the universal micro-USB data and charging socket. However, it’s a one-piece affair so you can’t use your own headphones and the sound quality from these is very poor with noticeable background hiss, next to no noise isolation, and generally poor sonic performance.
One area where this phone really excels is in battery life. LG quotes an astonishing 500hrs standby time and an impressive 4.5hrs talk time. In our experience, after using the phone quite intensively – playing mp3s, browsing the web, and playing videos for about an hour total each too – we managed four days between charges.
The LG GW520 accomplishes what it sets out to; it’s a low cost 3G handset with a touchscreen and slide-out QWERTY keyboard. However, the lack of Wi-Fi and headphone socket, plus the sluggishness of the OS and touchscreen all combine to leave us rather nonplussed.