Sharp’s GX20 is the latest version of the popular GX10 model, with a bigger screen, better camera and more improved keypad. We make some calls to see if Sharp has finally cracked the problems that plagued the GX10.

It must be hard developing a phone once you’ve got a solution that works. Yes the GX10 had its problems; mainly annoying menu navigation buttons and the lack of Bluetooth, but on the whole the GX10i proved to be a good phone, with a bright screen and plenty of memory to cope with applications.

The GX20 still keeps the flip up design, even though it’s a little wider. The Exterior mono LCD has been replaced with a colour screen and this now displays additional information like the date as well as the signal and battery strength. As before, the Sharp offers a digital camera for picture messaging and this time around the camera has been moved half way down the casing. For the would-be photographer there are now two modes you can shoot in; portrait and macro. This gives you a degree of control over the shots you take. For poor lighting conditions the Sharp, like the Panasonic x70 features a photo light.

Flip open the lid and you are presented with the same styled buttons as before. Following wide criticism - including from pocket-lint.co.uk, the Vodafone Live! Service has been given its own button and this will now stop you entering it by mistake. The rest of the keys remain the same and the D-pad and select options are easy to use.

The screen displays all the relevant information - signal and battery strength, date and time, network and the area code you are in. Quick links to messages and the camera is also provided.

The camera settings have been improved and images can now be captured in three sizes - 480x640, 240x320 and 120x160 as well as the further option of normal or fine. While this still isn’t up to digital camera specs, this is webcam quality and superb as far as camera phones go.

Like the GX10i the phone is tri-band for global travel, has 16 polyphonic ring tones to choose from, and offers 255 minutes of talk time and 250 hours (10 days) of battery standby before you need to charge it.

This phone replaces the GX10i and like its predecessor, offers access to the Live! service offering news, reviews, downloads and more all at the tip of your fingers. Services include the AA for traffic updates and Empire for movie reviews. The download section includes new ring tones, pictures to send to friends and of course games to keep you entertained. There is an additional fee for all of this and games vary from £2.50 - £5 depending on the title.

The Live! service also offers chat services, connection to Vodafone Messenger and the ability to check emails and receive faxes. The chat sessions are a quick form of SMS messaging without the wait and it really relies on your texting speed as the predictive text capabilities of the phone haven’t been transferred to this area.

Verdict

Overall this phone is an improvement on the GX10i. The screen is bigger, the navigation easier and the camera better. However the GX20 is larger and still lacking Bluetooth. This is becoming the de facto standard for the business user on the move. As with all phones your required features will decide whether the GX20's for you.

The phone caters well for picture messaging fans and gamers. Business users however may benefit from the Live! service and tri-band functionality, but the lack of Bluetooth is too big an issue not to affect its use in that environment.