LG GD510 Pop review

4 out of 5
Dependent on contract

For

Fantastic value, very usable and lovely design on a budget

Against

No 3G, no Wi-Fi, no 3.5mm jack

At just £99.95, the LG Pop is an excellent buy. The Korean company heralds it as the world's smallest touchscreen phone but to merit the handset merely for its size is to do it an injustice. Yes it has a 3-inch touchscreen and, yes, the casing around said WQVGA is figure-hugging indeed but there's a quality about the whole phone that is a great testament to the work LG has been putting into its mobiles over the last few years.

There's a satisfying minimality to the device with its anodised bezel broken only by the single off-centre intell-key button on the front which both starts and ends the call. Round the sides you'll only find hints at volume buttons and a shutter release and one of the smallest power switches you could ever meet. A cover hides the universal Micro-USB recharge and connection socket but there's no 3.5mm jack in sight which is entirely criminal for a phone advertising itself for MP3 playback and an FM radio. For that alone the Pop has to lose points.

The back is a plastic slide cover nicely disguised as brushed aluminium with just the lens of the 3-megapixel camera the only other mark on the face, unfortunately so close to the corner that it does take a bit of practice to keep your finger out the shots. There's no camera flash and no superior lens that you find on higher LG smartphones but the quality of the imaging is strong and the camera software typically usable. Video capture gives you VGA resolution.


The Pop sticks with an LG OS, unlike some of the company's premium handsets starting to appear, but rather than the top end S-Class system it features the slightly more slimmed down A-Class. Although not wildly different, this software is a lot easier to manage relying less on the rotating desktops which can be notoriously cumbersome to navigate. You can get what you want from pretty much any menu on the phone meaning that you don't have to figure out the right page just so that you can make a phone call or send a text.

A-Class also adds a little fun with LiveSquare, as we've seen on a number of LG's devices. It gives you a customisable representation of who you've been connecting with most recently, be that through SMS or phone calls. These friends are represented as avatars that might appear in a zoo or park, or not even as humans at all, and the more you contact them, the more ducks, chickens and all sorts of things are added to their surroundings. It's completely pointless but really cute and just makes you want to talk to these people more to see what happens next.



The other excellent addition is the native support for Facebook, Twitter and MySpace which is really going to work for the teens and early-20s market where this handset is aimed. The interface with each is good in itself and really only suffers in terms of speed of connection because this phone can only rely on WAP with neither 3G nor Wi-Fi to back it up. Bit of a shame really.

The user interaction itself is solid. It's a resistive touchscreen, as long as you keep that in your mind, it won't cause frustration. Expect the Pop to react like an iPhone and you'll be disappointed. Give each selection a good push with your finger and you'll never have to ask it twice.

In all the build-up photos, media and coverage, the Pop was seen with a solar charger cover to give the handset its eco credentials. At the LG meet up when this was raised, they said that the PCB-100 cover would be available sometime around March or so was the estimation. It will also cost extra.

As it stands, the battery is very good. Heavy use will easily get you through a day but seeing as there's not a major amount of browsing your going to do, heavy use really only equals constant video playback. Most users will get more like 2 days out of a charge.

Verdict

LG has really done an excellent job with the Pop. It's a great handset to use if you don't want to spend big on a mobile phone. The slow internet connectivity is a bit of a bind given that the software is there ready and waiting to help you access everything you need, but perhaps that's not really the aim of this phone. Go and pay for a black label handset or an Arena if you want that kind of thing.

At under £100, the GD510 Pop really is a bargain. What it might lack in power it certainly makes up for in style, usability and pure unbeatable value. You can feel like you've got something special in your pocket for a very small outlay. The only criticism you'd have to level at it given the cost is the missing 3.5mm jack. When will these people learn?