LG GM750

The LG GM750 is a fairly unassuming creature. To take it out of the box it looks little different to other recent non-Black Label handsets from LG. Put it down on the table with the Arena, the Renoir and even the Cookie and they're all pretty much like siblings with slight variations of thickness. If the Cookie is the lean, lithe teen, then the GM750 is probably the strongest big brother of the bunch. It's got no real glitz or glam about it but there's a steady assurance that it'll deliver, which indeed it does.

It's easy to tar the GM750 with the same brush as all Windows Mobile phones when Android is the sexy choice, but there's plenty to like about 6.5 if not to love and it works very well on this phone. Just in case you're not convinced, LG has added its top of the range S-Class custom UI on top but we found in testing that, although both were quite usable, it quickly becomes preferable to ditch S-Class in favour of the honeycomb homescreen of Windows.

The 3-inch touchscreen on the phone is almost enough to work WinMob without a stylus but not quite. Once inside the applications like IE and the Office suite, you'll be down to the edge of your fingernail unless you're carrying the excellent telescopic touch pointer included by LG. There's no slot in the phone to house the device but there is space to attach it as a charm.

If you do wish to go bare back it actually becomes a bonus that the TFT is just resistive rather than capacitive. Windows Phone is far too intricate for two big digits thumping down in multi-touch and there's a reassurance when the phone pulses in your palm on recognition of a light but certain touch. If you're new to Windows Mobile, it'll take you a few days to learn all its ins and outs. Intuitive navigation is not one of its strong points but somehow the size and honest design of the LG GM750 is forgiving to your task.

When you've found your feet, you can browse, word process, send and receive emails from multiple accounts and synch with your Windows PC with typical Windows Mobile ease. Instructions both on the phone and in the box make the routine welcoming enough to pick up. There are a couple of issues where the LG does hold you back.

First, and by far the most important problem, is that the experience is a little laggy. Windows Mobile 6.5 not a light piece of software and it feels as if LG hasn't quite fully appreciated the crunching power needed to run it. You find yourself waiting a fraction too long for the more complicated application tasks and the entire phone crashed within the first 2 hours of play. We could only get it running again by removing the battery and putting it back.

A faster processor would probably solve the problem - although software refinements by Microsoft would also help - but perhaps battery life was what LG was going for. That might explain the enormous 1500mAh Li-polymer battery that blots out everything else under the back cover, but, with well over a day of heavy use from one charge it almost seems worth it.

The second problem is less severe but still quite irritating. The sensitivity of the Wi-Fi receiver is not as good as it should be. One of the joys of these devices is to use them at home or the work place with faster online access, but the GM750 only picked a weak signal from our router even when within a matter of metres of the unit. Combine that with the lag and you've got a very slow browsing experience.

On the outside, there's plenty to enjoy about the phone. It's a solid build, if slighty unexciting and sits still pocketable but chunky at 109.8mm x 53.5mm x 12.9mm. While no one's going to be massively impressed, its tank-like body will protect it from most bumps and bruises. The on/off switch at the top doubles as a lock, there's the usual quick launch camera/shutter release on one side next to a microSD card slot which should really be swapped over with the volume/zoom controls on the other side.

LG continues to embrace the Micro-USB standard for charging and even if there's no dedicated 3.5mm jack, the company has included an adaptor to ensure you can use your own phones. Best of all though is the multitask button which allows you to instantly swap between however many applications you have open at any one time - very useful.

For on-screen controls on the front face, there's simply the traditional green and red phones, which work for opening and closing applications as well as for in-call use, and between them is a well-chosen and nicely calibrated optical trackpad. It's just a shame that there aren't quite as many times where it would come in use ahead of the stylus. 

There are cameras on the front and back with the main unit well positioned and packing a resolution of 5 megapixels. There's no Schneider-Kruznach optics here - a pity - and no flash either. You can't zoom at full resolution at all and you only get a multiple of less than 2 when you agree to go down to 2 or 3 megapixels. That said, the quality of the shots is reasonable with a typical set of controls from LG including a few scene modes. It might not take the best shot first time but with a bit of fiddling, the third will be the charm. At the very least, the AF is good and the shutter delay mercifully short. What can be tricky is to get a steady shot though.

The frame rate for the VGA video capture is poor with the slightest pan causing instant Monet blurs and getting a decent exposure with stills hasn't been balanced with a workable shutter speeds; certainly not without a few goes at holding your breath and really trying to keep still.

Verdict

You have to give the LG GM750 an A for effort. What this phone is, is a real work horse. LG has covered all the bases with high-res camera, an in-depth OS, a second option in case you don't like that one and an easy to use handset that will last even the longest of contracts. What there is little of is style and subtlety.

However, given you're getting pretty much the power of a top notch phone free for just £25 per month, it becomes a real winner. All too many handsets at the same price promise high-end functionality but seldom deliver the genuine experience. This phone does. Forgive it its sins and you'll find a mobile of which you grow fonder day-by-day.



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