The LG Intouch Max GW620 is a good device, a very good device - just one with some flaws baked right in. We understand prioritising making this phone low cost, although we're not sure we agree with all the compromises. At least there's a new direction on offer here, and we always like that.
The keyboard. Oh, the keyboard on the Intouch Max GW620 - it's so easy to use that we're actually wondering if we've actually left our teens after all, such is our delight at being able to speedily write text messages to our chums. It's a simple to use bit of hardware, and we're glad it showed us what's possible on an Android phone.
We also like the fact LG has clearly thought about what users want from a phone like this - it's not always about the bells and whistles, it's about being able to do things easily. Push email and calendar functionality, turning Wi-Fi on and off from anywhere on the phone through the pull-down menu - these are things we want to see, and Android offers the chance to play with that, as shown in this phone.
The screen is big enough, the media playback above average and the rest of the overlay a real case of how to make Android work without over-complicating things.
Actually, we should probably add a caveat to that last line - it's not complicated providing you don't use the S-Class system. Cube-based home screens, a categorical way of looking at the menu - we've not liked it very much on any LG phone so far, and that remains the same on the Intouch Max GW620 - we're just glad you can turn it off.
The use of Android 1.5 is a really big mystery to us as well - we're sure LG is going to have a good reason for using it, but for our money, it should have done whatever was necessary to get at least Android 2.0 on here - it adds so much and given that it's going to be open source any day now, we're hoping and praying that this is an update waiting to happen in the near future.
The resistive screen was also a disappointment - it's low budget technology, and really hampers the fluidity when using the phone. Yes, we can see why LG has done it to keep costs down, but at the end of the day some people are going to pick up this phone and be less impressed - and then they probably won't care about the price.
It feels hard to give a proper verdict on the Intouch Max GW620 - it's like a really, really good phone made out with a bad one and the resultant mobile baby came out with elements of both. The cost of the handset is great - £20 a month is a smashing deal - and the level of connectivity and productivity will entice a lot of people.
But then again, the resistive screen is poor, the phone is chunky and while the keyboard is good, the on-screen option isn't in the same league, and that's a real turn off for some people.
We hope that an upgrade will come along soon and fix some of the problems, but until then, we'll have to wait and see if LG's plans to do Android on a budget will pay off in the same way as the low-budget Cookie did.
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