LG GW520 review

It's more stylish Cookie than clever Arena, but the GW520 feels underpowered where it counts

LG GW520
The LG GW520 promises much - but can it deliver?

As already mentioned, the GW520 has absolutely no Wi-Fi whatsoever. While this may help to keep the initial cost down, it's a serious handicap for a phone with a QWERTY keypad.

Yes, we know it's supposed to be for messaging, but the temptation is strong to use it for browsing, and the speed of input just isn't reflected in the connection, which can get very frustrating very quickly, even though it has the fastest sort of HSDPA 3G connection available, with 7.2Mbps download if your network supports it.

It also has quad-band GSM and A2DP stereo Bluetooth for wireless headphones as well as data transfer.


Video playback on the GW520 is pretty good, with movie trailers showing up nice and crisp on the screen, when we could find something to play on it. It's pretty limited on the video file format front, with no support for DivX and we couldn't even get it to play our WMV or AVI files, just MP4.

The basic music player controls can be added to the home screen as a widget but you can access the full player menu by pressing and holding the widget. It will play MP3, AAC and WMA audio files and you can organise them in all the usual ways, though you can't make playlists on the hoof.

The FM radio has a nice virtual dial interface and auto scan as well as 50 presets and RDS info. You'll need the supplied headphones to act as the aerial and they are deeply ordinary, but a pain to upgrade since there's no 3.5mm jack plug – you'll need LG's micro USB adapter.


With no Wi-Fi connection, the LG520's web browser has to make the most of its HSDPA connection and sadly, it doesn't.

It's slow to open and despite the QWERTY keypad, slow to use, since you're constantly having to tap the screen to bring up your menu options. In theory you can press the screen to zoom in but we found this only worked intermittently, and was just about impossible to zoom out again without resorting to the menu.

It's good that you can set up RSS feeds, but the menu bars are too intrusive, leaving you little room to view the webpage and the menu options aren't as obvious as they need to be for hassle-free browsing.

Bookmarks for instance tend to display the tagline rather than the name of the site, so the Guardian shows up as 'Latest news…', which can start to get confusing after a while.


There's an extremely paltry 40MB of memory on the handset itself, which is pretty pathetic, though you can increase this to 16GB via the microSD card slot. You'll need to provide your own though since there's no card supplied.


LG claims 4.5 hours of talk time with up to 500 hours of standby and the battery stood up pretty well to our more than average use while testing, and gave a clear two days including a fair bit of browsing and music playback as well as calls.