LG GD900 Crystal review

Is the first transparent phone clearly just a gimmick?

LG GD900 Crystal - how does it measure up?
LG GD900 Crystal - how does it measure up?

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

The LG GD900 Crystal is a very different phone. It packs in a lot of touchscreen and touch sensitive technology, has a very class feel and a nicely designed chassis and LG's high end camera tech on board too.

Using the S-Class interface once more proves to be a step in the right direction, although the touch sensitivity is a little bit high and can get a little bit annoying.

We liked

Video recording was excellent, probably only second to Samsung's i8910HD, and the chassis is beautiful and clearly well put together - we would imagine you'd have this phone for a long time without needing it to head to the repair shop.

The video playback, once up and running, was superb, probably among the most pin sharp you'll see on the market at the moment, although the 3-inch screen is probably helping make everything look that much clearer.

The S-Class interface has been improved, with text input accuracy raised again. We also dug the action of the touch pad gesture control, which is good as otherwise it would be a very expensive novelty, and in many cases it was the better option for navigation over the touchscreen.

We disliked

Sadly, there are a lot of things on this phone that mean it won't appeal to the mass market. The first thing is the price: £500 for a device that isn't even a smartphone. It certainly looks classy, but the touchpad, with the non-defined characters, isn't as good as it could have been. That said, a little bit of internet shopping means you can find it for £350, which makes it a little bit more palatable.

Internet accuracy and zooming was poor, despite the presence of pinch and zoom, thanks to the lack of proper smart fitting technology, and hitting the right link on the tiny screen could be a real problem at times.

The touch sensitivity of the buttons was also a problem - it was far too easy to hit the terminate key and shut down the application you were working on.

Text messaging, although the accuracy was improved, was simply not good enough, mostly for the touchpad reasons mentioned above. You can say all you want about the novelty of a transparent touchpad, but at the end of the day when you have to re-type the same word for the fifth time because you keep hitting the wrong key, something is up with the interface.

And not having GPS on board was a real shame - Google Maps (or any Java-based mapping software) simply isn't the same without being able to quickly find where you are.


Overall, it's hard to say where the phone lands in terms of overall performance. The transparent touch section isn't a novelty, it actually does the jobs it's supposed to, and looks super cool as well (we loved putting it to our eye and showing our friends).

But at the same time, it doesn't add a lot to the experience, and that's mostly due to a poor touchscreen effort again from LG.

The whole interface just feels too fragile, like you have to be utterly exact to hit the right portion. In other phones, you have a large level of tolerance for the fat fingered among you - with the GD900 Crystal, you simply don't.

Too many times we found ourselves accidentally shutting down an application, or having to wait a second or two for the phone to load a message or open an application.

We hope the S-Class interface prospers, because we like the fact LG pushes the boundary of design on phones. We're very excited by the likes of the new BL40 Chocolate phone, but the GD900 Crystal is not going to be a roaring success for LG - especially if you fork out £500 for the handset alone.

Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.