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 media output on the LG GD900 is never going to be sterling when you don't have a 3.5mm headphone jack - at least that's what we thought when we first picked up the device.

It is true to some degree, as that extra 20 cm of wire is always going to create havoc at some point, and it's really too far away from the mouth to be used as a hands free kit.

LG gd900 crystal camera

But we were very impressed with the way the phone handled music, video and radio, which only made us wish there was a slot for our headphone jack to nestle in nicely and pump our heads full of lovely video and music.

The music player is nothing necessarily special, but does what you need it to, with the option to list by artist, song title, genre etc. When you do choose an option, you're presented with the list in an easy to press way, with each selection giving you the chance to play the track or add it to favourites (shifting it to the front screen).

LG gd900 crystal media

When a track is playing, it brings up a visualisation-based music player behind it, which might only be a novelty, but adds a certain sleekness to the whole player.

Tunes themselves sound OK, although a little top heavy (which is fine if you have appalling pop taste like we do) so if you're up for a session of drum 'n' bass you might want to look elsewhere for your day to day music player.

LG gd900 crystal media

However, if you've got some properly imported tunes onboard, then you can at least make them sound a little bit better with the Dolby for Mobile improvements - video is similarly improved and sounds far more rich and expansive.


Video on the GD900 Crystal, however, is stunning, and especially so considering it's only an LCD screen in there. We say 'only' as we've been treated to some OLED crackers from Samsung in recent months, the i8910HD and the exquisite display on the Jet.

But given the apparent handicap, the LG GD900 Crystal serves up video and manages to make (good quality) movies look practically high definition on the WVGA screen.

LG gd900 crystal gallery

A couple of gripes (and pretty major ones if you're going to use the video player frequently) is the fact you have to resize the picture every time you fire up a video, pressing the tiny plus sign to do so.

You can, weirdly, pinch and zoom to move into the picture on the screen - why, we don't know, but it's there if you want it.

Another problem - there actually isn't a dedicated video player on board. Well, obviously there is, otherwise you couldn't watch anything. But there's no dedicated application you can start up and resume from the last watched point, for instance.

Until these applications catch up dedicated PMPs on this front (and some are getting closer, such as the iPhone) all the great video quality is completely wasted.

LG gd900 crystal

There's also no support for AVI files - which is a little crazy considering other LG phones have had a bevy of DivX / Dolby sound features.

Ample storage is available either from the onboard 1.5GB memory, or through the microSD memory card slot, so you'll have no excuse to ever run out of music or video options when you push it to the maximum 17.5GB (although we reckon you could push a new 32GB card in there and whack it up to 33.5GB... if you're that bothered).

We can't imagine you'll want to watch a full length film on the 3-inch screen regularly (if ever) but stack up the music videos and you'll have a welcome distraction on the train.

FM Radio

The FM radio, which has the tactile tuning / volume dial LG likes to show off whenever it gets the chance, is OK. It's the same as every other phone on the market - alright when you're static, but always needs headphones to act as an antenna and will start to crackle the second you even think about moving the lead.

Scanning for channels still required you to say yes or no to each one in turn, rather than dumping them all onto the phone and letting you delete the boring ones.

And of course, it doesn't work if you want to use a Bluetooth headset (which the phone will accept using A2DP 2.1), so no Radio 1 over a wireless connection.

LG gd900 crystal

Bluetooth headset listening was also a little bit sub par in our opinion, and has sounded much better on the Altec Lansing BackBeat 906's we were using for the test.

Media on this phone might be a long way from perfect, but it does certainly show off a couple of things - LG's plan to keep using super high-res screens is clearly paying off, and the S-Class system could be great for media if the company included a 3.5mm headphone jack and some more dedicated media software on the phone.

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.