LG Intouch Max GW620 review

Can LG actually make a decent budget Android mobile?

The definitive LG Intouch Max GW620 review
The definitive LG Intouch Max GW620 review

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Android might have been done to death by a number of firms recentlyt, but the problem with that is unless there's some re-skinning going on, such as we've seen on the HTC Hero with the Sense UI for instance, there's not a lot more that can be done with the OS.

However, that's sort of solved by the speed with which Android is being updated - since November last year when it arrived in the UK on the T-Mobile G1, we've seen around four major upgrades, with many little ones in between.

So here's our issue with the LG Intouch Max GW620 - it manages to do something cool by bringing a new skin to the Android experience, but it also is stuck on a very low-end version of the Android firmware in the shape of 1.5.

LG intouch max gw620

To put this in context, it's the same firmware that the HTC Magic debuted on in the first half of 2009, and doesn't have a whole lot of cool tricks to show off like the Motorola Milestone does with Android 2.0.

But thanks to the Lord of Mobonia for upgrades - we can't imagine that LG will leave its first Android device lumbered with an archaic version of Android, so we expect this to update in the near future for better mobile use.

Anyway, back to the skin, and LG has done something pretty impressive here in offering a sort of dual boot option for its users. You can either have the vanilla Android option, complete with three home screens and the standard menu, or decide to use LG's effort, which is very similar indeed to the S-Class interface the Korean firm has so lovingly been putting on its device for the past year or so.

LG intouch max gw620

The former is just as we said, the basic Android experience, meaning the neat pull-down notifications bar from above the screen, the cool pull-tab menu system with the iPhone-a-like grid of applications on the phone, and the three customisable home screens to dump icons onto.

However, with S-Class, the same principles are applied, but, for instance, the menu is grouped into elements like communication and multimedia, and the home screens operate in a kind of loop, so you can keep scrolling right endlessly to see those icons you've lovingly placed on your home screens.

The resistive screen on the Intouch Max GW620 is a little disappointing, but for the more budget price it's understandable. It works much better than most of LG's other screens though, and is easily on a par with the Nokia N900's, which employs the same technology but is a far more expensive model.

LG intouch max gw620

A problem with the resistive screen does come in the shape of unlocking the Intouch Max GW620 from sleep mode. You can either double tap the power key at the top, hit any key and hold the on-screen key, or tap menu twice.

As you can imagine, this many ways of opening a phone, coupled with a 'no fingers needed' touchscreen, means the Intouch Max GW620 will often unlock itself in your pocket, which can sometimes lead to embarrassing calls in the pocket.

LG intouch max gw620

The system does suffer from terrible lag at times though - you can be tapping a menu option or trying to answer a call and the phone will freeze for a second, forcing you to press again to see if your touch registered only to find you've inadvertently done something else.

Actually, freezing was an all too common problem on the Intouch Max GW620, with the screen shutting down a number of times when trying to be used in our tests - we hope it's a kink that LG works out soon, as while it's not too annoying it certainly grates.

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.