Named after the ability for users to create communities of friends, is LG’s latest the talk of the town or village idiot?LG has updated its popular and friendly KS360 handset with the slightly larger and more accomplished GT350. It’s another cheap and cheerful budget number aimed squarely at a teenage demographic of online socialites, with a range of quick and easy messaging functions.
The device is solidly constructed in a curvaceous design, with the slide-out QWERTY keyboard opening and closing with a reassuring snap. LG has added a fourth row to the keyboard, allowing ample room on the bottom row for direct shortcut buttons to quickly access email, Facebook and Instant Messaging functions. Twitter, however, is conspicuous by its absence.
The keyboard itself is neatly arranged, with smallish circular buttons that are closely knit but just about pronounced enough to be easy to press, enabling you to type out quick messages and status updates with ease.
This is certainly no smartphone but LG’s proprietary user interface works well enough, with a clever 3D cube effect when switching between the three customisable homescreen panels. One of the panels features LG’s LiveSquare environment, which displays threaded conversations as speech bubbles emerging from cartoon avatars of your contacts. It adds a neat visual touch, but is essentially pointless. The other two panels are dedicated to your phonebook contacts and to various common widgets such as calendar and clock.
By default the internal menu features a sickly scrawling childish font, like the awful Comic Sans, but luckily this can be changed to something less ugly. The interface is well-structured and, although there’s no built-in accelerometer as such, when you open the keyboard the orientation switches smoothly between landscape and portrait modes. The fully touch-operated screen requires a firm press, but it’s responsive in use and complements the keyboard nicely.
The GT350 has a low-end feature set, with just a 2-megapixel camera, a basic media player and no GPS. However for a handset that places a huge emphasis on social connectivity, the biggest surprise is the omission of 3G. Although this isn’t of too much concern for everyday texts and emails, when it comes to photos and websites the lack of download speed becomes noticeable. Fortunately the excellent Opera Mini 5 browser is pre-installed, so web pages are a lot less data heavy than they might be. However there’s no Wi-Fi, so online power users should really look elsewhere.
Other less demanding users, who are solely interested in keeping a heads-up on the social scene and tapping out quick messages, will find a lot to like here.
A successor to LG’s popular KS360 messaging handset, the GT350 takes all the best bits of that device and adds some extra features and functionality. The 3.5-inch screen is now fully touch-operated throughout the user interface and the keyboard features an extra row for additional usability. That keyboard also offers a variety of direct shortcuts to messaging services, such as Facebook and IM, revealing this model to be a true socialite. Yes it lacks the high-speed capabilities of 3G and has low-end features, but for quick and simple messaging on the move it’s a master.