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LG GT540 Optimus review

LG GT540 Optimus
Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £150
inc VAT

Although it's good value, the sleek Optimus has an out-of-date version of Android, and LG hasn't done much to improve on the basic interface


Android 1.6, 3.0in 320×480 display

The LG Optimus is a new Android phone available only on a pay-as-you-go tariff from O2 for £150. It’s only LG’s second Android phone after the InTouch Max, and it’s a completely different animal: it has a 3in touchscreen rather than a QWERTY keyboard, and it’s much slimmer and easier on the eye.

Sadly, LG hasn’t learned any lessons from the InTouch Max and the Optimus uses Android 1.6 rather than a newer 2.x version. While it’s an upgrade from the InTouch Max’s Android 1.5, it means you’ll miss out on a slew of new features, such as support for multiple accounts, multi-touch and improvements to the camera application.

LG includes a copy of the QuickOffice viewer and its own Social Networking app. The latter lets you connect to your Facebook, Twitter and Bebo accounts, but the interface for each service is sparse – you can’t retweet, for example – and contacts imported from these services can’t be merged with contacts on your SIM, so you’ll end up with duplicates.

There’s also a video editing app, which is unusual. This lets you create slideshow videos of a group of photos, for example, with a range of cheesy effects available. It can also take a video and extract the best scenes based on movement, faces or landscape changes. It’s no match for a proper desktop video editor, but it’s a fun way to spice up videos to send to friends.

Design-wise, the Optimus is pleasingly slim, with rounded ends and an attractive brushed-metal finish. The case is actually made of plastic and it’s quite light as a result, but still feels well built. As well as dedicated buttons for answering, hanging up and Home, there are two touch-sensitive controls for the Menu and Back functions, but there’s no cursor control.

If you have the money and prefer PAYG to contract, the Optimus might be good value. However we found the design a bit bland, and the fact that LG hasn’t yet shipped an up-to-date version of Android is disappointing. There are better phones at this price.


Price £150
Rating ***


Main display size 3.0in
Native resolution 320×480
Second Display No
CCD effective megapixels 3-megapixel
Video recording format 3GP (H.263, MPEG4)
Connectivity Bluetooth, USB, WiFi
GPS yes
Internal memory 130MB
Memory card support microSDHC
Memory card included 2048MB
Operating frequencies GSM 850/900/1800/1900, 3G 900/2100
Wireless data EDGE, HSDPA
Size 109x55x13mm
Weight 116g


Operating system Android 1.6
Microsoft Office compatibility Word/Excel/PowerPoint/PDF viewers
Email client POP3/IMAP/Exchange
Audio format support MP3, WAV, WMA, eAAC+
Video playback formats MP4, DivX, Xvid, H.264, H.263, WMV
FM Radio yes
Web Browser Webkit
Accessories headset, data cable, charger
Talk time 7.3 hours
Standby time 20.8 days
Tested battery life (MP3 playback) 20h 41m

Buying Information

SIM-free price £400
Price on contract N/A
Prepay price £150
SIM-free supplier
Contract/prepay supplier

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