LG made its T-Mobile debut this year with three phones--the Sentio, the dLite, and finally, the LG GS170. Whereas the Sentio and dLite touted interesting design and multimedia features, the GS170 is a decidedly entry-level phone. Still, you do get a VGA camera, a speakerphone, and Bluetooth, and the call quality isn't bad either. The LG GS170 is available for free with a new two-year agreement.
The LG GS170's design is that of a basic rectangular flip phone with a simple plastic shell. At 3.6 inches long by 1.9 inches wide by 0.7 inch thick, the LG GS170 is a slim and compact with smooth tapered sides and rounded corners. The surface is made out of a soft touch material that makes the handset easier to grip. The GS170 is lightweight at 2.8 ounces. It's wrapped in red all around with hints of gray on the sides.
On the front of the phone is a 1.04-inch 96x64 pixel external display. It supports up to 65,000 colors and displays the usual date, time, battery life, and signal strength information plus caller ID. There are no external camera controls, though, so you won't be able to use it as a self-portrait viewfinder. Above the external display is the camera lens. On the left side is the volume rocker whereas the Micro-USB charging port is on the right spine. It has a nice sturdy hinge as well.
The rather small (1.8-inch) TFT display supports a 176x220 pixel resolution and 262,000 colors. We were fairly impressed by the interface--the menu icons are colorful, and there's even a three-dimensional cube rotation as a transition between menus. Still, the display isn't as sharp as we would like--graphics looked a little jagged and blurry on the edges. You can adjust the look of the home screen, the handset theme, the menu style, the color of the dialing font, the font size, and the backlight time.
The navigation array consists of two soft keys, a messaging key, a camera key, and a square D-pad with a middle confirmation key. On standby mode, the D-pad corresponds to shortcuts to call history, audio postcards, the contacts list, and a list of more customizable shortcuts. The D-pad is a little flat compared to the other keys, but it had enough texture that we could still navigate by feel.
Under the navigation array are the Send key, the Back key, and the End/Power key, followed by the number keypad. Though the keys look flat, there are enough dips and curves that still make it easy to use. The keypad is quite roomy, and the keys themselves are a nice size.