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We're still recovering from our unpleasant experience with the Dyal Swap Signature watch phone, but we won't let that stop us reviewing the similar LG GD910. Another watch phone, it's a pretender to the ultimate-gadget throne, and will set you back a whopping £550 or thereabouts. Here's hoping it's better than the last one we saw.
Weighing in at just 91g, and measuring 39 by 60 by 14mm, we're pleased with the GD910's diminutive dimensions and light weight. The adjustable leather strap is pretty comfortable, and, apart from a few trapped wrist hairs, we don't have any real complaints about actually wearing the device.
On the right of the GD910, you'll find three buttons: call and end keys, and a cancel/back key. Menu navigation is handled through a combination of these buttons and the touchscreen interface.
We thank the Lord for the fact that the touchscreen is capacitive. In this day and age, we can't be doing with resistive touchscreens, which require you to exert a degree of pressure. Capacitive touchscreens, on the other hand, are more sensitive, merely requiring the faintest swipe of a digit. With small touchscreens such as this one, the more sensitive the better.
The menu system is pretty well thought-out. The display shows a watch face by default, and you can cycle through eight different watch faces by swiping your finger up or down on the touchscreen. There's sufficiently wide variety to ensure you won't get bored, and all the screens are pleasantly animated too.
But the GD910 dims the display after a while -- presumably to save power --which makes it difficult, although not impossible, to tell the time at a glance. You'll have to tap one of the buttons on the side of the GD910 to illuminate the screen and make the time more visible. This gets aggravating after a while.
Swiping to the left or right cycles through the various menus. We're impressed with how LG's laid them out. The first menu you see when you swipe to the right is the one you'll be using most frequently, as it lets you initiate either a normal phone call or a fancy video call, using the GD910's front-facing camera.
The second menu to the right offers more in-depth options, allowing you to access contacts, messages, utilities and settings. Sensibly, each icon is big and chunky, reducing the chances of pressing the wrong one by accident. If you need to go back through the menu system, the back key on the side of the GD910 will do the trick. Tapping out messages is easier than we expected, thanks to the chunky on-screen alphanumeric keypad.
On the next screen along, you'll find all your media and organisation apps, namely a calendar, music player and a memo pad. The music player is the most interesting feature, and it works pretty well. Holding your finger to the screen for a moment will boot up your tracks, and the interface lets you skip songs, pause them, turn the volume up and down, and other standard functions. There's no headphone jack, but you can listen to your tunes via a Bluetooth headset.
There's no video-playback capability either, but, seeing as the GD910's display only has a 128x160-pixel resolution and measures 36mm (1.4 inches) diagonally, that's probably best in terms of avoiding eye strain. There's also no way to add to the 80MB of on-board storage, so it's just as well that there's no option to fill the phone with space-consuming video files.
It's a shame that there aren't any mechanical volume keys on this device. They always come in useful, especially when you're trying to hear the person you're talking to.
You'll want to use a Bluetooth headset with the GD910 or you'll end up trying to press both your ear and mouth up to the phone at the same time. This manoeuvre will leave you looking like a preening cat, which may be adorable but is certainly impractical.
Once your Bluetooth headset is connected, making calls is much easier. It's also good to be able to answer calls from your wrist, without having to fish around for your phone in your pockets.
The GD910 packs some other welcome and not-so-welcome features. We're not so keen on the 0.3-megapixel camera, which is not only of a frighteningly low quality, but is also positioned in such a way that you'd have to dislocate your entire arm to take a photo with it. You can't capture videos either but, bearing in mind how difficult it is to take stills, that doesn't feel like much of a loss.
There's also a voice recorder. While just about every phone built in the last ten years has that feature, it's especially welcome on the GD910 because it makes it feel like a proper spy gadget. Nobody will guess your watch is sneakily recording their incriminating confession about eating all the cake.
The GD910's battery life may put a dampener on your spying success, however. Those accustomed to winding up old-fashioned watches may not mind the hassle, but, for those of us who grew up with watches that never died, having to charge this device as often as a smart phone is something of a disadvantage. We generally found the battery lasted no more than a day and a half, so expect to do a great deal of charging, and have a contingency plan for when you run out of juice away from home.
The main bump in the road to gadget nirvana, however, is the £550 price tag. That's a staggering amount of dosh, and seems even more so when you bear in mind that you could nab yourself an iPhone 4, or any other top-of-the-line smart phone for the same price.
The LG GD910 doesn't offer many features, but the ones it does offer are well implemented and really usable. At such a high price, though, it's hard to recommend this device unless you consider it really important to have your phone on your wrist.
Edited by Charles Kloet