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The touchscreen LG GM750 is one of the cheapest Windows Mobile handsets available. As with LG's other Windows Mobile offerings, the company has added its own user interface over the top of Microsoft's operating system. But are the results any good?
The GM750 can currently be picked up for free from Vodafone on a £25-per-month, 24-month contract. You can also find it SIM-free online for around £280.
Chip off the old block
At first glance, the GM750 looks almost identical to LG's previous touchscreen phones, such as the Arena KM900 and Cookie KP500. Like those handsets, the GM750 has a glossy black finish with a silver trim, and, as it's relatively narrow, it fits comfortably in the hand.
Perhaps surprisingly for a touchscreen phone, the GM750 has quite a few physical buttons dotted around its edge. Along with the power button and lock switch, there's also a volume control, dedicated camera button and multi-tasking key that lets you quickly swap between the apps you've got running on the handset. That's handy when you want to jump between emails and the Web browser, for example.
Unlike most Windows Mobile handsets, the GM750 doesn't have a traditional mechanical direction pad, but instead uses an optical joystick that tracks movement across its surface. It's actually quite responsive and easy to use, and, as there are no moving parts, it should prove more reliable in the long term.
Bottom of the S-Class
When it comes to software, the GM750 is built around Windows Mobile 6.5 -- also known as Windows Phone -- which is basically an update of the operating system that's been tweaked to make it more suitable for touch input. Version 6.5 offers a significant improvement on the old Windows Mobile interface, but it's still some way off the usability of the iPhone or Android operating systems.
Don't fear, though, because LG has added its own S-Class interface over the top. Actually, on second thoughts, do fear -- the S-Class interface is pretty unintuitive to use. If anything, it makes the phone's menus more confusing to navigate around, as you find you're constantly moving between the S-Class and Windows Mobile interfaces.
Another problem is that the handset often feels quite sluggish, especially when flicking between menu screens. After a while, you get the feeling that having to run both S-Class and Windows Mobile at the same time is slightly too much for the handset's 528MHz Qualcomm processor to bear.
Our biggest complaint, however, is with the screen. The narrow profile of the display may make the phone more comfortable to hold, but it also compromises its usability. When you're viewing the browser in landscape mode, the screen just can't display that many lines, especially as the 440x240-pixel resolution is rather limited. The low resolution also means that images and text don't look as smooth as they do on many rival Windows Mobile handsets.
Worse still is the fact that the resistive touchscreen just isn't responsive enough when registering finger input. We found we often had to press multiple times on the screen to get it to register a command, and sometimes we could only get it to respond by pressing it with a fingernail.
That's a shame, as, in other areas, the phone isn't too bad a performer. It's got good connectivity, with HSDPA, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS all present. Its battery life is also relatively good, with the phone lasting for around two days before recharging was required. We had no complaints about call quality either, and the 5-megapixel camera produced decent snaps with vibrant colours.
We like the LG GM750's relatively small form factor and cute design, but the handset just doesn't seem powerful enough to handle the S-Class interface as well as Windows Mobile. What's more, the annoying, unresponsive touchscreen makes the phone quite frustrating to use. As a result, we really can't recommend the GM750, despite its attractively low price.
Edited by Charles Kloet