LG's GM730f smartphone is exclusive to Telstra, which is also the first telco in the world to offer it. It's a Windows Mobile handset overlaid with a version of LG's S-Class interface. It runs the 6.1 version of Windows Mobile, but will be upgradeable to 6.5 when it's released later this year. While it offers all the features of Windows Mobile and the content of Telstra's Next G network, using the LG GM730f is a frustrating experience.
The LG GM730f smartphone is a touch screen, candy bar handset with sleek rounded edges and a stylish pattern imprinted on the rear battery cover. It is compact and light considering it’s a Windows Mobile phone, and the chrome edging and gloss black front are attractive — though both surfaces make the GM730f almost impossible to keep free of fingerprints and marks.
The LG GM730f has a 3in resistive touch screen. It is clear but the resolution isn't as good as the displays on some recent Windows Mobile smartphones, particularly the Samsung Omnia Icon and the HTC Touch Diamond2. Because it is a resistive touch screen, you can use a stylus as well as your fingers for input, but it isn't as nice to use as a capacitive touch screen.
The LG GM730f smartphone has physical volume controls, a lock screen/power key and a dedicated camera button. It also has an optical pad. This can be used as a navigational pad by swiping across it in a direction, or it can be used as an optical mouse with a cursor appearing on the screen. Both options are rather cumbersome: certain GM730fs menus often can't be swiped left to right, while the mouse cursor option is fiddly and tricky to master.
The Windows Mobile operating system has been skinned with a version of LG's proprietary S-Class user interface. First seen on the LG Arena, the S-Class overlay is a downscaled version of the original interface, with many components of the regular Windows UI still visible.
The LG GM730f's home screen consists of five pages that can be scrolled through by swiping across the screen or the optical pad. The time and date appear on the main screen, while search, multimedia, favourite contacts and shortcuts to Telstra services make up the other four screens. Across the bottom of each screen is a shortcut bar offering quick access to a calendar, contacts, messaging, BigPond services and the main menu. From the home screen it's quite easy to access commonly used functions and the settings tab is particularly impressive; it means you don't need to access settings through the regular Windows Start menu.
Unfortunately, the S-Class overlay is just that: a skin over the frustrating Windows Mobile UI. In most cases, accessing settings takes you to the regular interface, which is almost impossible to navigate using your fingers. The touch screen isn't as responsive as it should be, the interface is often sluggish and the on-screen keyboard is small and therefore difficult to type accurately on. There is also a slight delay between pressing the keys and the letters appearing on the screen, so that trying to type too quickly results in letters being missed. To make matters worse, the included stylus isn't stored in the phone and has to dangle alongside the handset.
One aspect of the LG GM730f that we did like was the phonebook: it has one-touch access to all contact details, including being able to text message, video call and e-mail contacts from a single screen.
The LG GM730f smartphone has a reasonable features list, including 7.2Mbps HSDPA capabilities, a 5-megapixel camera, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, an FM radio and a built-in GPS receiver, though there is nothing really new or innovative. The GM730f struggles as a multimedia device, with LG opting for a proprietary headphone/charging jack rather than a standard 3.5mm one. For video playback, the screen isn't vibrant and it struggles with glare. The GM730f comes with 300MB of internal memory, but a microSD slot can hold cards of up to 32GB.
Hopefully the upgrade to Windows Mobile 6.5 will result in a much needed speed boost for this handset.
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