The LG GB102 is a super-cheap phone for those who just want to make calls and send texts. It's available for free on a £5 per month contract, or for around £20 SIM-free. You can also pick it up on a pay as you go deal for anywhere between £3.95 with Virgin Mobile, and £9.95 with O2.
Note that if you opt for Orange's £5.95 pay as you go deal, you'll be able to exploit Orange Wednesdays. This means you can celebrate the middle of the week with half-price cinema tickets and two-for-one pizzas at PizzaExpress.
Dull as ditchwater
The GB102 is as visually exciting as a lump of coal, and its plastic carcass feels cheap. The battery cover may well be formed of the cheapest plastic humankind has ever created, and stroking it results in a strangely unsettling sensation.
Nevertheless, the phone is robust -- we repeatedly sat on it and dropped it from a height during our testing period, without any adverse consequences. Do that to the iPhone 4 and it'll look like the victim of a gangland shooting.
At 45 by 103 by 14mm, the GB102 is slim enough to fit into a trouser pocket without causing a suggestive bulge. Under a cover on the left-hand side of the phone sits a proprietary port for the charging cable and hands-free headset.
The GB102's tiny, 39mm (1.5-inch), colour screen sits above a four-way navigation pad, and two other buttons that are used for navigating the interface, and making and ending calls. The keypad is responsive enough, and its blue backlight will come in useful for texting on a mountaintop during a total solar eclipse.
Interface all in your face
'Attractive' isn't a word that can be used in reference to the GB102's interface. With only six icons in the main menu, however, it's easy to access the handful of basic features on offer, such as the alarm, calendar, calculator and stopwatch.
The GB102 lacks features you'll find on only slightly more expensive phones -- no camera, basic Web access or FM radio here.
The GB102's call quality is acceptable. We found that voices at both ends of the line sounded slightly muffled -- even at the highest volume -- but it's not a serious impediment to holding conversations or making prank calls at the expense of your local bartender.
Texting is straightforward. The T9 predictive text works admirably, and you can easily input unrecognised swear words into the dictionary. If predictive text isn't your bag, you can quckly turn it off.
The phone's battery life is not the best we've seen from a budget mobile, but it beats the pants off any feature-packed smart phone. We got around 6 days of moderate usage out of the phone before the battery was exhausted.
The LG GB102 isn't particularly attractive, but it's cheap and it handles the basics well. Overall, it's a decent option if you're looking for a disposable secondary handset, or just can't be bothered with a more complicated phone. The similarly priced Alcatel OT-222, however, offers longer battery life, better call quality and an FM radio, which means it's still our favourite mega-cheap phone so far.
Edited by Nick Hide