One glance at our team photo will tell you that intelligence and attractiveness need not be mutually exclusive qualities. With the GB220, also known as the Kate, LG has striven to make a phone that's perfect for people who carry both a Chihuahua and a quantum-mechanics textbook in their handbag. But has LG succeeded?
The GB220 is available SIM-free for about £90. You can also find it on a pay as you go deal for around £25.
Style over screen size
The GB220 is an attractive clamshell handset. Our review sample's black and silver finish lent it an air of understated style. Alternative colour schemes are available but they aren't as swish.
Open the phone up and the sophisticated design continues -- the keyboard and the area around the screen have a dignified coolness about them. But the screen itself is small, measuring just 45mm (1.8 inches) diagonally. The large bezel around the screen doesn't help matters, making the display look even more cramped.
The keyboard is an alphanumeric job, with large keys that give very satisfying feedback when pressed, clicking authoritatively. The well-laid-out navigation buttons are fairly standard, although buttons for direct access to the FM radio, MP3 player and camera join the old favourites. The left-hand side of the casing houses a volume rocker and a neat shortcut button that lets you use the camera, situated on the lid, when the phone is closed.
The handset is incredibly thin, at only 14mm thick, and surprisingly light, weighing 72g -- about half the weight of a Granny Smith. But, despite its sturdy hinge, which gives the flip mechanism a very firm feel, the phone feels fragile and we expect it wouldn't withstand much abuse.
No features, no problems
The GB220 doesn't pack any particularly impressive features. Its 1.3-megapixel camera is of a reasonable quality, and can record video, as well as taking photos. Unfortunately, the device only has 6MB of on-board storage space, although a microSD memory-card slot on the right-hand side of the phone lets you give it a much-needed boost.
The phone rocks an MP3 player feature, but you may find that it's not much use, as the proprietary headphone jack means you'll have to use the bundled cans, and there's a lack of external controls. Overall, it'd probably be a poor replacement for your dedicated MP3 player.
The phone's FM radio isn't an unusual feature, but it's interesting nevertheless. Using the headphones included in the box, which double up as the antenna, you can access the radio either through the main menu or the shortcut button on the keyboard. The GB220 can record a radio broadcast for as long as the available storage space allows. We don't think we'd use this feature often, but it's a welcome touch all the same. Note that we could only record for about 4 minutes without a microSD card.
Despite its lack of features, the GB220 performs superbly. Its keys are responsive, applications load without any discernible lag, and the call quality is good. The headphones provide the best sound quality, but the phone's speakers are far superior to the tinny travesty you get on most handsets of this type and price. Also, the menus and settings are easy to navigate and well organised, rather than being hidden behind 70 layers of sub-menus.
The LG GB220 is devilishly dashing, even if it does feel flimsy. If you're seeking an inexpensive and stylish but otherwise unremarkable phone, then it'll probably be perfect. If you want more features, though, you may like to also consider the Sony Ericsson W302 Walkman and the LG Viewty Snap GM360.
Edited by Charles Kloet