The Viewty Snap GM360 is another youth-orientated touchscreen phone from LG. Offering a 5-megapixel camera and a range of social-networking features, it's available for £90 on a pay as you go deal with O2. That makes the Snap one of the more affordable touchscreen handsets on the market.
Touch too much
Decked out mostly in glossy black, with a chrome trim around the edges, the Snap is certainly a good-looking handset. Its slim, 12mm-thick frame and curvy edges also make it comfortable to hold.
Although there are three buttons on the front of the handset, most of the phone's features are controlled via its 76mm (3-inch) touchscreen. Once you've been guided through the initial set-up wizard, you're presented with a home screen that's divided into three panels. The first acts as a repository for your widgets. There are a number of widgets included as standard, such as an 'analogue' clock, calendar and mini music player.
The second, 'Livesquare' panel shows recent activity, such as incoming calls and messages from your contacts, with each person represented by a tiny avatar. The final panel provides a location in which to store eight of your favourite contacts. It's a similar set-up to Samsung's TouchWiz system, but it feels more restrictive and less intuitive to use.
Open the main menu and you'll find a plethora of other icons arranged across two screens. These icons range from custom Java apps to shortcuts that simply launch the associated Web site in the phone's fairly basic and sluggish browser. Access is provided to services such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and Flickr.
Although Samsung has recently made the jump to capacitive screens with mid-range phones like the Monte, LG has opted to equip the Snap with the resistive kind, which is less responsive. While the screen is fairly sensitive to touch input, there are occasions when you'll find yourself having to press it a couple of times before it will register your input correctly. This is especially noticeable when you're using the on-screen Qwerty keyboard. Nevertheless, the screen, although fairly small, has a decent resolution for a phone in this price bracket -- 400x240 pixels. It's bright and colours look impressively vibrant.
In portrait mode, you have to enter text using an on-screen alphanumeric keyboard, but, unlike some of its rivals, the Snap has a full Qwerty landscape keyboard too. Unfortunately, the lack of an accelerometer means you have to tap a button to call this keyboard up, rather than simply turning the handset on its side, as you do with most smart phones.
The phone's multimedia features are headed up by its rather impressive camera. It has a decent 5-megapixel resolution and an autofocus to help you avoid taking blurry shots. There's also a single LED flash. While it's nowhere near as good as the xenon flash you get on some higher-end phones, it does help out slightly when you're taking shots indoors in low light.
The camera software also gives you plenty of control over settings like exposure and white balance, and includes a self-timer and macro mode too. You can use the camera to shoot video, but the resolution is limited at just 320x240 pixels. As the frame rate is relatively low, videos that feature plenty of fast movement tend to look jerky.
We liked the Snap's music player. Its audio is surprisingly punchy, although a little hiss is audible during quieter sections of tracks. The supplied headphones aren't bad either. You can use your own cans if you prefer, as LG has kitted the phone out with a standard 3.5mm headphone jack. There's also an FM tuner.
Unfortunately, the Snap lacks both 3G and Wi-Fi support. That leaves you reliant on a fairly slow Edge connection for mobile data. As a result, you can expect to spend plenty of time waiting around for pages to load when you're using the Web browser or any of the other online functions, such as the social-networking features. Also, while the handset offers support for Bluetooth, it lacks GPS functionality, which is perhaps unsurprising at this price point.
Nevertheless, the phone's call quality is excellent, as the earpiece and microphone do a good job of delivering crisp and clean audio. You might expect a handset that lacks 3G support to perform well when it comes to battery life, as 2G data links drain less power. But the Snap is still rather disappointing in this area. You'll get just over a day's use out of the phone before it needs a recharge.
The LG Viewty Snap GM360 is a good-looking handset with some neat social-networking features and impressive call quality. The user interface takes a while to get to grips with, though, and the lack of Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity is disappointing. Most people would be better off spending more cash and going for the Samsung Monte, which supports both 3G and GPS.
Edited by Charles Kloet