Transparent Crystal: LG GD900 Crystal phone video review

By: technoslav | 17.08.2009, 02:21

Notwithstanding LG company doesn't plan to supply this phone to Ukrainian market (at least not yet), we can't refrain from touching the first device with transparent keypad in the world but it works.

Transparent Crystal: LG GD900 Crystal phone video review

Some History

The first information about this phone was leaked a day before the MobileWorld Congress 2009. At the exhibition itself the device was hidden under the showcase glass and was then called Transparent. By the way, along with the phone on the stand was a headset with the same design, all mentions of which to date have disappeared. The name Crystal appeared a little later - in April, when another of its features was demonstrated - the ability to use the transparent panel as a touchpad. Technologically, LG GD 900 Crystal is a clone of the flagship LG Arena, although there are visible differences: the display is not protected by tempered glass, there is no GPS, reduced amount of internal memory. But the camera from five megapixel turned into eight megapixel, leaving the ability to record video in 720x480 resolution, turning this machine into a killer camcorder. For those who don't remember - this camera's capabilities are described in the review of LG Arena where you can also see video clips demonstrating S-Class interface inherited from GD 900 Crystal.

Key Specifications

Dimensions 105x53x14 mm
Weight 127 g
Display touchscreen, TFT, 3 inch, 800x480, 16 million colors
Memory 1.5 GB, microSD card support up to 32 GB
Camera 8 MP (3264x2448), video 720x480 30 f/s
Communications HSDPA, GPRS, EDGE, Bluetooth 2.1 A2DP, microUSB, Wi-Fi, TV-out
Battery lithium-ion, 1000 mAh
features interface S-Class, Dolby Mobile, transparent keyboard, support for DivX and XviD, charging by USB

Video review of LG GD 900 Crystal phone

Appearance

Body, unlike the Arena, not metal. Even the hardware keys which look metal are covered with transparent laminate.

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The front panel is decorated with a blue gradient fill. From the transparent area at the bottom of the phone it moves to a deep blue color at the top.

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Due to the light from the flash the blue color in the pictures is not as noticeable as in real life.

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In terms of size, the device is quite in line with modern ideas about the slider's slimness and thickness. To make it smaller would hardly be possible because of the 3-inch screen. And is it really necessary?

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The transparent plastic is either smoky from birth, or simply darkened during use - it was impossible to find out for sure.

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This prototype is clearly more than a few months old, so the buyer should be prepared for the fact that the transparent plastic will scratch and the plastic itself will get cloudy (like transparent silicone cases, if anyone knows).

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In the hand the phone lies well and is no different from other sliders. But how impressive this transparency looks! Attracts the attention of others better than a paper clip magnet.

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Curiously, because of the transparency of the lid, when opened, you can see glansinscription on the battery. I also personally liked that the camera hides when closed.

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Comparative dimensions of LG GD900 and Nokia N97

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Side views in closed and open state.

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The metal frame where the whole slider mechanism is mounted is clearly visible.

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In this picture you can clearly see that the battery cover also has a gradient.

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Here you can see the frame even better.

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The camera on the phone is 8 megapixel with autofocus, LED flash and mirror. Note also the microSD card slot. I find the idea of opening the card by opening the slider interesting.

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Rear view in the closed position

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At the very tip of the frame is a delicate latch mechanism. You can tell that the transparent cover is attached only in this place.

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Perhaps the LG GD900 is the only phone where the user will have to clean the inside of the keypad on a regular basis. Because any fingerprint left on the inside of the plastic will be visible on the outside.

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The logo in the picture is double because it is reflected from the mirrored surface.

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In order to remove the lid, you need to slightly tilt this clip.

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The microUSB connector that charges the phone is well hidden in the corner of the device. The lid is sliding along the arc like the lid of a breadbox.

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Synchronizing data

Everything looks exactly the same as with the LG Arena review. LG PC Suite III is used for data synchronization with MS Outlook. It is russified, thanks to the standard unified connector everything is easy to connect, recognize and synchronize. There is an option of selective data synchronization and backup SMS archiving.

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Transparent Crystal: LG GD900 Crystal phone video review-23

Impressions

It is clear that in the video review we could not dwell on the details, so I have to talk about interesting little things here.

  1. Despite the fact that the phone is not planned to be delivered to the Ukrainian market, it has support for the Ukrainian language and a corresponding menu interface
  2. The keys on the transparent plastic not only vibrate when pressed but are also highlighted in blue (although, in our prototype, the backlight was not working)
  3. The transparent keyboard can be used as a touchpad at almost any time and is used to scroll pages or menu items
  4. The LG GD900 Crystal uses the same S- interface. That's why there are no sample pictures in the review.

Bottom line

To be frank, there is no point in producing a slider with a transparent keypad and touchscreen display. A slider with a touchscreen display (e.g. Samsung S8300) is clearly overkill. Touch displays and give the advantage of a large keyboard for small size - what historically struggled for first clamshells, and then the sliders. But what we've got is what we've got. In fact, LG GD900 Crystal is a clone of LG Arena, and uses the same S-Class interface. The differences are an improved camera (8 megapixels versus 5), reduced GPS (Crystal does not have navigation) and not protected by tempered glass and a metal rim. But all these arguments are rubbish against the effect the transparent slider panel has on the people around. Here you understand the depth of the phrase "the image is everything"! Admittedly, it is not clear why LG is going to launch sales of LG GD910 by the New Year and to "deliver" this slider with a crazy design from the attention of the Ukrainian audience. It has its own charm, and I would expect the effect from it more than from LG Chocolate in its time, which made an impression with its hidden touch keys. There remains, of course, the question of price. But it will clearly be lower than the LG GD910 (I would estimate it at plus 1,500-2,000 hryvnia in relation to the LG Arena). LG GD900 Crystal phone may or may not appear in our market. But it will go down in history as the first phone with a see-through body. That's for sure.