QWERTY is how the Cookie crumbles and LG are quite keen to build on a winning concept. And they sure didn’t work themselves to the bone. When you’ve got a Best Handset Award nominee (LG KS360) and a midrange bestseller (LG KP500), all you need to do is add two and two together. Simple math for a simple gadget: the LG GW520 is a basic touchscreen with a distinct Cookie feel, full QWERTY keyboard and social networking on its mind. Sounds right for keeping the younger crowd interested.

Some of you might know it as the LG Calisto. Never mind the name, it’s the same cute little fella we’re about to review in a sec. What makes it so interesting is not only the competitive price and decent feature set. We’re also curious to find how the blend of KS360 and Cookie works. It’s not about which one gets credit as the real predecessor, it’s what the offspring can do for you.

LG GW520
LG GW520
LG GW520

LG GW520 official photos

The LG GW520 is pretty much a Cookie with a real friendly QWERTY keyboard and fast data. The touchscreen size is the only downgrade so to say, but the full keyboard, 7.2 mbps HSDPA, push email and notifications and enhanced Widget UI are well worth the trade-off. Well, Cookie seems to rhyme quite well with QWERTY so far, now let’s see how long it’ll go.

Key features:

  • 2.8″ 256K-color TFT touchscreen (240 x 400 pixels)
  • Friendly four-row slide-out QWERTY keyboard
  • Quad-band GSM and dual-band 3G (with HSDPA) support
  • 3 megapixel fixed focus camera
  • Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP
  • 40MB internal memory
  • Hot-swappable microSD card slot (supporting card with capacity of up to 16GB)
  • Standard microUSB port and Mass Storage mode
  • Accelerometer for auto screen rotate
  • FM radio with RDS
  • Pepped-up Widget interface with Live Square
  • Push email and Facebook applications and widgets
  • Multi-tasking with a real task manager
  • Excellent touch optimized image gallery
  • Smart dialing
  • Office document viewer
  • Affordable and easy to use touchscreen phone

Main disadvantages:

  • No Wi-Fi
  • Video recording no good at [email protected]
  • Camera has no auto focus or flash
  • No DivX/Xvid video support
  • No standard 3.5mm audio jack
  • Facebook is the only social networking app and it lacks Push

Wi-Fi support would have gained the GW520 lots of extra points against the competition. But then, that would’ve involved so much smartphone pressure, which the GW520 is definitely not prepared to handle. In a way, the handset can be construed as a Cookie upgrade and a response to Samsung’s deployment in the touchscreen midrange. Affordability is key after all, and the LG GW520 is well-geared to run against the likes of Samsung Preston and Star.

LG GW520
LG GW520
LG GW520
LG GW520

LG GW520 live views

The other things sacrificed to keep the price within acceptable limits are the camera autofocus and GPS. The latter isn’t such a big deal for a feature phone, but autofocus should be a must for a contemporary mobile phone in this class. It seems to us DivX/XviD support isn’t too much to ask either: it’s absolutely relevant to the target audience and LG have the technology anyway.

It may look like you pretty much know what to expect from the LG GW520 (or the QWERTY-enabled Cookie, which we’re so keen to call it). But it won’t be fair to judge the phone before we’ve seen it in action. Join us after this very small jump as we explore the looks and feel of this neat QWERTY slider.

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