LG LU990 Viewty Review

February 10th, 2008

LG Viewty

Thanks to LGBlog, we’ve had an LG Viewty phone here for a while now, and we want to provide you with some details about it.

What is it?

It’s a high spec mobile phone, with a 3″ touchscreen which makes the device very easy to use, and easy to pick up without reading the manual. It’s a bit like an iPhone, although it does have a few buttons on the sides, which makes certain functions easy to use. It has a 5 megapixel camera (with a Xenon flash), Bluetooth, and ships with a USB cable, a CD-ROM with software, a charger, a wired headset (also used for the FM radio), and a screen protector (which is a nice touch). Two optional extras are available, a deskstand and a leather case.

Call quality is fine, and we had no major issues with any part of the phone, in fact, we found most functions intuitive, and did not need to refer to the manual, except for a few functions.

How Big is it?

The phone is 103.5 x 54.4 x 14.8 mm and weighs 112g, which makes it very pocketable. We found the phone the right size to hold and use (unlike some phones which are a little too small to use day in day out).

Nice features…

The camera has to get a special mention. Not just is it a 5 megapixel with a decent flash (Xenon), but it’s got Image Stabilisation (which works well), and in video mode (120fps recording) also features a slow motion replay mode. On top of this, the phone support TV-out, allowing you to show these videos and high quality pictures direct on a TV. As the device also supports DivX videos, you can even watch videos on the TV from the device. There is a little shutter lag though.

The phone has a microSD card slot (although it quite hidden behind the battery). IT’s well worth getting a card as somewhere to store all those high quality pictures and video footage the Viewty encourages you to take.

There are various buttons on the device which provide useful functions. Around the camera is a jog wheel (for scrolling through menus); we found this a little difficult to use at times, but the new LG Silver Viewty has a redesigned jog wheel, so we guess LG has reacted to user feedback here. There’s a lock/unlock button (which is very welcome, allowing the ability to quickly unlock the touchscreen when you need to use it). If you don’t lock the screen / buttons, it will automatically lock after a (configurable) time too. Also on the side is a slider (to select between camera, video camera, and playback mode), a shutter button (much more convenient than the iPhone), and the lock/unlock button turns on/off image stabilisation.

The small USB port (a fairly new port style) is located on the side, which seems strange, but is nicely protected with a sliding cover. This is used for the USB cable, and charging (the USB cable can charge at the same time). Although we were concerned about needing to carry “another” cable type around, this is can be used for charging, so you only need to carry this single cable with you.

Downsides…

No SyncML support – for a high spec camera phone, it’s going to be up against the likes of the Nokia N81/82/95, and we missed the lack of SyncML. We use SyncML services to allow access to a single contact database / calendar on a multitude of devices, so not having this support meant a fair bit of manually editing information (although it was possible to get some contacts onto the device via other means, such as Bluetooth).

As the phone is not marketed as a smartphone, it understandably has no Wi-Fi, although it does have HSDPA, so with the right data contract, the lack of Wi-Fi should not be an issue for most people.

Other points to note

As long term Nokia users, we are used to firmware updates, which were previously performed at Nokia Service Centres, but more recently the phones have supported firmware upgrades via the PC. We could find no reference to user controlled firmwares, and hence can only assume this is not an option. We understand LG may release new firmwares for the device, should it be necessary, but we could not get confirmation as to how these would be made available to users.

Overall opinion

After a month of usage, not just are we impressed with the phone, we intend to keep on using the phone on a daily basis, which we believe says something about the phone.


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