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Summary:

This so called “iPhone killer” is probably going to kill itself. The Good Based on the LG Viewty’s microsite alone, the most touted feature is clearly the 5 megapixel camera on its back. It has flash, a manual focus, and an image stabilizer as well. On […]

LG Viewty

This so called “iPhone killer” is probably going to kill itself.

The Good

Based on the LG Viewty’s microsite alone, the most touted feature is clearly the 5 megapixel camera on its back. It has flash, a manual focus, and an image stabilizer as well. On the front, it features a smaller camera for video conferencing. It’s a 3g ready phone so its network should be able to handle decent quality conversations. There’s an included speakerphone on the back, the MicroSD supports up to 2 gigs, and its screen is a 3 inch touch display. It also supports DivX playback in both portrait or landscape modes with resolutions up to 640×480. Another solid feature for this phone is its ability for TV out. It’s currently on schedule for a Europe release. But don’t fret too much, here’s why.

The Bad

On immediate touch the phone feels light, plasticky and a bit thick (I’m assuming having a 5 megapixel camera stuck to your back adds on a few centimeters). Not having any internal flash probably makes the phone a bit cheaper, but without any expanded memory it will only get you to about 90mb. And only supporting up to 2 gigs, that’s not very many DivX if you think about it. I live in the US, so the phone wasn’t activated leaving me without the opportunity to test out the voice quality, video conferencing, or the web. No the phone doesn’t have WiFi either.

Booting it up was simple and quick. It has three buttons on the front, call send, clear, call end. On the left side it has a single port for charging (and I’m going to come back to this port), the right side had the lock/unlock button, camera button, and photo view, camera, or video camera selection. Top nothing, Bottom, nothing. Headphone jack? That’s where the bad comes into play. The charging port on the left side is a stock LG port featured on other phones such as the LG VX8600 (chocolate flip phone). The phone requires a unique LG adapter which plugs into the charging port to provide a headphone/earphone jack. What’s that mean? It means one more thing to carry around AND you can never charge your phone while having headphones plugged in at the same time. Those long road trips will just have to do with alternating between listening, watching and charging.

The Ugly

The touch aspect of the phone isn’t very sensitive. It requires a bit more force then I expected and it’s not always so accurate, but I imagine most touch devices aren’t. Scrolling is frustrating because more often then not it will end up selecting an item instead of scrolling. The phone does feature stylus recognition, much easier to navigate with, but slower to type with. By default, messages are set to a numeric keypad similar to most phones and features T9 writing. You can switch to a landscape full QWERTY however. The most frustrating aspect of the device was its UI. I had to click things just to figure out where I was, where I could go, and what I could do. It took me entirely too long to figure out how to landscape my videos. There is no button for it, and it doesn’t do it automatically when you turn it sideways. You tap the playing video and it’ll switch for you. Similarly when typing with the QWERTY I couldn’t find a backspace. Every time I messed up (frequently) I couldn’t find a way to go back, or delete. I ended up resorting to highlighting my word with my finger and retyping it slower. I can’t express to you how frustrating that is. Fortunately, after two more people gave it a try I learned that hitting the clear button in between the Call Send and Call End works as a backspace. The physical key is off the right as you type in landscape so you can reach it, I just didn’t know how I was supposed to figure that out. You’d assume on a digital screen, you’d have a backspace button. There is a button on the screen that looks like one, so don’t get confused. That instead is to return you to the previous screen. So accidentally hitting it while typing will ask you if you want to save your message, or delete it.

This review may be a bit biased but I find it to be reasonably so. If a company is entering a market with a new device, they should have the foresight to innovate. And if the company is entering a market where there’s competition, they should heed the practices of others and implement what works.

  1. Don’t review something that you havent tried to the max. If you cant get hold of a activated phone then let someone that has access do the review.

  2. The site looks good, but if I didn’t know better I’d say it was for a camera.

  3. “…a bit thick (I’m assuming having a 5 megapixel camera stuck to your back adds on a few centimeters).”

    I guess you meant “a few millimeters”? Adding a few centimeters would make this thing at least 3 centimeters thick, assuming a minimum thickness of 1 cm and “a few” being at least 2.

  4. UI is the key – just look at the icons of the LG – what do they mean and then what are the four icons on the side?

    Another thing people fail to bring up is the bnackup/sync. The iphone backups EVERYTHING you sync – does the LG do that? And the iphone genius bar to go for questions and repairs?

    The LG is yet another cell phone with lots of features but three buttons and menus to activate “quick dailing.” designed by engineers and not for actual use.

  5. I find it interesting that people are willing to bash on a product that they havent read a proper review of and they havent touched them selves.

    You know nothing about the UI, functions or what the buttons do but you are willing to say that its designed not for actual use?

    Come back when you have tried and tested it. No, i don’t have one and i dont have an iphone either and i wont buy into the hype of any of them before i have tried them.

  6. -htiawe

    I’m not sure if your last comment was directed at me, or if you misunderstood my post. I did have a chance to physically test the phone and play with it for a few days. I was unable to test the phone reception (making and receiving calls), and the web. So I left those out of the review.

    -menneke

    I did mean a few millimeters, but the phone is exceptionally thick compared to the iPhone, so in my haste I over exaggerated. My apologies.

    As always I’m just giving my feedback, be sure and check out the phone for yourself if and when you have the chance. Compare it to others in its category and let me know what you think.

  7. The Viewty could’ve been a really great phone but LG have made the cardinal error of focusing on the hardware and skimping on the software. As the review mentions the UI is far from self-explanatory and I swear my phone will go out the window the next time I select an item while attempting to scroll a menu.

    The UI is also completely inconsistent with different screens operating completely differently (though this could be caused by the modifications made by Orange to the UI).

    And does anyone know how to control the volume during a call? As far as I can tell it can’t be done leaving me either getting my ears blasted or straining to hear the caller.

    Overall it’s a good phone but could have been so much better. The one real positive I see from the iPhone is that it will hopefully force other headset manufactures to really think about how they design the UI because at the moment virtually all of the major players at woeful when it comes to software.

  8. I had this phone for a week and ended up returning it to my phone provider. I found the interface a little slow and not well thought out. For example, you can use a QWERTY keyboard for text message but no where else like entering a URL, etc.

    Pictures that I took with the phone (set to 5MP) were pixelated though I am led to believe this may have just been the phone I had as other people have had good results.

    Shutter lag was a huge problem with this phone and I was not the only one. Taking a picture of anything that is not stationary e.g. babies, animals, etc, was a mission, as the lag between pressing the shutter and the picture being taken was about 1-2 seconds.

    Poor finish – The back cover kept coming off when taking it out of my pocket, allowing dust and fluff into the battery area.

    Touch screen responsiveness – This is one of the areas I was impressed with the Viewty. I didn’t have any problems.

    No mac compatibility. The OS is LG’s propertiary operating system with a flash interface sitting on top to make it look pretty. The software (Windows only) that comes with the phone is on a slot loading unfriendly half size CD, so I had to use my wife’s laptop to grab the software. It is exactly the same software that Samsung use with their phones and gives you the basic functions of adding and removing contacts as well as adding and removing content (using the phone as a mass storage device).

    Call quality was good and data speeds were reasonable. I am on 3’s HSDPA network over here in the UK and could not fault the call quality. Data speeds were only 500Kb/s at best (my Treo 750 peaks at over 1Mb/s in the same spot) but still better than regular 3G speeds.

    Overall there were too many things not to like with this phone that I sent it back to 3 for a tried and tested Sony Ericsson K800i (which thankfully also sync’s with iSync).

  9. If your not bright enough to find out the c button ist used to clear what you typed, then its probably not the phones fault.Maybe reviews should be done by people who are a) used to handle modern cellphones and b) actually use the cell phone to full extend first.

    Besides: The charging or listening thing is neither a great flaw or a big problem. Thats how most of the sony ericsson phones work, including the K750i.i agree that it would have been better to have 2 plugs, but since i seldomly ride the bus, listen to music and charge my phone at the same time, its barely a problem.

  10. I have to say, despite the (arguable) flaws in this review, the Viewty is far from perfect. Having had one for a couple of days (having upgraded from an N73 – eech) and tried to use it as a normal phone, here are the major flaws:

    * tiny phone book. I had 580 people in my N73 and the Viewty will only import 500.
    * tiny inbox. The N73s was unlimited, and the solution to my messaging woes is NOT to cap my inbox at only 300 messages.
    * the handwriting recognition is basically useless; it may as well not be there.
    * there is no web browser, only a WAP browser. even my abysmal N73 had Opera!
    * the input methods are inconsistent. What’s the point in a full-keyboard input for text messages when you only have the keypad input method in the browser?

    Although the interface is slick and not slow as hell (like my N73), I am not in need of a mediocre camera with gimmicks I will not use (divx playback, 120fps video) when the phone can’t even handle the basics properly – so I’ll be sending mine back to the shop.

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