Blog Post

The LG Viewty

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.

75 Responses to “The LG Viewty”

  1. Okay, I have an 8Gb SD card in mine and it works fine. The phone has a firmware glitch that only allows it to tell the user there is 2Gb of space but everything on the 8Gb is usable. The touch is most certainly not as good as the iPhone’s (which I’ve had full use of for a week) but then how could anyone ever match Apple’s Multitouch (I get sued for saying it?) as there are so many patents on it, anything that detects touch in two places on it’s surface and fits in your pocket is an infringement.
    The Viewty is a marvelous phone with a fair few defects but then that’s just technology all over. The iPhone had plenty glitches at release. I seem to remember hundreds of hacking sites opened before it’s international debut? Aaaanyway, 5MP camera is brilliant, DivX converter (included for free) is smooth but (encoding video is always…) SLOW! Playback is great. No ability to do too much at once (e.g. play music and play a game at the same time) due to lack of system memory but then this is sold as a CAMERA-PHONE not so much as a multimedia device. The browser isn’t “all that” but does the job. Some hackers over at forums are working on flash plugins. It’s runs Opera mini, Google Maps and plenty other mobile apps with touchscreen-support.
    In my opinion the only features that the iPhone beat the KU990 Viewty are the mineral-glass, scratch-proof screen, rapid multimedia plaback, accelerometer, multitouch and Flash support. But then the iPohne isn’t 3G meaning no video calls (complete lack of front camera anyways), lame internet, heck, you can’t even picture message. The internet on it is only so fast with a wi-fi connection and to be honest, normally, where there’s a wi-fi connection, there’s a PC.
    Also the iPhone’s camera is probably the worst available on contract on the market, it costs £900 over 18 months including £269 for the phone itself (My Viewty is £30 for 12 Months, Free, 200mins, 200txts, O2), I’m forced to use DRM-infested iTunes with the iPhone, the iPhone’s at war with hacks, whereas the Viewty’s communities are very hackful and amongst all that, it’s a bit girly.

  2. The Fact is:

    Apple computers get outclassed by both Microsoft and Linux

    Apple Ipods have poor sound quality and get Outclassed by Samsung/Sony/Creative etc etc

    and the Iphone is a joke and gets outclassed by pretty much every phone company.

  3. The IPhone is a mp3 player combined with a phone and the Viewty is a camera combined with a phone. I don’t understand why these two phones are being compared against each other. They are not even in the same category.

    I’m currently using Viewty and I don’t understand what is so difficult about the UI . . . I’ve never used a LG phone before and I picked it up fairly quickly.
    My favorite part of Viewty is, of course, the camera. It has all the basic function of a regular DC. Red eye reduction, hand stablizer, zoom in/out, panorama etc etc Unlike my previous phone, saving pictures take almost no time at all. The additional effects that I can add to a photo is an added bonus! I’m a major fangirl to the apple but just the camera alone was enough to convince me to buy the Viewty.

  4. This isnt really a review, this is more of a thin preview. Is this what someone would expect when they need help byying a phone? No.

    It feels like you havent really used it and well, you havent really because it wasnt activated. Get a real review copy, spend some time with it and write up a proper review.

  5. Well naturally my opinion is something that reflects a small percentage of readers and that’s fine. But out of curiosity what do you love about the Viewty so much? I’d love to hear your favorite features, I’m sure it’ll make this review more complete. Also I’d love to hear your displeasure for the iPhone, what you think it’s lacking and what would make up for it? Thanks

  6. Hahahahaha, horrible review of a guy with a piece of apple in his eye – good luck you there buying taiwan cheepshit for 1000Euro for piece ;) with design and interface candies as the only goods it has. BTW I am a mac user, but iPhone is just for making money. Viewty rocks

  7. Why compare this to the iPhone? LG doesn’t claim it to be an iPhone killer. It’s a camera phone. And comparing the cameras of the iPhone and the LG, the LG is the clear winner. All the rants in your last chapter don’t say anything about the phone; it’s more about you not being able (or willing) to read the manual :)

  8. @Steven: Size is almost twice an iPhone. I held and compared them together. The phone supports a MAX of 2 gigs, meaning you get the joy of carrying more than one card around if you want 8 gigs worth of content.But I do agree the camera thing, I probably won’t always be carrying around a camera AND a phone, unless I’m traveling.So it would be nice to have a better quality camera available on hand more frequently, especially for those that love quick shots at a seconds notice.

  9. @Ben that site shows more people like the viewty than the iphone. and just go to dialaphone or etc for a proper viewty review who actually give it a great score.

    @Arvin Apple Innovators Haha hmm i would call them Rip-Off Merchants.

    As for saying the viewty is 1) big hmm about same size as iphone.

    2)lag? really i have’nt heared an review mention this.

    3)memory seeing as you can have as many sd cards as you want and the fact people have got 4 and 8 sdhc cards working with this then memory is not a problem.

    And of course having a dedicated camera is gonna be better but will u always carry a mobile and then a digital camera around? its the same as me saying why get iphone when u could get a better phone and then buy a better dedicated mp3 player something with decent sound quality as well like a sony or samsung.

  10. @Ben funny you should mention that since on that site the viewty gets 85% out of a hundred and the iphone gets 60%.,39030107,49292601,00.htm

    All good reviews for the viewty

    @Arvin Are you joking Innovators like apple haha more like rip-off merchants and as for the viewty having lag and being big well no one has complained off lag the size is practically same as iphone and the memory is enough especially as you can have unlimted cards think about it.

    as for the mention of getting a “real camera” would you carry it about all the time ? i could say why get iphone when u could get a “real mp3 player” and i’m not talking about that other junk known as ipod i mean something like a sony who actually know what sound quality is.

  11. @Steven: What sets the Viewty apart from any other phone? It has a touch screen, but does it offer something new, something tangible to actually require the need for a touch screen? Everything this phone offers, I get more efficiently done on a Sony Ericsson W890, or any other phone for that matter. You need to ask yourself where the world would be without innovators such as Apple. I defend them, yes as a fan boy, but have you ever asked yourself why I, as well as all these other people are too? The iPhone offers true value in a market full of “me too’s”. If you want to test out my theory, go OS X for a complete month. Don’t just berate it, give it a chance, ask questions when you need help, learn and discover more. Then come back to me and let me know your thoughts.

    @Nick: Yes, I, who probably is more tech savvy then your average user, didn’t think to use a physical hard key to clear, instead of the full QWERTY on screen choices surrounding it. Don’t forget it took a few others to figure that out too.

    Rant over, sense back. The Viewty’s phone offers 5 megapixels at what cost? Size? Lag? Memory? If I want to print shots that big, I’m getting a real camera, like a Nikon. Just something to think about. Maybe I’m settling in the eyes of a few, but for the record I don’t have an iPhone. Yet.

  12. @Steven – My review wasn’t to suggest that I would have the iPhone either. There are quite a few things that need to be done to it before it becomes a decent product offering which is why I use a Treo running Windows Mobile. That being said, there are some fundamental flaws in the execution of Viewty that made it too painful to live with like shutter lag.

    Are Apple’s products over rated? I believe that it just a matter of opinion. For some, it is but I prefer the simplicity, ease of use, and the lack of frustration. It just works and for me, that is what justifies it prices. I get enough “challenges” from Windows at work, don’t need them when I come home ;)

    Another argument would be that Apple uses grade A components (unlike the likes of Dell) and if you were to specify a machine to the same level, it would cost around the same sort of money or more. In fact PC World recently concluded that Vista runs fastest on a Mac.

  13. Hmm funny that probably one of the only sites reviewing the LG Viewty and giving it a poor rating is from a apple fanboy.

    The Iphone is nothing to live upto and the sooner people realise this the better apple products are way over-rated and over-hyped and are often just style over function for example the Iphone claims to be good at internet browsing and yes it has wifi but to be honest if ur in a area of wifi ur more than likely at home or work where u could probably use a computer instead which of course is much better and since the Iphone has no 3G then wanting to view the web anywhere more “mobile” is gonna be painful. Then theres the terrible camera and comon using it as a mp3 player? for a start ipods have bad sound quality next to alot of other mp3 players.

    This phone however delivers a good camera a amazing 120fps video recording, 3G etc etc

    Iphone can’t even do basic functions like copy and paste or foward text messages or delete contacts without a computer.

  14. viewty or iphone, no comparison to me! i have had a play with the iphone and was blown away with how fluent everything runs, how pretty it looks etc etc and yes now i really really want one. wait wait hold on a second, i must think with my head because phew – i was nearly willing to part with over £250 AND commit to a contract aswell. neither phone is perfect i’m sure, but if i’m buying a phone the viewty sounds the better option. sorry apple but if your to make a phone and charge soooo much money for it i would expect it to abomb all opposition into next week. so use your head get a viewty, that way you can afford an ipod to go with it, and you get to keep your sanity

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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).

  18. 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.

  19. -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.


    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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. “…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.