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.

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