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. @Kerry: I’d have to agree about the charger/music aspect being rather silly, but in answer to your question, you can look through music without stopping.

    When you’re playing e.g. “All Tracks” (which is what I do) and you start playing just one out of the many, look into the topright of the screen for a button called ‘Playlist’. This will show you all of the music whilst your phone is still playing.

    Playlists are tricky. I started off creating some, then realised I couldn’t be bothered with the hassle, but the good news is the LG ViewTY is clever enough to update the playlist if it spots that one or two songs are no longer available/deleted.

    Click on “Playlists’ then look in the bottom left of the screen for a button with a rectangular grid. Clicking on this will bring up options to ‘Add a new playlist’. After entering the name, you then get to the list of all your tracks, where you get to select multiple ones (Just like text messages) to go on your playlist.

  2. just so you’re all aware (I’m in the UK by the way) I got the LG Viewty mid July (3 weeks or so ago) the battery is terrible – I’d never had a chance to put music on it and took a couple of photos – and the phone would die before the day was out anyway. Literally after making one or two texts. I was JUST on my phone at around 11.55pm when I get a loud BANG in my ear. The phone carries on as if nothing has happened, I dropped it – luckily onto my bed but still… could have lost my hearing right there!! Don’t know what’s going on with the general thing but I back up the stupidity of having it’s own charger and not being able to charge it AND listen to music. I also haven’t figured out a way to go back to look through music without stopping what you’re actually playing, or creating playlists from the actual phone…

  3. chari75

    Guys, Lots of decent features.

    But, Why should the phone book have only 500 entries?

    Only 2GB of expandable memory.

    I was using the Htc touch cruise and then this. Both are equally bad with touch sensitivity.

    Apple iphone is miles ahead.

    As a day to day phone with 5mp camera ……… perfect.

  4. graeme

    Dan you are not alone, my battery dies very quickly also, it has to have a full charge EVERY day which is very frustrating, domichan thats an interesting point you raise about the magnet thing, il try it out

  5. i see what you mean Domichan, i work with magnets every day so thats what it could be thanks very much for the advice and i’ll keep it out of the way if i doesn’t work after that i’ll take it back to have it looked at as suggested

    best regards Dan

  6. Domichan

    Dan, i had the same prob initially and taking it back for new batteries solved nothing. the cause of the problem was that i kept the phone in a case with magnetic catches. new case … problem solved. i’ve had mine for about 5 months now and the battery life issue is a thing of my distant past.

  7. I dont have this problem and i had it for quite a few months, take it back to the shop or call the people who provided it and ask for a new battery.

  8. hi, i’ve only had the lG Viewty for a few weeks and i’ve noticed a problem, the battery life..I don’t no if its faulty or something but i have to keep recharging it daily and yet it still dies at 3pm each day or if im lucky 6pm this is after a WHOLE night of charging! I was wondering if anyone else is having the same problem, i don’t use it frequently so i’am complete confused as to why this is happen, other wise i’m more than content with the phone

  9. Emily Shah

    Hi I’ve had this phone a few days – I do love it and the backspace when writing text is very logical to me. Yes, either the c hard button or a backwards stroke with either your finger or the stylus will delete the character before. I also think that the reviewer failed to notice that there is a hardly noticeable clear plastic cover on the lcd display – it protects the screen but if you remove it the touch sensitivity doubles and is a very responsive and accurate screen. For me the bad side is battery life – if you use the web it won’t last an hour, and it is not compatible with apple, and does not have wifi…but if you can live with these it’s a good phone. And pretty.

  10. Back after a few months of using the phone. There are pros and cons. The scrolling isn’t that bad once you get used to it, so I don’t know why people would complain about it. Of course, I don’t own an iPhone or iTouch(?) but I have played with one, and the ViewTY is less responsive, but once you get used to scrolling throuh content and touch screen, the next time you pick up another phone, you wonder why it’s not the same?

    IN terms of usability, I have found the ViewTY to be just fine for what I need. I tend to message about 5-10 times aday on average, and just use the keypad option rather than the keyboard+stylus (although the latter is great when you’re wearing gloves) The interface is well designed, and is pretty intuitive.

    The only thing that really gets me down is the camera. After being used to Sony Ericsson and hoping that the 5mb ViewTY would take far better pictures, I can’t help but conclude that SE is definitely further down the road than LG at this stage. I’ve played around with the settings a bit, and there must be something I’m just not doing right to really maximise the camera.

    Music wise, I find it great for listening to music (I use it in place of an iPod) but it does drain battery life, and it helps if you have your own good earphones (I’m using Sennheiser – haven’t tried the ones provided).

    The annoying thing is that with Orange, they don’t give you an extra memory card for free, which you’ll need for music and pictures and video. I got mine (a 2GB Sandisk inc. postage) for 7 GBP from a seller on Amazon which I would recommend.

    Reception is generally good for this phone, although I have noticed it isn’t as good as my old Sony Ericsson w810i. But mostly I have no problems at all.

    Oh and finally battery life: I don’t feel that my ViewTY has an extremely short battery life, but it is shorter mainly because I use it so much for music. However, I do occasionally go through the whole thing of letting the battery drain completely to recharge; and making sure that the fewest number of processes are running at any one go (it drains battery life)

    Would I recommend it to people? Yes, if you want something a bit different that will change the way you think about phones, stylish and practical (it’s pretty solid – I’ve dropped it a few times) then I’d recommend you try it out before you buy for at least a week before saying yey or neigh (it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it will provide you with hours of entertainment -with a charger – as you can spend your time editing photos etc. on the go if that floats your boat) but if you’re looking for something with a good camera, I would say wait for LG to improve their technology in that area.

    Hope this helps :)

    p/s:I tested the document/pdf viewing function, and it works a treat :)

  11. Dominic

    I bought a viewty 5 months ago. Mainly i wanted the qwerty keyboard and touch screen but didn’t want to spend £200+ on an iPhone. Not tooo disappointed. Scrolling is a nightmare and i only read manuals when i’m bored or desperate (like all real men) so a more intuitive interface would be good. Camera don’t care though while playing i did notice a sizeable shutter lag. I carry a smallish panasonic camera with a proper lens all the time. I have macs at home, pcs at work and have used computers for 30 years. With computers, mac’s win hands down in my opinion. With phones? How can i tell? i’ve only “played” with an iPhone. Htiawe and Steven … your comments are those of ill mannered idiots. To those who were constructive in their comments – thank you.

  12. i wouldnt say the iphone is s**t, it has a better glass screen and has much bigger internal memory/media player than the viewty (basically a glorified ipod) i would love the addition of wifi to my viewty but i wouldnt want it at the expense of 3g… each phone has its good and bad points neither are deserving of the s**t marks imo

  13. i have this phone and i must say hands down it beats the iphone the camera the user interface FLLLLLLLLLLLASH more pocket freindly and hsdpa and umts for anybody who wants to back up the iphone by saying it has wifi well wifi isnt everywhere is it so what im basically saying is iphone is s**t

  14. Andrew Yates

    This is NOT a review! There are plenty of inconsistencies to it, and it generally lacking any real detail.

    One absolutely key point that was absent is the fact that this phone is NOT compatible with iSync, and therefore cannot synchronise contacts, calendars etc. Considering this is an Apple related website, any decent, credible review would mention that this phone cannot in fact be used to its full capability on an Apple computer. You have obviously never used this phone in any depth.

    Anyone can write this sort of thing – Sloppy work.

  15. i have one. first 2 days i was a bit disapointed. some same points as described in review, i.g. scrolling with touch screen.

    now, after 2 days, i’m used to it, and scrolling is easy as hell and is really good feature to me. design (software & manufacture) is good.

    nice gadget. and the pix ar ok as well.

  16. I was also put off the viewty by the review but after reading more reivews and comments am convinced that this is the phone for me.
    I did consider the Iphone but the ridiculously high price and lack of a decent camera put me off.

    The holy grail? Great camera, great MP3 player and great design. Until we get that in one it will be the Viewty for me. Message to Apple you lost a potential customer. Stop overcharging your customers in Europe.

  17. Please try reading the operation manual before handling the phone. If anyone is to operate a phone or other equipment without reading the manual, these sort of comments will appear. Please try to ask anyone to operate the iphone or any other phones and see if they can use them well without explaining to them the operation guide.

    Many of the comments seems that you have not read the Viewty manual at all. Try reading it. It will help to solve most of your problems.

  18. @Andrew: What’s with the accusations? You “obviously” aren’t too sure of what you’re talking about. We don’t take paid reviews and I take it as an insult for you to say that.

    Don’t come here starting crap like that. Period.

  19. Guys whats with all the arguing? The reviewer obviously has some agenda in the post I can imagine Apple have paid thousands of digital PR people to come online and slag off this phone, they are scared. All the whinging and whining over qwerty keyboards and an extra 2 mm of thickness bla bla bla both phones have faults I have owned them both, but for the money, one being £280 plus ridicolous contract and totally rubbish camera and the other being 5mp camera free on a standard contract, there is no comparison whatsoever.

    Little between the phones MUCH between the prices

  20. excellent :D

    you may find that the screen protectors get scratched easily, but i dont use them anyway, my partner does, I bought my own leather pouch to put it in so no scratches lol.

    I got it on orange too, so far sterling service, not too sure on their choice of plans, would much prefer to get free mobile net 24/7 as i check mail and stuff on the train/bus to and from work but it nothing against the phone itself.

    has anyone tried to use google’s mail app on their phone?

  21. I have to admit reading the review put me off a little, but reading subsequent comments, particularly those by Silver and Matty really helped! As others have written already, plenty of other sites have given it a thumbs up more than a thumbs down,so this is probably the first complete blog review that I’ve read which has so much negative stuff to say.

    If i can remember the blog addy, I”ll come back again in aweek’s time and let everyone know what I think about the phone, since it’s just arrived in the post today.

    First impressions? Orange (UK) packages it beautifully. (very compact) the phone itself is not less robust than I thought. I am leaving it to charge fully for the day until I start using it. I was surprised to find that the battery cover was actual METAL rather than plastic. The box came with extra screen protectors.

  22. OK review and i actually begrudgingly agree to the majority of the article, Ive had the viewty for a week now and its wearing a bit thin… the camera is great for taking pictures and video although the shutter is a bit naff, I can live with it, much better than the VGA camera in my razr lets put it that way. screen, Im intreagued by the whole touch screen no keypad thing as i had the sony ericsson W910i which has 4GB of internal memory and was for the most part the best media player i could ever want, however useless at calls or texts… this phone (viewty) is great in terms of making calls and yes i will agree the touch screen is a bit touch, usually because they put so much plastic between the touch screen itself and the protector screen. saying that i find the screen better than the iphone, i trialled the iphone in the shop and from a friend and i find that the touch screen is far too sensitive selecting letters that i didnt want where as the viewty does it just fine. the interface is a bit noddyish, I would prefer a bit more function for the Techy in me… for example user applications dont suit this phone, bot mine and my partners viewty crash and restart when running 3rd party applications or Flash apps. my sony ericsson didnt and i loved it for that… give me symbian os anyday. you can keep your mac os :P i work with it enough thanks.

  23. I think this is a decent review…a bit biased, but that is human nature. I love macs and have been using them for 5 years..have 2 ipods and love them to bits. I was chuffed to use the iphone, but could not use the keyboard to either dual or type into the web browser. And the cost ..oh my God. I tried the viewty…and though not as slick as iphone, it is a superb phone. I do not think there is any comparison with iphone..they both do different things…but just because of the cost factor, I am buying the LG….sorrt steve jobs, you have lost a loyal customer to LG.