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Verizon Wireless(s vz)(s vod) is the latest U.S. network operator to ask the question: “Is it a phone or is it a tablet?” The carrier confirmed rumors from last month by announcing on Tuesday that it will sell a 5-inch handset called Intuition by LG. The large phone — or small tablet, if you will — goes on sale Sept. 6 online for $199 with a new two-year agreement. Verizon Wireless stores will have the Intuition in stock for purchase four days later.
When rumors hit last month on this phone, called the LG Optimus Vu outside of the U.S., I wondered if the device would be a true challenger to Samsung’s Galaxy Note line of phones for two reasons. First, LG opted to use a 4:3 aspect ratio for the 5-inch display, which is a bit awkward for pockets and hands due to the greater width compared to a widescreen phone. Second, the LG device can use a stylus for digital notes, just like the competing Samsung models, but there’s no place to put the stylus. That’s a recipe for losing the stylus before you can get past the first level of Angry Birds.
Outside of those two concerns, the handset looks good on paper in terms of hardware: 1.5 GHz dual-core processor; 1 GB RAM; 8 megapixel rear camera; 1.3 megapixel front camera; bright 650 nit display and, of course, support for Verizon’s LTE network. On the software side, the Intuition comes with Android 4.0, is pre-loaded with an Amazon app suite (s amzn), and has a camera mode with 6 burst shots. Polaris Office is also a featured app.
I’ll be taking a run into my local Verizon store to get a feel for the phone once it’s available because the 4:3 aspect is nagging at me. Verizon says it’s “to fully use the screen size and eliminate dead space,” but that sounds like marketing speak to me. I still think Verizon missed an opportunity by not offering the original Samsung Galaxy Note and with the debut of the Intuition, it sounds like it may pass on the Galaxy Note II as well, which isn’t due in the U.S. until year-end.