Product Type: LG Electronics mobile phones
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Your Viewtiful its true
LG KU990 Viewty
Member Name: dididave
LG KU990 Viewty
Date: 07/04/08, updated on 07/04/08 (994 review reads)
Advantages: Great camera, touchscreen menu is intuitive, works well as a phone and multimedia device.
Disadvantages: Texting a bit slower, screen needs protection, no memory card included
The Viewty differs from these previous products as it manages to combine style with a feature rich handset. In direct competition with Apple's Iphone and Nokia's N95, the Viewty aims to be an all encompassing multimedia device.
In terms of the look of the thing, this is not the most viewtiful of the phones outhere. It is in the larger "brick shaped" style of phones, more synonymous with PDA devices such as Blackberry and Palm but is thinner than any in these ranges and certainly more attractive in sleek black than the chubby N95.
In essence this phone, in appearance is like the IPhone's identical twin with curved edges and a massive 3 inch touch screen. Now, using a touch screen phone does admittedly take a bit of getting used to. However, the user interface on the Viewty is very straightforward with menu access literally, at your fingertips. The most important phone features have not been lost amongst the technical and texting, calling, phone and menu buttons are all instantly available. The screen is a nicely robust piece of kit and surprisingly, needs a half decent press from your finger to activate features. I for one liked this, especially when texting using the on screen keypad as it meant I rarely made mistakes. Reading through messages and lists is also very easy as you scroll the text with your finger. In pretty much every aspect, the touch screen is intuitive and responsive. A vibrating screen as you access commands adds to this and makes it even more difficult to misdial, access the internet etc by accident.
Although a very well designed handset, the Viewty is not quite perfect. For the bigger fingered among you their is a rather girly looking retractable stylus to attach to the device. Looking suspiciously like an eye-liner the stylus works great and is certainly necessary on the very odd occasion when your finger cannot quiet access a corner of the screen. However, LG have chosen not to provide a storage section on the phone for it leaving it dangling sadly from a bit of string. Surely if Nintendo can do this in 2005 for it's DS LG could have managed it here! Furthermore, the large screen is likely to scratch long term. LG certainly are aware of this as the Viewty actually comes with a stick on screen protector which I think is vital if you want to stop your phone becomes scratched/filthy in your pocket. This does however, have the downside of reducing the sensitivity of the touch screen a little meaning that you have to be a little more definite with your fingers/stylus. I like this but those who want something delicate to navigate may well not.
I have already mentioned texting on the Viewty and one thing I would say is that although it is very easy using the touch screen, it is not perhaps as quick as the old fashioned button methods. Despite having a comprehensive T9 predictive text dictionary, at times the Viewty cannot keep up with my typing. Switching to the touch screen QWERTY keyboard is a good option for those who can type quicker this way, but I find it slower. The "handwriting recognition" feature also sounds more promising than it's practical reality. You have to write on the screen with primary school precision for letters to be recognised and although it is possible to text using this method, it is more time consuming than you would think. Certainly for this dodgy Doctor's handwriting!
Calls are of course, the mainstay of any mobile phone and the Viewty excels in this area. Call quality is nice and loud and adjustable including a clear loudspeaker option, I have had no trouble being heard or hearing the caller and have had no reception, crackling or distortion issues on my Vodafone tariff. The phone is also comfortable on my ear, something not all brick phones can profess! The phone book is easily accessed and split into manageable ABC sections while the "telephone" itself is functional and can be customised for speed dial. The phone book can store 500 numbers which is enough for anybody and I would guess even more with a memory card.
This brings me onto the multimedia aspects of the phone and why, in my opinion, this is a far better alternative to the Iphone. This phone has a five mega pixel camera with image stabilizer and flash that is easily accessed by one of the few "solid" buttons on the phone. This camera takes great pictures and shares many of the features of any digital camera with auto and manual focus options, whitening effects and different shooting options according to location. Pictures are crisp and clear and the phone has minimal and easy to use editing software which makes playing with your photos a breeze. As a lover of Sony's Cybershot range I should point out that the flash is not quite as good as this range but it is certainly the best I have encountered in an "all round" device.
A quick flick of the switch takes you into movie recording mode which again is a joy as you take high quality VGA videos which can be saved and uploaded very easily to sites such as youtube thanks to 3G networking and HSDPA transfers. Or you can simply blue tooth them to your mates. The three inch screen makes movies and photos very easy to shoot and makes the Viewty very much a "point and click" device. Perhaps the only downside to this is the dubious decision to make the zoom a "click wheel" around the lens of the camera. Zooming in this way often means you obstruct your image and although you can use the touch screen, this feature is not as intuitive as the rest of the device.
Other media functions that make the Viewty the complete device are an MP3 player, FM radio and internet access. The MP3 player is functional if not inspiring and accepts all the major file types. Tracks can be ordered into playlists and have album and artist details and the sound quality on playback is good if, once again, not quite as good as an MP3 dedicated device such as Sony's "Walkman" series of phones. Unfortunately, there is no memory card included and the 100 megabyte shared memory will soon get filled. As such a Micro SD card is an essential purchase for anyone wishing to discard their separate MP3 player. The in-built FM radio can auto scan up to 9 channels to be stored and quality and reception is generally good using the "dongle" you can attach to the phone. The Internet accesses quickly using 3G and enables fast and stable downloads. The large screen and touch screen makes browsing very easy and I have yet to find a site I cannot access efficiently including my gmail account and dooyoo!
Of course, you will want to customise your phone and the Viewty has a variety of options internally in terms of ringtones, message alerts and alarms. There is a rudimentary calender cum organiser included too so you do not need to heave a diary around with you and you can download a free and simple version of MS Word. As such this phone could be used as a replacement for a hefty smartphone or PDA. Unfortunately, LG's support is poor at present and as such, firmware is virtually non-existent at although this is set to change. The phone does however, come with USB cables and rudimentary phone management software. The phone is also surprisingly poorly supported by independent developers and you cannot change themes at present without "hacking into your phone" potentially causing damage. This also means there are a limited amount of Viewty supported games. You can still run any Java game on the device, but trying to play games using the arrow keys on the touch screen can be difficult to impossible.
All in all the Viewty is a cracking handset that not only rivals the Iphone but beats it hands down in that it has both a video recorder and player, has 3G and can send picture messages. Also, unlike the Iphone it is available free on contract from any network provider. I love my Viewty, it as all the bells and whistles and also manages to be a bloody good phone. Finally, LG have created a phone that works at least as good as it looks.
Summary: Better than the Iphone in almost every aspect
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