The rise of the smartphone-tablet hybrids have made consumers adopt devices with 5-inch+ displays. And though you get many options today, LG’s spin on the smartphone-tablet hybrid – Optimus Vu is a bit different. But is it compelling enough to lure customers? We take a look.
Design and Build Quality:
The first thing you’ll notice is Optimus Vu’s design. The phone is designed to resemble like a book but frankly it looks a bit odd compared to the barrage of phones available today. Optimus Vu is slim but is really wide, even making the original Galaxy Note look less wider. There’s a faux leather finish at the back that gives it a premium look and is graced by a large 5-inch display on the front with capacitive buttons and 1.3MP front-facing camera on the front; a dedicated QuickMemo and power buttons, microUSB port at the top and volume buttons on the side.
Overall, the design is simple and build construction is good but due to the sheer size, don’t be surprised if you garner some eyeballs.
The display is what LG is pretty bullish on but it is one of the things that can be a hit or a miss for a consumer. It has a 5-inch display but it’s the aspect ratio of 4:3 and XGA resolution (1024×768 pixels) that separates it from the rest of the smartphone crowd. LG’s decision to go with this aspect ratio is that it enables a better web browsing and e-book reading experience, which I tend to agree with.
Furthermore, the text looked crisp with a decent legibility under sunlight due to the bright display.
Optimus Vu is powered by Nvidia’s Tegra 3 quad-core processor with 1GB of RAM and the combo is more than enough for a decent performance. Although I experienced an occasional lag while sifting through apps in the app drawer.
The phone runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich OS and is laden with a customised user interface by LG. The interface is the same as you’d find in Optimus 4X HD so there are no big surprises here. QuickMemo is also similar to the Optimus 4X HD but it is enhanced due to the fact that it now has a dedicated button, allowing to write handwritten text from anywhere in the phone. QuickMemo is really handy and overlays on the running app or menu and can be customised according to the use of pen, thickness as well as text colour.
Optimus Vu is a treat if you consider the video format support. It can play almost any content without haviing to install any additional codec but due to the aspect ratio of the phone, videos with 16:9 will have black bars on the top and bottom sides. The stock video player also supports video zoom, speed controller and live previews.
As far as music player goes, it handles most of the popular formats and offers decent audio playback, both on earphones and on loudspeakers.
Optimus Vu sports an 8MP camera at the back along with an LED flash. Users can capture photos using variety of options, including adjusting ISO, resolution, flash etc. Users can also click pictures by saying ‘cheese’ or can use the volume key to use it as a physical shutter button.
On the video front, Optimus Vu is capable of recording 1080p videos at 30fps.
As far as quality goes, the images and videos turn out to be pretty ok with good colour reproduction and low noise.
Rubberdium Pen and NFC:
LG bundles a special Rubberdium stylus with the device. While it’s good to have a stylus for a large device that will help in taking hand-written notes or drawing, one bummer is that the Opitmus Vu does not have a slot to keep it when not in use. The pen, though, can be tucked in the shirt’s pocket due to its pen-like design.
The phone is also bundled with an NFC tag that can be used to control various settings or apps of the phone with the help of an app from a Play Store.
LG Optimus Vu is a formidable device, no doubt. But the size hinders its potential. Some users may find it at home but most would find it rather wide and difficult for one-handed operation.
The phone retails for Rs. 26,990.
Pros: Good performance, 32GB internal storage
Cons: Size, No slot for stylus