The LG Viewty – my thoughts
So it was Steve Clayton in his review of the phone, who got me thinking seriously about the LG Viewty. I had seen the ads and was in the market for a new phone anyway. But the N95 seemed the obvious choice.
I like taking pics wherever I go but don’t want to take along a second camera – no matter how small it may be, but battery life on the N95 is almost as bad as my previous N80.
Shortly after leaving a comment on the LG blog, Ryan got in touch and I was sent my review sample of the Viewty. I have had the phone for a couple of weeks now to make sure I am totally ok with all aspects of it and am, on the whole, totally delighted with it.
I am going to go through a few areas where I have used the phone the most but would, on the whole, totally recommend this phone.
Something that never occurred to me is just how many subtle changes you need to make to a touch screen OS to ensure features cannot be activated by the same finger swipe you use to move through the menu (i.e. that you don’t go into a contact’s details when you are trying to slide through the contact list).
"Conventional" phones have scroll wheels or joysticks to guide you through menu’s with different buttons to activate your choice. The danger with the touch screen OS is that you would have to add several different click/authentications to arrive at an action, but with the Viewty this is barely noticeable. When it is, you are actually thankful that you have to "press" again to activate your choice of action and importantly it is not a chore. Because your finger is already on the screen this additional "press" to activate the feature is second nature. As such the Touch screen OS works beautifully.
I have three criticisms though:
1) The screen can be easily scratched and the protector sticker gets incredibly dirty very quickly. The protector also numbs the sensitivity of the screen too, seemingly making the screen react much slower to actions.
2) There is a slide bar on the side of any appropriate menus (as you would on a computer screen), but it is so narrow it is nigh-on impossible to use.
3) It can sometimes feel like sliding your finger through glue. It is not as sensitive as I would prefer.
I have always favoured the Sony Ericsson interface and have become very familiar with the Symbian OS on the N80, but I had never used the LG OS ever before. In little time at all, I felt very comfortable using the phone and was able to add both Opera browser and Google Mail applications quickly and easliy find my pictures, movies and music in a flash.
The addition of the home page feature is a great one it is a shortcuts page on the home screen) although i would like to personalise this to enable instant access to applications other than the default ones.
As OS’s go, it isn’t my favourite, but it massively more intuitive than when I first got a Symbian OS phone a coupe of years ago.
One oddity though, I saved Opera and Gmail to my Applications folder (accessed from the shortcut on the home page) but the same files take an "age" to find in the conventional menu system.
Could do with a little more work but otherwise very accessible and easy to use.
Internet and email on the move is a biggie for me. I am a frequent user of Jaiku and Twitter, Facebook, the usual news and sport sites and Gmail. The Viewty handles all of them perfectly.
As a benchmark, laslxdkdlddls"AwOpera on the N80 was awesome. Zoom and navigation were a breeze, but the screen size didn’t really allow the best view of pages. Only with the final public launch did it allow ladnscaping of the page.
The Viewty browser handles this perfectly, and also allows a handy conventional-style keyboard. One thing I haven’t mentioned yet is theÂ toggle dial surrounding the camera lens. This allows for the scrolling through menus but also camera zoom and screen zoom when in browser mode. And what a cool feature it is.
At this stage in mobile web, the Viewty does as good a job as I have yet seen of taking conventional web sites and making them visible on a smaller screen (although the Viewty’s screen is much bigger than most anyway!).
Without doubt this is the best camera I have used on a mobile phone. 5MP, awesome ISO 800 rating, a semi-press auto-focus and set-up features, toggle switch for camera/video and playback the Viewty has a host of features you would normally find on a conventional portable camera.
Whilst not up to normal portable camera standards (low light seems to be its only weakness but is still far better than the N95 from what I have seen) it blows everything else out of the water. The on-screen in-shot options are very simple to use making the camera a delight to use.
My only niggles are a) the lens does seem to get smudged very easily (but no worse than any other), but that because the lens is so good, it does pick up those smudges in the image and b) the camera takes a little long to load when you press to activate it. Big deal!
Phone (can’t forget that bit!)
You know what, it isn’t great. The speaker isn’t that good but more than good enough for me. Oh, and it is so easy to use!
With no favours to LG whatsoever, this phone is a beauty. The touch screen is everything I had hoped it would be (i.e. as good as the iphones I have played with) and the OS, whilst still not as familiar to me as other phones I have had, works very well with the touch screen.
For what I need from my phones (in order of preference):
1) Phone – perfectly decent.
2) Camera – simply the best on a phone bar none.
3) Internet browser – quick, easy and the best mobile browser bar none.
… the LG Viewty does everything the iPhone does but so much better. It makes the iPhone look like a Skoda dressed up as a Ferrari. Looks good on the outside, but the mechanics are shambolic.