— blending the mix

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.

Touch Screen

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.

Operating System

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.

Browser

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 the  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!).

Camera

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!

Summary

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.

Bravo LG.

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18 comments
  1. david brain says: December 27, 20075:16 pm

    Wow. That is some recomendation and not the first i have seen. These things are really getting better aren’t they

  2. paul.fabretti says: December 28, 20078:12 am

    Hey David. Lovely to hear from you. How is Wales.

    It is too easy as the recipient of a free phone to be completely gushing of it.

    With the Viewty though, it is quite easy. It does everything the iPhone does (although the touch screen still is not as good as the iphones I have played with) but so much better.

    I have been pleasantly surprised, never having had an LG phone before.

  3. whyzzer says: January 4, 20086:05 am

    Hey Paul,

    thanks for this great review.

    I’ve just ordered the Viewty and I cant wait for it to arrive.

    Have you tried to install fring (fring.com) on it?

    And do you have made any experience with flash applications or Ajax based websited?

    Thanks again.

    cheers

    whyzzer

  4. paul.fabretti says: January 4, 200812:19 pm

    Glad you enjoyed it whyzzer!

    Have to say I haven’t tried frong on the phone. I used to have it on my N80 but not on here.

    That said, I do have Google Mail and Opera Mini working perfectly well on it (although I do not know what format they are).

    You will enjoy this phone!

    Best

    Paul

  5. Leila says: January 21, 20087:56 am

    I am having problems getting gmail, could you please tell me how you added this please. Thanks.

    Leila

    ps, could you possibly email me. Thanks

  6. Louis says: March 1, 20086:20 am

    What an uneducated review! I owned an Iphone and now own a Viewty.
    The Iphone has a very fast responsive touch- screen. Viewty is sluggish and a bit awkward. Blendingthemix needs to really try out the phones and stop misleading the public. I quite like the viewty because it has the video/camera…that is impressive. But unfortunately the Iphone is light years ahead as far as far as being a user friendly phone.

  7. paul.fabretti says: March 6, 20084:24 pm

    Clearly Loius as you know it all, you will have read my point 3):

    “3) It can sometimes feel like sliding your finger through glue. It is not as sensitive as I would prefer.”

    So I guess that must mean I accept that the Viewty does not have as responsive screen as the iPhone?

    Furthermore, since when did having an opinion mislead the public?

  8. Amy Truman says: July 8, 20083:16 pm

    Well, i had this phone as an upgrade on my contract and i must say…….. You summed it up excellently, The touch screen is a little sluggish as you say but for someone like myself thats actually a bonus, as it means im not going into applications i dont want to on accident. The camera/video recorder is simply excellent, I love to take pics and record videos of my little girl and with this phone its such a pleasure to do so :) Infact my video recorder has been shoved into the cupboard never to be used again lol.
    I absolutely adore this phone, and i think LG have definately made a come back after all the bad reviews on the LG Chocolate.

    Amy

  9. GEo says: July 12, 20088:17 am

    to be honest, the phone is crap…
    when you are trying to use the speaker phone, the other person won’t be able to hear you, because that stupid speaker goes straight into the mic, making the other people unable to hear you at all

    and the camera, its crap. the phone crashes when you are taking photo, its completely )(@*#$

    the touch screen, as you have said, its slow, and not user friendly, its a big failure. you can not slide down the contact without getting into one… its a load of dump

    the LG viewty is the worse phone i have every encountered, after i used it for 2 weeks, i’ve decided to go back to my Sony W850i , its much eaiser to use, and it don’t crash at all.

    Im sorry, but i give this phone a 3 out of 10

  10. ione says: September 2, 20085:35 am

    very good phone , but camera isnt so good the nokia n82 camera its 100 times better i have compared pics taken with both of the phones, viewty has lots of image noise even on good light!

  11. David says: September 5, 20089:30 am

    Hi,

    Where did you find those apps you installed?

    I’ve installed gmail and opera and can’t find them anywhere!!!! :)

    Thanks

  12. paul.fabretti says: September 5, 200811:12 am

    @david – those apps are web-based, which when using the opera browser are a dream to use!

  13. Jimi says: October 3, 20089:58 am

    Some mixed opinions here! I still don’t know whether to get the viewty or spend a bit more and get the Sumsung i900 Omnia.

  14. Jay says: November 24, 20089:03 am

    Hi

    I was all set on getting this phone but have seen mixed reviews. I have also seen the LG cookie which looks a very simular phone but is a year newer. Any one have any views on which would be the better choice? I know the viewty out specs the cookie but how about userbility?

  15. Ben says: December 21, 20083:36 pm

    Hi there! I have just got one of these little gadgets…wow I love it!!

    I think the demo game is rubbish tho!!

    Anyone know of any cool apps for it please?

    thanks in advance :)

    Ben

  16. kesha s. says: February 1, 20093:52 pm

    Where do I get one of these phones?

  17. Clare says: March 5, 20091:17 pm

    The reason that you’re having trouble using the sliding menus is because they’re not meant to be used via the touch screen. If you rotate the plastic around the camera lens the menu scrolls.

  18. Clare says: March 5, 20098:17 am

    The reason that you’re having trouble using the sliding menus is because they’re not meant to be used via the touch screen. If you rotate the plastic around the camera lens the menu scrolls.

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