LG has quite a few smartphones in line for release this year like LG Optimus Vu, and alongside the first quad core handset, the Optimus 4X HD, the most interesting offer is the Optimus Vu – a 5 inch competitor to the Samsung Galaxy Note and other smartphone/tablet hybrids that has a very unique 4:3 format display, as well as enough processing power to rival any high end device that is currently on the market.
The Optimus Vu’s design seems to borrow heavily from the Prada Phone 3.0, which is also manufactured by LG. The phone has the same overall shape and feel, with a big sheet of Gorilla glass covering the display on the front, gray metal frame surrounding all four sides and a nice textured back that should make it easier to hold and use the device without fearing that it would fall out of your hands. The Vu is just as thin as the Galaxy Note, but the 4:3 format screen makes it quite uncomfortable (and even impossible for some people) to hold it with one hand – apparently, it was made to be used with two hands all the time.
The big display is 5 inches on the diagonal and has a resolution of 1024×768 pixels – not quite up to the pixel density of the Galaxy Nexus or other sub-5 inch smartphones with HD resolution, but definitely enough to let you use it comfortably for any kind of tasks (after all, the iPad and iPad 2 have the same resolution at twice the screen size). The quality of the picture is excellent, though – thanks to the IPS-LCD technology, the colors are vivid, the black levels are great and the viewing angles are pretty much perfect. Side by side with the Samsung Galaxy Note, the Optimus Vu displays a very similar picture, although it may not be as good outdoors and in direct sunlight.
The other specs are on par with most of the other new smartphones – the only notable lacking feature is an NFC sensor. All the other stuff is there, from Wifi N, GPS and Bluetooth to DLNA, HDMI out and dual cameras (8 and 1.3 megapixels on the back and front, respectively). Given its hybrid status, the Vu also comes with a stylus, just like the Galaxy Note, which makes it easy to take notes and draw stuff when you need to. The battery inside is a pretty big 2080 mAh unit, although it will probably be just enough to keep the device running for the usual average 8 hours because of the big display and fast processor.
The performance of the LG Optimus Vu is among the highest in its class – it’s not a quad core monster, of course, but the 1.5 GHz dual core Snapdragon processor comes pretty damn close. It uses Qualcomm’s new Krait architecture to maximize the performance of the two cores and graphics adapter (which is the new Adreno 225, by the way), and you’ll be able to run any apps and games for at least the next couple of years. There’s also a full 1024 MB of RAM to aid the processor and keep things smooth when running a dozen of apps in the background.
The prototype of the Optimus Vu demonstrated at this year’s MWC was running Android 2.3 Gingerbread, but LG says that the final device will be shipping with Ice Cream Sandwich pre-installed, which is a good thing, since Gingerbread looks a bit weird on this resolution and on such a big display. Obviously, LG also used some of their customizations on the interface, and while I don’t find them particularly attractive, they don’t make the experience any worse (or better, for that matter).
LG Optimus Vu Price and Availability
The LG Optimus Vu was just officially announced, but according to LG, the phone will be released in the US before the end of spring, which would be good for the company, since the 4G LTE enabled smartphone would be able to compete with the Galaxy Note on equal terms.