Product Review (June 2008)
LG - Vu™ Phone Review

The much anticipated LG Vu™ is one of the first touch screen devices to support AT&T Mobile TV, a feature that allows customers to watch live streaming TV shows right on the handset. The large 3" high-contrast display makes it easy to operate and allows users to surf the web, watch TV, videos and send/receive emails. The Vu™ is one of the most advanced multimedia and entertainment capable phones on the market and the sleek design adds style. The phone includes AT&T Music, Cellular Video, Video Share, Stereo Bluetooth® capabilities and a whole lot more. Although it lacks WiFi capability, it does support 3G data speeds making it a fast handheld for streaming video content. The lightweight design weighs just over 3 ounces. The built-in 2 megapixel camera with autofocus can capture images with impressive resolution. There is even a video capture mode so users won't miss out on the action.

The Vu™ has a simple look similar to the iPhone with only three buttons on the front for initiating a call, ending a call, and one central Back button for navigating backward through menus. Like the iPhone, the large touchscreen is used for most of the commands and data entry. The widescreen display (when turned sideways) offers 240 x 400 resolution and looks great. However, we found it a bit difficult to read in direct sunlight. An extendable TV antenna on the top of the phone gives the Vu™ enhanced TV reception. Outside locations usually provided sufficient signal strength to watch TV and in many cases we did not find it necessary to extend the antenna. However, pulling the antenna out will increase signal sensitivity. The side has a few buttons for controlling the volume, initiating the camera, and locking the phone.

The menu screen is icon based and has with a variety of applications. The four tabs on the right of the screen give the user quick access to Phone (contact list, addresses, and recent calls), Multimedia (music, camera, and games), Photos ( calculator, calendar, and alarm clock), and Tools. The top left indicates the signal strength and the top right has the battery level. We found that the battery provides adequate life with moderate use during the day, but will require a daily charge if heavily used. The Vu™ has a microSD card slot for storing media such as music, photos and video clips. However, it is not conveniently located and requires the battery to be removed to access the slot.

E-mail and Instant Messaging
Email support is provided for AOL, BellSouth, Comcast, Earthlink, Juno, MindSpring, NetZero, Windows Live, and Yahoo. We only tested out AOL and Yahoo, both of which worked flawlessly. Unfortunately the phone does not let you enter in your own POP3 address for personal email. The QWERTY keyboard is a big plus on this model providing us the ability to quickly type in our messages. The Vu™ also has AIM, Windows Live, and Yahoo Messenger built into the unit.

Web Browsing
The Vu™ supports web access and the screen looks great. Load time was impressive for a mobile device, but we found it somewhat difficult to enter the URLs. There is probably a learning curve that we haven't mastered. The Vu™ also includes a bunch of preinstalled games with Java 2.0 support.

Camera & Video
The Vu™ has a 2-megapixel camera that can take sharp pictures with the autofocus feature. The 1600 x 1200 resolution produced nice quality images. There are a variety of image adjustments to tweak the picture such as color and brightness. In addition, image effects are built into the camera. The Vu™ can also take video in the 320 x 240 resolution mode, but the video quality is limited and often results in macro-blocking with lots of motion.

Mobile TV
One of the coolest features of the Vu™ is Mobile TV. Video quality is surprisingly good and allows users to see full-length episodes of their favorite soaps, sitcoms, sports, or news programs. AT&T offers two subscription options for Mobile TV. The Mobile TV Basic package ($15/month) gives customers access to 10 channels which include CBS Mobile, Comedy Central, ESPN Mobile TV, FOX Mobile, MTV, NBC2Go, NBC News2Go, Nickelodeon, CNN Mobile and Pix. The Mobile TV Plus package ($30/month) provides customers with unlimited Mobile Web browsing, video clips, and data usage.

Conclusion
The LG Vu™ is an attractive looking phone featuring AT&T's Mobile TV. Being able to watch live streaming TV shows right on your handset is a powerful feature that few phones offer. The sound quality of the phone was excellent making it easy to have a conversation even in noisy environments. The speaker phone also performed well in our tests. The Vu™ supports Bluetooth products, a feature that is especially important to us Californians as the new hands-free law take effect next month. The Vu™ also supports A2DP/stereo for those wanting to listen to music through the wireless Bluetooth interface. For those looking for a product similar to the iPhone, the Vu™ is a great alternative. In addition, it offers feature the iPhone currently lacks. At this writing AT&T is offering the LG Vu™ for $199.99 (after the $100 mail-in rebate) with a 2-year contract.

- Kevin Nakano





OneCall: Your Home Theater, Digital Camera, and HDTV Experts



Review - At a Glance


LG - Vu™ Phone

Technical Specs

  • Weight: 3.16 ounces
  • Dimensions: 4.25 x 2.16 x .51 inches
  • Talk Time: Up to 3 hours
  • Standby Time: Up to 10 days
  • Large interactive 3" touch screen
  • 262K Color TFT, 240 x 400 pixels
  • Bluetooth® wireless capable v 1.2
  • Music Player for MP3, WMA, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+
  • 2 MP camera with 2x zoom, autofocus and camcorder
  • Quad-band world phone - GSM/GPRS/EDGE
  • Dual-band domestic HSDPA/UMTS 850/1900 MHZ
  • Internal Memory: 120 MB included
  • MicroSD(TM) expansion slot for expandable memory
  • One year warranty on new phones & accessories

    *AT&T Mobile TV only available in AT&T mobile coverage areas

Includes

  • Battery
  • Charger
  • CD (User Manual)
  • Quick Start Guide

Source: AT&T Loan
MSRP: $199.99 with 2-Year AT&T Contract and $100 Rebate
AT&T URL: http://www.wireless.att.com

Any comments or questions regarding the LAAF Web Site should be forwarded to webmaster@laaudiofile.com

Copyright © 1985-2008 L.A. Audio File.