The last one year we have seen tech companies in the mobile devices industry playing a game of “follow the leader”. The Galaxy Note, Samsung’s phablet has been enjoying unexpected popularity globally but their ownership of the once niche phablet category is being contested by LG’s Optimus Vu.
Boasting of an unusual mix of internals: a 1,024 x 768 HD-IPS LCD display, dual-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon processor, 32GB of non-expandable storage, an ample 2,080mAh battery, the Optimus Vu brings to the market a viable yet so unconventional alternative for a phablet.
The first noticeable aspect of the Optimus Vu is its exceptional lightness. At just 168g, it not only weighs 10 grams less than the Galaxy Note, but it also cuts a considerably thinner, 8.5mm-thick (0.33-inch) profile. It still manages to claim a bit more in-hand real estate than most people are comfortable with. Naturally the stylus that comes with the Vu should make it manageable as it will require use of both hands to fully utilize this beast.
The Vu comes with a 139.6mm screen rocking a generous bezel that gives it a sharp aesthetic. The sides have been softened probably to make the shape less awkward.
The Vu uses a micro-SIM, and the micro-SIM slot is hidden on the left side and requires the use of a pin or pointed object to pop it open.
The right side being the only side with any physical buttons has a two-button volume key. There is no microSD slot to expand the device storage but the huge 32GB onboard space is more than adequate.
On the top there’s a 3.5mm headphone jack on the left corner, secondary mic, dedicated QuickMemo button for stylus use, a sliding port for micro-USB and a power button. The front face has an LG company logo and a 1.3-megapixel camera and capacitive buttons. Interesting to note it has no front facing physical buttons.
The removable back has been texturized thus giving the device a firm grip. This should help reduce slippage of the Vu. An 8 MP camera and single LED flash complete the upper back, with another LG company logo placed just below it in the middle.
You are greeted by the smooth and powerful ICS interface immediately after powering on the device, complete with an improved LG UI skinning. This is made enjoyable by the fantastic 1,024 x 768 HD-IPS display, admittedly the IPS display giving the Vu better and more solid viewing angles.
In a nutshell the features that the Vu packs under its sleeves are the following:
- Quad-band GSM and quad-band 3G support
- 5.0″ 16M-color HD-IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen of HD (768 x 1040 pixel) resolution
- 21 Mbps HSDPA and 5.76 Mbps HSUPA support
- Android OS v4.0.4
- 1.5 GHz quad-core CPU, ULP GeForce GPU, Nvidia Tegra 3 chipset, 1GB of RAM
- 8 MP, 3264×2448 pixels with autofocus and LED flash, face, smile and image stabilization, cheese shutter
- 1080p HD video recording at 30fps with LED video light
- GPS with A-GPS connectivity, Digital compass
- Dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot
- 32 GB internal storage
- Accelerometer, gyroscope and proximity sensor
- Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
- Bluetooth v4.0 with A2DP
- FM radio with RDS
- Super slim at only 8.5mm, super light at 168g
- 1.3MP secondary video-call camera
- Full Flash for the web browser
- NFC support
- Polaris Office
- File manager comes preinstalled
- Large 2100 mAh battery
The Optimus takes the NFC functionality a notch higher with NFC Tag+ app that comes pre-installed on the handset.
In addition to Office and Car, there are additional Sleep and User modes. From within the main NFC app, one can also assign tags with contact info, URLs, notes, call requests, texts and even calendar events.
The Vu packaging will probably include the Tag+ stickers, bundled with the device. It should come with two stickers, both pre-programmed — one for Office mode, the other for the car.
Dedicated QuickMemo button
This button which is paced atop the device gives you the ability to write notes on any screen. To do this, press the button to put the device into writing mode, you can jot down anything on the device screen. There’s an option to disable the background and replace it with a yellow sticky-note background. I found this both interesting and useful as a shortcut.
Remote call service
You will agree with me that the remote call service app is rare, though probably with geographical limitations. The service will allow LG reps to remotely diagnose and support the device.
One will be required to place a call to LG call center and the rep will provide a 6 digit code to be keyed in to facilitate the remote connection.
Polaris Office document editor
The Vu comes with Polaris Office which is currently one of the most advanced mobile editors. You can of edit and view documents – Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents and PDF files too.
The few tricks and utilities that I have mentioned above make the Optimus Vu a good to have smartphone, errr “phablet”. What do you think?