LG Optimus Vu Review

The phone/tablet or “phablet” market is a fairly small one, but one that LG didn’t want to leave untapped. We can safely say that the LG Optimus Vu is their answer to the popular Samsung Galaxy Note / Note 2.

LG Optimus Vu 01

However, the Optimus Vu is unlike your typical “phablet” having a 4:3 aspect ratio display making it more like your typical e-Book reader or a smaller iPad mini. It’s a very unique and bold proposition coming from LG that they’re hoping will attract certain people. Read on to see if this device is something that will suit your style.

Design

It’s easy to recognize that the designed LG used on their Optimus Vu is taken from their previous Optimus phones that dates back from the LG Prada 3.0. It has a slim profile with round corners and symmetric elements. Very clean and minimalist.

LG Optimus Vu 02 LG Optimus Vu 03

The glassed front encompasses the 5-inch screen with the camera and sensors just above it. The Android ICS buttons are situated below the display: Back , Home, Multitask, and Menu.

LG Optimus Vu 04

The top houses most of the buttons. There’s the tiny Power button, the microUSB/MHL port with a sliding cover, another small button to activate Quick Memo (more on that later) and finally the 3.5mm audio jack.

LG Optimus Vu 05 LG Optimus Vu 06

On the left side you’ll find the tiny profile of the volume control buttons. You can also use these buttons to take photos. On the right side near the back you’ll find the microSIM (take note!) port which you need to poke with a pin to open.

LG Optimus Vu 07

The back has that same “Saffiano” texture found on the LG Prada 3.0. Here you’ll find the 8-megapixel camera with the LED flash beside it and at the bottom is a couple of speaker holes. The back is not removable by the way making the battery non-user replaceable.

Display and UI

Key feature of the LG Optimus Vu is its 5-inch screen with a 4:3 aspect ratio. It sports a 1024 x 768 resolution which isn’t exactly Retina quality in sharpness but shouldn’t make you complain either. It uses an HD-IPS panel where colors appear vibrant and viewing angles are quite great for a handheld device.

LG Optimus Vu 08 LG Optimus Vu 09

Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich runs the show with the LG’s Optimus UI layer. Because of its width, the lockscreen can accommodate 5 shortcut icons you can use to unlock the device.

LG Optimus Vu 10 LG Optimus Vu 11

Icon layout on the homescreen is limited at 4 per row but the static icon slots at the bottom gets an additional slot. App drawer can accommodate more icons per page as well. Swipe down from the top to enter the Notification window where you can also quickly toggle commonly accessed settings such as Data, WiFi, Hotspot, etc.

LG Optimus Vu 12 LG Optimus Vu 13

A cool customization feature here is LG’s built-in themes which changes the look and feel of your device down to the icons of commonly installed apps. You can even use images or photos from your gallery as icons. Nice feature actually if you’re into customization.

Rubberdium stylus

Something you would get out of the box is a stylus LG calls Rubberdium which is a stainless steel pen with a rubber tip. It’s not for pinpoint accuracy jotting but it does make it easier to use Quick Memo or Notebook.

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Just like the LG Optimus 4X HD, the Optimus Vu has this nifty note-taking app called Quick Memo. You can launch it from any app by clicking its button at the top or calling it from the Notification window.

LG Optimus Vu 14

You can write on a blank note or use the existing screen as a canvas. Really handy if you want to jot down on a screenshot of a map then share it on your social network or e-mail it.

LG Optimus Vu 15

You can also use the notebook if you want things more organized or want a specific set of themes on your note paper.

Performance

Powering the LG Optimus Vu is the same quad-core 1.5GHz NVIDIA Tegra 3 CPU as that of the LG Optimus 4X HD, HTC One X, and Google Nexus 7. It also comes with 1GB of RAM and using Quadrant synthetic benchmark, this device was able to score a very good 4429.

LG Optimus Vu 17

There’s nothing to complain about the speed while operating this phone. Performance is respectable from simply navigating the phone, to opening apps, playing games or web browsing. Same with call quality, WiFi and cellular network although it can be a bit stressing to the hand if you hold it like you would a phone when talking for a long period of time.

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Typing on the keyboard requires two hands with its girth although you can swipe the keyboard to the left or right to squeeze it for one-handed typing. It also supports handwriting recognition using the stylus or swipe typing.

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Browsing the web or simply reading anything from the screen is also one of the Optimus Vu’s strong points. The wide display allows for more characters per line making you scroll less. Visiting websites also results to fewer pinch-to-zooming as compared to usual phones with narrow displays.

Multimedia

You might be wondering how odd it is to watch videos on a 4:3 display. Honestly, I’m happy with the big screen and watching 16:9 videos is just like watching them on a regular TV. It’s not a problem at all. What’s even better is that the screen is perfect for looking at photos.

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Games are automatically displayed in 4:3 aspect ratio but you can force it to a 16:9 by simply pressing and holding the Menu button. This device handles games really well by the way especially those made for Tegra 3 for richer game environments.

Camera

The LG Optimus Vu is equipped with an 8-megapixel camera with a single LED flash. Taking photos is a bit awkward due to its shape but you’ll get used to it. You can use the onscreen shutter button or the tiny volume buttons to take your shot.

LG Optimus Vu 22

Here are some sample photos taken with this device.

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Pretty much the same as that of the Optimus 4X HD. You need really good lighting conditions to take good shots. Too bright and colors get washed out and there’s just too much noise for the software to process in low-light conditions.

Battery

The battery on the Optimus Vi is rated at 2100 mAh and this translates to above average life for a huge phone in real-life testing. For normal calls and SMS, with a few games and WiFi browsing, I can go for a day and half before charging. Using it solely as a personal hotspot lasted me for more than 5 hours.

Verdict

The LG Optimus Vu is a fresh, unique-looking phone/tablet amidst the sea of the smartphones having the same shapes. It’s indeed a bold proposition that might turn others away, but will also attract some loyal followers. My wife likes it a lot but I’m having a hard time bringing it with me because it won’t fit in my jeans pocket.

What I like on this phone is its speedy performance, customizable and friendly UI, and really good viewing angles on its display. What’s not hot would probably be its camera and the lack of a slot for the stylus. Now you know that the first thing you need to do when you get this device is find a case with a stylus holder.

Those who love the wide iPad mini but wants a device that comes with cellular function should take a serious look at the LG Optimus Vu. It has an SRP of Php28,000 but it’s gone down a few thousands since its launch last month.

LG Optimus Vu P895 Specs:
5” HD IPS Display (768 x 1024) @ 256 ppi
1.5GHz NVidia Tegra 3 Quad Core
ULP GeForce GPU
Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich with Optimus UI v3.0
32 GB storage, 1 GB RAM, no microSD
HSDPA, 21 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps
8 Megapixels auto-focus camera with LED flash
1080p Full HD video recording @ 30fps
1.3 Megapixel front-facing
Bluetooth 4.0 HS+
microUSB (MHL – Mobile High Definition Link)
GPS w/ A-GPS
NFC
2,100 mAh SiO+ Battery
139.6 x 90.4 x 8.5 mm
168 g
SRP: Php28,000

9 Comments

  1. Powering the LG Optimus Vu is the same quad-core 1.5GHz NVIDIA Tegra 3 CPU as that of the Samsung Galaxy S III, HTC One X, and Google Nexus 7.

    – hindi naman tegra 3 ang samsung s3 eh.

  2. This is really an ugly looking device…. sorry….

  3. I love this phone when i saw this in Gentleman’s Dignity is this phone worth it to buy… i think i want to have one

  4. rosenberg /

    LG does not upgrade their software. This gonna be stuck with ICS forever. Sayang lang pera dito. Their optimus2x the first dual core is stuck with Gb up to now unless you root it youll get ics. Better get SGN2 which is amazing.

  5. Wait, 2100mAh? A power bank might be a good idea with this one…

  6. Just got an open line korean version of this phone…almost half the price as sold in shops….bad thing…can’t find a case anywhere…even LG do not have one…the chrome part is as vulnerable as my white SGN2

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