Phones, Tablets, and Phablets no image

Published on December 11th, 2007 | by James

9

LG Viewty KU990 Phone Review

lg-viewty-ku990-289-75 Recently I was asked to review the LG Viewty KU990 which I happily accepted. Over the past few days I have been using it as my main phone in order to find all the good and bad features about it as possible. I had previously used the phone for a few minutes and was quite impressed with it so I was looking forward to trying it out.

Initial thoughts

First of all I have heard a lot of people moan about the phones name. I don’t really see what is wrong with it, ok it probably isn’t the greatest name in the world but lets compare it to the other phone I use, the MDA Vario II (TyTn, SPV M3100 etc etc), that is defiantly no better plus it have about 4 other pseudonyms. Nokia has N95, E65, N73, 7373, Nokia 8800 Sirocco Edition, etc while they may be useful names for people in the know, if I told my girlfriend I just got a new N810 she would look at me blankly and tell me to shut up. I’m no marketing expert but I assume LG want people to easily remember and identify the phone, and Viewty is a lot easier to remember than KU990.

When the phone arrived I was surprised how small the packaging was, it is supplied in a nice matt black box with all the accessories compartmentalised into smaller black boxes. The phone itself is very good looking with an all black body and silver edges. It is clear that LG are marketing this phone towards the style conscious, and I would go go so far to say it is one of the better looking phones in the market today.

5897-KU9902

The Viewty is rather large at 103.5mm tall, 54mm wide and 14.8mm thick but it is actually lighter than the smaller proportioned LG Shine at 112g and 119g respectively. However it is large for a reason, the phone comes with a 3.0 inch touch screen which occupies the majority of the front of the phone. It manages to display 262 thousand colours at 240 x 400 pixels. The large screen is obviously one of the main selling points of the phone with the majority the functions accessible via the touch screen interface.

On using the touch screen you will notice the phone provides vibration feedback, or haptic feedback as it is more formally known. Haptic technology refers to technology that provides feedback using the sense of touch. While it seems insignificant I really like haptic feedback, it basically replicates the push button feedback you receive from physical buttons and in doing so it improves the usability of the device.

The other feature that is noticeable when using the Viewty is that sweeping the finger across the screen is heavily used for navigation around the phone. Basically you use your finger to sweep through lists like text messages or emails. It took a little getting used to but it is quite intuitive so you should be sweeping through your emails in no time.

200x150_1 On the back side of the phone you have an impressive 5-megapixel camera, though this is not protected by a lens cover. The camera uses a xenon flash which should help provide decent photos in the darkest situations. There is also a weird little rocker on the side of the lens. At first I thought it was just for zoom, but after reading another review I found that it is used for in-call volume, and scrolling through menus as well.

On the right hand side of the phone there is a dedicated unlock key, which also acts as one of the camera keys. There is also the main camera key and a switch to switch between the various camera modes.

Performance

Call Quality.

While I found the call quality fine on my end there did seem to be some distortion and muffling on the other end, I tested the phone with an LG shine and a MDA Vario II. I personally didn’t think it was bad enough to hold against the phone but my girlfriend did complain a little. The loudspeaker is excellent, you can clearly hear people and I would say the loudspeaker quality was better than average. I did not try the video calling, I still find video calling rather gimmicky and to be honest I am not that interested in seeing the callers face as I speak to them.

Messaging / Interface

lg-ku990 I have a tendency to text more than I phone, so I was expecting this area to be the biggest let down of the phone. There are 3 main interface options when texting. There is the usual T9 keypad, handwriting recognition and an onscreen keyboard.

As with most phones I have tried with handwriting recognition it is pretty poor. Most likely due to the fact my writing is appalling but it was basically unusable for myself, it would recognise the odd word but the majority would be completely wrong.

While I expected the onscreen keyboard to be too small to use I was quite impressed, it recognised the majority of keys I pressed and I was able to text reasonably fast on it. Unfortunately after a while I did find that I was hitting the wrong key a little too often for my liking and I resorted to the T9.

The T9 text input was perfectly fine, with the haptic feedback it was just as easy as typing on a real phone pad.

Camera

The camera on the phone was good, the pictures were clear and a xenon flash is infinitely better than an LED flash. The only minor problem I had was the response time between pressing the button to take the picture and the phone actually taking the picture was not as fast as I would like. The camera should provide a more than adequate substitute to a dedicated camera if needed.

The phone also has the ability to record video up to 120fps. 120fps is defiantly a bit of a gimmick but it is quite fun to record things in slow motion.

Email – Web

viewty I normally use exchange for my email but was forced into setting up Pop3 for email on the phone. If you have a ISP provided email address than you need to make sure you have a proper SMTP server to be able to send emails. I was impressed with the email though; it was quite fast thanks to the HSDPA (3.5G) and was easy to read through thanks to the scrolling system.

Web browsing was also good thanks to the HSDPA and the nice large screen. The browser was superb; you view full size WebPages and sweep around using your finger.

There is no Wi-Fi on the phone, though this is not a huge issue for me as I rarely use it. I am on Web and Walk so I always connect via HSDPA.

I also found the modem function to be excellent. Once you install the LG software you need to select which service provider you use and click connect. That’s about all you have to do. In comparison I found connecting with my MDA Vario much more of a chore.

Music

The phone only comes with 90Mb of internal memory but it is upgradable via MicroSD. To listen to the music you must use the earphone adapter provided with the phone, this adapter also acts as the hands free microphone and radio aerial.

The music player was easy to use and the sound quality of the provided earphones was adequate. I did not have any higher quality earphones to hand as my V-Modas broke so I am unable to give a more accurate opinion on the sound quality provided from the phone.

I did not test the radio extensively but I managed to pick up radio 1 with little effort and it was quite clear.

I did find on 2 occasions the music randomly stopped playing, and the phone informed me that the files were corrupt. To amend this I had to remove the MicroSD card and insert it again which is quite frustrating as it required me to remove the back plate and battery first.

I would also have liked the phone to come with a proper 3.5mm headset socket built into it to negate the need of the hand free adaptor. Unfortunately this is a common problem with many phones.

Battery

LG quotes talk time battery life at 355 minutes using GSM only and 233 minutes using 3G only, and standby time at 434 hours using GSM and 454 hours using 3G. I didn’t really pay that much attention to it but I have charged it twice in about 4 days and I have used it quite a bit. Heavy browsing or music use will obviously require more battery charged.

Other points.

The phone managed to synch with my outlook very easily which is handy as I use exchange to manage most of my life.

The stylus is stupid, it looks like mascara. If LG want to include a stylus why didn’t they let it slide inside the phone?

The touch screen does get a bit mucky, but at the end of the day it is a touch screen what else do you expect.

Good Points Bad Points
Great looking phone Touch Screen get mucky
Best touch screen I have used No Camera Lens
Good camera / Flash No Wi Fi
HSDPA / Good Browser and Email Stupid looking stylus

Conclusion

I am a geek so I typically chose function over form and go for Symbian/WM based phones. However this phone has impressed me, it does all the functions I require out of a phone and it does them well. It is also a very good looking phone so will keep even the most style conscious person happy.

The camera is not as great as a standalone camera but it is very good for a phone camera and should satisfy most people.

While the phone is probably not the best phone in the world for my requirements it is good enough for me to retire my MDA Vario II and use the Viewty as my full time phone until I find an adequate replacement.

Phone Specification from LG after the jump.

The LG Viewty is available from Vodafone on pay monthly plans from £20

Phone Specification

The Complete Camera Phone
5 Megapixel Viewty is a professional level camera phone capable of taking both high quality pictures and superior home videos. The contemporary touch screen and innovative design result in a superb looking handset that continues to enhance consumer usability.

High-Specification Camera
• Capture and reproduce images in high-resolution with a 5 megapixel camera certified by Schneider-Kreuznach
• Enjoy various focusing techniques using Manual or Auto Focus
• ISO 800 and SmartLight means that you can capture the best moments even in low light
• Benefit from taking steady pictures with Image Stabiliser and Direct Key
• Catch every detail with High-Speed Video Recording (120 FPS Video Recording)

High-Quality Display
• Discover enhanced viewing with 3 Inch Full Touch Screen and Mobile XDTM
• Enjoy a new level of mobile video experience with DVD-like quality
• Share and enhance your video creation with Muvee™ and Direct Upload to YouTube.com*
• Mobile technology making full Internet browsing possible with Google Package* and Messenger Service*

Easy Control
• Freedom of expression with Handwriting Recognition and Editing
• Effortless control with Jog Wheel and 3-Step Module Key

Viewty Accessories
• In-box contents include:
o Main battery
o Main charger
o User guide
o Stereo headphones
o USB cable
o CD (including LG PC Suite and DivX Converter)
o Hand strap and stylus pen

Items sold separately:
o Charging cradle
o Leather case
o Bluetooth mono headset
o Bluetooth neck string headset
o Bluetooth stereo speaker and car kit
o TV out cable
o Additional stylus pens

The LG Viewty is available from Vodafone on pay monthly plans from £20

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About the Author

I am a UK tech blogger and have been in the industry for over 5 years now running Mighty Gadget, its sister sites and contributing to other sites around the web.



9 Responses to LG Viewty KU990 Phone Review

  1. Mosey says:

    Loved this review! :) Thank you for taking the time to write it! It’s great when people go into the detail/nitty gritty about the actual usage of the phone rather than just the specs. I’m looking forward to ordering mine next week!

  2. James says:

    Thanks loads for your comment, yeah I do think people should actually use the phone before reviewing. I am still using the phone actually, it does have niggly little bits but I think the main problem I have is because I am used to geek smart phones and it just isn’t one. Also as much as I like the touch screen, and it is done really well, I do still prefer buttons. I am not 100% decided but I am due for an upgrade soon (so not actually a free phone) and I think I am going to go for the Nokia E90, the fact it is a brick kinda shows how a prefer functionality over form. I have a friend that uses the phone and he says it is the best thing ever!
    The viewty is definitely not the phone for me, but it I do think it is a brilliant phone especially for the non geeks!

  3. Ray says:

    Where oh where can I buy a TV out cable for this phone?!
    It seems impossible! Can someone tell me please?

  4. geoff says:

    you can get the tv out lead from t.mobile web site i was sent one as freeby only problem is it dosnt work lg are a joke t.mobile even worse

  5. Mosey says:

    I’ve owned the phone for a few months now. And actually I guess I’m quite happy with it, even the touch screen which I’m quite familiar with now (do you know it works with thin gloves??)
    In terms of other areas, I think the call quality *is* a little bit iffy. Previously on my Sony Ericsson w810i, I could always get a great signal, but for the same areas, there have been one or two occasions where the ViewTY drops calls. This is not to say it’s not been good for the rest of the time!
    Picture quality: this is probably where I’m most disappointed. For some reason I was expect it to be an upgraded version of the same pictures taken with the SE w810i, but unless I change the settings (e.g. if fluorescent/sunny etc.etc.) otherwise I just can’t seem to get the right *colours*. Maybe it’s my lack of skill as a photographer, but the camera hasn’t performed as well as I’d hoped (still learning!) However the number of tweaks that can be made to your photos is still Astounding, and no doubt that might help.
    Texting wise: no problem here. I almost always use the keypad instead of the little stylus (which comes in useful when wearing thicker gloves)
    Radio: I’m having a problem here. Perhaps it’s because I’m in London, but somehow my LG ViewTY is failing to pick up some of the main channels when I’m e.g. on the bus. I end up always having to listen to music in the end.
    Music: really like this one. It automatically updates the playlist if I remove files and such, and the interface is oh so intuitive. Does wear down the battery life though. The good news is that LG provides a long cord with the special ‘jack’ that plugs into the phone (and has a handsfree at the other end which admittedly looks a bit ‘Square’) and I use earphones with a long cord as well so never have a problem with lack of length – just miles of cord! :D

    Overall: I’d give the phone a 7/8 out of 10, because I am really liking it. When I now use a friend’s phone that isn’t touch screen, the first thing that pops into my min is: why on earth is nothing workin when I touch the screen?

    p/s: Forgot to mention that they should have built in a camera lens cover! I’m worried that it will get scratched. In terms of the front-face of the phone, it does/will get scratched, but don’t forget to protect it with the special film that comes in the box.

  6. Fiona says:

    Hi,

    Thank you for letting me know how to fix the corrupt files problem. I’ve had that done to me TWICE now, but have taken out the 2gb memory card and also the battery, then slotted it back in.

    Isn’t that really annoying how we have to do that? :s Is that to do with something wrong with the memory card or just the phone?

    Thank you.

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