nVidia GeForce 8800 GTS 512MB Launches

We previously announced that nVidia was about to launch the new 8800 GTS 512Mb after nVidia accidentally added it to there product page. As of today nVidia has officially launched the card. As with the new 8800 GT this card is this card is based on the G92 architecture which uses a 65nm fabrication process. … Read more

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

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HTC’s Touch Cruise with GPS Announced

The 3rd Addition to the Touch lineup from HTC is the Touch Cruise. Shockingly the Touch means the device will incorporate the TouchFLO interface, and the Cruise indicates it is GPS enabled. This phone will include HSDPA, WiFi, Bluetooth, a 3 megapixel camera, microSD expansion, and a 2.8-inch touch-screen lying on top of a Windows … Read more

Early look at Google’s Android.

android-phone-history

So the first images and videos of the Software Development Kit(SDK) for Googles new Android OS have been released.

From the looks of it is appears quite impressive so far. Especially if you consider it was only announced a few days ago.

After the jump we have some Images and Videos, though you should note these are all on a hardware reference model so you wont be buying an Android based phone anytime soon.

Some of the our of box support includes:

  • Touchscreen
  • 3G
  • Webkit-based browser
  • Threaded text messaging
  • MPEG-4, h.264, MP3, and AAC file formats
  • Accelerated 3D graphics

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Tesco Blunder: Xbox On Sale For £33: Why do I always miss these?

I think it was only the other week when ASDA screwed up and had bottles of beer available for 1p. This time is the turn of Tesco, they have been accidentally offering Xbox 360 consoles online for just £33.24. The pricing slip-up would have meant a giant saving for customers, as the Xbox package was … Read more

No Google Phone: Instead Google announce Open Handset Alliance.

google-phone-conceptOk so it does not look like Google are going to directly compete with Apple's iPhone but they are collaborating with 34 Phone related companies to produce an open source operating system for mobiles. The collaboration is called the Open Handset Alliance and they will be developing Android™ a complete mobile phone software stack.

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NVIDIA accidentally confirms GeForce 8800 GTS 512 MB

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*Edit* nVidia have now officially launched the 8800 GTS 512 MB at a retail price of about £220

Any day now we will see the arrival of the new and updated GeForce 8800 GTS which will sport an additional cluster of 16 shader processor, bringing up the total to 112. The same amount as the new GeForce 8800 GT. The core and shader clocks along with the memory frequency and bandwidth will be the same as the old version. This updated version thus uses the same G80 core, just less crippled. However there have also been some talk about another GeForce 8800 GTS, but that this next one will be based on the G92 core.

This new version would then sport the more traditional 512/1024 MB memory configurations and a whole 128 shader processors, and all of the advantages of the new core which the G80 lacks. For example the updated features of PureVideo HD, PCIe 2.0 and overall lower power consumption.

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Sony’s VAIO UX490N launched in US. Yours for $2,499.99

41HoDk7KgFL._SS400_The UMPC will pack a 1.2GHz Intel Core 2 Solo U2200 ULV processor, 1GB of DDR2 RAM, a pair of integrated cameras (0.3-megapixels in the front, 1.3-megapixels in the rear), a fingerprint scanner, 48GB SSD, 4.5-inch 1,024 x 600 resolution touchscreen and a GMA 950 graphics set to boot. Furthermore, you'll also find built-in Bluetooth / WiFi, an Ethernet port, audio in / out jacks, an MS Duo expansion slot, WWAN support (AT&T), Vista Business and a Li-ion good for 1.5 to 3.5-hours.

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T-Mobile UK Make browsing even cheaper

Following on from o2's recently announced "unlimited" plans (which confused us so much we didn't run the story), T-Mobile have reduced the price of their already excellent Web'n'Walk plans. The Web’n’walk Plus package (3GB monthly allowance) has been reduced from £29 to £20 a month, whilst the Web’n’walk Max (10Gb allowance and VoIP ability) from £44 to only £35 a month. Sure, it's only available to those on 24 month contracts but, let's be honest, T-Mobile are royally whooping almost every other network on data allowance and value-for-money right now.

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iPhone UK Launch Details

Out November 9th (2007) on the O2 network. The iPhone will be available from O2, Apple and Carphone Warehouse stores across the UK for £269 + an 18 month contract. What’s more interesting is the O2 iPhone deal is tied in with Apple for 5 years, so if you want an iPhone you are going … Read more