LG Vu ReviewLG Vu 5.5
Messaging:When creating a new text message you’ll have two options for text input: on-screen keypad or on-screen landscape QWERTY keyboard. Although not as fast as hardware QWERTY, it is convenient to use and was our preferred method for text input. Once we were used to writing quickly, we found that there were times when the Vu did not recognize all of our inputs. Other times, it would not recognize that we were pressing different letters and a letter was typed twice.
The system tried to predict our words, but we would prefer to trade this feature for spelling-check, once the writing language is chosen. The on-screen keypad is similar to a standard one, but is absolutely flat (still it is on the screen), and its buttons are bigger than the QWERTY’s since they are less.
One peculiarity is that the QWERTY keyboard is not always available and when it is, the layout changes slightly. When entering a new contact, where a keyboard would be very useful, we were stuck with the keypad only. When composing a new email, only the keyboard was available, but the layout changed slightly compared to that of when writing a new text message. Come on LG, a bit of standardization would be great here.
If you include multimedia content such as a picture or tone, the message will turn from an ordinary SMS to a MMS.
Email IMAP4/POP3 client is also present and is easy to set up thanks to the built-in wizard. The settings for the more popular email providers are available (Yahoo! Mail/AOL/AIM/Windows Live Mail/AT&T Yahoo!/BellSouth/Comcast/Earthlink/Juno/Mindspring/NetZero). It does lack the option to setup a custom IMAP or POP3 email account, which is just unacceptable.
The Vu is a quad-band GSM handset with dual-band UMTS/HSDPA (850/1900) support making web surfing and using other online services a blaze.
The full HTML internet browser is definitely among the good ones on the market. Even heavy pages, such as phonearena.com, are not a problem, and it visualizes them correctly. There are options for full screen, landscape or portrait orientation and for zooming out (so the whole page is visible) and then zooming in a particular part of the page.
Unfortunately, it cannot play embedded Flash objects, unlike the N95 8GB with its latest firmware. Considering the hardware, this shouldn’t be a problem.
One very irritating issue that we ran into while using the browser, actually came from the sensing mechanism. There are two ways to navigate through the webpage: using the scroll bars located at the right side and bottom, or by just pressing on the page and moving the whole site with your finger. The latter is where we ran into trouble. Some of the time, it would work without issues, but other times it felt as if the Vu thought we were pressing multiple times. We would feel the handset vibrate quite a bit and even open up a link we went over occasionally. It just became so frustrating that we stuck with the scroll bars for scrolling.
Another one was the zoom. It’s not that it doesn’t work properly, it’s that it just feels like it doesn’t zoom out far enough sometimes. This goes back to where we talked about certain aspects feel as if they were cramped. While other rivals use double tapping or other gestures to zoom in or out, the only way to do so with the Vu is to use the on-screen zoom slider. It's very unintuitive and just doesn't offer the level of accuracy as the others do.
For local connectivity, there is an option between Bluetooth 1.2 (which supports A2DP, AVRCP, and a long list of other profiles) and using a USB cable to synchronize with the computer. It’s unacceptable that it’s using Bluetooth 1.2 instead of 2.0 as other handsets do nowadays.