the LG Vu appears to be a grown-up version of the LG Prada. It has the same glossy piano-black finish, silver sides, and minimalist style, but it is definitely larger and a bit more rounded on the edges. Measuring 4.24 inches long by 2.16 inches wide by 0.51 inch thick and weighing 3.16 ounces, the Vu is fairly light for its size thanks to its all-plastic casing.
The Vu is slim and lightweight, and it can be easily slipped in a pocket or purse without too much bulge. Bear in mind that the glossy finish attracts a lot of fingerprint smudges. Sitting front and center of the Vu is the very generously sized 3-inch diagonal touch-screen. The display supports 262,000 colors and 240x400 pixels, which result in amazing-looking graphics and images that are saturated with color and detail. From the home screen, you can view the date, time, battery life, signal strength, and photo caller ID.
When the touch screen is locked, you'll still be able to view the date and time. The display also acts as a viewfinder when the camera is activated. You can adjust the backlighting time, brightness, plus the size of the dialing fonts. As you would expect, the entire phone's navigation is to be done via its massive touch screen. The touch-screen interface on the Vu mimics that of the LG Glimmer and the LG Voyager, right down to the menu structure. There are four shortcut icons along the bottom of the home screen, and from left to right they correspond to the main menu, AT&T Mobile TV, the contacts list, plus the phone function (which activates an onscreen dial pad). You can also choose to toggle on a Shortcuts Menu, which will bring up eight application shortcuts smack dab in the center of the home screen.
The shortcuts correspond to Cellular Video, the music player, a new message, Bluetooth activation, instant messaging, the Web browser, the calendar, and voice command. Speaking of dialing and texting, we found the experience to be quite pleasant. Sure you won't be able to dial by feel, but the numbers on the screen are large enough to hit without too many mistakes. We especially like the texting interface, since the Vu provides an option for a full QWERTY keyboard. When the QWERTY keyboard is selected, the orientation of the screen switches to landscape mode, for easier texting.
Also, whenever you tap a key on the keyboard, the key will magnify showing you selected it, much like you would see on the Apple iPhone. Similarly, you can type on the virtual QWERTY keyboard when entering URL addresses in the Web browser. The LG Vu's standout feature is arguably AT&T Mobile TV, AT&T's live mobile TV service. But before we get into that, let's starts with the basics. The Vu comes with a 500-entry contact list, which we found a little small, but each entry does have room for five phone numbers, two e-mail addresses, and a memo. You can organize contacts by caller groups, pair them with photos for caller ID, and any of 12 polyphonic ringtones. Other essentials include vibrate mode, a speakerphone, text and multimedia messaging, a calendar, a calculator, a tip calculator, a notepad, a world clock, a task list, a stopwatch, and a unit converter.
More advanced users will like the full HTML Web browser, e-mail, USB mass storage, voice recording, voice command and dialing, instant messaging, and Bluetooth. Supported Bluetooth profiles include hands-free, headset, dial-up networking, A2DP/stereo, object push, file transfer, and A/V remote control. Though the Vu does have e-mail support for a variety of providers (BellSouth, Earthlink, and Yahoo, to name a few), it doesn't let you enter in your own POP3 address, which we found discouraging. We tested the quad-band dual-mode (GSM 850/900/1800/1900; UMTS/HSDPA) LG Vu in San Francisco using AT&T's service. Call quality was excellent, with little to no distortion. We heard our callers clearly with plenty of volume, and they, too, didn't hear a lot of background noise. Speakerphone calls came through loud and clear, as well, though we did have to speak up a little bit more. We managed to pair the LG Vu with the Aliph Jawbone Bluetooth headset without a problem. Unfortunately, we were not able to fully test out AT&T Mobile TV at the time of testing, since AT&T has not yet deployed the TV service in San Francisco. We will give a proper review of the service when we do. As far as HSDPA speeds go, though, we were very pleased with the results. Web pages loaded in mere seconds, and a song download only took about minute. We also managed to stream video with little to no buffering time. That said, video quality wasn't the best; most videos looked choppy and blurry, especially the ones with a lot of action. Music quality was great, with strong melodic tunes coming through, as long as you use a headset. The built-in speakers aren't so great for listening to music because of a slightly hollow sound.
Our unlocked GSM cellular phones are only designed to work on GSM networks Only! (such as Cingular, T-Mobile, and others in the U.S.; and Fido and Rogers in Canada).
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