LG Ku990 Viewty Review

by : Darren Evans

The LG KU990 Viewty is LG's update to the somewhat 'luke-warmly' received Prada KE850 and it expands on the almost entirely touch-screen based set-up by adding haptic feedback (i.e. the screen vibrates when you touch it) and a much improved camera.

With a 5 Megapixel camera and image stabiliser being the key features, the Viewty is clearly aimed at the high-spec cameraphone market to compete with the Sony Ericsson K850i and the Nokia N95. With the addition of some unique elements such as the 120 fps video recording capabilities, LG may be looking at aligning themselves alongside these models, but they are also looking to put their own unique spin into this rapidly expanding market.

Being 3G capable with the increased speed of HSDPA up to 3.6 Mbps for data transfers and video calls, the Viewty leaves the Samsung G600 alone as the only 5-MP cameraphone operating at 2G.

Even though the spec-sheet makes promising reading, the first impressions on using the Viewty for the first time weren't exactly encouraging. This is due to the inconvenient implementation of a stylus and the way it's attached to the handset. Instead of sliding into a slot on the side of the handset as you would expect, you tie the stylus strap around the eyelet on the top left side. You can clearly see that LG probably thought of a stylus after the design for the handset had been finalised; it is clearly an afterthought and a pointless one at that.

Another strange idea is the use of the zoom-wheel on the rear-mounted camera to scroll through the various menu options. Though this isn't as bad as the situation with the stylus, it does take a little getting used to, because it does feel unusual initially. This feeling does wear off though after a short period of time getting a feel for it.

The 3" touchscreen more than makes up for these shortfalls by including Haptic feedback when the correct option has been pressed and in practice proves to be a much better option than either the stylus or the zoom-wheel, greatly improving the overall ease of use. The key response is also very good and this shows up particularly well when typing out a text message, with the Haptic feedback enhancing the experience no-end. Overall, the interface is better operated with fingers than stylus as it is much more convenient. Though it's obviously personal preference, there is no clear need for the stylus at all, considering the user-friendliness of the touchscreen and its responsiveness.

The camera features are the focus for the advertising campaign of the Viewty, which is no surprise considering the reputed capabilities. The still picture quality under normal lighting and distance is very good and produce some high-quality shots. The only let-down is when using the 8x digital zoom the on-screen pictures appear very grainy and not particularly clear.

The 120fps video recording capabilities is sure to be a very-strong selling point, as at the time of writing there are very few stand-alone video cameras, let alone mobile phones that are capable of this and certainly none at this price point. The performance of the slow-motion video is very good (provided there is sufficient light) and adds a fun new dimension compared to what's available elsewhere.

One aspect that helps with the usability of the camera is the addition of a 3-way switch on the side of the handset that allows instant access to either the video mode (the 120fps mode is accessed by just two presses on the screen, photo mode or gallery, thankfully avoiding an overtly complicated set-up process.

Even though the first impressions of the LG Viewty weren't favourable thanks to the odd implementation of the stylus and secondary use of the camera lens, after some time spent with the device it was found to be very user-friendly and packed with a wide-range of features that make it deserving of your attention.