LG Optimus Vu review: Hands-on

The LG Optimus Vu is the brand's answer to the Samsung Galaxy Note

What is a hands on review?
Image 1 of 6 LG Optimus Vu
LG Optimus Vu
Image 2 of 6 LG Optimus Vu
LG Optimus Vu
Image 3 of 6 LG Optimus Vu
LG Optimus Vu
Image 4 of 6 LG Optimus Vu
LG Optimus Vu
Image 5 of 6 LG Optimus Vu
LG Optimus Vu
Image 6 of 6 LG Optimus Vu
LG Optimus Vu

Update: The LG Optimus Vu UK launch date has been confirmed as September 2012. The palm-sized tablet was first unveiled at MWC 2012 in February and features a 5-inch 4:3 display, the Nvidia Tegra 3 processor and Android Ice Cream Sandwich.

On show at the recent MWC show alongside the LG Optimus 4X and the LG Optimus 3D Max, the LG Optimus Vu is set to go head to head with the Samsung Galaxy Note, rocking a 5-inch 4:3 touchscreen, putting it in the strange no-mans-land between a phone and a tablet.

LG Optimus Vu: Build

Despite it's relatively large footprint, the LG Optimus Vu sports a trim profile, measuring in at just 8.5mm thin, which makes it slimmer than the Samsung Galaxy note (9.65mm). It also sport a chic design that matches the look of the brand's other handsets for 2012, including the LG Optimus 4X and the LG Optimus 3D Max.

LG Optimus Vu: Features

Along with its hybrid device status and large 4:3 display, the Vu also sports 4G LTE connectivity, but only for the US, for now at least.

LG Optimus Vu: Screen

The Vu sports a 5-inch touchscreen with a slightly unusual 4:3 ratio, rather than the standard 16:9, making it rather stocky. However, the squarer-than-usual, Apple iPad-esque screen ratio, means that there's plenty of room for text on the screen.

We checked out some pages from the International Herald Tribune, which were clear with plenty of contrast to make them easy to read, at least for a short amount of time. You can also add notes to the screen using a stylus.

Just as we wouldn't want to use a tablet with a backlit screen for longterm reading (we think that a dedicated ebook reader such as the Amazon Kindle 4, with eye-friendly e-ink, is best), we can't envisage using the Vu for more than a quick read through the top stories of the day.

LG Optimus Vu: Performance

With it's half-phone, half-tablet status, we would've expected the the LG Optimus Vu to be running Android Ice Cream Sandwich from the outset, but instead it offer the previous version (Gingerbread). Having said that, LG assured us that an upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich is due in the not-too-distant future.

The on-board processor is of the 1.5GHz dual-core variety and there's 32GB of built-in memory. The UI was certainly speedy when we tried it out and we able to fire up apps quickly and without any lag.

LG Optimus Vu: Camera

The Vu features a pretty decent 8MP camera with built-in flash, along with a front-facing 1.3MP camera. We didn't get much time to try out the camera - we were more concerned with checking out text and graphics on that large screen - but we'll certainly be taking a closer look when we get a full review sample in at T3 Towers.

LG Optimus Vu: Verdict

At first glance, the LG Optimus Vu is merely a response to its arch rival's Samsung Galaxy Note, but that's not to say that it doesn't have a lot going for it. Whether people really want these sort of phone-tablet hybrid devices remains to be seen, but we were impressed by the slick design, slim profile, large screen with its unsual 4:3 display ratio. Stay tuned for a full review.

LG Optimus Vu availability: TBC (UK), on sale now in Korea

LG Optimus Vu price: TBC

Check out our LG Optimus Vu video:


What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view.