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LG Viewty Smart (GC900) Review

What Mobile
August 26, 2009

The original LG Viewty was a pretty smartphone, and a huge success for LG not just in the UK but all over the world. To this day, it attracts a massive amount of traffic to our forum – beaten only by the people talking about the iPhone and how to unlock it.

The Viewty was released when touchscreen devices were still pretty thin on the ground, Windows Mobile handsets excepted. The 5-megapixel camera was decent and it had a Xenon flash to enhance things even more. The Viewty was followed by a variant with a keyboard and the similarly specificed PRADA phone, which had two incarnations.

Now, the Viewty has an official successor in the form of the Viewty Smart. Incorporating the excellent S-Class 3D user interface from the LG Arena, this slimline handset looks even nicer than the Arena. Our review model mixes black, gold and silver in a way that doesn’t look tacky, but it’s inevitable that it will be produced in a range of colours in the future.

It also has a 3-inch high resolution (480×800 pixel) display that makes everything look amazing, from the menus to looking at pictures or browsing the web. It may not be the OLED type being so heavily used by its rival Samsung, but it is 16.8 million colours and capacitive, meaning it is truly touch sensitive. So, no complaints there.

The camera also has loads of new features, from an intelligent shot mode that will analyse the surrounding conditions and adjust the exposure and brightness automatically (showing at the bottom right of the screen in real time all of the parameters that are being adjusted), to a ‘beauty shot’ that can supposedly turn everyone into a supermodel. It will also capture near-DVD quality video, at 30 frames per second, and has both fast and slow-motion capture modes, albeit at a lower resolution of 320×240 pixels only.

Touch response

With the highly responsive touchscreen display, using the camera interface is incredibly simple and the phone chugs along nicely. But, if you’re buying this for photography then you’ll be shocked when you flip it over and notice LG has ditched the Xenon flash. In fact, the LED that replaces it isn’t even as bright as that used by handsets that aren’t pushing imaging as the key feature. It’s a shocking oversight, and highly detrimental to the usefulness of this phone as a camera. Worse still, LG has stated a 12-megapixel phone will be announced imminently.

However, if you were looking at getting an Arena and want something with a different design, the Viewty Smart does have a few things going for it. It doesn’t have the touch sensitive call and end buttons, which means you won’t keep quitting the web browser or other apps by mistake. You still get Wi-Fi too, so that makes the Viewty Smart a worthy phone, but not one that does as well in the camera department as it could have done.


VERDICT

LG is trying to enhance its portfolio by using the same platform to spawn a range of handsets aimed at different markets. The Viewty Smart is the cameraphone version of the Arena (which was more about multimedia), but the lack of the Xenon flash is a huge oversight. It takes good pictures in daylight, but the LED lamp is incredibly weak. The trick features like fast and slow-motion video is also restricted to a tiny resolution, which is nothing like the 720×480 pixel video recording available normally. The phone does look even nicer than the Arena and has slightly better ergonomics, so it’s not a total failure by any means.

 

PERFORMANCE
***--

FEATURES
*****

USABILITY
****-

 

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