The music player is quite simple and straightforward to use. Your music can be sorted according to the usual assortment including folder view. There’s Dolby Mobile for audio enhancement that can be toggled on and off. This makes quite a bit of difference in the audio quality but only works when the headphones are connected. The speaker around the back is plenty loud for alerts as well as listening to music or watching a movie.
Media playback is good
The video player comes packed with some nifty features like a video preview when seeking forward or backwards. If you want to skip ahead in the video, you now get a little pop-up preview of the scene at that particular time while your current video plays. This works very well for files up to 720p, as 1080p files stutter a bit when you use this feature. The video player also supports DivX HD, so overall, it’s quite feature packed.
The Optimus Vu is a quad band GSM and 3G handset. You also get Wi-Fi, DLNA, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, and last but not least, NFC. LG also bundles along three programmable NFC tags that can be used in conjunction with the Tag+ app. You can stick these tags in your car, at home or at work and program each of them to automate certain tasks. Browsing the web is a better experience thanks to the wider aspect ratio. This is probably the only area where the 4:3 display makes sense.
Good for web browsing
The phone comes with an Application Manager, a Backup App that lets you back up your downloaded apps, bookmarks, calendar, call log, contacts, messages and system settings onto the internal memory or the SD card. The Media Home works as a hub for your videos, photos and music. We also have a Task Manager to free up some additional memory. The other apps include LG’s SmartShare for DLNA streaming, LG SmartWorld, LG RemoteCall for diagnosis and Memo.
You get an 8MP shooter, similar to the one on the 4X HD, along with an LED flash. We found the touch to focus system a bit daft though. Once you touch an area to focus on, you expect the camera to capture the still after pressing the shutter button, but it simply tries to focus again. This way you end up with a badly focused image most of the time. After a little trial and error, we managed to get some decent outdoor macro shots. The level of detail captured is good but not the best. HDR mode works very well too as you can see from the second sample image; the camera was able to stitch both the photos very well together.
Decent close-up shots
HDR mode works well
Video recording at 1080p @30fps is possible and there is ample image stabilisation while recording. The video also has live effects that provide silly faces such as big mouth, big eyes and backgrounds to your shots, similar to stock ICS.
Despite the large size of the phone, LG has fitted the Vu with just a 2,080mAh battery. In our video drain test, the battery lasted for 7 hours and 10 minutes; it's not bad, but LG could have done a lot better. Under heavy use though, the phone does drain a lot quicker and won’t last you for an entire day.
Verdict and Price in India
With a price tag of Rs. 34,990, the LG Optimus Vu is one expensive phone and quite frankly, doesn’t make sense at all. You can find it online for as low as Rs. 30,000 but this is still quite expensive. Our main issue is the form factor and while it may suit web browsing, it’s terribly inconvenient for both apps as well as ergonomics. What we don’t get is that the 4X HD from LG has a better feature set than the Vu (dual-band Wi-Fi, higher ppi screen and expandable storage) and is lighter and a lot cheaper, so why would anyone spend nearly 8K more for some inconvenience? The Vu was a bad idea right from the drawing board, and it doesn’t seem like LG has learnt anything as the Vu II is somewhat similar in design, except for the internals.