Introduction and Features
LG has gone from a relatively budget oriented player in the mobile phone market to a company that is something of a fashion icon alongside its Korean counterpart Samsung. The Chocolate and Shine ranges have been very successful for LG, but what we're looking at today has more akin with the Prada phone. The latest model from LG is the KU990 or Viewty is it's also known as. It corrects a lot of the shortcomings that the Prada phone suffered from, but it has some of its own which we'll bring up a bit later.
At first glance, the design of the Viewty isn't that different from the Prada phone as both have only three buttons on the front and a rather large LCD display. The UI also shares several common aspects with the Prada phone, but the two are quite different. For starters, the Viewty is quite a bit larger at 103.5 x 54.4 x 14.8 (HxWxD) compared to the Prada phone, and it weighs 27g more at 112g. It's still quite pocket friendly by all means, especially compared to many Windows Mobile devices which it is competing against in terms of what's on offer.
The touch screen is the same 3-inch, 400x240 resolution display as on the Prada phone and it can display up to 262,000 colours. But this isn't really the selling point of the Viewty, nor is the smartphone functionality a key selling point, as the main feature of the Viewty is the built in 5 Megapixel camera with autofocus, and as with the Prada it has a Schneider-Kreuznach certified lens. This is one of only a handful phones so far to feature a 5 Megapixel camera, but after having taken a few pictures with it and comparing to an almost three year old Pentax Optio WP, the short end of the stick is that it can't compete even with an old pocket camera.
A 100 percent crop at full jpeg quality from an outdoors shot at 5 Megapixels. You can clearly see that it suffers from a lot of image noise.
None the less it beats most other mobile phone cameras and it also offers a few interesting features such as the option for manual focusing and up to 16x digital zoom. The digital zoom is pretty much useless past 2x as the pictures become too pixelated to be of any real use. The oddest feature which ties in with the camera is the zoom controller, this also doubles up as the scroll wheel on the phone as this is a ring around the camera lens. This works ok in theory, but in practice it's way too easy to get your fingers in the way if you use the zoom.
We have to say that the flash is rather good though, and there's even an autofocus light which is rarely seen on mobile phones but it doesn't make up for the otherwise rather poor photo quality. As you can see from the pictures, LG is touting the Image Stabilizer feature, although this is simply a "shake reducer" which is done by increasing the ISO setting; this means that you'll lower the quality and most likely get grainier pictures as an end result.
There are plenty of camera settings to go around, and interestingly enough the Viewty has a hardware slider on the right hand side that allows you to select between still shooting, video shooting and playback. The video mode has a funky feature which allows you to record video in 120fps, albeit at a mere 320x240 resolution. You might wonder what this would be good for; well, playback happens a lot slower which means that you get a slow motion video of whatever it was you recorded which can be kinda fun to play with.
It can of course record video at some rather more useful resolutions such as 640x480 and two wide options, 400x240 and 640x384. The video quality isn't outstanding, but the video mode sure is better than the camera mode. You can still use the digital zoom, although this will make the video quality look awful. You can of course use the front mounted camera as well (since this is a 3G handset, but we'll get to that in a second) which is good for self portraits, although it's limited to 320x240 or 176x144 resolution.