One of the biggest flaws is the scroll wheel, and here comes the real killer. Since this is apparently as much camera as it is phone, every time you use the scroll wheel you end up putting your greasy fingerprints on the lens as there's no lens protector. This means you end up having to clean the lens every single time you want to take a photo. We're also not so sure about the raised edge around the lens and the zoom ring/scroll wheel, as our review unit seemed to have taken a few knocks before we got it and the finish was already wearing thin on parts of the scroll wheel.
Having a protruding lens also means that the phone will rest on it when you put it down on a desk, which could possibly add further wear to the camera parts and even cause damage to the lens. We're not keen on this design and we think LG should go back to the drawing board for the next model and design something with a lens cover and move the scroll/zoom controls to the side of the device; having another button or two really isn't a big deal.
Another minor issue is that the Viewty isn't SDHC compatible, so you're limited to using 2GB memory cards. This might not be a big deal unless you want to take a lot of pictures and videos as well as being able to use the Viewty as your portable music and video player. You'll always have to compromise, but the lack of SDHC on a brand new device like this is quite frankly a bit odd.
Battery life seemed to be decent with quoted talk times of 355 minutes on 2G, 233 on 3G and 138 minutes of video call time. The battery should last about 434h in standby on a 2G network and oddly enough up to 454h on a 3G network according to LG. The battery seemed to last ok during the time we had the phone, but it's always hard to assess battery life, though it compares pretty well with other similar devices.
So is the Viewty a beauty or a beast? Well, it has some good features and it has some that are frustrating to use, but overall it's not a bad phone if you're looking for something out of the ordinary. LG needs to tweak the software a bit more to make it compatible with a wider range of files that it's supposed to support, and the UI could do with being tweaked a bit to remove some confusing options. But if you're looking for a stylish, albeit somewhat basic smartphone with one of the better mobile phone cameras out there, then this might be what you've been waiting for.
It seems to be limited to Europe and Asia at the moment and the final hurdle would be the price, although that is somewhat dependant on the deals your network offers. Without a contract you're looking at around $683 AU + tax converted from what Expansys sells it for in the UK, which is not terrible compared to say the Prada phone which the same company retails for about $552 AU + tax, and it compares quite well to what it is selling for in Taiwan which is $697 AU, although this includes tax.
PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.
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Australia: Find other tech and computer products like this over at PLE Computer's website.
Canada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon Canada's website.
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