There’s no denying it; the LG KU990 Viewty was a monumental success for LG. More than 31000 units were sold in the first five weeks of its release and the Viewty Smart looks to follow in the same footsteps.
OK, so the Viewty Smart doesn’t bring anything groundbreaking like the KU990 Viewty did, but it just puts lots of features in a small, easy to use package. It also uses the same name, save the extra addition of ‘Smart’, which is sure to help attract those upgraders.
The most significant feature on the LG Viewty Smart is the camera and the huge array of features that mean your photos will come out pretty much on par to those you’d get from a compact camera set on auto.
There are so many different camera modes and functions on the LG Viewty Smart, it’s pretty confusing to choose the appropriate one for the specific shot you want.
One function is the spot focus mode, where you can keep your finger pressed on part of the screen to get it in focus. This is a little hit and miss, because if you even slightly move the phone after getting this point of focus, it’ll take a photo regardless of where you focused.
Beauty shot, a function that is meant to ‘beautify’ the subject just seems to blur the skin tone, although this will help blur blemishes too.
Intelligent Shot adjusts the exposure, white balance and ISO as you move the phone to find the shot. It does make panning a lot more jerky, almost like the first mobile phone cameras. In our tests, ISO seemed over compensated in auto mode, making photos grainy, but in IS mode, they seemed a lot smoother. If you’re willing to take more time over your snaps, then IS mode certainly gives better results.
If you don’t have a computer at home to edit photos, you can edit them to some extent on the phone itself. You can add filters including negative, black and white, sepia, glow or mosaic. If you forgot to take a portrait in Beauty Shot mode, you can also add this as a filter later. You can also adjust the brightness, colour, saturation, contrast and white balance too if is was slightly off when you took the photo.
Some probably unnecessary, but amusing additions include the ability to freestyle warp photos by swiping your finger across the screen, add a fog effect by blowing into the microphone and then wiping parts away with your finger, or add raindrops to the photo.
Video capabilities are the same as seen on the Renoir, allowing you to shoot slow motion, fast motion, or just regular videos. Regular speed videos are shot in D1 video quality (720×480), while slow motion and fast motion can only be recorded at QVGA (320×240) resolution. Results are nothing that you’ll particularly watch easily on your TV, but they’re fine for YouTube or streaming sites.
The LG Viewty Smart uses the same 3D S-Class UI that we first saw on the Arena, but it feels a lot more responsive on the Viewty Smart. The S-Class UI also seems to have speeded up the general operation of the LG Viewty Smart when compared to the Renoir and the KU990 Viewty. Switching between apps is faster, as is using apps such as Google Maps.
One snag with every LG device with the 3D S-Class UI is the keypad lock. It seems to activate within a couple of seconds, which is pretty irritating if you’re just pausing while writing or text or waiting to make a call. To deactivate the lock, you have to press the bottom menu key (the only hardware key on the front of the LG Viewty Smart) and press and hold an icon on the screen.
Like on the GC900 Crystal and Arena, you can fully customise the cube-style interface so all the functions you need to get access to fast can be selected with a swipe and tap.
Although the Viewty Smart hasn’t been marketed as a flagship handset from LG, it certainly should be. With premium features including Wi-Fi (which, we hasten to add, is seamless to connect), HSDPA, a 1.5GB internal memory and a high resolution 800×480 pixel screen, it’s a stunning handset on paper.
However, it does seem that LG has cut back on some features compared to its competitors, especially Samsung. LG LG Viewty Smart’s screen is only 3-inches, compared to the Samsung i8910 HD’s 3.7-incher. The LG device doesn’t include a 3.5mm headphone jack as Samsung’s range-topper does either, and this is probably one of the most damning oversights of the whole device.
The LG Viewty Smart is a welcome update to the Viewty KU990. It’s moved on with the times, adding a better, more fully-featured camera, much improved touchscreen, interface and processor, and a whole host of high-end features. It’s not as impressive as Samsung’s Symbian-based Omnia i8910 HD, but it seems LG has scrimped on certain features to appeal to those looking to upgrade their KU990 Viewty.
LG Viewty Smart Info
Typical price: From free with O2
Extensive camera options
Smaller screen than competitors
Proprietary earphone jack
Verdict: A more than capable upgrade to the LG KU990 Viewty with impressive camera features and faster OS, although not as impressive as competitors
More info: LG website
Recycle your phone: Sell LG Viewty Smart GC900