Hands on with LG Optimus Vu: An enormous phone with a stylus

With its gigantic 5-inch display, the LG Optimus Vu might be easily mistaken for a tablet at first glance. Much like the Samsung Galaxy Note, the Optimus Vu is a tablet-sized phone--which some have dubbed a "phablet." PCWorld did manage to get some hands on time with the Vu back at this year's Mobile World Congress, but this week LG sent us an international version of the Vu. The company told us that it currently has no plans to bring the phone to the U.S. Still, the Vu is worth taking a look at for its unique, larger-than-normal size and accompanying stylus.

The first thing you’ll notice about the Vu is its size: While not as thick or as tall as the Galaxy Note, the Vu is slightly wider. This extra width can make the Vu feel awkward to hold for a long time—even if you have larger than average hands.

The LG Optimus Vu feels awkward in hand.

The Vu has a 5-inch screen with the same resolution and aspect ratio as the original iPad (1024-by-768 pixels; 4:3). While this doesn't really impact the way that videos look on the device, it's odd to find a modern smartphone that doesn't have a widescreen display (16:9).

The Vu ships with Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), and runs on a 1.5 GHz dual-core Qualcomm MSM8660 Snapdragon processor. The phone is quite responsive, opening apps with little to no effort, and it never once got hot while handling multiple tasks at once. The Optimus Vu is one of of the few LG phones that support LTE networks.

There's no place to store the stylus.

Like the Galaxy Note, the Vu also ships with a stylus that you can use to draw or take notes on the Vu's screen. The stylus is much larger than the one included with the Note, making it much easier to hold. Sadly, the Vu doesn't include a slot for storing the stylus, so you're going to have to keep track of it yourself. The stylus works reasonably well, but doesn't seem to be anything more than a finger replacement for navigating around the phone and taking notes inside apps.

The phone's 8-megapixel camera is capable of shooting video in 1080p, but the few images and videos I shot using the Vu didn't look all that impressive. The front-facing camera wasn't much better, but it does include an interesting setting that virtually airbrushes your face--though the result turned out creepy more than anything else.

The Optimus Vu's 8-megapixel camera was disappointing.

After spending some time with the Vu, I wasn't too terribly impressed. I'm disappointed that the phone's design is difficult to hold for long periods of time, and was not satisfied with the quality of photos that I took using the Vu's camera. I like the idea of using the Vu as a digital notepad, but still wish that the phone had some way for me to store the stylus when I wasn't using it. If you want to know more about this monster-sized phone, keep an eye out for our full review of the LG Optimus Vu over on PCWorld.com.

This story, "Hands on with LG Optimus Vu: An enormous phone with a stylus" was originally published by TechHive.

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