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Non-Smartphone LG Vu TV is Still a Touch Screen Phone

Vu is priced like iPhone 3G and Samsung Instinct, but can’t play in same league

About.com Rating 3 Star Rating
User Rating 1 Star Rating (9 Reviews)

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The LG CU920 Vu TV

The LG CU920 Vu TV

Image © LG
Guide Result: Somewhat Recommended
Recommended For: Touch Screen, TV
Not Recommended For: Full Smartphone Desires

If you want smartphone-like features (such as a touch screen) without actually springing for the complexity of one, the LG CU920 Vu TV could be the hidden gem for you.

While the cool factor of a touch screen has been best popularized by the do-it-all iPhone 3G and Samsung Instinct smartphones (which are labeled as smartphones because they’re powered by computer-like operating systems), cell phones can play in all the touch screen fun, too.
Despite the massive marketing budgets thrown at ballyhooing the iPhone 3G and Samsung Instinct, the lesser-known LG CU920 Vu TV for AT&T packs some smartphone-like charm without being run by a mobile operating system.

The Vu’s large, interactive touch screen is front and center as its primary differentiator and selling point. While the surface area of the touch screen is comparable to the iPhone 3G and Samsung Instinct, the performance of the Vu’s touch screen falls short.

You’ll find yourself having to push buttons harder and you’ll miss certain advanced features that come with popular smartphone touch screens. For example, the Vu doesn’t have smart abilities such as the iPhone 3G’s “pinch in” and “pinch out” finger feature for you to zoom in and zoom out of various areas.

For this reason, navigating the Web on the Vu can sometimes be difficult. You may find yourself having trouble clicking a certain link on the Internet because you lack the ability to precisely hone in on a particular portion of a Web page.

Vu is a TV Phone, Too

The second primary selling point of the Vu, though, begins to make up for the subpar touch screen. The Vu is a die-hard TV cell phone.

On AT&T’s high-speed 3G network, the Vu’s TV performs swimmingly. The content is streamed, which means it downloads as you view it. With a quality cell phone signal, you’re able to watch a wide array of live and pre-recorded television programming and actually derive useful entertainment and information value from it.
The LG CU920 Vu TV

The LG CU920 Vu TV

Image © LG
AT&T Mobile TV is only available on the LG CU920 Vu TV and not the predecessor LG CU915 Vu TV model. AT&T Mobile TV typically runs an extra $15 per month or $30 for unlimited Web usage, email and mobile TV.

Vu vs. iPhone 3G, Samsung Instinct in Size, Weight

The Vu’s size is in line with what you’d expect and want from this type of cell phone. It measures in at 4.25 inches tall by 2.16 inches wide by 0.51 of an inch in diameter.

In contrast, the Samsung Instinct measures in at 4.57 inches by 2.17 inches by 0.49 of an inch whereas the iPhone 3G’s height is 4.5 inches, width is 2.4 inches and depth is 0.48 of an inch.

The Vu weighs in at 3.16 ounces, which is noticeably lighter than both the iPhone 3G (4.7 ounces) and Samsung Instinct (4.4 ounces). The Vu features a 3-inch touch screen, which compares to a 3.1-inch haptic touch screen on the Samsung Instinct and a 3.5-inch multi-touch screen on the iPhone 3G.

Grave Vu Concerns

An area of grave concern, though, is the Vu’s battery life. Because this is a multimedia phone that’s designed for you to actually use the benefits inherent in watching television and listening to music, the Vu’s major downfall is having only 3 hours of battery life with standby time up to 10 days and 10 hours.

In comparison, the Samsung Instinct actually comes with two batteries that are each rated at up to 5.75 hours of continuous talk time. This compares to 5 hours of talk time on the iPhone 3G. Both touch screen rivals blow away the Vu in the all-important battery life area.
Vu is Too Pricey

In addition to not having other smartphone features (such as GPS), another major concern about the Vu is its price. You can snag an iPhone 3G for as low as $199 (the price will vary depending on your unique situation) and a Samsung Instinct for as low as $129.99.

AT&T has priced the Vu, which clearly falls quite short of these two smartphones, at the expensive price of $149.99 with a two-year service contract. That also forces you to buy various features (such as AT&T Mobile TV) and that price is also assuming you’ve mailed in a $50 rebate.

With no service contract and no features, AT&T says its full price for the Vu would ring in at a price tag no one would want to pay: $349.99. The Vu’s full feature set includes:

  • A large, interactive touch screen
  • AT&T Mobile TV
  • HTML Web browsing
  • Music player with customizable equalizer
  • 2-megapixel autofocus camera with video
  • Video share
  • Cellular video (for pre-recorded content) over a 3G network
  • Messaging: mobile email, instant messaging (IM) and MMS (multimedia messaging)
  • XM Satellite Radio for streaming radio (this service costs extra)
  • Bluetooth capability for music, TV and voice
  • microSD port for more storage (Vu only has 120 megabytes of internal memory)
  • The LG CU920 Vu TV

    The LG CU920 Vu TV

    Image © LG
    Overall

    When it’s all said and done, the LG CU920 Vu TV impresses the most in its ability to be more like a smartphone than most cell phones. That perk, though, is also its Achilles’ heel.

    The Vu can’t come close to trumping the iPhone 3G or Samsung Instinct and even fails to price itself for less considering it can’t compete on features alone.

    Image Gallery: See six images of the LG CU920 Vu TV from all angles.

    Your Two Cents: Have a comment or question related to this Vu review? Chime in on the forums!
    User Reviews

    Reviews for this section have been closed.

     1 out of 5
    AT&T & the LG VU would get ZERO stars if I could, Member wkings

    I feel completely taken advantage of by AT&T on this joke of a phone. First they made us agree to a 2 yr contract to get this phone. Then a year later, coincidentally ( I think not) our two phones both start acting up, battery says fully charged but won't stay on even with the charger plugged in. Called to get replacements to be informed the phone is discontinued (what a shocker) and that we would have to pay $50 non refundable fee for each replacement which would be Samsung phones. At this point, we can't cancel our contract because we have 1 more year, the warranty was only valid for 1 year & this supposedly great phone that we were forced to sign the 2 year contract for is no longer available. Can I mention we have been AT&T customers for 13 years? Loyalty means nothing to them if they're making long term customers still sign contracts. I'm out of here as soon as I can. Hello Verizon... I hope you value your customers better that AT&T because we're heading your way ASAP!

    9 out of 12 people found this helpful.

    See all 9 reviews

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