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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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