LG Viewty KU990 – My Touchscreen Camera YouTube Phone

January 16, 2008


After researching numerous blogs and reviews to decide on which new mobile to buy for a while now, I finally chose the LG Viewty KU990. The name “Viewty” links to it’s tagline on the product packaging: “View the Next Technology”. First, this is not the mobile for everyone though, and others could debate that there are others in the market that are better, so it depends on what features you’re looking for – I was looking for more of a fun “camera phone”, which could take photos comparable to a standalone camera, so I wouldn’t have to carry a camera around as well for taking that spontaneous photo. The video feature and the ability to upload videos directly to Internet, was also an added bonus, so this was the phone for me.

My key deciding factors for choosing the LG Viewty:

1. It’s sleek (14.8mm thick, so not too bulky for all the features it has) and unique (not officially available in Canada)
2. It’s touchscreen (which is the new trend of mobiles and is so much easier to use) with cool haptic vibration feedback when you touch the screen options, which the iPhone doesn’t have.
3. Advanced Multimedia Features – It has a 5 MP Camera, and a high speed 120 fps video recorder, with image stabilization, DivX player, and a Schneider-Kreuznach lens. I can write on the photos or videos with the stylus and it will appear on playback; it has various advanced photo/video editing options that are not even found on stand-alone cameras, such as adding sepia or b&w colour portions or entire photo, as well as mosaic blur, softening, morphing, blurbs, built-in icons and adding picture frames, and much more! Muvee Studio feature also allows you to create an image slide show combined with music, as it also comes with the standard MP3 player feature. (The iphone only has a 2MP camera)
3. Internet Features – Browser with bookmark creation, landscape and portrait view, and ability to scroll with finger, like the iphone. (However, the iPhone wins in this area though as their browser seems alot more fun to use with its interactive user interface features, but the LG Viewty does the job for surfing)
4. Convenient pre-loaded features allowing you to connect directly to them with a click of their icon:
– YouTube – There’s also an option to upload my videos created on the phone directly to YouTube
– Google – Search, Mail, Maps
– Blogger: Create your Blog feature

lg-homescreen.jpg google.jpglg-facebook.jpg

Features I wish the LG Viewty had:

1. WiFi (just so i can surf freely at home, since it’s unlikely that I can find a free WiFi hotspot living in Toronto)
2. Windows Mobile 6 (So I can use it for work too and won’t need to carry around my Moto Q9h to retrieve my Outlook emails (although for a PDA, the Moto Q9h is quite nice looking)
3. Built-in GPS – At a usable speed and without extra carrier fees.
4. A lens cover for the 5MP Camera

Other Contenders:

iPhone               HTC Touch                LG KS20             Nokia N95

iPhone          HTC Touch (White)   LG KS20 “Dominator” Nokia N95 (Black)

Before I decided on the LG Viewty, I was also considering these other contenders in the market, but didn’t end up choosing them for the following reasons:

1. iPhone – Since I’m in Canada, where it’s not officially available yet, I didn’t want to deal with paying the fees to unlock the US Cingular version, and not be able to update the phone with the Apple patches to add new features and fix bugs without turning the phone into a brick..Yes, hackers will be able to crack the code again to unbrick the phone, but didn’t want to deal with the headache for searching for the crack and go through the never-ending cycle with the next Apple patch. The camera is still an average 2MP found on every phone these days, and cannot take videos, while I was looking for more advanced camera/video features, so I can upload videos of Buddy to his YouTube Channel (BuddytheSamoyed).

2. HTC Touch – The black and grey models soon became available through the Canadian mobile carriers at cheap prices with contract, so it would soon become another ubiquitous phone, and it was borderline sleek looking, resembling too much like a business PDA, and not enough of the “fun-factor” that I was looking for in the $300+ price tag that I would be paying for in an unlocked version (as I didn’t want to get the contract). So I was then considering the white model sold in Asia, and the HTC Dual which was also announced with enhanced TouchFLo Navigation, but the LG Viewty just looked better with cooler features.

3. LG KS20 “Dominator” – This is the new version of the LG Viewty that was announced last September, and not launched yet. So I would still have to wait a while before I could buy an unlocked version anywhere online. This model follows the similar design concept as the LG Viewty, and answers my “Wish” feature for Windows Mobile 6, yet only has a 2MP camera and does not come with the same advanced camera features as the Viewty. So this is the “business version” of the LG Viewty, but I still prefer a physical keyboard for business use, for texting lengthy emails, and I already had my business PDA.

4. Nokia N95 – Every phone that I have bought up until now has been Nokia, as I’m a Nokia brand advocate, and have always thought the ‘N95’ was the “king of all mobiles”, but ever since trying out touchscreen mobiles and how much easier and fun it is to navigate with, I couldn’t go back to this boring traditional keypad/button navigation type (for “personal” and not “business” use). The newer black version has a bigger screen and 8GB internal memory over the original silver version. Both models also have built-in GPS, but I thought it was really slow when testing it out on the silver version and find that I would hardly use it at that speed, and I find the size too bulky (21mm vs vs. 14.8mm thick for LG Viewty). Plus, the hefty price of approx. US$700 would be more than what I would pay for a phone, knowing that I would soon want to buy the next sleek phone out on the market with newer tech features…So I’ll be keeping an eye out for the next Nokia touchscreen mobile, as the touchscreen trend continues to rise.