When Samsung launched the original Galaxy Note ‘phablet’ last year it sort of triggered an arms race of sorts. Well, amongst the first companies to have a similar product is Samsung’s South Korean compatriot LG and it calls its ‘phablet’ the Optimus Vu. Frankly, the Optimus Vu launches at the worst possible time for LG, as Samsung only recently released its successor to the Galaxy Note, the Galaxy Note II that further improves on the original concept. We went hands on with the Optimus Vu, let’s see if it’s something that will compete head-on with the new Galaxy Note or is just a me-too product. Also Read - Google Play Store announces blanket ban on Sugar Daddy apps over sexual content
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The moment we first laid our eyes on the Optimus Vu, we knew that it was a very different animal from the Galaxy Note II or for that matter even the original Galaxy Note. There are a number of reasons for this difference. Firstly, the Optimus Vu has a form factor that is similar to a square block, because it features a 1024×768 pixels 5-inch IPS display with a 4:3 aspect ratio. In contrast the Galaxy Note II has a larger 1280×720 pixels 5.5-inch Super AMOLED display with a 16:9 aspect ratio. While the pixel count on the Optimus Vu is a tad less than the Galaxy Note II, one has to admit that the viewing angles were quite brilliant and the color reproduction was very natural. Also Read - Google, Facebook make vaccination mandatory for employees returning to office
In terms of thinness also the Optimus Vu is quite slim at 8.5mm but because of its chunky block like design it comes off as quite a large device.
On the back LG maintains its leather like finish, which was first seen in the Optimus 4X HD. This is very comfortable to hold and feels good in the hand unlike the slippery plastic finish on the Galaxy Note II. That said, it does not have a user removable battery and the battery itself is 2,080 mAh. The Galaxy Note II has a larger 3,100-mAh battery. We even get an 8-megpixel-rear camera, which we presume to be the same as the Optimus 4X HD.
As far as the internals are concerned the Optimus Vu brings some heavy duty firepower to the party in the Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core CPU which is clocked at 1.5GHz tied in with 1GB RAM, 32GB of internal storage that can be expanded via a microSD card slot. In comparison, the Galaxy Note arguably has a slightly more powerful Exynos chip that also has 2GB of RAM, but all this processing power is really arbitrary if the software is well tuned to the hardware.
LG makes a big deal of the software features on the Optimus Vu and it touts it like a note taking device similar to the Galaxy Note. It even bundles a stylus that has a rubber tip to emulate Samsung’s S-Pen like functionality on apps like QuickMemo and Notebook. These apps also work more or less the same way, however in our short time with the device we found the writing experience on the S-Pen to be quite a bit superior to the one offered by LG’s solution. Bewilderingly, LG does not even accommodate for a silo inside the Optimus Vu, and rather opts to arm the stylus with a pen like clip. We are sure people many people will end up loosing the stylus.
Right now the Optimus Vu runs only Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box, but LG is planning an update to Jelly Bean in the near future. However it failed to point out when exactly. In contrast, Samsung already is selling its new Galaxy Note II with Android Jelly Bean which brings a number of usability enhancements like project butter and Google Now.
On the whole, the LG Optimus Vu looks like a solid product, but we do think it is a step behind the Galaxy Note II. That said, at the same time it is definitely a much more refined product that the original Galaxy Note. At Rs 34,500 it is also slightly cheaper than the Galaxy Note II, which retails for around Rs 39,000. We will have more on the Optimus Vu in an in-depth review so stay tuned.
Photo Credits: Rohit Sharma