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BW Businessworld

A Smartphone Square Off

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In a world getting increasingly crowded with tablets and smartphones and everything in between, in comes LG with its Optimus Vu. There are so many different form factors and sizes that no one can even say what constitutes a hybrid anymore. 
 
That said, the Vu sits in that little wedge between a tablet and smartphone, but it does it with a surprisingly square shaped device sporting a 5-inch screen, displaying a 4.3 aspect ratio with the reasoning that this will not only set it apart from other devices but give a better viewing experience with pictures and video. Others are stronger believers in the 16.9 ratio. The display itself is very nice and bright, has nice colours and fairly crisp text. 
 
Soon Kwon, President South West Asia Region & MD, LG India, says: that for a product to stand out in the crowd, it has to have everything that the competition fails to offer. “Optimus Vu truly synchronises the features of a tablet and smartphone into one flexible device. Its unique display offers the same perspective as a PC, and is perfect for multi-tasking.” The squareness of the device does have its own appeal at least for some people, but may present a few practical problems as there’s no chance you can use this one one-handed and it probably won’t fit into pockets as easily. To be fair, one could say it’s a form factor that hasn’t proven itself yet.
 
The Vu runs on a 1.5 GHz Nvidia Tegra 3 Quad Core processor, 1 GB RAM and is currently on Android 4.0 or Ice Cream Sandwich. This, when the next to next update, Key Lime Pie, is probably around the corner. The Vu also has a rather nice 8 megapixel camera on the back and a 1.3 megapixel on the front. The smartphone has 32GB of internal memory, but no micro SD slot. There’s a 2,080mAh battery. The device is also NFC enabled and you get some tags with the package.
 
LG Optimus VuThere’s a stylus, curiously called the Rubberdium pen, with the Vu. There’s nowhere to put it so owners will have to take good care of it. There are several apps including a smart notebooks one and a quick memo, to make good use of the pen. A dedicated button lets you take screen shots and then annotate with the pen.
 
Of course, at the price bracket it’s got itself into (Rs 34,500) the Optimus Vu goes straight into competition with Samsung’s two Galaxy 5+ inch Notes, where one would have been tough enough. The original Galaxy Note is Rs 5,000 more expensive, but has not just proven itself but been immensely popular. In a sense, the Optimus Vu also competes with its own successor, the Optimus Vu II, which has just been launched in Korea and should make its way to the rest of the world soon enough. With better specs and stylus optimisation reported, consumers may well opt to wait for the Vu II.
 
mala(at)pobox(dot)com, (at)malabhargava on Twitter