LG had a few surprises in their booth. Chief among them was the long-rumored Vu, which is essentially a US version of LG's much-hyped Prada phone. The Vu sports essentially the same finger-touch UI as the Prada phone; the differences are a slightly more tapered design and the addition of MediaFLO mobile TV.
LG gave us the obligatory "the carrier hasn't been decided yet" line and asked us to obscure the logos, but rumors across the web are that this is destined for AT&T, and there were plenty of clues to confirm that. Most obvious is that LG told us this would launch soon as "the first" MediaFLO phone for the intended GSM carrier, and AT&T has announced plans to launch MediaFLO soon.
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The Vu is just as sleek and slick as the Prada phone; perhaps even more so thanks to a less-blocky design at the ends. It's quite light and thin, especially for a phone with such advanced features. The massive touch screen on the front is crisp and bright, and the touch capability works well. We did have trouble with the scroll bar in the browser, but LG made it a point to tell us that the browser was an older, non-final version. The final version will support full HTML web sites like the Voyager.
In text entry fields, you can choose a virtual numeric keypad and use multi-tap to enter text, or you can press the little keyboard icon at the top and switch to a very iPhone-like keyboard in landscape orientation The virtual keyboard works well. The face of the Vu sports only three physical keys - send, clear, and end - arranged in a thin row below the display. The black keys are illuminated with a white backlight when appropriate, but when the keys are not illuminated they all but disappear into the face of the phone, giving it an even sleeker look.
Here's a quick video of some Vu features:
Video looks great on the large display, as does the large, easy-to use channel guide for MediaFLO mobile TV. With the phone situated in landscape orientation for TV watching, a long antenna can be extended from the top to improve TV reception. Unlike the antennas on other MediaFLO phones, the one on the Vu does not bend at the base, potentially making it very prone to damage if it gets knocked while extended.
Also on display was the Viewty, which is really quite similar to the Prada and Vu, but adds a high-quality 5 megapixel camera. The camera adds some thickness, but it still feels thinner than its competition like the Sony Ericsson K850 and Samsung G800.
The camera interface is one of the most extensive and well-designed we've seen, with large touch buttons offering quick and easy access to a plethora of controls. Pretty much any camera feature or control you've ever seen on a camera phone is on the Viewty.
Check out the Viewty camera interface in action in this video:
Also making an appearance is the AX-565, which is essentially a Muziq for Alltel. The circular touch music controls on the outside of the Muziq are square on the AX-565, but otherwise the two phones are nearly identical, including the handy FM transmitter feature.
We've also got a quick video of the AX-565: