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printed November 24, 2014
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Review: LG Vu Plus

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Screen

The screen on the LG Vu Plus is lower resolution than I'd like, pushing only 400 by 240 pixels. That's the same as the original LG Vu, which came out 2 years ago. The interface is well designed for the screen, so you will hardly notice the lower res, but menu text sometimes looks jagged, and pictures suffer for fewer pixels.

The LG Vu Plus has a relatively dim display, especially noticeable when the Vu's screen was white, even with the brightness cranked all the way up. The screen needs to be much brighter. Even indoors in a dimly lit room, it wasn't bright enough. Outside, the screen was visible, but again a boost to the brightness would help considerably.

Sound

Sound quality on the LG Vu Plus was good, but not sterling. There was a muffled quality to my caller's voices. Not enough to ruin a conversation, but I'd like the sound to be more clear. I also heard a bit of static on my end. On the caller's end, friends reported a slightly digitized sound to my voice, but no static or muffling like I heard.

The LG Vu Plus has a nice, loud speakerphone. It could distort a bit at the loudest volume, but I appreciate its ability to scream over loud car noises or fill a room with sound for a conference call. The ringtones were likewise very loud; I had no trouble hearing the phone in my pocket or across the house. This loud speaker also helped with mobile TV viewing, but a loud speaker doesn't make up for the lack of a true headphone jack.

Signal

Reception was solid on the LG Vu Plus. I got a consistent 4 bars of service in most areas. Calls always went through and never dropped out on me. I also got a strong signal from Qualcomm's MediaFLO TV service, which broadcasts on its own frequency, separate from AT&T's network. There was some occasional pixelation and compression artifacts in the Mobile TV picture, but that isn't necessarily a signal issue.

Battery

The LG Vu Plus was able to hold a charge through more than a day's use. Battery life dropped considerably when I played a lot of Mobile TV, but not as much as I was expecting. Commuters who use the phone as a TV on long train rides will want to charge during the day just to be safe, and the phone charges via its microUSB port up top, which is convenient.

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