Review: LG Vu Plus
The LG Vu Plus gets a very basic assortment of messaging options, but these should be just enough to satisfy casual users. For text messaging, the phone uses a nice looking, threaded format so messages all show up as a conversational list by contact. Picture messages also come through in line with simple texts. It was easy to attach pictures, vCards from the address book and videos to MMS messages.
The Vu Plus supports AIM, Yahoo and MSN Messenger for instant messaging tasks. The IM app was very basic looking, but it performed well in my tests. Conversations came through with little delay. The phone can also handle e-mail from a number of providers. Unfortunately, the AT&T Mobile E-Mail app costs $5 per month on top of data charges, so it's hardly worth using. In my test period, the e-mail app never once warned me of new messages on my Gmail account, so I definitely can't recommend signing up. Still, it works with a variety of services, including Hotmail and AOL Mail, or you can enter your address and let the app figure out your settings for you.
The LG Vu Plus also comes with AT&T's Social Net app. Social Net is a pleasant, uncomplicated way to check status updates on MySpace, Twitter and Facebook. It doesn't offer much beyond simple updates; you can't upload photos or search for friends. At least there's no charge beyond the data.
With these simple messaging phones, the feature phones on AT&T's lineup with a full QWERTY keyboard, I have always wanted a better assortment of messaging features. The phone does a nice job with text messaging, but the instant messaging app is dated, and I'd like to see more network options, like Google talk and even MySpace messaging. I've certainly seen these on other devices.
E-mail should be free, especially if you're paying for a data plan. Plus, e-mail should do a much better job alerting the user to new incoming messages, and you should be able to send e-mails from anywhere on the phone. The Vu Plus doesn't even let you send e-mails from the address book, though there is a field for e-mail addresses. I also think that many buyers are looking for a device that can access their social networks. There should be a full features app for Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, at the very least, and you should be able to upload photos and search for friends.
Instead, these phones have almost the exact same features you'll find on any feature phone without a keyboard. Instead, they should treat messaging and social networking as something special. I'm not asking for a full-fledged smartphone. I'd gladly skip some of the music features and other extras, like the extensive photo editing, and opt for a phone that really specializes in messaging.