Solid performance and graphics; Blazing 4G LTE speeds; Large vivid display; Optimus overlay adds convenient shortcuts;
Difficult to use with one hand; No stylus holder; Lacks handwriting recognition; Short battery life; Weak speaker
The LG Intuition offers a gorgeous 5-inch display and an inventive interface, but it's too difficult to use with one hand and there's nowhere to put the stylus.
At what size do smartphones end and tablets begin? The $199 LG Intuition is the latest device to blur the line, offering a massive 5-inch display, a handy stylus and equally useful note-taking software. In addition, this Android smartphone can take advantage of Verizon's blistering 4G LTE speeds. But is this phablet fab or fail?
The front of the Intuition is dominated by the huge 5-inch display. It's not as large as the Galaxy Note's 5.3-inch screen or the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Note 2's 5.5-inch panel. A thick black bezel surrounds the screen, the top of which sports a 1.3 megapixel camera and a chrome Verizon insignia. A chrome LG logo sits at the bottom resting above four capacitive buttons (Back, Home, Recent Apps and Menu).
We were disappointed to discover the Intuition lacks a dock for the included stylus, something included on the Galaxy Note. Without the dock it's almost inevitable that the stylus will go missing.
A dark gray plastic band wraps around the bezel and the sides of the phone, accentuating the device's rounded corners. Buttons for volume are on the right, and a port cover in the top left conceals the SIM card slot. The power button rests on the top with a headphone jack. Here there's also a dedicated button to launch QuickMemo and a sliding cover that conceals the microUSB port.
The Intuition's rear has a textured black plastic panel that resembles a piece of cloth; its small divots ensured a firm grip as we held the device. An 8-megapixel camera and a LED flash sit in the top left corner in a silver metal oval. A pair of speakers sit on the lower left side of the phablet.
Display and Audio
The high-definition trailer of "The Great Gatsby" was gorgeous on the Intuition's 284 ppi display. Due to the unorthodox 4:3 aspect ratio. the black bars at the top and bottom were even larger than on phones with a 16:9 aspect ratio. Still, the screen exploded into a cacophony of opulent golds, violets and emeralds. The sharpness and detail were impressive as we could easily see every rhinestone and pearl in Daisy's beaded headband. Viewing angles were nice and wide with very little washout. The Galaxy Note (256 ppi) did offer a larger picture with more precise color accuracy, but there was some noticeable distortion, especially during night scenes.
The Intuition's display brightness of 471 lux was more than enough to outshine both the 296 lux Android phone category average and the Galaxy Note's 240 lux. However, all that brightness didn't help once we stepped out of our office into a sunny September day.
Unfortunately, audio left much to be desired. The diminutive pair of speakers failed to fill our small test room and produced hollow, distant sound. Dialogue during "The Great Gatsby" came in a few decibels above a whisper. When we listened to the "Rocky Horror Picture Show" classic "The Time Warp," we strained to hear the usually vivacious guitar riffs. The accompanying piano and vocals were a little louder, but it was a shadow of the raucous number we're accustomed to.
Rubberdium Pen, QuickMemo and Notebook
QuickMemo and Notebook are the two apps designed to work in concert with the pen. Pressing the QuickMemo button on top of the phone instantly captured a screenshot of the display and launched QuickMemo, letting us doodle on the image. Within the app, icons for Memo background, Undo, Redo, Pen Style and Eraser sit along the top. A screen lock icon in the bottom left corner locks the memo in place, disabling the capacitive keys.
Notebook expands on the QuickMemo concept, allowing users to jot down notes, attach pictures and create multipage mini-presentations. We liked that LG incorporates some light customization into the process with five cover and page style choices. Still, we preferred Samsung S Note's myriad templates, including the Magazine, Diary and Recipe templates. Similar to Samsung S Note, Notebook enables users to add voice recording, video and images to a page. LG adds some new wrinkles to the equation with the capture video and insert audio features.
Overall, we prefer Samsung's note-taking apps on the Galaxy Note. We like the ability to jot down notes on screenshots in QuickMemo, but it should have been a feature inside of a larger app, similar to S Memo. It would have been nice to have a few templates to give us a starting point with our note-taking.
Users who prefer the retro look can switch to the Phone keyboard that displays all the letters and symbols in groups of three or four. We appreciate the large, generously spaced keys on each of the keyboards, and the Intuition also delivered strong haptic feedback. Our favorite keyboard was the Shape writer, due to the speed with which we were able to shoot off a text or an email.
There's also a handwriting option for those who want to get the most mileage out of their Rubberdium pens. We were impressed with the phone's ability to read our handwriting and translate it into decipherable text.
There are seven customizable home screens, the majority of which are preloaded with a number of apps and widgets, including a calendar, Yahoo News and Amazon. Pinching the screens allowed us to change the default home screen. We liked the animated water wallpaper that rose and sank according to the device's battery life. Six icons (Phone, Messaging, Contacts, Notebook, Camera and Apps) line the bottom of the display, and could be switched out for apps of our choosing.
The Recent Apps button cues up the familiar list of open applications, but LG added the ability to access app info via long press. In addition to the usual Apps and Widgets tabs on the Apps page, LG incorporated a Downloads tab. Clicking the Settings button allowed us to quickly uninstall said apps.
Another helpful feature can be found in Email and Contacts. Pinching the screen reordered our contacts into an alphabetical index. Pinching out created a more detailed list that displayed names and emails. Unfortunately, this feature doesn't work in Gmail.
The Intuition also supports a number of gestures. Flipping the device mutes incoming calls, stops alarms and pauses video. The phone also uses tilt mechanics, enabling us to reposition apps on the home screen by pressing down on the screen and tilting the device to the left or right.
RichNote and Polaris Office both make use of the Rubberdium pen. RichNote lets users jot down a quick note and set reminders, while Polaris Office can create Microsoft Office-compatible documents, spreadsheets and presentations. SmartShare, a media-sharing app, is one of the few LG-branded apps.
Unfortunately, the Intuition comes loaded with carrier-branded software, which, try as we might, were unable to uninstall. There's VCast Tones, VZ Navigator, Verizon Apps and My Verizon Mobile. We found a couple of bright spots in the TV.com-powered Viewdini and the NFL Mobile App that served up video of our beloved New York Giants. Third-party apps include YouTube, Amazon and Amazon MP3.
Because of its 4:3 aspect ratio, apps designed for most Android phones -- which have a 16:9 aspect ratio -- won't fit the screen perfectly. However, long-pressing the home button allows you to resize the apps to fill the screen or show them in their native size. Be advised that the latter selection will result in unsightly black bars on either side of the app.
The 1.5-GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S3 processor in the LG Intuition delivered solid performance numbers. On the CPU portion of the Benchmark test, the Intuition notched 2,747, slightly above the 2,740 Android phone average. However, it was more than enough to beat the Samsung Galaxy Note and its 1.5-GHz dual-core processor's score of 2.206.
In the graphics arena, the Intuition scored 7,093 on An3DBench, just below the 7,130 average, but a little higher than the Galaxy Note (7,028). During the Quadrant benchmark, which measures overall system performance, the Intuition notched 3,453. That's more than enough to blow past the 2,762 category average and the Note's 2,323.
During our real world testing, we raced around the track in "Real Racing 2" with three apps running in the background and four open Web browser tabs. There was a slight lag during the initial loading session, but from then on it was smooth racing.
4G LTE and Web Browsing
Taking pictures with the Intuition's rear-facing 8MP camera yielded an explosion of colors. Our flower test shots delivered nice color accuracy, especially with blues, reds and purples. Our favorite top-down shot of some lilies displayed the deep blush of the petals and the light purple stamen. However, it was difficult to make out the finer details in a bouquet of purple daisies. The petals looked fuzzy and lacked texture.
LG added a nifty feature into the camera. Instead of fumbling around with a button, photogs can snap off a photo by uttering "say cheese." The feature worked almost instantaneously, snapping the photo a second after the command. We found that the command works when the phone was within three to six inches from our face.
In those rare occasions that we used the Intuition as a phone, we received plenty of confused stares. This is one phone you'll want to use in conjunction with a Bluetooth headset. Still, we were pleased with the Intuition's call quality on both mobile and landlines. We heard clear, crisp audio during the majority of our tests. There were a few moments of fade outs at our home in the Bronx, however. Our callers reported loud audio with little feedback during our calls.
During the LAPTOP Battery Test (continuous Web surfing over 4G LTE), the LG Intuition lasted 4 hours and 59 seconds. That's nearly an hour less than the 5:54 average, as well as the Samsung Galaxy Note (5:46).
VerdictGalaxy Note II, which will be coming to all the major carriers. Ultimately, the LG Intuition proved to be more than a handful.
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|Form Factor||Candybar Touchscreen|
|Operating System||Android 4.0|
|Networks||CDMA 1x, CDMA DO Rev A 800/1900|
|Memory Expansion Type|
|Display (main)||5 inches|
|Bluetooth Type||Bluetooth 3.0+HS|
|Front Camera Resolution||1.3MP|
|Camera Resolution||8 MP|
|Audio formats supported||AMR|
|Audio formats supported||WMA|
|Audio formats supported||AAC+|
|Audio formats supported||WAV|
|Audio formats supported||AAC|
|Audio formats supported||OGG|
|Audio formats supported||MP3|
|Audio formats supported||MIDI|
|Audio formats supported||AMR-NB|
|Talk / Standby Time||16.7 hours/130 hours|
|Size||5.5 x 3.56 0.33 inches|
|SAR Rating (Head)|
|SAR Rating (Body)|