Friday, June 19, 2009

LG GC900 Viewty Smart : An Exclusive Preview for CommunicAsia 2009



An exclusive first-hand preview of the LG GC900 Viewty Smart in CommunicAsia 2009.
In April 2009, Seoul, LG announced the release of the Viewty Smart. The Viewty Smart is the successor of the earlier version LG KU990 Viewty mobile phone; LG Viewty took the world by storm as the compact camera with an integrated mobile phone. The approach to designing the Viewty series mobile phones is the emphasis on its camera feature; this is LG's answer to the booming camera industry. Instead of jumping into the saturated compact camera market, LG did what they do best with all their electronic products, which is to innovate and integrate. LG created a dedicated camera with mobile phone features, thus the Viewty was born. The 5-megapixel Viewty features most of the capabilities of a compact digital camera and also sports a suave camera look. Turn the Viewty around and it becomes a touchscreen mobile phone. But as the touch-sensitive mobile phone industry starts to mature, the demand for a more sophisticated mobile phone interface becomes mandatory. Along with the growing number of camera phones offered by competitors, the Viewty needs to be revised, hence the second incarnation of Viewty, the Viewty Smart is born!
Viewty Smart packs a punch with its 8-megapixel camera equipped with an F2.8 Schneider-KREUZNACH auto-focus lens along with LG's latest S-Class User Interface (UI) for mobile phone. The 3" tempered glass WVGA touchscreen with a high resolution of 800 x 480 delivers razor sharp display along with a luxurious space to 'swish-flick-swipe-tap-glide' on the S-Class UI. The WiFi, A-GPS and Bluetooth connectivity functions are essentials for users to stay connected to the internet as well as other devices. The entertainment value is boosted with its Dolby Mobile sound and DivX & Xvid video playback capability. If these ain't enough, the integrated-accelerator, motion-sensor and wind-sensor puts more creativity and fun into mobile phone games. The Viewty has definitely proven to be incredibly Smart! Ultimately, the selling point of the Viewty Smart is the camera function. LG decided to take the complicated adjustments to capture the 'right' scene, throw them into its new intelligent image processor and churn out the Intelligent Shot (IS) mode which automatically analyzes and captures the scene for you. This spells the end of asking the photography subject to wait while the user frantically jams in tons of settings. The Viewty Smart is definitely the camera phone to watch for this year!

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I must take this opportunity to thank LG and the organising company for seeding me with this pre-launch model of the LG GC900 Viewty Smart for testing and review.
On the 3rd of June 2009, LG and the organisers invited me and a band of 9 other bloggers to the LG Viewty Smart Photo Blogger event briefing at THE SAIL, where we received our exclusive pre-launch Viewty Smart mobile phones. It rocks to be the first in Asia to get our hands on this phone. This event required the band of us to play with it and take pictures based on the theme "Life is Viewty-ful". These photos were subsequently displayed in a video-wall in the LG booth during the launch of LG's latest S-Class mobile phones at the CommunicAsia 2009 held on 16th-19th June 2009. I had to resist the urge to post any information and pictures of this phone until its press release at the show.

The LG Viewty Smart Box
A much more humble package compared to my LG KS20.




Unboxing of the Viewty Smart
The box reveals the Viewty Smart and accessories including: earphones, headset with mic, power adaptor, USB connector, LGIP-580N Lithium-ion battery(1000mAh), LG Installer start guide, basic User manual, CD-ROM with complete soft manual and LG PC Suite III.






Getting Started
The Viewty Smart comes with a thick high grade screen protector which sadly had to be removed for proper viewing. Protective stickers surround the chrome surfaces of the phone. The battery cover slides out revealing the SIM slot.




LG Viewty Smart Product Gallery
The Viewty Smart is really slick at just only 12.4mm thin; incredible for an 8-megapixel feature-rich camera phone. The 3" tempered glass touch screen display is a luxury to 'swish-flick-swipe-tap-glide' on. The high resolution bright screen makes viewing comfortable under most situations.


Right: The top-right side of the phone is the volume control/zooming buttons and the USB connector/headset port. The port is compatible to my KS20 USB connector cable.

Left: The bottom-right side is the camera/shutter release button. The button operates in a typical 2-step where half-press triggers auto-focus and full-depression captures the shot.

Left: The top is the power button which is also used to lock the phone. Right: The top-right side is the micro-SD slot which supports up to 32GB. The shortcut key brings up a 3D cube showing the homescreens.

Right: The camera sensor is covered by a high-quality tempered glass surrounded by a metallic ring to give the killer look. The power LED flash is available when illumination is required.

Right: The top-middle of the front is a groove that conceals a high-quality speaker capable of delivering loud and clear sound that does not crackle at all. Dolby Mobile enhanced sound is definitely no brag here. The top-right side of the front is a well concealed motion sensor and the secondary camera.

In the Hands
The sleek form of the world's slimmest 8-megapixel camera phone is a pleasure to hold. The tempered glass touchscreen gives the feel of a sturdy and well-built phone.




Size Comparison
As usual, I must show how the device compares to other stuff in terms of size.

LG KS20 will have to take a back seat for this one.

Digital compact cameras LX3 and IXUS40 will also have to kowtow to the slimmer Viewty Smart.



Now, Viewty Smart poses with insignificant subjects, a REVOLTECH and 1/6th action figures.

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LG Viewty Smart S-CLASS User Interface Demonstration
A video demonstration of the raved LG S-CLASS UI on a 2009 LG MOBILE touchscreen mobile phone, LG GC900 Viewty Smart.


Here is a sneak peek at the photos captured using the LG Viewty Smart. Some of the shots were submitted to the LG booth organisers and showcased at CommunicAsia 2009. There are chances that these shots will be showcased in other parts of Asia launch events as well.


The Viewty Smart Experience

Form
The 12.4mm slim and sleek LG Viewty Smart is really pocketable! It slips into and disappears into the pocket of a crisp-pressed shirt. The phone has a very solid built and does not feel plasticy in the hands. The large 3" tempered glass touchscreen is a pleasure to work my big fingers around. LG has definitely got their touchscreen sensitivity right!
S-Class User Interface
When LG annouced its S-Class User Interface, its sparked quite a bit of ranting from the community, claiming that it copied Apple iPhone's user interface. Whichever is the case, it does have a very close resembrance to the iPhone UI. Nevertheless, no matter what devices are involved, different manufacturers are always researching competitors' ideas and improvising on them and make their own versions, unless the idea or design is patented. Heck! Frankly speaking, I loved the iPhone interface along with its accelerator-driven touchscreen, but I hated the fact that I need to go a long way to replace a damaged battery, incapable of sending MMS and its sub-par camera. That is why I never gotten an iPhone. But now LG realized my dream by introducing the S-Class UI. The accelerator-drive user interface is easy to use and looks as good as the iPhones UI. The 3D user interface has four Homescreens which can be switched by a simple left or right swipe on the screen. Each Homescreen functions like a desktop where user an drop shortcuts and even widgets on it. These shortcuts are interactive and fun to use, for example the faces of contacts or album art of music files reacts to a swish action and the list spins like a roulette. The widgets are very user-friendly and functions similar to the Dashboard on the Macintosh OS X.
Phone Functions
Making phone calls and text are a breeze with the S-Class UI. However, I find the lack of Chinese (PIN-YIN) input an inconvenience when I had to text my folks. Nevertheless, my pre-launch model might undergo a revision for prior launch, hence the launch model should have Chinese input.
Games
The Motion sensor and Wind sensor definitely puts more fun into the games. Swirl and tilt the phone to balance a ball, turn a roulette or throw a pair of dice. Blow into the Wind sensor to blow bubbles and put out a candle on a birthday cake.
Mobile Office
Unless I go for the GM730 JOY (a Windows Mobile powered touchscreen phone), the Viewty Smart does not support Mobile Office. Now I have a reason to hang on to my LG KS20 because I do a lot of spreadsheets on that little screen.
Connectivity
WiFi capability and 7.2 Mbps HSDPA network allows me to stay connected to the internet anytime and anywhere. Bluetooth allows my phone to sync with other devices that I have. A-GPS is useful for geo-tagging of pictures.
Music and Video Playback
Where is the speaker? In the earpiece groove! I still spit at my LG KS20 speaker which crackles when I put my MP3 to maximum volume. The speaker embedded in Viewty Smart is excellent! With the Dolby Mobile enhanced sound, the Viewty Smart delivers crisp and clear music at maximum volume! You can rock the room with that but please not in public transports! The 800 x 480 high resolution and bright 3" display plays my AVI, DivX and Xvid files clear and sharp! I will not need to encode files into MP4 for playback on the PSP!
Memory
The Viewty Smart is a camera phone for capturing 8-megapixel pictures and D1 video recording, hence it needs storage space. Is 1.5GB of internal memory sufficient? If not the memory can be expanded with micro-SD card up to 32GB! Each picture is slightly below 2MB. So you can have your own photo exhibition in your Viewty Smart without any worries!
Battery Life
The battery life falls short with recharging needed everyday upon heavy usage.
Camera
The Viewty Smart is physically equipped with an 8-megapixels image sensor with F2.8 Schneider-KREUZNACH auto-focus lens and a powerful LED flash. The Intelligent Shot (IS) mode is a good feature to eliminate the complicated tweaking of settings. It recognises every scene and tries to capture it appropiately, for example a subject with heavy backlighting. In the IS mode, there will be some busy bar meters showing how the scene is being evaluated. The face detection recognizes up to 3 faces, a useful feature when capturing group shots. To make things easier for amateur users, the face tracking focusing mode makes capturing portraits easier. The digital image stabilization improves shooting in low light. For more advanced users, there is manual exposure compensation (EV), preset White Balance (WB) settings, manual focus, ISO setting up to ISO 1600, A-GPS Geo-tagging and Timer mode. Other fun features includes: Continuous Shot, Smile Shot (Capture only when a smile is detected), Beauty Shot (Softens the image to hide facial flaws), Art Shot and Panorama (Stitch) Shot. User can also select various coloured filter settings or go for classic B&W shots. Sadly despite a higher resolution, at 100% magnification, the quality is not as sharp compared to more professional cameras. However, these high resolution images are more than adequate for normal prints and sharing on the internet. The digital image stabilization does not work miracles and the high ISO generates a significant amount of noise. Nevertheless, compared to any other camera phones in the market, the Viewty Smart definitely stands out to be the better! The auto-focus is not milli-seconds fast but good enough for a planned shot; any faster, the average consumer might not even appreciate it. You will definitely love the post-processing available in the phone itself. Users can not only add texts, crop, rotate and resize, but adding water droplets, adding fog and writing on fog are fun post-processing features to add more creativity into an ordinary shot.
To add more fun to video taking, the Viewty Smart captures in a higher D1 resolution (720x480; typical of DVD standard).
If I am to go out without a bag, meaning I will not have my LX3 with me, my mobile phone, Viewty Smart can definitely capture any interesting scene that I chance upon. After all, any better cameras does not guarantee better pictures if the user does not know how to set it. The Intelligent Scene mode works 70-80% of the time. The day shots from the Viewty Smart are perfect and night shots are good if resized smaller. Nevertheless, for my blogging needs, any higher than 8-megapixels will show no significant improvements, since the images are always resized to fit the webpage. The sleek look and slim form has won me over!

At CommunicAsia 2009 (16th - 19th June 2009), EXPO, Singapore
Once again, thanks to the event organisers for the invitation to this trade show to view the LG event booth. LG definitely has the best even booth, stealing the show with its products, mascots, show girls and not to forget the breakers!
The following six pictures are captured using Viewty Smart.


Stealing the show is the LG GD900 Crystal which also runs on the S-Class UI featuring a transparent crystal keypad which senses finger gestures to activate shortcuts. The huge mock-up GD900 crystal works like the actual mobile phone! The GD900 Crystal will definitely be a hit among the fashion-forward.

A Korean delegate from LG and a lovely LG show girl demonstrates the functionality of various models of mobile phones on an interactive touch screen.

A presentation of the S-Class User Interface in various models of the latest LG phones: LG KM900 ARENA entertainment phone, LG GM730 JOY windoes-mobile smartphone with Multi-tasking feature, LG GC900 Viewty Smart camera phone and LG GD900 Crystal fashion phone.

Right: The video-wall at the LG Viewty Smart corner showcasing photos from the Photo Bloggers.

Photo-Bloggers gather for a group shot.

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Goodie Bag from CommunicAsia 2009
In appreciation for our efforts in participation of the LG Viewty Photo-Blogger event and providing feedback to the LG representatives from Seoul, each Photo-Blogger was presented with a goodie bag containing: 2009 LG MOBILE Collection catalogue, LG GM730 Joy mascot keychain and 1GB thumbdrive containing 2009 LG MOBILE products contents, 2x S-Class UI Promo Rubiks' Cube, Honeyed Korean Red Ginseng slices.






Photography & Editing by William Tan
Videography by William Tan
©William Tan 2009


DISCLAIMER
Please respect the copyrights of the photographs and content in this post. Please support my work by linking back to this post via this address: http://mybearbrick.blogspot.com/2009/06/lg-gc900-viewty-smart-exclusive-preview.html
This is an individual and independent user review, for more information on the official product, please refer to: http://www.lge.com/about/press_release/detail/21252.jhtml



SNEAK PREVIEW of LG MOBILE 2009 COLLECTION
(images source and copyrights of LG Electronics)

LG GD910, a 3G mobile phone capable of video calls intergrated into a touch screen wrist watch. Who knows that an imaginery device from "James Bond" or "Mission Impossible" movie will be a reality, thanks to LG!

LG GW550, a Windows Mobile powered monoblock smartphone with QWERTY keyboard for the business people.

LG GW525, a touchscreen phone with a slide out QWERTY keyboard from the side to give a wider typing space.

LG GM730 Joy, LG's flagship Windows Mobile 6.1 powered smartphone with LG S-Class UI is another attention seeker with its 11.9mm thin form.

LG GD900 Crystal, the show stealing world-first transparent phone with a new technology touch sensitive transparent keypad. The Gesture Command of the GD900 recognizes gesture strokes on the transparent keypad and brings up its customized shortcut.

LG KM900 ARENA, the first LG touchscreen phone featuring S-Class UI to hit the stores. This entertainment-centric multimedia phone definitely promises the best entertainment performances where no other competitors can match.

Can you feel the heatwave coming?
You are probably seeing tons of advertisments on the KM900 ARENA, on TV ads, buildings, skyscrapers and buses, be prepared as LG launches an onslaught in the mobile phone industry in the coming months!
Believe me, with LG products, you get innovation, functionality and aesthetics all-integrated! I do not work for LG but I love LG products and own many myself!

15 comments:

molemole said...

Fwa...

Can I grab some photos from you for my viewty entry lol
You take really lovely photos!!!

ber said...

so cool... sponsored review... never give u free phone... does this phone run on windows mobile?

btw I just bought a Fuji (again) F200EXR. let me know if you wanna play with it. but only available during weekdays.

WILLIAM TAN said...

molemole said...
Fwa...

Can I grab some photos from you for my viewty entry lol
You take really lovely photos!!!


hi molemole,

please feel free to use the photos! lemme me know if you need anything else.
let's poison others to buy LG!!!
:p

WILLIAM TAN said...

ber said...
so cool... sponsored review... never give u free phone... does this phone run on windows mobile?

btw I just bought a Fuji (again) F200EXR. let me know if you wanna play with it. but only available during weekdays.


hi ber,

got the Viewty Smart free lor.
this phone does not run on WM :(,
but LG GM730 is really worth looking at, its powered by WM 6.1.
I think the multitasking feature is damn useful! its like having Alt-Tab at the fingertips!

Cool hoot! 100fd was very good. 200EXR is better! haha sponsored review for me? LOL
i see the poison of having a camera everyday & anywhere spreading!

Chester Tan said...

That's an absolutely fabulous and painstakingly produced piece of article complete with quality product images! The only other site I know of that does the same detailed capture is DPReview. Bravo!

WILLIAM TAN said...

Chester Tan said...
That's an absolutely fabulous and painstakingly produced piece of article complete with quality product images! The only other site I know of that does the same detailed capture is DPReview. Bravo!


Haha you flatter me, my friend!
Doing these posts are rather 吃力不讨好 one, but I do enjoy doing that. even better when can poison people to buy them! :p

added you on multiply! ;)

ber said...

icic... next time also do some shots of the interface.. better still video review as you go thru the interface, accessing the various features.. haha...

my F200 is of a different league compared to ur LX3.. so cannot direct compare.. let me know when you wanna get it then i pass to u..

WILLIAM TAN said...

ber said...
icic... next time also do some shots of the interface.. better still video review as you go thru the interface, accessing the various features.. haha...

my F200 is of a different league compared to ur LX3.. so cannot direct compare.. let me know when you wanna get it then i pass to u..


good idea, but once i start doing video reviews, i think subsquently, i might have the obligation to do video reviews for future reviews.

yup, the F200 is much more versatile with its 5x zoom and super low noise! I will let you know when I got some free time in hand to play with it! been busy lately with the house haha ;p

Jinghui said...

Wow .....

This post is very detailed, informative and in-depth ! VEry well written with wonderful photos ! Even better than DPreview !!

Stay in touch and keep shooting !

Oh, may I request to have the Bloggers Group photo ?

JH
http://www.photojournalist-tgh.tv

WILLIAM TAN said...

ARTICLE UPDATED

YOU WANT VIDEO REVIEW?
YOU GOT VIDEO REVIEW!

(hey I'm no SG IDOL with a Golden Voice! so no voice over!)

LG Viewty Smart S-CLASS User Interface Demonstration

WILLIAM TAN said...

Jinghui said...
Wow .....

This post is very detailed, informative and in-depth ! VEry well written with wonderful photos ! Even better than DPreview !!

Stay in touch and keep shooting !

Oh, may I request to have the Bloggers Group photo ?

JH
http://www.photojournalist-tgh.tv


you've got mail!

WILLIAM TAN said...

ARTICLE UPDATED

Plugs added here

Anonymous said...

Can you take photos with the secondary camera on the Viewty Smart?

elin said...

Hi, does it have chinese text input?

WILLIAM TAN said...

elin said...
Hi, does it have chinese text input?

Yes. In the retail version, there is Traditional Chinese (TW), Tradition Chinese (HK) and Simplified Chinese.