Review

Review: Verizon LG Intuition, it's not quite phabulous

The idea that bigger is better is a legacy thought that has been replaced by faster, thinner, lighter. When the LG Intuition arrived at our doorstep, it was met with immediate sentiment on what the device truly wanted to be: was it a small tablet or was it a massive phone? The answer is that it is a massive phone that pushes the boundaries of ergonomics and the seams on your hipster jeans.

The device comes from Verizon and is currently out on store shelves; the phone’s main selling feature is that it has a massive screen: 5 inches. Along with the expansive pixel real estate is an 8 MP camera, 1.3 MP front facing camera, 2080 mAh battery and a 1024x768 resolution in a 4:3 arrangement. The full list of specs can be found below:

The phone is massive and that should come as no surprise when you hold it but beyond its size, the materials LG used feel quite good. The build quality has a fit and finish that we do adore. The back of the device is made from a soft, almost rubber like, plastic material that does not scratch or show fingerprints.

The front pane of glass is set slightly recessed into the chrome bezel that firmly holds the entire package into place.

Display:

The phone is targeting those who want a massive display and everything else is second-class. For the Intuition, the display is resoundingly average. The display has a density of 256 ppi (less than that of the recently announced Galaxy Note II) and uses an aspect ratio of 4:3.

In daylight the screen is acceptable with the standard wash-out effect depending on how intense the sunlight hits the screen directly. Color reproduction is acceptable but our device was noticeably warm and off angle viewing was below our expectations considering it’s an IPS display.

Touch response and accuracy was acceptable and stylus input was accurate and relatively smooth.

The 4:3 display does cause a few issues when using non-stock apps as many applications are written for a 16:9 display which leads to awkward looking stretching and watching content will give you a letter-boxed display.

Performance/Battery Life:

Despite having a slightly older processor, the performance of the device was acceptable. We saw the occasional (and legendary) lag between launching apps, switching applications and scrolling but it was minimal in daily use.

The problem here is not the performance; it’s the battery life. When using the device, it will deplete the 2080 mAh battery in about 6 hours of heavy use or 9 hours of moderate use during a work day. What this means is that if this will be your daily device, be prepared to keep a charger with you to keep the battery topped off as we could not get an entire workdays use out of the phone.

Admittedly, I do use my device excessively but if I can’t make it an entire day without needing to find the nearest outlet, it becomes a burden as I am always thinking about when am I going to charge up next.

Camera:

Both cameras on the device are borderline acceptable. The shutter lag on our device was beyond our desired length of time and the cameras are average but acceptable. Simply put, there are better cameras out there on phones today and you should not expect the Intuition to be in the upper echelon of performance.

The rear camera was mixed bag of over saturation and poor low-light performance. Keeping the images blur free was a challenge and when you can get a clean shot, it tends to be a bit cool on the coloring.

The front facing camera meets the industry standard for acceptance on video calls but does not shine. Grandma will be able to see you and your lovely face clearly, provided there is enough light.

Audio:

Calls on the device were met with clarity and the speakerphone held up surprisingly well. When the speakerphone was turned all the way up , we heard very minimal tinning in the sound and although the lows are a bit weak, it's a cellphone and does not disappoint.

Stylus:

The Intuition ships with a stylus that allows you to have a third option for input. While we do not loathe a stylus in general, using one with a phone is a bit awkward. With a tablet, you are already carrying peripherals with you in a bag, do you really want to keep stylus in your pocket next to your phone at all time?

Regardless of your preference, the stylus works as advertised and makes writing notes on the device far easier than text input.

Ergonomics:

Here is our biggest contention with the device. The five inch screen is massive but if that was not big enough, the bezel of the device, on each side, adds at least another ¼ in the device making it ½ inch wider.

The device forces two-hand operation and is best used with a Bluetooth headset. Making calls, texting, and general interaction become an awkward endeavor even with large hands.  Those with small hands will have a near impossible challenge trying to use this one handed as reaching the top of the screen or the far side of the screen is a stretch worthy of a Yoga course.

When compared to the Galaxy Note or Note II, the Intuition falls short in nearly all aspects which makes this a second class device in the field pioneered by Samsung.

Skinning:

The phone comes with Android 4.04 (ICS) but LG felt the need to slap a new UI theme on the phone dubbed UI 3.0. The cartoonish and child-like looking icons leave us a bit befuddled as what the designers at LG are thinking. If they are trying to degrade a device with Toys R Us style icons, they nailed it: the soft, high-glossy and rounded edges look is not one we desire.

We are big believers in leaving the stock UI in-place, or at least giving consumers an option to switch back to native.

Conclusion:

The LG Intuition is a massive device that feels like it is still going through puberty. The phone can’t decide if it’s a phone or a tablet and fails at doing either of those functions exceptionally well. The stylus input and mandatory two hand use make it more of a chore to have a screen this size in your purse or pocket than a convenience of converging two devices (tablets and phone) into one.

The size issue and ergonomics are a personal choice as some may find it to be perfect for their needs but we feel those who desire this type of device will be in the minority which leaves the LG Intuition as a second rate device trying to be something that few want.

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