With smartphones, sometimes you want a bigger screen. Other times you wish gadgets were easier to carry -- especially tablets. What about a half-phone, half-tablet? Bingo. The phablet is born.
Before Samsung spearheaded the concept with the Galaxy Note, phone were 3.5-inch devices, the standard set by the iPhone. It was easy to fit in a pocket, but unfortunately, browsing the Web and reading e-books wasn't the most satisfying experience. And so, consumers rushed to the Note.
Rivals took notice the race for bigger screens was on. From 3.5- to 4-inches, then from 4.7- to 5-inches, display sizes became an arms race. Soon every company sported their own phablets, including Apple, perhaps the most stubborn of all, beefing up the iPhone 5 display to 4-inches.
The line has blurred, and it's tough to tell where a gargantuan 5-inch display like the Intuition begins, and a smaller tablet like the 7-inch Galaxy tablet, leaves off. The Intuition has a dazzling centerpiece of a screen, but a wonky aspect ratio distorts everything from images to websites to apps. The form isn't the most hand-friendly, either. LG had a good idea, but the execution just isn't there. And the Note 2 is still the king of the phablet hill.
If the Note is half-phone, half-tablet, the Intuition is some-phone, mostly-tablet. At over 5.5-inches tall, it towers over the competition, with an equally wide girth, so you'll need two hands to use it. That means it doesn't fit easily into pockets, and unlike the Note, it's not very ergonomic in form. I didn't feel comfortable holding it against my face, either. When making calls, friends said I looked a bit ridiculous. I confirmed it when looking in a mirror. The square shape is just awkward all-around.
For a phablet, it's surprisingly light at less than six ounces, and thin at 0.3-inches. If you come from a smartphone, though, the extra weight takes some time to get used to. The gently-sloped sides and textured back don't really make it easier to hold, but chrome accents otherwise jazz up the cheap faux-leather plastic.
The 5-inch IPS display is so bright you can actually use it as a flashlight. No squinting here -- the clarity and vibrancy are wonderful to watch videos and surf the Internet on. It's bright and clear at odd angles and in direct sunlight, too. The 1,024-by-758 resolution is sharper than the Note 2, on par with a first-generation iPad, but its 256-ppi density is lower than the famed iPhone's Retina display. That means, while it has more pixels, they're spread out over a larger area. So you'll get a bigger display, but the detail isn't as tight. Still, I read some e-books, and didn't experience the eye-strain I usually do on smartphones.
Unfortunately, LG decided to use an unconventional 4:3 aspect ratio. That's not so bad, right? Well, ordinarily not. But most apps are designed for the more common 16:9 ratio. So while it'll run programs fine, everything looks either squished or stretched, with black letterbox to fill in the empty spots. Think of watching normal TV on a widescreen set. Everything looks funky and distorted. LG's own apps, of course, are perfect, but everything else is poorly rendered. That's such a waste. You use only part of the big-screen, wasting the rest of the real estate. No matter how vivid the display is, that just kills it for me.
The 8-megapixel camera is very good. It takes sharp photos in good lighting -- on par with the top-end One X and Galaxy S3 -- but strangely, it had a hard time picking up detail in the bright outdoors. The sensor chip must be extra sensitive because in dim settings, despite the lack of a flash, pictures turned out surprisingly well-lit. The 15x zoom is powerful, and zeros in without blur. And an impressive cache of tools and filters let you touch up photos with fun Instagram-like effects. My favorite: the panoramic option. I snapped a few beautiful scenic landscapes.
You can record 1080p video and watch it on a big screen. A front-facing 1.3-megapixel lens works for video chat, with a special "beauty shot" to soften self-portraits.
The Intuition runs on ICS. I was a bit disappointed because the Note 2 comes with the latest Jelly Bean software. LG promised an update, but until then, it's slower than the Note. Everything just feels stale and sluggish. Luckily, LG added a fairly unobtrusive interface, so it's nearly as clean as stock Android.
The "Rubberdium" pen is pretty useless. I had a hard time writing with any precision, and it's just hard to use. A note-taking app, called "Notebook," lets you doodle on the faces of friends, for example, but it's more of a novelty than a useful tool. The Note's app is much more useful for taking and transcribing notes.
You get a stylus, but oddly, there's nowhere to put it on the device, so you have to lug the pen around. That's just a bizarre design blunder. When, not if, you lose it, you'll have to pay an outrageous fee for a replacement.
It does come with a few useful features. The best is "Tag+." If you've used Motorola's "SmartActions," it's kind of like that -- functions that automate and improve performance. Tag+ uses NFC "stickers" store your settings, so when you walk by, the phone will read the sticker and switch settings. You can silence the ringer when you arrive at the office, for example, or turn on Wi-Fi when you come home.
The browser is pretty fast. Webpages load quickly and text looks sharp. But that aspect ratio problem crops up when you watch YouTube clips. Videos have that same distortion. The Intuition is billed as an entertainment device, but the black letterboxes that run along the top and bottom just leaves a bitter aftertaste in my mouth.
Verizon's 4G LTE network, though, is fast, and I clocked around 15-megabits per second. On most devices, that means your battery will die in a matter of hours. But fortunately, I lasted around 10 hours with the beefy 2,080 mAh power-pack -- I watched a few clips, sent a few e-mails and browsed a few websites, all with 4G LTE turned on. With data turned off, I lasted well over 24 hours on just calling and texting.
Qualcomm's 1.5-gigahertz dual-core chip is smooth, and it's nearly identical to the one on the S3. But with just 1-gigabyte or RAM, instead of 2-, I experienced some hiccups when multiple apps were running in the background. You'll also get a generous 32-gigabytes of storage, plenty for a library of movies and music. But if you fill it up, you'll have to clean out space -- it lacks a microSD slot.
If you love the iPad, you'll adore the Intuition's great, big screen. As a cell phone, it's not bad -- calls are clear, and the speaker is decent up-close, but hard to hear from a distance. As a tablet, you can do everything you can on an iPad -- browse the Web, read e-books, sync the calendar and task list -- and Android gives you a plethora of apps to choose from.
But I can't say I'd recommend it. The issue isn't so much the size, as it is the width -- it's just not as easy to hold. But the biggest problem is the aspect ratio. It distorts everything from apps to videos, making what should be an enjoyable experience into a frustrating one.
That's why I'd recommend the Note 2. Samsung simply executed on a better product. If you want a phablet, it has a better shape that's easier to hold and a screen that renders everything as it should be.
The battery life can run out pretty quickly, though. If you need to stay powered through the day, give the Motorola Maxx HD a look. It packs a big display and a super-charged battery, so you can last days without plugging in. Overall, the Intuition has its moments, but its flaws are too big to ignore. ♦
Other Reviews From Around the Web
Love that phone. The screen size and ratio rocks by the way. Muuuuch better than the odd Note screen. Makes surfing much easier. I hate reviews like this one that trash everything which is not a Galaxy Note 2. Just pathetic, buddy.
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love this phone--phone function fine, emails and messengering great. fotos first class. only issue is battery done by the time dinner is finished, and inadvertently hitting functions. but oh so thin, fits my short pocket fine, holds a ton of music, did 30 hours of lectures on it. and a buge screen that really gets attention--'is that a phone'?? I hear a lot. and its fast, can use screen as a flashlight, very bright. I just love it.
again, battery usage is high. and I tend to hit functions inadvertently when handling it. and thats it. I love all else.Was this review helpful to you?
Wonderful phone. This guy has no clue, and my guess is he is paid by Samsung, hence the review. The phone does fit in my pockets no problem and I have never gotten any distortions on this phone. It is easier to use than the Samsung. I can do anything I want on this phone. The notebook is great and it is easy to use with the styles.
About the only thing I agree with is the comment about the styles, yes there is no where to attach it to the phone, so I would like to see that fixed.Was this review helpful to you?
It's big. It's handy. It is beautiful. It works incredibly well. It's great if you normally wear reading glasses because you don't NEED to with this phone. Its speaker phone is fabulous and LOUD. It defies everything a kid like this reviewer says.
Doesn't fit in my shirt pocket (but then I don't wear pockets on my shirt).Was this review helpful to you?
I like everything about the intuition except the battery life.
I am receiving a replacement phone in a few days due to the battery issue.
Will it contain current firmware and drivers?
Was the Intuition discontinued, is so, is there a recommended replacement?
My LG intuition is still under warranty, my concern is short time until battery must be recharged.
During a call to customer service I learned that apps still run after I thought I closed them.
Why does a part of the app continue to run after I believe I close it?
Why does the number of running apps effect battery life?
Why was the decision made to incorporate a permanent battery instead of a replaceable one?
An external SD card would have been nice.
Just upgraded to this phone. Am 59 and not about to spend $229 on the Samsung Note. I wanted size for my aging eyes; I wanted a camera (am a prof photographer) and this one rocks! My biggest issue with ALL the reviews I read were that it only had no SIM slot. Ha! Upon receipt from Verizon, there was a 4 GIG SIM which slipped right into the side of the Intuition. To the reviewer: try again.
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