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LG has forever been known as that "other Android manufacturer", relegated to fourth place behind Samsung, HTC, and Motorola in consumers' minds. With its recent lineup arriving on US shores, though, the Korean manufacturer is hoping the tides will turn. Not only is it lying in wait with its beastly Optimus G to steal the spotlight from competing flagships, LG is also venturing into niche territory, including the increasingly popular "phablet" market. 

The Intuition is both a phone and a tablet, a wild-looking device unlike anything Android has ever run on. But does it succeed at striking a balance between functionality and versatility? In no uncertain terms, creating a device that succeeds on two different levels is a daunting task. And while LG has made a valiant effort, consumers are going to walk away either smitten with the Intuition's originality or disgusted with its impracticality.


The Good

The Intuition has a radical design, and LG makes no apologies for stepping outside of the box with this one. The Intuition's display is impressive, and performance is snappy and powerful. Call quality is as good as we've come to expect on Big Red.

The Bad

Those who hate the Intuition's design will outnumber those who love it. Unfortunately, this hybrid device fails as a tablet as well as phone-- it's too small and boxy for multimedia viewing, and too big and sharp for messaging and phone calls. Forget using this device with one hand, it's absolutely impossible.

Conclusion

The Intuition is a polarizing device, and you're either going to love it or hate it. If you fall somewhere in the middle, you'll realize it has a great display, fast performance, and a visually-pleasing Ice Cream Sandwich experience. You'll also realize it should be kept in the niche category, as its functionality as a tablet is limited by poor software and stylus, and its phone functionality suffers from impossible one-handed operation.

Inside this review

More info

The one-take walkthrough

LG Intuition hardware

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The LG Intuition is like no other device before it, a product with truly unique and polarizing design. You won't open the papers to any legal woes for LG caused by this one -- the Intuition's boxy shape, sharp corners, and 4:3 aspect ratio are hard to mistake for anything else on the market today. But that's not necessarily a good thing. One of the reasons phone makers have stuck to widescreen designs is that it lends itself to a multitude of uses. The Intutition's design, however, limits itself to only a handful of truly useful functions, the rest being left out to awkward screen layouts and less-than-intuitive end results.

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But more on that functionality later. For now, let's look at the actual nuts and bolts behind the Inuitition. On top of the device you've got a power key, a dedicated Quick Memo key, and a microUSB charger hidden behind a slide-away door. The volume rocker is located on the left side of the phone, while the right side houses a SIM card door. The Intution's rear is occupied by an 8MP camera, single LED flash, and speaker slots. It's also coated with an grip-friendly finish that's almost reminiscent of the vinyl seats in your mid-1990's car. The Intuition does not support microSD expansion.

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Don't go looking for a slot for your handy-dandy Rubberdium stylus that ships with every Intuition. For one reason or another, LG decided not to include an on-device holster, a fatal error in my ever-so-humble opinion. I rarely used the bundled pen, not because I didn't want to, but because there was nowhere for me to put it. The last thing I want is something else taking up room in my pocket, even if it is as small as the pen. Instead, I was inclined to leave the stylus in the box during day-to-day use.

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The front of the Intution is where things get exciting. The 5-inch IPS display packs a resolution of 1024 x 768, a non-standard number that can be attributed to the device's boxy 4:3 aspect ratio. Underneath the display you've got a row of four capacitive buttons: Back, Home, Multitask, and Menu, which we would have loved to see dropped now that Ice Cream Sandwich is in tow. The display delivers with vibrant color, good viewing angles, and the sharp image quality we've come to expect from LG. Direct sunlight is definitely a challenge, though, and this isn't the company's latest technology, so you're not going to be as blown away as you are with the flagship Optimus G. Nevertheless, the Intuition's screen looks really nice.  

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But a decent display is only beneficial if its form factor allows it to be put to good use. The screen lends itself well to reading text, and as LG has pointed out time and time again, the 4:3 aspect ratio is ideally suited to magazine and book reading. However other things, like email, web browsing, and phone calls, suffer on the device's boxy display. Multimedia viewing is let down by with letterboxed videos and precious real-estate lost to an overbearing bezel. Sure, everything looks sharp and vibrant, but these tasks weren't intended for squarish displays -- 4:3 aspect ratios were abandoned by TV and monitor manufacturers years ago. You'll find yourself jockeying for a comfortable position when trying to send a two-sentence SMS, and you'll find that most apps, including services like Facebook and Twitter that you use regularly, render in odd ways on this screen. Developers can tweak their apps to take full advantage of what the Intuition's display offers, but for most app designers, the number of units LG pushes won't justify the extra work.

Inside the Inutition, LG has managed to cram a 2,080 mAh non-removable battery without adding much bulk to the device, which measures just 0.33 inches thick. This battery lasts longer than expected, and even under heavy usage it got me through a 14-hour day without the panic of reaching an outlet. I did keep the display at half brightness most of the time, as cranking it all the way up dramatically reduced battery life. 

Considering the internals that the battery is powering, it's longevity is even more impressive. The Intuition comes packed with a 1.5 GHz dual-core Snapdragon S3 processor, 1GB of RAM, and 16 GB of internal storage. Despite the last-generation SoC, the Intuition performs admirably, thanks no doubt to Ice Cream Sandwich's performance improvements and LG's newly revamped, less-bloated UI. Apps loaded with ease and 1080p video chugged along effortlessly. There was, however, the occasional hiccup in the UI, but for the most part the experience is as smooth as can be. I think the potential is really exciting when you factor in Jelly Bean, but I wouldn't get my hopes up just yet, as LG is notorious for taking their sweet time with software updates.

Software

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LG has stressed that the Intuition is a hybrid device, and as such it includes some subtle touches that blur the line between smartphone and tablet.  First and foremost is the Quick Memo functionality, enabled with the touch of the dedicated button on top of the device. Press it and you'll have instant access to a memo pad, similar to the Galaxy line's S-Note. There, you'll have access to pens, markers, pencils and highlighters of all different shapes and sizes, as well as the ability to bypass the memo pad all together and write directly on the screen. When finished, you can choose to save your notes in either your Gallery or the included "Notebook", which saves all of your doodles according to date and time.

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Unfortunately, LG's Quick Memo is less functional than Samsung's S-Memo, and lacks some bells and whistles, most notably handwriting recognition. LG's Rubberdium is also considerably less precise than Samsung's S-Pen, which is one of the reasons LG doesn't make nearly as big a deal out of its stylus as Samsung does. 

Similarly, the included Richnote app doesn't live up to its name, acting much like a simple, bare bones note taker. Put the Rubberdium away, here; this is strictly for typing. However, you are able to attach things like your current location, photos, and audio to these notes, as well as alarm reminders that will bring up the note when they go off. 

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Other preloaded apps by LG include the company's signature SmartShare, which allows you to seamlessly transfer and view files between DLNA-enabled devices. There's also a handy File Manager (it's not as feature-rich as Astro but I'm glad it comes preloaded) and Task Manager to enable prime utilization of your Intuition's memory. Last but not least, LG included Tag+, which acts almost identical to Samsung's TecTiles-- program your Intuition to act a certain way when it comes in contact with an NFC tag. LG includes a few tags with the Intuition, but NFC Tag+ should work with just about any NFC-enabled sticker or tag.

And of course, as a Verizon-branded device, the Intuition includes Big Red's signature bloatware, including the Amazon suite (save for the App Store), Color, IMDb, My Verizon,  NFL Mobile, Real Racing 2, Shark Dash, Viewdini, VZ Navigator, and Zappos. 

The LG Intuition cameras

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The Intuition's 8MP camera is perhaps one of the most evolved elements of LG's UI-- with features like Cheese Shot (say "cheese" and the camera will snap a photo), and a dedicated Panorama mode, this isn't the camera that plagued early LG phones. There isn't much to play with along the lines of color effects here, but with the options you have, decent looking photos are within the realm of possibility. The Intuition won't blow you away with photo quality, but the results are fairly sharp, accurate in color, and more than sufficient for most instances in which you'd use the camera. 

Image quality may be decent, but you'll be waiting a while to enjoy your shots. It takes a good second or two to load up, and focusing is an entire process. It's one of the slowest cameras I've used in recent memory, and despite adequate results, what's the point if you're going to miss your shot anyway?

The Intuition's camcorder shoots in 1080p, but it too suffers from slow and inconsistent focusing. Again, the results here are sufficient. The 1 MP front-facer is also decidedly average, but that's something we've come to expect from most shooters of this kind.

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The bottom line

 

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I'm hesitant to write off the Intuition like many of my colleagues did so quickly. There's no doubt that it's a polarizing device, but just because its outside of the status quo doesn't make it ridiculous. Don't get me wrong, I don't see myself ever using the Intuition as my main phone, as its size and shape make one-handed use virtually impossible.  But there are aspects here that I quite like, such as the gorgeous display, LG's revamped UI, and the solid performance.

I do think LG fell off the proverbial tightrope between tablet and phone here, though. The Intuition would have been much better off if the company had gone about designing the phone in a more decisive way. Instead, what we've got here is a phone that's entirely too large, and a tablet that's entirely too small. I can see where LG wanted the best of both worlds, but Samsung did it better with the Galaxy Note. (Not to mention Verizon's almost certain to get the Galaxy Note 2 in the next couple of months)

If you're craving a phone that is unlike any other on the market today, and you're just sick of the same old designs with increasingly juiced-up specs as the only differentiator, you might want to take a look at the Intuition. However, if you can recall ever using your phone with one hand (think your morning coffee, or hailing a cab), even if only a handful of times in your life, then the Intuition must be avoided. And if you're looking for a tablet that's ideal for reading and multimedia, the Intuition stumbles with the latter, and you'd be better off with a 7-inch tablet to compliment your phone. Take a walk down to your local Verizon store and try this one out -- even if you don't pick one up, you're going to need to see this device for yourself.

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LG Intuition review

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Unfortunately, this hybrid device fails as a tablet as well as phone-- it's too small and boxy for multimedia viewing, and too big and sharp for messaging and phone calls. Forget using this device with one hand, it's absolutely impossible.

sums it up...

and....FIRST

Maybe they have a master plan to make a case that has the holster for it that should have been in the device and sell one holster for each phone? LOL

That said, it looks like a really neat device the same way the Note looks like a neat device.

It is extremely hard to see how this device can be regarded as "good" when Samsung has two Galaxy Notes on the market - both which are absolutely superior to this one. I can't even come up with one single technical specification where this Optimus Vu/Intuition can stand up to that competition.

On the other hand, it represents competition and if LG can make a decent version next time - i.e. an "Optimus G Vu" with a stylus holder and better precision (like the Note), then they will have a great competitor.

But as it stands today, I don't see any reason to get this when the Note is already out since 2011 and the Note II is under way.

I love this phone. I was waiting for The Note 2 but my wife's S3 gets piss for reception so I had to get the Intuition. I read a lot on my phones and this is great. Also, you may look ridiculous to other people when talking on the phone but I don't have a problem with it. Texting is amazing on this thing too.

Thanks for the correction on the microSD, Eric. The review is correct -- there's no slot. In addition, the lens is 8-megapixel. But the best way is to check from the source. We've been told by reps it runs on S4 -- we couldn't rip apart the phone to check.

I own this phone and I ABSOLUTELY LOVEEEE it!!! (I tend to unintentionally destroy phones, in borderline alarming numbers! Needless to say, I have become a bit of a connoisseur over the years, (poor hubby has NEVER had the privilege of actually using HIS upgrade, bc I ALWAYS NEED it!. This Intuition is BY FAR my fave of all the ones I have ever owned/tried/used/etc. The fact that we must[manage to NOT LOSE the Stylus is super annoying, & it did in fact take a bit of adjusting to stop cutting people off with my chin, but (even that can occasionally serve as a benefit..."Gosh Mom, SOOO sorry I accidently cut you off with my chin again last week...TOTALLY slipped my mind about calling back, what with all the distracting fun features of my awesome phone ;) Oops <3 All in all, it is exactly what I wish I had obtained years ago, rather than wasting time, money, repairs, as well as the total let down of having to use some old crap while [yet ANOTHER] REPLACEMENT is in route, then (even WORSE!~ repeatedly (!!) being sent a replacement device (4 times, I believe???!) which turned out to be a friggin "lemon"...The Razer...(just UGH...TERRIBLE!), had the MOST problems with The Stratosphere...which I liked until it malfunctioned almost immediately* (*THAT was the one that Verizon kept replacing to no avail.) Lastly, the HTC Windows was the most disappointing--HATED it! Have owned the Intuition for a while now and it never gets boring, and so far it is working wonderfully and I love it so much I have managed to not even SCRATCH it! (and it's almost too big to lose! ;))

Tried this thing in the Verizon store. It crashed and rebooted twice in the span of about 5 minutes. Not good.

I work for Verizon and trust me, how our display phones handle is not indicative of their true performance. If this were the case, the S3 would be an awful phone because both display models of the S3 at my store crash all the time.

I really like this device!! My sister has had hers for a couple of weeks now. It's great for taking photos of the properties she sells as a real estate agent in Atlanta, then writing notes on the images and sending them to her clients. AT&T just put 4G LTE in several months ago and whatever phone I get has to work on that, but the "phablets" are few and far between. Maybe in another six months...

I have a problem ever since a couple days ago my wifi has not been working on my phone. I click the wifi check box it says scanning for a little bit... & then it say "Unable To Scan For Networks" my router is perfectly fine. I need help.

The lg intution is a remarkable phone tablet who ever did the review is ignorant 90 percent of the people who ask me about my phone is first shocked that its a phone then they ask me how much it cost. Yea you need two hands but what are you doing that cant use both your hands? Id change one thing about this phone it should have gorrila glass as should all smartphones.
O and who ever did this review why dont you use one for yourself for awhile it takes some getting used to after using your over rated iphone

This is the best phone ive owned yet i dont care to get a new one till they come out with way more advanced technology i barley ever have to buffer videos so fuck you guy

What? Are you sure about the 16MB internal storage? I bought mine recently, and it has 32MB. Please visit the website for current specs. BTW...I LOVE THIS PHONE!

This may be the droid I am looking for, to borrow a phrase from Sir Alec. I have been frustrated by the squeezed down dimension of the ubiquitous 16:9 "widescreen" ratio from phones up to "big" laptops and desktop monitors. I always have that feeling of my view being cut short.

Now that my main home PC is a Dell D800 with 1920x1200 screen (a castoff by wife's brother which I revived with a $20 motherboard from eBay), I hate settling for anything more cramped. I notice that several popular Android 9-10 tablets have this resolution such as the Asus Transformer TF700T. That is a 8:5/16:10 HD resolution, and it is quite "liberating". On smaller screens such as the Intuition's, the 4:3 ratio is a reasonable approximation, as with my Archos G9 80 with its 8-inch 1024x768 screen, much like the iPad Mini, which would seem to provide further vindication of the form factor for both video and non-video use.

Some of us (as several above have noted) find the extra space quite useful. I have found it really helpful for document, ebook, web, and email viewing - dunno how it bothers you for those last 2, but it enhances the experience for me on the Archos (running ICS). I do get annoyed by apps that are hard-coded for narrow phone displays in portrait mode, ScoreMobile being the most prominent one during March Madness.

What really appeals to me is that this is about a third the weight/bulk of the Archos, so should be much easier to tote around as my "belt phablet" in place of the Dell Streak 5 I use now as my "data phone". The Streak has been a nice intro to phablet scale Android for me with a cheap $30 T-Mobile pay/go plan that is heavy on data, 5GB @ 3G (if I could get it) + > 5GB at Edge speed (what I get anyway), and light on talk, 100 minutes. I use a Verizon WinMo 6.5 Imagio for talk, so the Intuition looks like a good way to get the best of both worlds on my existing unlimited data VZW account (looking at used models on eBay to avoid the plan-busting subsidy, or ridiculous outright price, of a new Intuition) at LTE speeds on a big "usable" screen, and get back down to one belt holster.

YMMV