LG Viewty Smart (GC900) review

The next-generation of LG camera phone, not an iPhone-wannabe.

LG Viewty Smart GC900
The camera is the Viewty Smart's main selling point

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The highlight is undoubtedly the camera on the back – over half of the phone's short manual is devoted to talking about photos and video.

LG viewty smart

But you won't buy the LG Viewty Smart for its video conferencing abilities. Like the Nokia N86, LG Renoir and Samsung Pixon, the Viewty Smart packs a high-quality 8.0 Megapixel lens. At its simplest, you just turn the phone sideways and hold down the shutter button to launch the camera application.

The Schneider-Kreuznach auto-focus lens, LED flash and LG's sophisticated Intelligent Shot technology can take care of the rest. All you need to do is point-and-shoot.

LG viewty smart camera

FOCUS: The 8 Megapixel Schneider-Kreuznach lens and built-in auto focus can deliver excellent results, both close-up and at distance.

The Intelligent Shot mode analyses the subject of your picture, the background and the ambient lighting conditions, then automatically picks the best settings by comparing the data to seven pre-programmed scenarios.

The results are excellent using this mode, clear, blur-free and crisp, especially when you retain the Super fine image quality and the maximum 3254 x 2448 image size. The presence of a 4x digital zoom enables you to tighten your focus, although it's a poor substitute for the optical zoom on a dedicated camera.

LG viewty smart

AUTO: The clever Intelligent Shot mode included on the Viewty Smart automatically selects the best settings for the perfect photo.

LG viewty smart

ZOOM: The LG Viewty Smart is equipped with a 4x digital zoom, which (as this photo shows) works surprisingly well.

Camera phones typically have limited manual options. But should you feel the need to fiddle, the LG Viewty also offers continuous shooting, face-tracking, smile detection and image stabilization. In addition, there are a number of alternative shooting modes, including a night mode, plus Art and Panoramic shots.

You can also manually tweak the camera's ISO settings (up to 1600) and the white balance. In short: if you're a casual photographer, the LG Viewty Smart could easily replace your existing digital compact. Can the average digital camera geo-tag your photos using GPS? Didn't think so.

LG viewty smart

ART SHOTS: The Art mode applies a monochromatic effect that is like viewing the scene through a spyhole in a front door.

LG viewty smart

PANORAMA: As its name suggests, the Panorama mode enables you to take three photos in succession and stitch them together.

It's also worth mentioning the onboard photo editing options. You might never use them, but the LG Viewty Smart includes functionality to let you crop an image, draw on it and add text.

Then, with a flick of a virtual switch, you can flip the camera into video mode. By default the LG Viewty Smart captures footage in its 720x480 D1 setting, saved to the phone as a 3GPP file. The D1 video is surprisingly decent too, at least in terms of clarity.

When you start to move the camera around, you'll notice that the video becomes slightly juddery. But it's hardly surprising – in this resolution, the phone's processor is going like the clappers just to keep up.

To compensate, there are three other video options – VGA (640x480), QVGA (320x240) and a classic 176x144 mobile resolution. You can also record video clips using the front-facing camera.

And just as you can edit photos on the phone, the LG Viewty Smart includes some rudimentary video editing options.

You can trim a video, merge two videos together, overlay text, even add a photo to the beginning or end of a video clip. The only catch? You can't edit D1-quality video. Probably because the phone will explode.