Modern business folk tote a couple of computing devices - a smartphone and some sort of larger screen computing device, either a laptop or a tablet. Samsung with its 5.3-inch Galaxy Note, and now its 5.5-inch Galaxy Note II, is trying to convince these modern business folk that they need carry only one device, a "phablet" - a 5-inch-plus phone-slash-tablet.
LG has filed its own phablet amicus brief in the form of its Intuition, a 5-inch phablet that went on sale on Verizon Wireless yesterday for $200 (plus two-year contract) - the latest smartphone to squeeze its way into the market ahead of Apple's iPhone 5 announcement.
Intuition's headline feature is being able to write on it with a feature called Quick Memo. You tap a dedicated Quick Memo and Intuition does a screen capture. Using the enclosed rubber-tipped stylus or your finger, you can now write on this screen (that's my red chicken scratch in the photo), save the combined screen-with-writing, and share it/send it like any photo or document.
As you can tell in the picture, I got my hands on the Intuition (yes, that's my hand in the picture), and what follows are my initial impressions.
Here's a quick list of list of Intuition's major specs:
- Verizon Wireless 4G/LTE
- 5-inch LCD (1024 x 768 pixels)
- 1.5 GHz dual core processor
- Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
- 8 MP rear camera w/LED flash
- 1.3 MP front-facing camera
- 1080p HD video capture (720p video via front camera)
- 32 GB memory built in (no microSD card slot)
- 1 GB RAM
- NFC/Android "Beam" data sharing
- 15.07 "usage" battery life (way above average), 130 hours standby (2080 mAh battery)
Is it too big?
Oh, okay, some size/ergonomic details.
Intuition isn't necessarily too big, it's too wide to hold to your ear as a phone. Samsung realized its original Note was too wide and, even though the Note II has a larger screen, trimmed it down so it feels more comfortable in the hand.
Samsung accomplished Note II's trimmed waistband by stretching the phablet vertically, endowing it with a tall 16:9 aspect ration, the same as your HDTV (if you watched it vertically). But the intent behind Intuition is to make it more document-shaped friendly, so LG has a 4:3 aspect ratio, which makes it more, um, corpulent than either the original and especially the second-gen Note.
As a result, Intution's wider screen does make Web page perusing and e-book reading feel a bit more natural. And at nearly 4-inch wide, the surprisingly light Intuition fits snugly inside a man's shirt breast pocket without sagging.
But unless you have baseball mitt-sized mitts, you'll likely find holding the LG Intuition in one hand not very intuitive.
But let's get back to this whole Quick Memo/writing on the screen thing.
LG has taken a completely different approach than Samsung and Galaxy Note's on-screen notation capabilities. Instead of Samsung's technically ornate smart S Pen with its magical characteristics, LG went with an old-fashioned dumb stylus - it's essentially a stick with a rubber point. If you lose it, you can use anything with a point or your finger.
Samsung's approach is far more versatile and sophisticated with a host of cool features. But LG's approach is not only not complicated at all (since, as I said, it's a stick with a rubber point), but handles most of the reasons you'd want to write on a smartphone screen - circling something you've seen, scribbling a note explaining the circle, and sending it.
As noted, you press a button on the top of Intuition to allow you to write whatever is on your screen - anything, including home screens or videos it turns the video into a still frame). There's also a Notepad app, which you can write or type on.
You can choose from a thin pen line, a thick pen line, a thicker marker line and a highlighter - even if you're writing with your finger - and can choose from 16 colors, including white (handy for writing on dark screens). When you save your screen+jot, you can send it or store it in the Gallery like a photo.
While not as functionally expansive as Note 2, Intuition screen writing has a ridiculously short learning curve. Writing on Intuition's screen is simply easier to understand and easier to use.
And, for more normal note dashing and list making there's a Notebook app, which you can also tap type in in case your stylus or finger handwriting is as illegible as mine.
There's just one problem. For some reason, Intuition doesn't have a slot to store its stylus. Which means, unless you are OCD and remember to carry the stylus with you at all times, you'll be relying on your finger for on-screen writing, which is how I scrawled the message on the screen in the photo. Not very legible, is it?
Of course, all this assumes you want to write on your smartphone screen. I guess if you didn't, you wouldn't have read this far.