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LG takes on the phablet with the Optimus Vu (photos)

LG storms into Mobile World Congress with a heavy portfolio of new Android smartphones. The biggest of all is the Optimus with a 5-inch screen that borders on tablet territory.

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Kent German
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BARCELONA, Spain--If you needed any more proof that LG and Samsung had an intense rivalry, look no further than LG's new Optimus Vu. Just over a month after Samsung brought its part phone, part tablet Galaxy Note to CES, LG decided to bring a similar device to Mobile World Congress.

Like the Galaxy Note, the Optimus Vu has a 5-inch display that overshadows any other Android smartphone on the market. The 4:3 aspect ratio is ideal for e-books and browsing the Web. Even when you start on the mobile version of a Web site (like CNET), there's plenty of room to view the full version. And with LTE support, Web pages will load that much faster.

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The Optimus Vu also is designed for use stylus. It's thicker than the Galaxy Note's basic stylus, which gives it a nice feel in the hand.
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To create a note, tap the related icon on the home screen. Your previous notes will be saved in a bookshelf-like design.
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There are various styles of notes including ruled notebook paper seen here. If the stylus isn't your thing, you can use the virtual keyboard.
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To activate the stylus on other features, press the button on the phone's top end between the Micro-USB port and the 3.5mm headset jack. Also up top is the power control.
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After pressing the button you can draw on the display while using other features like the Web browser.
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You can write in multiple colors and pen styles.
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After writing on a Web page, you can send it as an e-mail attachment.
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When in camera mode, the whole screen becomes your viewfinder.
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The Optimus Vu's main camera is 8 megapixels, and there's a second 1.3-megapixel shooter above the display. With the larger screen, the photo gallery looked quite nice.
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Maps are another feature that benefit from a larger display. For some reason, though, all of the Optimus Vus on display thought they were at CES.
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The main menu has a standard grid design with icons. Though the Optimus Vu only runs Gingerbread, it has a 1.5GHz dual-core processor and it supports LTE networks.
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The keyboard also is what you'd expect from an Android device.
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You can make a call using the alphanumeric keypad. That is, if you want to walk around with a 5-inch device next to your head.
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Even with its large size, the Optmus Vu has a slim 8.5mm profile. As long as your pocket is big enough, it slips right in.
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On the rear side of the Optimus Vu, you'll find the main camera lens and the LED flash.

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