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Hands-on with the LG Invision

A brief hands-on look at the LG Invision, AT&T's new mobile TV device.

Now playing: Watch this: LG Invision

Much to my surprise, I spotted the LG Invision Wednesday night at the Mobile Focus show here at CTIA. Even though the LG Invision has launched with AT&T on August 20, it was just a soft launch on the online store and not an official launch across all its retail channels, and we have yet to receive a review unit. So, I was eager to get my hands on it to see how it really looks and feels in person.

As a reminder, the LG Invision is the latest handset to support AT&T Mobile TV, AT&T's live streaming TV service. It is only the third handset that supports this service--the other two are the LG Vu and the Samsung Access. The AT&T Mobile TV service currently works in around 58 markets in the country, but sadly San Francisco is not on that list.

But even though I couldn't test out the AT&T Mobile TV service, I did play around with the Invision for a little bit. Measuring 4 inches tall by 2 inches wide and less than 0.5 inch thick, the Invision is certainly the smallest and lightest of all the AT&T Mobile TV phones. As a device meant for watching video, I was also pleased to see such a vibrant and colorful display, though it is rather small at around 2.2 inches. I would probably prefer the Vu for watching video because of the wider screen.

LG Invision in hand
LG Invision in hand Corinne Schulze/CNET

You might notice that the keypad looks a bit unusual, and that's because LG has rearranged the keys so that the bottom three keys on the keypad are now flanked on the right side. This makes the handset feel slightly wider and shorter, and we think that people might have to get used to this new keypad arrangement. There's also a dedicated TV button around the navigation keys, plus the four-way toggle is arranged in a cross in the middle of the phone. I thought this felt cramped, but I'll have to use it for a longer period of time to really get a feel for it. The back of the phone is clad in a rubberized texture that feels a little like faux leather, which makes the phone easier to grip.

Other features of the Invision include a 1.3-megapixel camera, HSDPA speeds, AT&T Mobile Music support, a music player, and stereo Bluetooth. It is available online only for $99.99 with a $50 mail-in rebate and a two-year service agreement, and LG says it'll be available in retail stores later this year.