Intuition by LG hands-on: a pen-enabled competitor to the Galaxy Note for Verizon (video)

Intuition by LG hands-on

It's a silly name as smartphones go (and one that conjures images of lady-focused razors), but regardless, LG's Intuition is now officially a member of Verizon's lineup. The 4G LTE device, shown off today at the manufacturer's launch event, is nigh unchanged from the South Korean model we reviewed this past July (known as the Optimus Vu). With a 5-inch 1,024 x 768 True-XGA IPS capacitive display, dual-core S3 CPU clocked at 1.5GHz, 8-megapixel rear camera, NFC, 2080mAh battery and that Rubberdium pen, the only thing separating this stateside iteration from its SK Telecom cousin is the skinned Android Ice Cream Sandwich OS onboard and $199 on contract price. So how does it fare in this Big Red debut? Follow along as we attempt to find what's been lost, if anything, in translation.%Gallery-164889%

Usually when carriers nab smartphone exclusives tweaks are made to the devices' overall build and OS. Not so here, as the Intuition is virtually unchanged from the overseas model we'd previously spent quality time with this summer. The phablet's back is still wrapped in that matte black, textured finish with the edges rounded for a hint of an ergonomic fit. It's relatively unwieldy for those possessed of less-than-massive palms, so bear that in mind before you consider this for purchase. LG, or rather Verizon, has done away with the T-DMB TV tuner, but aside from that small design change, the rest of the hardware keys and ports are the same. A two-button volume rocker resides on the upper right edge, while up top you have a 3.5mm headphone jack, quick launch button, sliding metal door for micro-USB and power button. Hidden on the left just behind the Intuition's subtle curve is a covered flap for the microSIM.

It has to be said that the Intuition is a classy affair. The device exudes a sleek, professional quality that manages to overcome the myriad branding on its front and back. Also getting a slight makeover is the Rubberdium pen. Whereas when it debuted with the Optimus Vu that capacitive pen was chunky and somewhat cumbersome, here it's been slimmed down for a more natural in-hand fit. That alteration isn't able to make up for the broken user experience -- you still have to use a finger for the Android navigation keys -- but it does make interaction somewhat more bearable.

The Intuition's 1,204 x 768 True-XGA IPS display might not have the immense saturation of an AMOLED panel, but it definitely still impresses even from afar. Colors are balanced, icons are crisp and viewing angles are above average, though the screen seems prone to tremendous glare. Yes, you're still saddled with that compressed 4:3 aspect ratio, but that niggle aside, there's not much to find fault with here.

So let's talk about the (only) star of the Intuition's show: skinned Ice Cream Sandwich. Or, as LG's rep described it, it's a software "integration" with that Google operating software. Potato, potatoe -- the OS bears no resemblance to vanilla ICS. Much like the Vu, icons can be customized, screenshots can be captured to scribble notes upon and share using Quick Memo and even the task manager allows for a more info shortcut (accessed by long-pressing on the previewed app).

As for the 1.5GHz dual-core S3 moving things along, well, it does an acceptable job. Initially, we were impressed by the brisk performance as the browser rendered pages quickly and transitions through the homescreens and app drawer evinced no slowdown. A few strokes later and that story changed, with noticeable hiccups and stutters cropping up. That's what you get with an outdated processor. No surprises there.

If you've read along to this point, care little for Samsung's own famed phablet effort and feel the need to upgrade your daily driver on Verizon, the Intuition's available now for $199 on contract. But before you dive in and buy, we'd caution you to use your own.