What exactly is the LG Intuition? That’s the whole point … there is no exact definition. It works as a smartphone, but at 5 inches it’s also large enough to be considered a sort of mini-tablet. “Phablet” is one word that’s been thrown around, and they throw a pen in that can be used to maneuver around the screen, to further the tablet identity.

There are a limited number of options in this category. First the Samsung Galaxy Note came out to basically establish this new category of wireless device (and the Galaxy Note’s sequel is about to arrive ... more on that later), but there is another entry in this category now to give Samsung some competition – the LG Intuition, available from Verizon Wireless, which I recently had the chance to test.

I’ll let you know how it performed, and how it fits into the overall market for smartphones and tablets.

Size

When you look at it from the angle that the Intuition is a phone, it’s safe to say it’s freakin’ huge. When you look at it as a tablet, it’s tiny.

It’s all in the mind of the beholder, I guess.

The basic fast is that if you’re using this is a phone primarily, the 5-inch screen is very large, too large for many people. It doesn’t fit well in pockets, thought it would be fine to keep in a purse or bag.

This size is great for media viewing, but it’s kind of hard and awkward to hold. I’d recommend getting your hands on it in person before deciding whether it’s something you want to pick up. Some will like other, but a lot of people will find it cumbersome.

The official size specs are 5.50” (H) x 3.56” (W) x 0.33” (D)

Phone calls

Quality of the phone calls I made from the LG Intution was excellent on Verizon’ network, but I would recommend using a Bluetooth headset to make calls on this phone. You just look silly holding something this big to your ear, kind of like a flashback to Zach Morris’ phone from “Saved By the Bell”

Touchscreen

The materials used on the phone are high quality, with Corning Gorilla Glass on the screen so it’s scratch-resistant.

You get an HD display, at 1024x768 pixels, which is nice if you plan to use Netflix or other media viewing apps, or for game play.

QuickMemo One of the features that make this seem more like a tablet is the QuickMemo feature. You can use either your fingers or the included pen to write down notes to yourself, and easily share them with others too. There is even a quick-key atop the device for the QuickMemo feature.

Cameras

I had some good results from the 8-megapixel rear camera, but also some inconsistent ones. Compared to some other phones of similar specs, it was a little disappointing.

You get a 1.3 megapixel camera in front that can be used for video chat, or self-portraits. There are also some other features, such as:

  • Say Cheese Shot – use your voice to take a picture
  • Beauty Shot – smoothes and brightens skin tone
  • Face Tracking – automatically finds & focuses on faces
  • Customizable Shot Mode, Brightness, Scene Mode, ISO, White Balance, Color Effect, Timer & Shutter Sound
  • Advanced Image Editor – rename, crop, rotate, add effects, adjust contrast, and much more

Video

As far as video goes, you get 1080p full HD video, which again was very impressive at times, but overall a little impressive than I’ve seen on some other phones – not quite as crisp.

Operating system

The LG Intuition ships with Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), and it’s possible that an upgrade is coming to Android 4.1 (aka Jelly Bean) soon, but even if it doesn’t you still have a solid operating system that is easy to use and very effective at letting you get things done without complication.

Android is of course a Google product, so you get all sorts of Google features installed, including Gmail, Google+, Google Maps (the ones that actually work), the Google Play marketplace with hundreds of thousands of apps, YouTube and more.

On the Web:

For more information on the LG Intuition visit www.verizonwireless.com.

Memory/Processor

You get plenty of space for storage on the LG Intuition, 32GB to be exact, which is plenty for just about everyone. There is no option to expand the memory.

The Intuition is super-fast, mainly due to its 1.5 GHz Dual–Core Processor, and 1GB of RAM. I was able to multitask without the slightest delay.

You’re also operating on Verizon’s very fast 4G LTE network, so your upload and download speeds are among the industry’s best.

Go to work

One good thing about the size of this phone is that it increases your ability to get work done more easily. Using your fingers or the pen, you can work on Excel, PowerPoint and Word documents on the go – a bonus for people working on the road.

Files are easily organized, too, and there are several security features aimed at those folks using this phone as a work machine – such as LG’s built-in Virtual Private Network, Data At Rest Encryption, and the ability to remotely wipe information from the phone if it is lost.

Other features

The Intuition is Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capable, can serve as a 4G mobile hotspot for up to 10 other devices (for an extra monthly fee).

The Intuition features USB tethering, so you can share your phone’s data connection via USB.

It can also share media wirelessly to DLNA–enabled devices.

Several languages are offered on the phone -- English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, French, German, or Italian

Preloaded apps

Some people call this bloatware, others don’t mind it. You’ll get a bunch of preloaded Verizon apps on the Intuition. My Verizon Mobile, NFL Mobile, V CAST Tones, Viewdini, Color, Visual Voicemail, and VZ Navigator.

Also preloaded are: Amazon Apps Suite, including Kindle, Shop, Music, IMDb, Audible, and Zappos. Polaris Office is also preloaded, along with a couple games.

Battery

One concern I have with the Intuition is the 2080 mAh Li–Polymer battery went away too fast for my tastes. Also, it’s non-removable, unlike some other Android phones, which means you can't replace it to improve performance.

Pen

I mentioned above that the phone comes with a pen, which for some reason they call a Rubberdium Pen. It works fine, moving you around apps and screens with ease, but I have one major beef with it: There is no slot for it on the phone itself. So because of that, I never carried the pen around with me, as I didn’t want to lose it and had nowhere to put it.

This is a major fail in my book, as the Samsung Galaxy Note – the only other phone in this "phablet" category – contains a slot in the phone for the pen. I don’t see the point of having a pen if you have nowhere to put it.

Compared directly with the Galaxy Note, the Intuition falls short in my book – partly due to the pen issue, and partly due to the overall operation of the LG user interface vs. Samsung’s UI.

Price

The LG Intuition will cost you $199.99 out of pocket, with a new 2-year contract, which is in line with the standard price for most new smartphones. If you want to buy it straight up without a contract, it will cost you $599.99.

Bottom line

The LG Intuition is definitely different from other phones on the market, as it’s part of the new class of “is it a phone or is it a tablet?” class of devices.

Some folks will be very turned off by the large size of these devices, and others will embrace them as answering their needs for both a phone and tablet. I don’t think the sales numbers will be huge, but there’s limited competition in this category so it’s bound to make some sort of a dent in the overall smartphone market.

But with the new and improved version of the Samsung Galaxy Note coming very soon for all major carriers, the Intuition better hope it makes an impression quick, or it could be quickly passed up.

Matt Myftiu can be reached at matt.myftiu@oakpress.com or 248-745-4617. Follow him on Twitter @MattMyftiu or become a fan of the Facebook page “OPTechTime."