Last Time in Project Rebirth…
LG’s mobile division was well-loved for its quirky designs and bold experimentation in an industry that too often falls into predictable iteration. What if, instead of leaving the industry, LG branched its unfocused brand into boutique sub-brands? Here, ART is a consumer tech brand taking on the mantle of LG’s V line: a flagship smartphone for content creators. ART devices are canvases in creators’ hands.
ART P (for primary) is the brand’s flagship smartphone. Here, you’ll find all the modern specs you need: a high refresh rate display, stellar cameras, and a premium built quality. P’s screen is built for sketching and note-taking. Its LTPO tech and high refresh rate keep pen latency super low, and the bezel-less design gives the user the most useable canvas space possible. Most smartphone cameras carry a biased stylization created by the OEM. That can be super useful for average consumers who just want to open the camera, take a picture, and share it immediately, but it takes stylistic control away from more serious creators. P’s camera system is tuned to reproduce precisely what is in front of it, giving the user the control to style their photos and videos to their own taste. The main 64mp camera has an ultrawide lens, using its higher resolution and pixel binning to simulate a standard wide-angle lens. This cuts manufacturing costs and takes better advantage of an under-utilized feature of most modern smartphone camera sensors. Plus, it keeps the rear design from being cluttered by lenses of differing sizes. By using a two-tone aluminum and vegan leather body design, P lets the user feel exactly where the tool silo is without looking and ensures excellent grip while taking photos.
ART S (for secondary) is a mid-range creator phone. Here, you’ll find the best of ART in a more affordable package. S retains P’s focus on notetaking, naturalistic photography, grip, and intuitive design.
ART Tool is a multipurpose drawing and note-taking active stylus built into P and S. Tool features a shortcut button, digital eraser, and a linear haptic motor that simulates different surfaces (paper, canvas, whiteboard, etc.) and tool types (pens, pencils, markers, shaders, brushes, etc.). Matte screen protectors have always been a must have accessory for pen-focused phones like Samsung’s Note line because they made the experience of notetaking feel so much more natural, but the distortion and fuzziness they bring to the screen make them hard to use long-term. Adding haptics into the pen, instead of gimmicky air gestures, resolves this issue. To charge Tool, just slide it into the silo on P or S.
Medium UX is ART’s skin based on Android 12. MUX adopts Android 12’s Material You adaptive theming. Just set a wallpaper and MUX generates a custom system color palette. This palette is theme-aware (along with optional separate wallpapers for light/dark mode) and can adapt to current media cover art.
Notifications are the most important part of a smartphone, but they’re out of reach on our taller modern phones. MUX places a Smart Space at the top of the home screen. By default, this shows the clock, date, and weather. When notifications come in, the top-most one expands and the rest trail horizontally below. Media controls appear here as well. This makes it so you don’t have to reach all the way to the top of your massive phone just to see who texted and connects the swipe down home screen gesture directly to the UI with connected animations. MUX’s new edit screen makes resize and remove controls, and blank spaces, more obvious.
I felt like Android 12 oversized quick settings on the first swipe down without showing more info to make up for it. In MUX, you get three tiles across and a light/dark mode toggle beside the brightness slider. On the second swipe, MUX prioritizes the more frequently used controls over the default Android 12 implementation.
I also simplified Android’s lock screen, only showing crucial information. Now, the lock icon appears in the top left, as the clock and notifications drop to mirror the Smart Space widget. The always-on-display condenses this information further.