Friday, June 12, 2009

LG EnV2 Problem Pictures Won't Display FullScreen

My new phone is a hand-me-down LG EnV2 on the Verizon Network.
I'm really happy to finally have a qwerty keyboard for easier texting during my loud rock shows, and the main LCD screen is pretty freaking sweet.
320 x 240 pixels inside a roughly 2" x 1.5" display--nowhere near my new camera's LCD by orders of magnitude, but it beats my previous phone all to hell.
For one thing, viewing angle isn't critical.
It's big and bright and the colors closely match what I'm used to seeing on my computer's Dell CRT.

A problem the previous owner had was that .jpgs of my pictures which were transferred to the phone via Micro SD card would only display really small, as seen in the photo below.

A rare few older pictures would go full-screen just fine, but the vast majority were tiny no matter what I tried.
Being clever, this phone's previous owner discovered that using the phone's cropping function would fix the problem. I don't normally approve of anyone altering my work, but at least the pics I took could be shown at a decent size even though cropped a little.
It was a functional solution, and Google searches never turned up a fix.
Of course it goes without saying that the owner's manual was no help.
Ask a Verizon or LG rep for advice?
Don't make me laugh.

*****Fast forward to yesterday*****

I like being able to whip out a few of my photos on a device that's already with me. Sometimes the conversation (or job opportunity) requires it.
You can make a sale or at the very least share some laughs.
I've been doing this with my old phone for years, but it's smaller vertical screen meant that most of my pics looked little and had to be viewed from a precise angle to match my original.
So I was highly motivated to make this LG EnV2 submit to my wishes.
And for once I had an entire day to sit at the computer with several graphic programs running so I could try every possible idea as soon as it came to me, while also learning how to navigate the phone better.

The EnV2's 2mp camera delivers 1600x1200 resolution, so I started there.
Then I tried going all the way down to the screen's native 320x240 pixels, with every possible size in-between.
They all looked the same--tiny.
After that I used programs other than Photoshop to re-size my files.
Still nothing works.

I knew from looking online that 500kb was the file size limit, or else you have to crop in-phone, but I was using the exact files that have been displayed here at Views Of Texas which are usually around 200kb or less. what else is the phone's crop function doing?
And I kept going back to the random older photos of mine that would always display nice and big like I wanted.
What was different about them?

Then a little fact hit me--I started using the free version of Neat Image noise reduction many years ago to fix my old camera's high-iso and long-exposure noise problems, but after a little while started using it as a PhotoShop plug-in instead of a stand-alone program for more control over the final product.
And the random pics that displayed full-screen were all old enough to have been run through Neat Image after they had been through PhotoShop, instead of as a plug-in.

So, what else does the free version of Neat Image do to a .jpg besides tame ugly digital noise artifacts? strips the camera settings file (exif data) that is automatically embedded inside every digital photo by the camera!

And that was the fix!

Seriously, this is a HUGE difference in view-ability.
I find it hard to believe that I'm the only one who cared enough about seeing their pictures as big as possible and also managed to find a way to make it happen on these popular phones.
What a dumbass thing, for always-embedded .jpg exif data to force the display to go all tiny unless you actually took the pic with the phone.
I'm still: Shocked. Pissed. Amazed.

Rather than run all of my photos through NI whether they needed it or not, I chose to keep them as close to the original as possible by simply opening them in PhotoShop and then using the 'Save For Web' protocol that I already knew would strip the exif data from the files.
Now there are a buttload of my pics looking good on the LG EnV2.

Even after a huge number of web searches I was only able to solve this problem through trial and error.
That's why this blog post's title reads like a Google search query--hopefully someone gets relief by stumbling into View's Of Texas.
It's a stupid design mistake on LG's part, especially since they didn't bother to pass it along to the owner's manual people.

I feel sorry for all the folks who want to carry around some snapshots and can't make their expensive phone do what it should without some big secret pain in the ass.

Did you know that there are moisture-sensitive stickers inside your cellphone's battery compartment?
They use them to diagnose problems and void your warranty whenever possible.
A small white circle around 1/8" in diameter with red crosses is how Verizon/LG do it.
The closer the circle gets to plain red/pink, the more excessive moisture you have exposed your phone to.
Before you take it in to be "fixed" (replaced at your cost) take my advice and remove the battery, open the charger and MicroSD card hatches, and place the phone in an open position in front of a fan for 24-48 hours to dry it's guts out.
If you're lucky, it didn't really sustain permanent damage.

***** UPDATE *****
While getting the EnV2 activated a few days ago I shared these findings with my Verizon dude, Ray.
He got a little excited because he's had the same problem and also has customers ask him about it periodically.
From his reaction I can assume that LG and Verizon either haven't figured out that there's an issue (hard to believe) or haven't figured out a solution (easier to believe).
Or if they know as much as I do, maybe they just don't care enough to pass this tip along because it makes their programmers look like idiots.
Seriously, this was a dumbass design flaw that makes absolutely no sense, which was why it was so hard for me to solve--I tried all the stuff that made sense first.

I would LOVE to know if this has been fixed on the new EnV3.
Guess I'll be visiting my buddy Ray soon so we can test one.


Dave said...

I have that same phone and always wondered about the picture size. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your careful discernment on this. I work with cell phones all the time in television and movies, and am constantly hacking the phones to do one thing or another because a script tells them to. Verizon phones are, without question, the worst phones to work with -- largely because of ridiculous oversights like this one. Anyways, thanks for saving me some troubleshooting time.