The long wait is finally over. The LG VX9900 (aka LG enV), an upgrade to the popular VX9800, has finally arrived. Skatter Tech readers are in luck since Verizon Wireless was kind enough to send us a unit a few days before the launch. With a ton of new features, a new body, new interface, and a reasonable price tag, the phone has definitely met our expectations.
The phone looked quite big at first since we recently spent time reviewing the Motorola KRZR and LG VX8600, but according to the specs is actually much sleeker and shorter than the original “The V” phone. In terms of basic features, the LG enV (pronounced “envy”) features an impressive 2MP camera w/ flash, microSD expansion, stereo speakers, bluetooth, a full QWERTY keyboard, and standard V Cast Music/Video functions. This phone might just be Verizon’s “best phone of the year”.
LG VX9900 Specifications:
- Provider: Verizon Wireless (1.9GHz CMDA)
- Form Factor: Laptop-like w/ QWERTY keyboard
- Dimensions: 4.64H x 2.08W x 0.78D (inches)
- Weight / Battery: 4.6oz / 4hrs 30mins talktime
- Screens: External 128×160 & Internal 240×320
- Digital Camera: 2 megapixel camera and camcorder
- Storage: ~50MB internal + microSD (2GB max)
- Others: Bluetooth 1.2 + Stereo Speakerphone
- Price: $150 with a new 2-year contract
LG enV Body: 4/5 stars
Although the VX9900 is larger and very block-like compared to most flip phones, it’s still more compact than the VX9800. The phone can not be placed upright since all sides are rounded or even placed down on its back properly since the camera bulges out. The inside of the phone is designed quite well and everything is where it should be. The keyboard keys are backlit and spreadout. Overall the phone is a bit bulky for average users and isn’t the best looking phone, but size and looks can be thrown out considering the features it has packed inside.
Displays: 4.5/5 stars
The outside display (65K 128×160 px) is a way too small, but luckily the enlarged interface allows access to most required functions. The internal display (262K 240×320 px) is pretty bright and the colors are just stunning. It’s one of the best displays we’ve seen in a while.
Music Playback: 5/5 stars
The VX9900 support playback of unprotected MP3 and WMA files plus purchased V Cast Music. Music can be browsed by Artists, Albums, Genre, or Songs, similar to iPods. A neat addition is “Music Only Mode” which disables incoming/outgoing calls limiting the phone to just a Mp3 player to save battery life. Although the music player takes a few seconds to load, with the right setup music can be started in just 2 clicks.
Speakers: 4.5/5 stars
The enV has dual speakers for stereo surround, which makes music sound a whole lot better. Even when the volume is loud, the sound is still clear. The phone also utilizes the same speakers for calls, making it probably the best speaker phone we’ve used. The only downside is that, since the speakers are on the inside, they only sound good when the phone is open.
Digital Camera: 5/5 stars
The enV features a 2 megapixel camera which can snap shots up to 1600×1200 px. The images are bright, clear, and crisp, which is pretty good for a camera phone. (click to enlarge sample) The camcorder can record up to 1 hour clips at 320×240 px, but only 15 second clips can be mailed. Photos can be taken with the phone closed and held sideways like a traditional camera, but can also be taken using the larger internal display when open. Since the cam is on the back, the outside display turns on for self-portraits when flipped open. Other than that the phone also has a mechanical lens cover, flash, night shot, self-timer, and some extra effects.
Interface: 5/5 stars
We have to congratulate VZW for finally giving the interface a huge make over. The ugly red bars and menus are gone! The new “communicator” style has a new layour, soothing blue colors, and some animated items. However the important internal menus are still organized the same way as regular VZW phones. Some items in the main menu seem misplaced, but it isn’t a big issue. VZW has also included another style which is very similar to the classic theme, but with new icons/colors.
MicroSD: 4/5 stars
Music can be transfered to the phone using the “Sync” feature, however we were unable to do so since Verizon hasn’t released the USB cables or drivers yet. (check back for that) We instead directly copied the music onto the microSD card using an extra card reader/writer. Card access is easy, it is right under a flap on the right-side. Update: We got our Music Essentials Kit, but there are still some bugs. When syncing with Windows Media Player 11, the software keeps detecting the phone as a new device each time it’s plugged in. (auto-sync won’t work) We were also unable to get the Album Art to display on the phone, which worked perfectly with the KRZR. Card Reader/Writer Users: Format the card in your phone first. Folders for music, flix, and pics will be created. Finally just place the proper files into the correct folders.
Bluetooth: 5/5 stars
The Bluetooth (v1.2) on the enV now supports many new profiles, which include: headset (mono), hands free (ex. car), data modem, stereo speakers, image printing, contact cards, file transfer, and wireless keyboard. Supports saving up to 20 different device “pairings”.
Overall we would recommend this phone for people who take a lot of photos, heavy email users, music listeners, and “computer geeks”. If you usually only use your phone for making calls I’d suggest finding a smaller phone, which you will definitely appreciate more. If you do plan to get it, it will be available in stores and online starting Monday, November 27, 2006. If you are a current Verizon customer and are eligible for the every two year upgrade, the phone can be yours for as low as $50 + tax. However it will cost new customers signing up for a 2 year contract $150. New customers can get the phone for FREE after a Mail in Rebate online. (link below) For the features this phone has its an extremely good deal.