Review: LG enV Touch

  • As of June 5, the LG enV touch is available to consumers at all Verizon Stores, and should be available to consumers via authorized Verizon retailers soon, as I’ve noticed a lag between the two store types. The new LG enV Touch is a new addition to the enV line which includes the LG enV VX9900, the LG enV2, and most recently the LG enV3. The phones are characterized by numeric keypads on the front and a flip-open QWERTY keyboard. The new device however, is touch screen-based, placing it more in line with the LG Dare, The LG Voyager, and the LG Versa.

    The LG enV Touch is impressive, and I can actually say, as a personal owner of the LG Voyager, that for a day to day cell phone this is probably the top of the line from Verizon. Combining the high-end messaging capability with a convenient touch screen and new and improved features this phone changes the face of enV.

    It has been nearly two years since Verizon launched the LG Voyager and has been since that time my personal phone of choice. But I admit that I was getting a little tired of its size and lack of features. After the review of the LG Versa , I was left wanting more from my phone. I wanted a better camera, I wanted better web browsing, and I really needed better options for blog uploading as well as mobile media.

    The enV Touch is available for $149.99 with a $70 mail-in rebate and a two-year service agreement. The phone measures 4.52 inches long by 2.16 inches wide and is .66 inch thick. It weighs 4.92 oz. and is positioned as an upgrade from both the Voyager and any of the enV phones on the market. It comes with a larger touch screen display, a 3.2-megapixel camera, a 3.5mm headset jack that accommodates standard sized headphones, EV-DO Rev support, as well as a speedier web browsing platform.


    Phone features

    If you are like me, a wireless phone is all about the features. And the enV touch offers quite a bit.

    The LG enV Touch comes standard with EV-DO Rev. A support, which is slightly faster than EV-DO on other devices. The device has access to broadband services offered by Verizon including V Cast Video which allows users to stream and download video clips from content providers such as CNN or CBS and V Cast Music with Rhapsody, which offers music for purchase and download over the air. Once you’ve downloaded the song to your device you are also free to copy it to your PC.

    The enV Touch is equipped with a full HTML web browser. Web browsing utilizing the touch screen is now available, but it is pretty frustrating. The touch screen is simply not responsive enough. I suggest utilizing the internal display when browsing the web.

    There is a 3.2-megapixel camera and allows users to snap photos in six different resolutions, five color effects and five white balance presets. You are also given three modes of focus: autofocus, macro mode, and manual mode which offers seven possible targets points on the screen as a focal point. Flash can be turned on, off or set to automatic. You will also get a smile shot feature, which takes a picture when a person is smiling; you are also able to take panoramic shots. Editing features are more and more common in these devices and the enV Touch is no exception:  You can use the facial makeover mode that removes blemishes and marks on an individual’s face.

    I found the pictures taken to be sharp and crisp, though motion blur is apparent in the enV Touch as in other current smart phones. The video quality is sufficient for this class of device, but needless to say, you do not want to use a cellphone as your main video recording device. It simply is a handy device fro short clips.

     The enV touch allows users to view documents such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint and even Adobe Acrobat.

    The phone  has voice command dialing, USB mass storage, multiple supported Bluteooth profiles,  among which include hands free, A2DP, dial-up networking phonebook access, file transfer, printing, imaging, and object push for vCalendar and VCard.

    The phone can be utilized as a wireless modem for a laptop or computer, however this requires the addition of a Broadband connect plan, which costs about $60 each month for 5 GB of data.

    For those who like to text, Verizon offers its mobile instant messenger which allows users to connect to instant messaging platforms and communicate on the go. VZ Navigator and e-mail are also supported by the device. For an extra $3 a month, you can utilize visual voicemail which does not require you to actually call in to check your messages as they display directly on the screen.

    If e-mail communication is your preferred method, you will find that you have multiple options mobile e-mail, which encompasses a multitude of services including Yahoo, AOL, and Windows Live, and you can also get corporate e-mail via your mobile device using RemoSync, which enables you to sync your work email and your calendar – for an extra monthly fee.

    The music player included on the enV touch is simple and easy to use. You’ll be able to see album art, artist name, and song name displayed. The player can be muted, you can add and edit playlists, set songs to repeat or shuffle, and even play the phone in music only mode like an MP3 player- in which you will not be interrupted by phone calls because it shuts off cell service. You can sync music via your PC or download tracks using the Rhapsody software. The device supports 16 GB of removable memory in microSD card form, which you will have to purchase extra.
     
    The phone is equipped with a 1500-enty phone book with the ability to store five numbers per entry. You can utilize groups, access photo caller ID, and use any of 26 polyphonic ringtones to distinguish callers.

    Personalization of the phone is endless you can change your wallpaper settings and display themes and even choose your own ringtones and ringback tones, add games and add applications.

    Aesthetics and design

    The enV Touch is equipped with larger screens than its predecessors. Both the touch screen and the internal screen measure 3 inches diagonally, and support 1.6 million colors with a sharp contrast and bright colors. From the touch screen you are able to access the virtual dial pad, the phonebook, the main menu and an additional favorites page, which allows you to list your favorite group or contacts for simple and easy dialing. You can also text directly from the interface via a touch keyboard.  Additionally, a sliding arrow on the right hand side of the screen reveals a plethora of application shortcuts. Some applications display as widgets on the home screen.

    The touch screen wasn’t as responsive as I would have liked. In fact it lacked the sensitivity of the LG Versa, though it did perform significantly better than the LG Voyager. Even after calibration I noticed a need to tap the device multiple times in order to get a response. When using the Web browser, it was almost necessary to hit a very specific point on the icon you’re trying to access. The phone offers a drag feature - for instance, when unlocking the device, you drag an arrow from the bottom of the screen to the top. The drag feature is sensitive enough to distinguish your touch, but not too sensitive that you could avoid accidental dialing. The touch screen on this phone definitely took some getting used to, and would more than likely be better utilized with a stylus. While the touch screen is the phones most prominent feature, it is also one of its key weaknesses.  

    When web browsing, searching, text messaging or doing anything that requires keyed input, you have the option of utilizing the QWERTY keyboard via the touch screen. When the device is turned horizontally, the keyboard activates due to the phone’s internal accelerometer. As you type, each key is magnified to show that you’ve selected it.  However, if you prefer an even simpler method you might just opt to open the phone and use the actual keyboard which it is equipped with.

    The exterior contains a wealth of surprises. On the left spine of the device is a camera key, making shooting pictures and video simple with the touch of a button, also on this side is the volume control and the key which locks the screen. On the right side of the device is a microSD card slot, and a 3.5mm headset jack. The back of the phone holds the 3.2-megapixel camera lens and also an LED flash.

    Performance

    I tested Verizon’s dual band (CDMA 800/1900; EV-DO Rev. A) technology via the LG enV Touch in Chattanooga, TN. Though the call quality itself was acceptable, it was unfortunate that calls were dropped on a consistent basis.

    The battery life is rated at 4.3 hours talk time and 17 days standby. I used the device regularly and I was not able to get anywhere near 4.3 hours, though I am hard on cell phone devices with my constant uploads, texting and blog updates.

    When playing media such as music, and video on the phone, the media played well, though the sound could have been louder. I’d like to be able to use a phone with MP3 player capability on the go, or by the pool, so more volume bandwidth would be a nice touch.

    The web browser responds well to most web pages, complex or not. TGDaily sometimes doesn’t render well on mobile devices it was great on the LG enV touch.

    I had trouble with multiple video uploads. The video quality is great when played on the device when uploaded it was a little shaky, regardless I was impressed with video quality when playing web videos.

    Overall this was an excellent device, and a much needed addition and upgrade to the Verizon family, I’d definitely recommend the LG enV Touch.

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