The "V" in the LG CU500V's name stands for Video, and that's the key feature separating it from the LG CU500. The LG CU500V has a new video-calling feature from AT&T called Video Share, which is the country's first nationwide video-calling service. It isn't perfect--it only streams video one-way and it'll only work with certain phones--but the potential for live video streaming outweighs these concerns. Imagine shopping for something, and being able to stream live video of your choices to a friend for an opinion, for example. That said, everything else about the LG CU500V is exactly the same as the LG CU500. From the thin flip phone design to the high-speed HSDPA, the LG CU500V mirrors the LG CU500. So if you already have the LG CU500, I wouldn't upgrade unless you really want the Video Share service.
But if you're considering an upgrade to a speedy HSDPA phone with video calling, the LG CU500V isn't a bad choice. It rivals the Razr in looks and design, and its HSDPA offering lends the phone to a variety of high-end 3G services like Cellular Video (previously known as Cingular Video), AT&T Music, and more. Add that to a 1.3-megapixel camera that takes great pictures, an audio player, and more, and we think that the LG CU500V is one of the better 3G phones out there. The LG CU500V is currently available for $29.99 with a two-year service agreement, making it one of the cheapest 3G phones around.
Because the only difference between the LG CU500 and the LG CU500V is the AT&T Video Share feature, large parts of this review are lifted from the review of the LG CU500.
The LG CU500V is the latest in a line of phones inspired by the Razr's design. The flip phone has that same wide body and slim silhouette, though the inclusion of a rotating camera lens and external music controls actually make it look more like the Samsung MM-A900. The CU500 is a little thicker and heavier at 3.8 by 1.95 by 0.76 inches and 3.7 ounces, but it still maintains a sleek and attractive form. It comes in black with silver and chrome accents inside and out. The handset feels nice in the hand and pretty comfortable when cradled against the ear.
The navigation controls consist of the usual two soft keys and a five-way toggle in the middle that doubles as a shortcut to text messaging, instant messaging, the address book, and the My Stuff folder. Also in the navigation array are dedicated keys to the music player and the camera. The talk, cancel/back, and end/power buttons are located right above the number keypad. Unlike the keys on the Razr, the buttons here are not flush to the surface. They're tactile and raised slightly, making them easy to press and dial by feel.
While the LG CU500V has an attractive design, its real beauty lies in its features. The address book stores up to 500 contacts, and each entry can accommodate up to five numbers, two e-mail addresses, a picture ID, a memo, and one of 10 72-chord polyphonic ringtones and can be assigned to a caller group. Other basic features include a vibrate or silent mode, a speakerphone, support for stereo Bluetooth, text and multimedia messaging, a voice recorder, instant messaging (AOL, MSN, Yahoo, and ICQ), a wireless Web browser, an alarm clock, a calendar, a notepad, a calculator, a world clock, and a to-do list. It also comes with a microSD card slot, but you'll have to remove the battery in the back to get to it. The CU500V is a quad-band GSM phone, which means you can use it almost anywhere in the world.