LG enV2 review: LG enV2

Features
Though the EnV2's design is much improved, its feature set is almost identical to that of the original EnV. We were let down by this, since we expected something a bit different. Starting with the basics, it has a 1,000-entry phone book with room in each entry for five numbers, two e-mail addresses, but no notes, which we thought was a little odd. You can save contacts to caller groups, and pair them with a photo or one of 18 polyphonic ringtones. Other basic features include a vibrate mode, text and multimedia messaging, voice commands and dialing, a speakerphone, instant messaging, a calendar, an alarm clock, a world clock, a notepad, a tip calculator, and a voice-memo recorder. Advanced users will like the e-mail support, wireless Web browser, direct access to Web e-mail, USB mass storage, wireless syncing, and a text-to-speech feature. Supported Bluetooth profiles include hands-free, dial-up networking, A2DP or stereo, phone-book access, basic printing, basic imaging, object push for vCard and vCalendar, and file transfer.


The LG EnV2 has a 2-megapixel camera on the back.

Like the EnV, the EnV2 has EV-DO support, which provides it full access to Verizon's range of 3G services like V Cast Video and V Cast Music. The music player interface is fairly simple and doesn't differ too much from other V Cast Music phones. Thanks to the dedicated Music player key on the external keypad, you can access your V Cast music right from the external display, which you couldn't do on the original EnV. The music player supports MP3, WMA, and unprotected AAC and AAC+ files. Other Verizon applications are also available, like VZ Navigator, Verizon's own location-based turn-by-turn navigation service. The EnV2 comes with 63MB of built-in memory, but you can always get more storage via a microSD card.


The LG EnV2 took mediocre photos.

The EnV2 comes with a 2-megapixel camera, which, again, is unchanged from the first EnV. You can take pictures in four resolutions (1,600x1200, 1,280x960, 640x480, 320x240), five white-balance settings, and five color effects. Other camera settings include a brightness control, up to 10x zoom (not available in the highest resolution), a night mode toggle, a self-timer, three shutter sounds plus a silent option, and spot metering. After taking a picture, you can rotate, zoom, and crop it thanks to the built-in image editor. Photo quality was on the mediocre side. The colors were bright, but images tended to look blurry, especially night shots. Also, there's no flash. There's also a built-in camcorder, which can record in two resolutions (320x240 and 176x144) in two lengths--short 15-second ones for multimedia messages, or as long as available storage can hold. Video quality was predictably shoddy with blurry and jerky movements, though it was all right for steady shots.

There are plenty of personalization options available with the EnV2, including wallpaper, display themes, and alert tones. And if you want more, you can download more via Verizon's Get It Now service. The EnV2 doesn't come with games, but you can always download them, as well.

Performance
We tested the dual-band (CDMA 800/1900; EV-DO) LG EnV2 in San Francisco using Verizon Wireless. We were very impressed with the call quality--voices came through loud and clear with very little static or interference. As for outgoing calls, one of our callers even said we sounded as if we were calling from a landline phone. Similarly, automated calling systems could recognize our commands just fine, as did the EnV2's own voice-command feature. Speakerphone calls was also surprisingly decent. The volume was significant and we heard our callers just fine. Callers did report a slight echo effect at times, but that is common with most cell phone speakerphones. We managed to pair the LG EnV2 with the Iqua Sun Bluetooth headset, with decent sound quality as well.

Audio quality from the LG EnV2's built-in stereo speakers was average. Volume was certainly loud enough, though it still has a slight tinny sound. We would recommend using either a wired or stereo Bluetooth headset to listen to music.

We were very satisfied with the EV-DO connection speeds. V Cast videos loaded in about 10 seconds with little to no buffering time, and loading a Web page also took around 10 seconds. That said, the Web browser on the LG EnV2 is a regular mobile browser, not a full HTML one, so we would've liked to see slightly faster load times. Downloading songs took quite a bit longer, at around a minute and 15 seconds for a 2MB file. And even though the V Cast videos loaded fast enough, we were rather disappointed with the video quality. Videos often did not take up the full size of the display, only about an inch or so wide, which rather defeats having such a wide internal display. Also, there was a lot of moving artifacts and pixelation in the video, especially when the video had some action sequences.

The LG EnV2 has a rated battery life of 5.3 hours talk time and 21 days standby time. Our results showed a tested talk time of 5.95 hours. According to FCC radiation tests, the EnV2 has a digital SAR rating of 1.34 watts per kilogram.

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