We should also note that due to a Verizon partnership with Microsoft, the Revolution's maps and search functions are powered by Bing instead of Google. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it's unfortunate that we're not given a choice. Fortunately, the Revolution supports many other Google services like Google Talk, Gmail, YouTube, and Google Music, Google's recently released cloud music service. As with all Android 2.2 devices, you also get great contact and calendar management, corporate e-mail support (plus regular POP3 and IMAP too), social networking integration, and the full Android Web browser with the Adobe Flash player.
The Revolution is certainly quite a strong multimedia contender. It not only streams Netflix videos like we mentioned earlier, it also has an HDMI output that lets you watch videos on your phone on a big screen television. The phone carries DLNA technology as well, which lets you stream video wirelessly to other DLNA-supported devices via LG's SmartShare app. If you just want to watch videos on the phone, that's not a bad idea either, because the Revolution supports 720p HD video playback. It also supports DivX video playback for WMV, MP4, 3GP, and 3G2 formats. Together with Dolby Music technology and the aforementioned 4.3-inch screen, the Revolution makes for a fantastic device for watching videos.
The rear 5-megapixel camera on the Revolution takes pretty good pictures. Image quality is good, with sharp-as-a-tack photos. Colors did look rather washed out, though. After you take a picture, you'll be presented with an image editor that will let you crop, rotate, resize, filter, and adjust the photo. The Revolution has a great camcorder as well--it can record 720p HD video. The Revolution ships with a 16GB preinstalled microSD card, though it is capable of supporting up to 32GB.
Other features of the LG Revolution include the standard voice features like speakerphone, speed dial, voice commands, conference calling, and text and multimedia messaging. It can also handle video calls thanks to the 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera, but it doesn't come preloaded with any video chat clients--you'll have to download them on your own. You also get Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and GPS, plus a mobile hot-spot feature that lets you share your 4G connection with up to 10 devices, and a 3G connection for up to 5 devices. This additional feature does cost $20 a month and there's a 2GB data cap associated with it.
We tested the LG Revolution in San Francisco using Verizon Wireless. Call quality was decidedly mixed. On our end, we didn't notice many problems. There weren't any background noise or distortions. However, we did notice that our callers' voice quality sounded rather digitized.
LG Revolution call quality sample Listen now:
Callers on the other hand, experienced mediocre call quality. Volume was quite low, and we were asked to speak up several times. Our voice also had a garbled quality that they said sounded scratchy and distant. They could still make out what we were saying, but only if we were in a quiet environment. Speakerphone quality wasn't much better--it made our voice sound even more distant and garbled.
We had quite a positive experience with Verizon's 4G LTE network here in San Francisco. Using Ookla's Speedtest.net app, we averaged download speeds of 5Mbps and upload speeds of 4Mbps. It's not nearly the speed of the HTC Thunderbolt in New York City, but we were still pretty impressed. The CNET mobile page loaded in just 7 seconds while the full CNET front page loaded in just under 15 seconds. We also managed to stream a few Netflix videos over 4G. However, video quality is a little choppy and not in full HD. Streaming video quality is generally much better over Wi-Fi.
While some might complain about the lack of a dual-core processor in the Revolution, we felt the 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor was more than sufficient. Swiping through different screens and menus felt very responsive, and we experienced no lag when multitasking between different apps. There were occasions when it would take a few seconds to launch certain Internet applications like Netflix or Rhapsody, but we suspect that has more to do with buffering. In any case, the wait was not long enough to disturb us too much.
The LG Revolution ships with a 1,500 mAH lithium ion battery with a rated battery life of 7.25 hours talk time and a standby time of 14 days. According to our tests, it has a talk time of 5 hours. Anecdotally, our experience was not too positive. With minimal use of the browser, e-mail, and watching a couple of short Flash videos, the phone ran out of battery in the middle of the workday.
According to FCC radiation tests, the LG Revolution has a digital SAR of 0.77 watt per kilogram.
The LG Revolution is not a bad phone. With a beautiful 4.3-inch display, 4G speeds, and impressive multimedia offerings, the Revolution is certainly one of the better Android smartphones we've seen to date. Yet, it's not quite the revolutionary device it claims to be. It doesn't have a dual-core processor, it doesn't have Android 2.3, it's saddled with Bing for its search and maps, and the call quality is mediocre. But if all you want is a Verizon 4G phone with Netflix baked right in, then the LG Revolution fits the bill, as long as you can afford it.