LG Venus review: LG Venus

The Venus comes with 3G support in the form of built-in EV-DO. This gives the VX8800 access to the full stable of Verizon's broadband services like streaming video from V Cast Videos and the ability to download songs over the air from V Cast Music. The music player interface is nice and clean thanks to the onscreen music player controls, and you can view the album art when a song is playing. The songs are automatically organized by artist, genre, and album, and you can create and manage your own playlists if you wish. Other music player options include a shuffle and repeat mode, 11 different preset equalizer settings (or "sound effects"), plus a Music Only mode (also known as Airplane mode) which turns the cell phone RF off so you can use the phone to play music while in flight (It does not turn off Bluetooth, though, so you can still use your Bluetooth headset to listen to music). Another nice touch is that you can multitask while the music is playing--you can hide the player and continue browsing the Web or typing out text messages. The music player supports MP3, WMA, AAC, and AAC+ file formats, and 64MB of internal memory is dedicated to music storage. If you wish to add more storage, the Venus also has a microSD card slot that supports cards up to 8GB.

The Venus has a 2-megapixel camera on the back, but no self-portrait mirror or flash.

The Venus has a lovely 2-megapixel camera that can take pictures in four resolutions (1,600x1,200; 1,280x960; 640x480; 320x240), five white-balance settings, and five color effects. Other settings include spot metering, up to 2x zoom (not usable at the highest resolution), a brightness setting, a night mode, a self-timer, plus three different shutter sounds (with a silent option). As we mentioned above, the camera application has its own special onscreen navigation controls, which are positioned landscape-wise so you are prompted to take a photo with the phone held sideways, much like a regular camera. Do note that there is no self-portrait mirror on the back, so it's a little tricky to take self-portrait shots. Photo quality was quite good, with sharp edges and accurate colors, though a tiny bit overcast. There's also a built-in camcorder with two different video resolutions (320x240 and 176x144), and many of the editing options are similar to the still camera. Video recording time is limited to 30 seconds for multimedia messages and up to 1 hour for saving. Video quality was fairly mediocre, and it couldn't handle fast movements, resulting in jerky and blurry video clips.

The Venus takes pretty good photos.

Personalization options with the Venus are plentiful--it comes with a variety of color themes, wallpaper, screen savers, alert tones, and more. Of course, you have the option to purchase more via the Venus's built-in Web browser. The Venus comes with one game called VZW Board Games, but you can always download more as well.

We tested the dual-band LG Venus (CDMA 800/1900; EV-DO) in San Francisco using the Verizon Wireless service. We were very impressed with the call quality--voices sounded loud, clear, and natural, without a lot of noise in the background. Callers sometimes reported slight hisses and static, but even then call quality was good. We managed to make voice command calls with very little problems as well. Speakerphone calls went similarly well, with good strong volume and clear voices.

As far as music goes, songs sounded loud and clear with good bass, but it did sound a tiny bit hollow when played via the phone's built-in speakers. We paired the LG Venus with the Cardo S-2 Bluetooth headset successfully, and both call and audio quality were substantially better when compared to the speakers.

The EV-DO data speeds made a noticeable difference when we were streaming video and browsing the Web. V Cast videos loaded very quickly, and there was little to no rebuffering. That said, video quality was still pretty bad, with quite a bit of pixelation especially with action sequences. Loading a typical Web page took a few seconds, while downloading a song took about a minute for a 5.16MB file.

The LG Venus has a rated battery life of 4 hours talk time and 20 days in standby time. In our tests, we received only 3 hours, 16 minutes of talk time. According to FCC radiation tests, the Venus has a digital SAR rating of 1.26 watts per kilogram.

What you'll pay

    Visit manufacturer site for details.

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