Basic phones without a lot of features are still immensely popular with a lot of cell phone users. It turns out that plenty of people just want a cell phone that can make calls without a lot of extra features, such as a camera or a music player. Thankfully, there are quite a few handset manufacturers out there that are still churning out basic, no-nonsense phones. LG, for example, has come up with the LG VX3450, and while it's certainly bare-bones in the features department, it still looks attractive and most importantly, has decent call quality. The LG VX3450 is available for $19.99 with a new two-year contract with Verizon Wireless and comes in two colors, silver or blue.
The first word that comes to our mind when looking at the LG VX3450 is cute. Its curvaceous, almost hourglass-like design makes it look like it has a bit of a belly. Plus, it's so compact and lightweight--it measures 3.4x1.9x1.0 inches and weighs 3.3 ounces--that it fits very naturally in the hand and cradles comfortably next to the ear. The hinge had just the right amount of give, and we could open and close the phone one-handed. The VX3450 has a stubby antenna on the top right side.
We always appreciate it when a basic phone such as this one has an external screen, and the VX3450 meets that requirement. It's a small, 1-inch diagonal, monochrome display, but at least it has a blue color filter. The external screen displays the date, the time, battery life, and signal strength, as well as caller ID. Though we would've appreciated a color screen for photo caller ID, the VX3450 doesn't have a camera anyway so the monochrome is fine with us. A volume rocker rests on its left spine, while a dedicated voice command button is on the right.
Open the phone and you'll find a rather lackluster internal display. The small, 1.5-inch diagonal screen only supports 65,000 colors and it shows--the images appeared rather fuzzy around the edges and colors were muted. We did like LG's simple menu navigation system in lieu of Verizon's custom menu style, as it's far easier to use. You can adjust the backlight timer, the contrast, as well as the font sizes for the calling digits, the text editor, and the menu font.
Underneath the display is the navigation array which is made up of two soft keys and a four-way toggle with a middle OK key. The toggle doubles as shortcuts to the speakerphone, the calendar, messages, and the sounds settings menu by default. However, you can define your own shortcut for the right arrow key via the Tools menu. Surrounding the toggle are the Send key, a Clear key, and the End/Power key. These keys, along with the alphanumeric keypad, are nice and big, well spaced, and have a slight bump above the surface of the phone for easy dialing and texting.