The LG VX4700 for Verizon Wireless is part of a near-identical triplet of LG phones. Its siblings, the LG VX4650 for Verizon and the LG AX4750 for Alltel, share many similarities, but they also have some important differences. The VX4650 lacks the VX4700's support for Verizon's push-to-talk (PTT) service, and the AX4750 has a different color scheme. Otherwise, there are no variations between the three. All of them are topped by a powerful penny-size speakerphone that produces surprisingly potent sound for both PTT and regular voice calls. You also get an easy-to-activate Driving mode that lets you bark speaker-dependent voice commands to safely operate the phone and converse while keeping your hands on the wheel. Priced at $99 with a two-year contract and $149 for a one-year commitment, the VX4700 is definitely worth the cost, and the inclusion of PTT support makes it only $30 more than the VX4650. The LG VX4700 looks a bit different from your average flip phone. Though it's of average size and weight (3.8 by 1.9 by 0.9 inches, 3.7 ounces) and has a stubby external antenna, the prominent round speaker on the top of the handset is immediately apparent. While the tapering shape of the speaker evokes a vaguely Fifth Element art-deco sci-fi vibe, its placement comes with pros and cons. Some flip phones with PTT, such as the Samsung SPH-A760
Set in a mirrored frame, the 1-inch-diagonal external display shows the time, the date, the battery life, the signal strength, and caller ID (where available). The screen is monochrome, but it's quite readable, even when the backlighting is off. The internal screen, however, inspired mixed emotions. We were disappointed that it measured just 1.5 inches diagonally, but it is bright and exceptionally readable.
The soft keys are 1.5 inches from the actual screen, creating a slight disconnect between choice and action. A five-way toggle gives you access to the Web browser, Verizon's Get It Now download store, messages, and the calendar/scheduler. Other controls consist of the Talk and End keys and a Clear button. A cool blue backlight illuminates the keypad buttons. Located at the tapered end of the body, the buttons are a bit small, but fortunately, they're slightly raised above the surface of the phone, which inspires a bit more confidence when dialing. The lettering on the numbers is also fairly small, though, making text entry troublesome for the farsighted.
Left-handers will use their thumb and right-handers their index finger to operate the top-mounted orange PTT key. Both operating-grip positions are more comfortable and intuitive than with side-mounted keys found on other PTT phones. Pushing the PTT key activates the speaker, but there's another button on the right side that activates and deactivates the speaker. A separate key with a microphone on the left spine turns on the Driving mode, which is then automatically activated as soon as you open the clamshell. This button also doubles as the memo-recorder button when the VX4700's top is open. The left-spine volume toggle, however, is a bit too flush for confident control by feel. Headset users should note that the rubber plug protecting the top-mounted standard 2.5mm earphone jack proved impossible to pry out without a sharp object. And since the plug is not on a hinge, consider it gone once removed.The LG VX4700 comes with a respectable set of features. You get a 499-contact phone book with room in each entry for five phone numbers and three e-mail addresses. You can also assign contacts or one of 36 monophonic ring tones. Unfortunately, you don't get any polyphonic ring tones, but you can download them from Verizon's Get It Now download store.
The speakerphone, the voice commands, and the driving mode are the raison d'être for the VX4700. Flip open the clamshell in Driving mode, and you're prompted to speak one of the dozen or so commands, including dialing by digit, retrieving voicemail, reviewing and redialing missed calls, retrieving contact information, announcing time and date and phone status, and even turning off Driving mode.
Aside from voice commands, the VX4700 is loaded with the usual array of extras, including a vibrate mode, a WAP 2.0 wireless Web browser, text and enhanced (but no multimedia) messaging, a 4-minute voice-memo recorder, speed dialing, a calendar with scheduler, a notepad, an alarm clock, a tip calculator, and a world clock. Also, an optional Data Connectivity Kit lets you use the phone as a laptop or a PDA modem with a USB cable.