Essentially an update to Verizon's first camera phone, the well-received LG VX6000, the LG VX6100 ups the ante with much-needed features such as a sliding lens cover, a flash, analog roaming, and increased storage capacity. Camera veterans will bemoan the VX6100's lack of certain photo features such as picture caller ID and a preview mode for self-portraits, but the VX6100 is a solid handset that does what it's supposed to do. The price is very fair at $149, but you should be able to find it cheaper with service. At 3.7 by 1.9 by 0.9 inches and 3.9 ounces, the LG VX6100 is a nice-size handset that fits well into a jeans pocket. The postage-stamp-size external display shows time, date, battery life, signal strength, and caller ID (where available) but no picture caller ID. We were a bit puzzled as to why LG chose to make the screen grayscale, especially after the flashy OEL display on the VX6000. On the upside, the screen also acts as a rudimentary viewfinder for taking self-portraits when the flip is closed. We also appreciate using the sliding cover for the camera lens, which is located just above the display and the tiny mirror for self-portraits. A bright flash is located to the left of the lens, and the speakerphone lies on the bottom of the front flap.
Once you open the clamshell, you're greeted by a vivid 256,000-color screen that measures 2 inches diagonally. The display is both large and bright enough to comfortably view mobile versions of Yahoo and MSN, which makes checking Web-based e-mail easy and pleasant. You can also change the size and the color of the display font. An attractive mirrored frame surrounds the screen, and the earpiece is colored light blue. For navigating the user-friendly menus, the VX6100 provides two soft keys that open contacts and the main menu. The soft keys flank the five-way toggle, which offers one-click access to the speakerphone, the Get It Now home page, voicemail, and the wireless Web. You will also find the traditional Talk and End keys, a Clear key, and a dedicated button for starting the camera. All the buttons are well spaced. Oddly enough, their layout resembles that of many Samsung flip phones.
The blue-backlit keypad buttons on the VX6100 are slightly raised, which makes dialing by feel a cinch. On the left side of the handset are the headset jack, a volume rocker, and a dedicated button to activate the VX6100's many voice features. On the right side is a dedicated camera button.The LG VX6100 features a 499-contact phone book that holds five phone numbers, three e-mail addresses, and photo caller ID for each name. Contacts can be organized into caller groups and paired with a picture as well as any of 41 polyphonic and 5 monophonic ring tones. Other features include a vibrate mode, a four-minute voice memo, a notepad, a tip calculator, text and multimedia messaging, a WAP 2.0 wireless Web browser, a scheduler, an alarm clock, a calculator, and a world clock.
Considering its price, the VX6100 has fairly sophisticated voice capabilities. We were pleased with the quality of the integrated speakerphone. The handset also provides a function called Speaker-Independent Voice Recognition, which allows voice dialing and offers voice access to other features such as contacts and voicemail. We gave the feature a whirl, testing the voice-command features with male and female voices. We are pleased to say it worked flawlessly.