Even though LG has ventured into the realm of super skinny phones with the LG Chocolate and the LG Shine, it still has softer, curvier phones in its lineup for those of us who tire of the thin-phone phenomenon. The LG VX8350 is one such device, and it is a fantastic update of the LG VX8300, which debuted last year. Not only is it sans the stubby antenna of its predecessor, it's also far more ergonomic, supports MP3 playback, and unlike a lot of Verizon phones, it also supports a wider range of Bluetooth profiles. The VX8350 is also feature-rich, with a megapixel camera, EV-DO support, and access to Verizon's array of V Cast broadband content. The LG VX8350 is available for $79.99 with a two-year contract, which we think is an absolute bargain considering it is such a quality device.
Gone is the stubby antenna of the LG VX8300; the LG VX8350 is now in a smooth, pebblelike shape with soft curves all around. Measuring 3.73 inches by 1.97 inches by 0.87 inch, the VX8350 is a joy to hold in the hand due to its curvy design, and it's also quite lightweight at 3.3 ounces. The overall design is far more ergonomic than its predecessor, with a much more streamlined and stylish appearance.
Even the external screen of the LG VX8350 is slightly improved over the VX8300. Though it still measures around 1.2 inches diagonally, the screen on the VX8350 now supports 256,000 colors as opposed to the 65,000 colors on the predecessor. The display shows the typical date, time, battery, and signal strength, as well as caller ID. It also acts as a self-portrait viewfinder when the camera is activated. When the music player is activated, you are also able to view album art and track information right on the external display.
Underneath the external display are the music player controls in the form of three round buttons. Though they are on the small side, the buttons have a nice spun-metal texture and are raised enough above the surface so they are easy to press. A volume rocker and voice recorder button sit on the left spine, while a dedicated camera key and microSD card slot sit on the right. The LG VX8350 has stereo speakers, but they are located on the back of the phone, which we think muffles the sound of the phone a little bit.
Flip open the phone and you'll find a fabulous 256,000-color, 2.0-inch diagonal internal display. Colors appear to pop from the screen, and images look vivid and rich with detail. You can adjust the screen's backlighting time, as well as the dial font size. Perhaps our only gripe is that the LG VX8350 still maintains the annoying standardized Verizon menu interface.
We absolutely love the LG VX8350's user-friendly keypad. All the keys from the navigation controls to the alphanumeric keypad are tactile, well-spaced apart, and have a pleasant raised curved texture that make them really easy to press and dial by feel. The navigation keys consist of two soft keys, a five-way toggle that doubles as shortcuts to four user-defined functions, Send and End/Power keys, plus a Clear key. There's also a dedicated speakerphone key that can be activated prior to a call.