The LG VX8350 was one of our favorite Verizon Wireless phones in 2007 since it packed a lot of features into a simple and affordable package. Two years later, LG has released its successor, the VX8360. It's not quite as rounded as the VX8350, but it still has that compact clamshell design down pat. Perhaps our only complaint is that its features are exactly the same as its predecessor (you still get the same 1.3-megapixel camera, for example). Also, there's no reason to get the VX8360 if you already have an VX8350. But if you're in the market for a midtier handset with EV-DO, decent multimedia features, and great call quality, the VX8360 fits the bill. At only $49.99 after a mail-in rebate and a two-year service agreement, it won't hurt your wallet either.
If you trimmed away the curves of the VX8350 and added more of a sporty flair, you would get the VX8360. Measuring 3.64 inches long by 1.91 inches wide by 0.78 inch thick, the VX8360 is a little smaller and thinner than its predecessor, while still maintaining the look and feel of a compact clamshell. It has a dark blue shell with silver trim and an inner chrome border, which result in quite a sporty racecar look. The VX8360 is also lightweight at 3.35 ounces and its slightly rounded edges make it feel comfortable in the hand.
On the front of the VX8360 is a small 1.17-inch diagonal color screen. It only supports 65,000 colors, but that's OK since it's only the external display. It shows the date, time, battery, and signal strength, caller ID, plus it has support for photo caller ID. It also acts as a self-portrait viewfinder when the camera is activated. When the music player is activated, you can see the album art and track information on it. Above the external display is the camera lens.
As with the VX8350, the VX8360 has external music player keys underneath the display, which we always like to see with music phones. The keys on the VX8360 are a lot flatter than the ones on the VX8350, but they are a little bigger and have slight delineations between the keys so it's still possible to press by feel. Underneath the keys is a large speaker grille, which helps to improve the speaker volume. This is a noticeable improvement from the VX8350, which had the speaker on the back.
Flip open the phone and you'll find a very pleasant 2-inch diagonal main display. The 262,000 color support and 240x320-pixel resolution really help to make the screen pop with vibrant color and images. You can adjust the backlight time, the size and type of the fonts, the menu layout, and the clock format. Since we're able to change out the menu layout, we can easily switch to a grid or list style, which is a little easier to navigate than the standard Verizon tabs interface.
We're happy to see that the VX8360 has kept the easy-to-use keypad of its predecessor. The navigation keys and number keypad are well spaced, tactile, and have a nice bubbly raised texture that make it really easy to thumb-type text messages and dial by feel. The navigation array consists of two soft keys, a five-way toggle that doubles as shortcuts to four user-defined functions, a dedicated Speakerphone key, a dedicated messaging key, and the Send, Clear, and End/Power keys. The dedicated speakerphone key activates the speakerphone prior to a call, which we definitely like as well.