Those seeking a cheaper alternative to the LG Shine need not fear, as LG has recently introduced the just-as-shiny LG VX8700 specifically for the U.S. market. Somewhat of a successor to the LG VX8600, the LG VX8700 sports a flip phone design instead of the Shine's slider design. While we appreciated its marvelous stainless-steel design, we were slightly disappointed with the lack of external music controls, the flat keypad, and the inconvenient location of the microSD card slot. That said, the VX8700 sports a healthy number of multimedia features wrapped up in an amazingly attractive package, which makes up for its design indiscretions. The LG VX8700 is available for $179.99 after a two-year contract with Verizon Wireless and a $50 discount. To find ringtones and accessories for this phone, plus advice and tips on how to use it, check out our cell phones ringtones, accessories, and help page.
Much like the LG Shine, the LG VX8700 is a beautiful design-centric phone that rivals the LG Chocolate in sex appeal. It has a lovely, brushed-steel look that is undeniably seductive, and its metal casing gives it a very smooth and solid feel in the hand. At 3.82 inches by 1.95 inches by 0.54 inch, it is slightly smaller than the VX8600, and as a result, it fits easily into a pocket or purse. On the other hand, it's somewhat heavier than the VX8600, at around 3.77 ounces, but that wasn't a problem for us.
The VX8700 external display runs vertically down the center of its front face, which makes for a nice design change over a standard rectangular screen. Supporting 65,000 colors and measuring about 1.4-inch diagonally, it displays caller ID, signal and battery strength, and the current date and time. Because the vertical display is so thin, it doesn't support photo caller ID, and you'll still have to flip open the phone to see the image of the caller. You can also align the orientation of the external display to the left or to the right. When the backlight is off, it becomes a mirror and can be used for taking vanity shots with the camera lens right above. Rounding out the exterior features are the volume rocker, voice command buttons, and a headset/charger jack on its left spine and a dedicated camera button on the right. We should note that because of the VX8700's shiny metal casing, the phone's exterior is prone to fingerprint smudges.
Flip open the phone and you'll be presented with a luscious 262,000-color 2.25-inch internal display. The graphics are rich with detail and color, and we loved the animated wallpapers that really show off the screen's potential. You can adjust the backlight timer of the front and main displays as well as the keypad, the size of the dialing fonts, and the clock format on the main display. There are two menu designs to choose from, and while they are both simple and user-friendly, we preferred the Metallic theme as it offered an easier to navigate menu style. Also, we like that you're not saddled with Verizon's default interface.
Located beneath the screen is the navigation array, which consists of two soft keys, a four-way navigation toggle that doubles as shortcuts to four user-defined functions, a middle OK key, a Clear key, a speakerphone key, and the Send and End/Power keys. Both the navigation array and the keypad are reminiscent of the Motorola Razr; controls that are flush with the surface of the phone, resembling a large touch pad. There are faint textured lines to help differentiate the keys from each other, but the buttons themselves were spaced well. That didn't prevent our fingers from slipping a few times on the keypad, however, so we wouldn't recommend dialing by feel.
Unlike the LG Shine or the LG VX8600, the VX8700 lacks external music controls. Though this doesn't seem terrible at first, we ended up missing them since we couldn't play music without opening the phone. Also, we were quite disappointed with the VX8700's location of the microSD card slot, which can't be accessed without removing the phone's battery.