For worker bees, the VX9400 also has full Bluetooth with stereo and object exchange profiles (they really should be standard on all Verizon Bluetooth handsets), e-mail, and a speakerphone. Voice dialing is absent, but you can even check your balance, usage, and payment information with the My Account feature. Why this service isn't available from all carriers is beyond us.
As an EV-DO phone, the VX9400 supports the full range of Verizon's 3G services including the V Cast video service and the V Cast music store. The music player's interface is identical to those on other Verizon phones. You also have the option to purchase a variety of Verizon applications including the VZ Navigator and the ChaperoneParent.
The 1.3-megapixel camera takes shots in five resolutions (1,280x960, 640x480, 320x240, 176x144, and 160x120) and offers a nice range of options, including settings for light metering and white balance, a self-timer, three color effects, and four shutter sounds (there's no silent option). It also includes a flash, but we found it useless in low-light settings. The Night mode brightens dark environments, but it's nearly impossible to hold your hand steady enough to get off a clear shot. The camcorder records clips in two resolutions (320x240 and 187x144) with sound and a similar set of video options. Clips meant for multimedia messages are capped at 15 seconds; otherwise you can shoot up to one hour of video with an external memory card. Although the LG VX9400 comes with 60MB of onboard memory, that can quickly fill up if you take advantage of the music and video downloading capabilities. Picture quality was quite good with sharp color resolution and distinct object outlines.
You can personalize the VX9400 with a variety of alert tones, display themes, wallpaper, clock styles, and font sizes. You can always buy more options if you're dissatisfied with what comes on the phone, or you can get more ringtones. Unfortunately, the phone does not come with any games.
We tested the dualband, dualmode (CDMA 800/1900; EV-DO) LG VX9400 in the Chicago and San Francisco areas. Call quality was very good, with voices sounding loud and clear through the earpiece. Callers on the other end reported no problems, though they could tell we were using a cell phone. Sound quality was somewhat diminished when we were in a noisy environment, but all in all we were just pleased. Though, remember that as previously mentioned, the phone has a sensitive sweet spot if the display is up.
Speakerphone quality was unchanged and we had no issues using a Bluetooth headset. Reception was thoroughly decent, and the EV-DO connection didn't waver. Downloading a four-minute music video took about a minute and a half, which is quite good.
As with the SCH-U620, the Mobile TV service works best outdoors or during commutes. In other words, don't try to replace your home TV, because no matter what Verizon's commercials tell you, it's just not the same. Yet, the TV quality is superb with bright, vibrant colors and excellent handling of fast-moving objects. Overall, the picture was clearer than on the Samsung model. On the other hand, indoor reception wasn't any better with the longer antenna. As with the SCH-U620, you'll want to invest in a decent headset for watching TV, since the speaker volume is disappointing. Indeed, we had trouble hearing V Cast clips unless we were in a quiet room. The rear-facing speaker doesn't help things either.
V Cast streaming video quality was about average. Though there was little pixilation and videos never paused on their own, the audio wasn't in sync with the speakers' mouths. Also, when we tried pausing one particular video, we weren't able to start it again because it was frozen. We then had to back out to the main menu and start it again. Music quality was decent. There was more output than we had with the video sound but the opposite side speakers were an issue here as well.
The LG VX9400 has a rated battery life of 3.8 hours talk time and 19 days standby time. Our tests revealed a talk time of 4 hours. According to FCC radiation tests, the LG VX9400 has a digital SAR rating of 1.25 watts per kilogram.