They are both good phones, I own the LG and both my parents own the Samsung-u540. They would have gotten my phone if they could have also gotten it for free from Verizon. Simply the LG VX8350 is an amazing phone, with few drawbacks and no major flaws that I have seen or heard of, while the Samsung is more typical.
The LG is sleaker, has a better screen, and does music, voice and pictures better than the Samsung. I tried out my dad?s phone for a week and defiantly like my LG better. It fits in my pocket better, I think it looks better, but best thing of all is how well the LG fits into my hand and how easy it is to dial numbers and text. The VX8350 is very responsive (quick processor), not uber responsive like Casio?s Type-S, but 10 times as fast as Motorla?s Razer / Kzer line up. The screen, while not as nice as those luxurious huge pixel intensive $300+ phones like the Samsung Gleam or the LG VX8700, is still very nice looking, pretty large and bright. The screen is noticeably better than the Samsung. The LG is a very sturdy one, it has a nice strong hinge and a solid exterior construction as well as a solid keypad. Both phones have the crappy VW stock menu system. I am not sure about the Samsung, but you can turn the speaker phone on or off whether you are in a call or not (I just do not understand why other phones do not allow you to do this).
Bottom-line, go with the LG, even if you are considering other much more pricey alternatives, still go with this LG. All the more expensive models have features I would never use and worse in many categories. The hardware ease of use is almost unmatched, and while it software is so-so, it is the same software that is on almost all Verizon phones.
As a side note: the text message editor could be made so much easier, if 1. There was a new txt message link off the 4 point direction control (everyone usually just text messages, not video or pix txts), 2. After selecting the new txt button, it should go directly into the mark to contacts selection and after that it should go 3. Straight into the txt that you want to send, after you have finished the text, it should be one click to send the text, it would be so easy, they should let the user customize the software so that it does exactly that!