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LG EnV Touch review: LG EnV Touch

You can also customize the QWERTY keyboard shortcut, which lets you initiate a contacts search, a new text message, or a new note, simply by pressing any key on the QWERTY keyboard.

If you thought the LG EnV Touch's design was impressive, wait until you hear about its features. Almost all of its offerings are updated from the Voyager, even the basics. The one thing missing from the EnV Touch is V Cast Mobile TV, which is Verizon's live-TV-streaming service. The EnV Touch holds a generous 1,500-entry phonebook, with room in each entry for five numbers, two e-mail addresses, and a street address. You can then organize the contacts into caller groups, pair them with a photo for caller ID, or any of 26 polyphonic ring tones. Other basics include a vibrate mode, a speakerphone (which you can activate prior to a call), text and multimedia messaging, voice messaging, a calendar, an alarm clock, a world clock, a stopwatch, a notepad, and even a drawing pad, which you can use with the touch-screen interface. After you finish doodling something, you can send it off to your friends via MMS if you want.

More advanced users will appreciate USB mass storage and voice command dialing. Supported Bluetooth profiles include hands-free, dial-up networking, A2DP or stereo, phonebook access, basic printing, basic imaging, object push for vCard and vCalendar, and file transfer. You can also use the EnV Touch as a wireless modem for your laptop or computer, but you'll have to get the Mobile Broadband Connect plan for $60 a month for a 5GB data cap. The EnV Touch also comes with a document viewer, which will let you read Microsoft Office documents from Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, plus Adobe Acrobat .pdf files. To read them, you need to load them onto a microSD card in the "my_document" folder. Other advanced features include mobile instant messenger (AIM, Windows Live, and Yahoo), GPS with VZ Navigator support, e-mail, and visual voice mail. Do note that the Verizon visual voice mail service will cost you $3 a month.

As for e-mail, there are three options; mobile e-mail, with which you can get e-mail from a variety of services (like Yahoo, AOL, and Windows Live) directly into your in-box; mobile corporate e-mail courtesy of RemoSync, which lets you sync your work e-mail and calendar; and mobile Web e-mail, which gives you shortcut access to a variety of Web e-mail services like Windows Live, AOL Mail, and Yahoo Mail--this latter option opens up the Web browser. Do note that the mobile e-mail application costs $5, and in order to get corporate e-mail you'll have to sign up for a $9.99 monthly subscription to RemoSync. The corporate e-mail option works with Microsoft ActiveSync, so you need to know your company's mail Exchange server address.

The EnV Touch has a full HTML Web browser like its predecessor did, and, unfortunately, it seems to have the same clunky issues with the touch screen. Don't get us wrong; we love that you can surf and browse full Web pages. We also like that you can zoom in and out of pages, view a page in full-screen mode, add bookmarks, and search through a page. The EnV Touch also features tabbed browsing (with up to three tabs, or pages, open), which we liked.

But using the Web browser via the touch-screen interface is an exercise in frustration. As we said earlier, it can take several taps in order for a link to register, especially on a crowded page. Also, whenever we bring up the browser navigation array, they only appear for a second before disappearing again. There doesn't seem to be a way to adjust this in the settings. Also, using the toggle to view full screen pages can be tedious, and is nowhere as smooth as the multitouch pinch-to-zoom interface on the iPhone. Still, at least now we can use the volume rocker to zoom in and out of Web pages, which makes things easier.

The LG EnV Touch comes with EV-DO Rev. A, which is a touch faster than the EV-DO on the LG Voyager. It doesn't come with Wi-Fi, however, which is a bit of a letdown on such a full-featured phone. Along with EV-DO, the EnV Touch also has access to Verizon's array of broadband services like V Cast Video, where you can download or stream video clips from providers like CBS and CNN, and V Cast Music with Rhapsody, which lets you purchase and download songs over the air. Each song costs $1.99, and includes a download to your PC.

As for the music player itself, the interface is pretty simple, with the album art displayed next to the artist and album name along with the track title. You can mute the player, create and edit playlists, set the songs on repeat or shuffle, or add one of six preset equalizer settings. There's also a Music Only mode that shuts off the phone's cellular signal so you can keep listening to tunes when you're on an airplane. Other than downloading a song from V Cast Music, you can also sync up songs from your PC with a USB cable using the V Cast Music with Rhapsody software. If you have a Rhapsody subscription, you can also sync up your subscribed tracks. Supported music files include MP3, WMA, unprotected AAC and AAC+ formats. The EnV Touch supports up to 16GB of removable memory via a microSD card in case you want additional storage.

The LG enV Touch has a 3.2-megapixel camera lens and an LED flash.

The EnV Touch has a 3.2-megapixel camera, which is an upgrade over the Voyager's 2-megapixel lens. You can take pictures in six different resolutions (2,048x1,536, 1,600x1,200, 1,280x960, 640x480, and 320x240 pixels), five white balance presets, and five color effects. It also has three focusing modes: autofocus, macro mode, or manual mode, the last of which lets you pick one of seven points on the screen to focus in on. You can toggle the flash on or off, adjust a self timer if you want, or select one of three shutter sounds (there's also a silent option). The camera also has a few special shot modes: Smile shot, which automatically takes a picture when a person smiles; Panorama, which stitches together three photos shot from left to right; Intelligent shot, which automatically adjusts the white balance and color saturation based on the surrounding environment; and Facial Makeover mode, which removes all blemishes and unsightly marks from a person's face. There's also a name card reader mode that is specially tuned to take pictures of business cards so that the words are legible. This way you don't have to carry a lot of business cards around with you; just store the images in your phone.

The LG EnV Touch takes good photos.

Photo quality is very good for the most part. Images look sharp, without a lot of blurriness, and colors looked bright, as well. Do note that you can't use the external touch screen as a self-portrait viewfinder. There's also a built-in camcorder, which can record in two resolutions (320x240 and 176x144) in two lengths--short 30-second clips for multimedia messages, or clips of up to an hour or so for saving. Video quality was pretty good for a camera phone, without a lot of blur. It won't replace a real video camera, but it's good enough for sharing short video clips with friends.

You have plenty of personalization options with the EnV Touch. You can adjust the wallpaper, display themes, and alert tones. You can purchase more themes and tons via Verizon's online store. The EnV Touch also comes with a few games, like Need for Speed Undercover, Resident Evil: Degeneration, and Tetris. You can find more games at via the Verizon store, as well.

We tested the dual-band (CDMA 800/1900; EV-DO) LG EnV Touch in San Francisco using Verizon Wireless. We were impressed with the call quality. Callers heard us without any static or interference, and we could hear them loud and clear. They said our voices sounded natural, almost as though we were speaking on a landline phone. Even when we activated the speakerphone, they couldn't tell the difference. On our end, the speakerphone had plenty of volume, though it sounded just a tad tinny, which is to be expected.

The audio quality of songs from the LG EnV Touch's stereo speakers was average. It's loud enough, but the bass was lacking, and the vocals seemed weak. We would recommend using a wired or stereo Bluetooth headset for better music quality.

The EnV Touch's EV-DO Rev. A is supposed to be faster than just regular EV-DO, and indeed it is. V Cast videos took around a second to load with little buffering time, and loading a full and complex Web page like CNET's front page took around 15 seconds. Downloading a 1.5MB song took around 30 seconds.

We were also surprised that the video quality on V Cast videos was quite good. Usually we complain about the pixelation on the video, but not with the EnV Touch--perhaps because of the 1,600,000-color support and EV-DO Rev. A. It's definitely not HD quality or anything, but for streaming video, it was sharp and clear, without a lot of pixelation or blurriness.

The LG EnV Touch has a rated battery life of 4.3 hours talk time and 17 days standby time. We only managed to get a talk time of 3 hours and 13 minutes in our tests. According to FCC radiation tests, the EnV Touch has a digital SAR rating of 0.932 watts per kilogram.

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