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LG Optimus V (Virgin Mobile) review: LG Optimus V (Virgin Mobile)

LG Optimus V (Virgin Mobile)

Nicole Lee Former Editor
Nicole Lee is a senior associate editor for CNET, covering cell phones, Bluetooth headsets, and all things mobile. She's also a fan of comic books, video games, and of course, shiny gadgets.
Nicole Lee
4 min read

Editors' note: Since the Optimus V is so similar to the Optimus S, in this review we'll focus on what sets the Optimus V apart. For more design details, please read our LG Optimus S review.


LG Optimus V (Virgin Mobile)

The Good

The LG Optimus V is a slim and simple Android smartphone. It ships with Android 2.2 and features Wi-Fi, GPS, EV-DO Rev. A, and a 3.2-megapixel camera. It is also affordable.

The Bad

The LG Optimus V does not have hot-spot tethering, nor does it have Flash video in the browser.

The Bottom Line

The LG Optimus V is a great entry-level Android smartphone if you want to go the prepaid route.

We thought the LG Optimus U would be the last of the LG Optimus line of handsets (see the LG Optimus T, the Optimus S, the Vortex, and the Optimus M), but it appears we were wrong. Virgin Mobile has released its very own Optimus handset, appropriately named the LG Optimus V. As you might expect, the Optimus V is practically identical to the Optimus S, with similar features and specifications. It does offer a few minor differences over the LG Optimus S, which we'll review here. The LG Optimus V is very competitively priced at only $149.99 without a contract.

The LG Optimus V is really the spitting image of both the Optimus S and the Optimus U. It's quite slim, just like the other phones, at only 0.52 inch thick, so it's very pocket-friendly. It has a nice soft-touch finish all around, and the 3.2-inch touch-screen interface is just as colorful and intuitive.

The only design differences are cosmetic. Instead of slate gray, the Optimus V is pure black. It has the same button placement as the Optimus U, with the Menu key first and the Home key second, followed by the Back and Search keys. The Optimus V has a default home screen with Virgin Mobile colors (a gradient of red to black) along with a few built-in Virgin Mobile apps.

Otherwise, the Optimus V has a fairly stock Android interface, with shortcuts to the phone dialer, the main menu, and the Web browser on the home screen. The Optimus V does have the Swype keyboard built in. This lets you quickly enter text by sliding your finger in one continuous motion over the screen keyboard. Of course, you can always switch to the default multitouch Android keyboard if you prefer.

The LG Optimus V ships with Android 2.2, but it should be upgradable to Android 2.3 in the future. Still, Android 2.2 is a great operating system for an entry-level smartphone. Some of its features include voice dialing over Bluetooth, app sharing, and phonebook integration with Facebook and Twitter contacts. Do note that it can't play Flash video in the browser even though the firmware technically supports it--the Optimus V just doesn't have the hardware for it. You can still play Flash video, but only with YouTube and third-party apps.

The rest of the features are impressive as well. It has 3G in the form of EV-DO Rev. A, stereo Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and GPS. The GPS can be used with a variety of location-based apps, like Google Maps, Latitude, Places, and Scvngr, a scavenger hunt-inspired app. Unlike most of the other Optimus handsets, the Optimus V does not have mobile hot-spot capabilities, which is a disappointment.

Of course, the LG Optimus V also comes equipped with Google apps and features, such as a Google search bar complete with voice search, Google Talk, Gmail and Google Calendar sync, and YouTube. Virgin Mobile included a few third-party apps too, like Where, the aforementioned Scvngr, Twidroyd, Poynt, AirG Chat, and Virgin Mobile Live, an app that lets you stream music from Virgin Mobile Festival artists for free. As this is a Virgin Mobile phone, you'll also have a My Accounts app to keep track of your minutes with.

You can also set up your own POP3/IMAP e-mail account in a separate app, and if you want corporate e-mail, the Optimus V supports Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync as well. Other basic features include a speakerphone, a vibrate mode, a calculator, conference calling, voice dialing, visual voice mail, a calendar, and text and multimedia messaging. The Optimus V comes standard with the usual Android music and video players. Unfortunately, the phone doesn't come with the Amazon MP3 Store app, but you can always get that from the Android Marketplace. The phone has a built-in memory of 170MB, with a MicroSD card slot that accepts up to 32GB cards.

The LG Optimus V comes with a 3.2-megapixel camera, and the quality is similar to that of the other Optimus phones. Images look decent, though colors are not as sharp and vibrant as we would have liked. There's a built-in camcorder as well.

We tested the LG Optimus V in San Francisco with Virgin Mobile. Call quality was quite good for the most part. Incoming call quality had great volume and clarity, though we could've done without the occasional background hiss. Voice quality sounded natural as well.

Callers said they could hear us clearly. They did say we sounded a little muddy and digitized at times, however. They suffered no difficulties with volume levels, unless we had the speakerphone on, which made us sound rather muffled and faraway.

As for the 3G speeds, we managed to load the CNET mobile page in just 10 seconds, and YouTube videos had very little buffering time. Even though the Optimus V has only a 600MHz processor, we experienced very few delays or hiccups when navigating the phone.

The LG Optimus V has a rated talk time of 11 hours and a standby time of 18.75 days. Our tests showed a talk time of 5 hours and 5 minutes. According to the FCC, it has a digital SAR of 1.04 watts per kilogram.


LG Optimus V (Virgin Mobile)

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 8Performance 8