LG Revere 2 (Verizon Wireless) review: Simple and chic, but not much else
Listen readers, and you shall hear...that the LG Revere 2 is a compact feature phone from Verizon with humdrum performance.
Available from Verizon for $79.99, the LG Revere 2 sports a sophisticated brushed-metal look and a familiar clamshell construction. It's aimed at customers looking for something simple and low-maintenance.
However, even with these somewhat attractive features, the device has enough shortcomings to make me doubt its viability. For instance, the browser is so tedious to use (and trust me, I've used my fair share of rudimentary mobile browsers), I wondered if it was even worth the effort to put it on there in the first place.
Indeed, if you need to make calls and send texts, this phone will be able to carry out at least that much. But given that the carrier has several offerings, it's better that you skip over the Revere 2, continue on your midnight ride, and opt for the other feature handsets that Verizon carries.
Despite its bare-bones specs and a shape that harks back to simpler times, you can see that at least some thought went into designing the LG Revere 2. Most notable is the brushed faux-chrome look of the device's front, which gives it a sleeker look than other handsets in its class.
The phone is compact and measures 3.78 inches tall, 1.95 inches wide, and 0.72 inch thick. It slips into front jean pockets or small bags with no difficulty whatsoever. You can easily open it with one hand by pushing your thumb in between the two sides, and the closing mechanism is sturdy.
The 0.98-inch external display has a 96x96-pixel resolution, which suffices to show you pertinent information like the time, date, and battery level. The front also houses a camera lens and two small slits for the audio speaker.
Inside is the color 2-inch display, with a 176x220-pixel resolution. It can display up to 262,000 colors, so don't be surprised if images or graphics look grainy or streaky. Icons and text are legible, but you can see some obvious aliasing with the latter. Given how much space there is around the bezel, however, I felt the display could stand to be a bit bigger. Especially since the words Message, Menu, and Contacts at the bottom of the screen are spaced too closely to one another.
Below the display are two sets of keys. The first set is mainly for navigational purposes. You'll get two soft keys, four navigational buttons with a center OK key in the middle, a speaker button, a clear button (that also launches voice commands), a send button, and an end button that, when long-pressed, turns the Revere 2 on and off.
The second set is the alphanumeric keypad. Though a bit too flush with the surface of the device, the buttons are generously spaced and easy to press and locate. I appreciated the small groove that encircles the center numbers for extra touchability. Navigating the buttons with one hand is easy, and text-messaging was a breeze.
The left edge houses a Micro-USB port, a volume rocker, and a 2.5mm headset jack. Both ports are covered by small plastic doors. On the right you'll find a shortcut key for the camera.
The back is smooth, and you won't find any texture here to help with grip. By pressing firmly upward, you can slide the back plate off to access the battery.
The handset holds up to 1,000 contacts and features an incredibly intuitiv and easy-to-use UI. When you're at the home screen, press the left soft key to access your messages, the right to open your contacts, and the center OK button to launch your menu. You can also customize your four navigational keys to launch other applications.
There are only nine menu items. Unfortunately, you can see these items only in a list format, and there's no option to set it to icons. However, I did appreciate the small animation of darting blue lines whenever I browsed through each menu item.
Some software features include some very rudimentary services for Web and e-mail, a media center so you can download extra goodies like wallpapers and games, and V Cast Tones, which lets you download ringtones from Verizon.
Basic task-managing apps comprise a calculator, a calendar, a to-do list, an alarm clock, a stopwatch, a world clock, and a notepad. Additional features include Bluetooth 2.1, a place to store personal "In Case of Emergency" information, speed dial, and the power to enlarge menu font sizes simply by pressing "volume up" on the side.
The 1.3-megapixel camera has very few options: three photo sizes (from 320x240 to 1,280x960), a self-timer, five white balances, a brightness meter, three shutter sounds, five color effects, a night mode, and a noise reducer.
Photo quality was understandably poor. Colors were muted, objects were barely in focus with their ill-defined edges and fuzzy outlines, and there was a lot of digital noise. Dark hues blended together and were hard to distinguish while brighter shades washed out, sometimes almost completely.
One odd thing about the camera involved its orientation. When holding the phone upright, you see that photos have a vertical orientation through the display. To take a landscape portrait, you then naturally turn the Revere 2 on its side.
However, when photos are loaded into the computer, you'll find the pictures you believed were taken in landscape mode are actually in portrait mode, and to take a photo in landscape mode, you must hold the device upright and ignore the fact that your viewfinder is showing you a vertical image.
It's an easy fix, but I find the switching of the handset orientation with the photo orientation bizarre and confusing. If you forget which is which, it can leave you with a bunch of awkward, poorly framed photos.
I tested the phone in our offices in San Francisco, and call quality was good. Calls sounded a bit muffled, and I could hear some soft static whenever someone spoke. However, volume range was respectable, I didn't hear any buzzing or extraneous noise during times of absolute silence, and none of my calls dropped. I was told that I could be heard well too, and that my voice sounded clean and clear.
The audio speaker fared a bit worse. On max volume, voices sounded incredibly harsh, and loud noises would come off sharp. Though it was indeed distracting, you could still make out what was being said.
LG Revere 2 (Verizon Wireless) call quality sample
The handset operates on Verizon's 1X data network and as expected, connecting to the Internet is a pain as the speeds are glacial. Simply opening the browser takes an average of 12 seconds, and it usually takes about 30 to 45 seconds to load bare-bones skeletal versions of the CNET and The New York Times news sites.
What's really frustrating is that if you want to go to a new site while viewing a page that's already open, you can't simply enter the new URL somewhere. Instead, you have to choose from the menu option that you want to go to a new site, and the browser will load another Web site that consists of a text box where you type in the URL. This is incredibly tedious, time-consuming, and unnecessary.
During our battery drain test, the phone lasted 7.32 hours and had a respectable battery life. With minimal usage, it can go days without a charge. Its 1,000mAh battery has a reported talk time of 7 hours and a standby time of 26.25 days. According to the FCC, the Revere has an SAR rating of 0.78W/kg.
The LG Revere 2 definitely has some things going for it, like its sleek metal look and competitively low price.
Unfortunately, it has too many pitfalls working against it. The browser takes painstakingly long to load even the most rudimentary pages, the phone's measly camera takes poor photos, and on top of that, the camera itself transposes its landscape and portrait modes.
Instead of the Revere 2, I suggest getting the Samsung Convoy 2 instead. It may be older and $40 more expensive (currently, it's $119.99), but it's worth it. Not only does it have the same flip-phone construction, but it also has a better 3-megapixel camera, its flash doubles as a flashlight, and it has a microSD card slot that can store up to 32GB of additional memory for things like photos.