LG VX3100 review: LG VX3100

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The Good Compact; solid audio performance; inexpensive.

The Bad Monochrome screen; travel charger not included; short battery life.

The Bottom Line A distinct leatherette style disguises LG's simple, inexpensive, and highly functional cell phone for Verizon.

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6.3 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 6
  • Performance 6

Review summary

Sporting a faux-leather rather than a fake metallic-plastic cover, the LG VX3100L stands out from many of its cell siblings. Yet like its sister model, the LG VX3100, the 3100L lacks a color screen and an external display, and it offers only the most basic PIM capabilities. But the phone's unique style and price--as low as $59, depending on the plan--are likely to be its main attractions, appealing particularly to budget-conscious or first-time phone buyers seeking a basic, functional device.

Cased in a black, faux-leather finish, there is something comforting about an unpretentious flip phone such as the VX3100L. While the hard-rubber stub antenna is an inch high, the small and lightweight (3.15 by 1.72 by 0.9 inches; 3.14 ounces) VX3100L does not add excessive bulk or weight to a pants pocket. And though the five-line, 120x80-pixel monochrome screen seems retro, it's highly readable.

The backlit keypad buttons are large and well spaced for easy one-thumb dialing, and the four-way navigation button provides easy single-touch access to ring and earphone volume controls, wireless Web access, SMS messages, and the calendar. We're happy to report the menu navigation was straightforward and easy to use, a far cry from the complicated options found on the company's earlier LG VX10 model.

One quibble: The VX3100L ships with only a charging cradle (a travel charger is available for $28.99), an ongoing complaint with all LG models.

The VX3100L is bereft of fancier features but has the basics covered well. You get a calendar/scheduler function, an alarm clock, two games (Mobile Hawk and Black Jack), SMS text messaging with the T9 predictive-text software, and 27 monophonic ring tones as well as vibrate. Besides bilingual (English or Spanish) menus, it sports the OpenWave UP 4.1 WAP browser for simple menu-driven wireless Web access via Verizon's 1xRTT network.

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