Design is clearly not the objective of the LG VX5300. Its silver and gray casing isn't unattractive, but it doesn't stand out as too appealing either. However, we did appreciate its compact and lightweight form factor (3.51 by 1.87 by 0.94 inches; 3.28 ounces), and found we could slip it in and out of our pockets with ease. Slightly oval and pebblelike in shape, the VX5300 felt comfortable in our hands as well as next to our ears. The VX5300 also has a stubby antenna on the top. Opening and closing the phone was a snap, requiring minimal effort.
On the front flap is the 1-inch diagonal OLED external screen that displays 65,000 colors. It shows battery and signal strength, the date and time, and caller ID, and it functions as a self-portrait viewfinder when camera mode is on and the phone is closed. It doesn't display photo caller ID, however, which is disappointing. You can also swap out the wallpaper of the external screen. The camera lens and flash is located above the screen. The left spine is home to the volume rocker and a voice command key, while a dedicated camera key lies on the right spine.
Flip open the phone, and you're presented with a 1.8-inch, 262,000 color TFT display. Bright and colorful, the screen is very easy on the eyes. You can adjust the backlight timer, the font size, and the clock format, but you can't change the brightness or contrast. As for the navigation controls, there are the standard two soft keys, and a five-way toggle that doubles as four user-customizable shortcuts with a middle confirmation key, the send key, the clear key, and the end/power key. Right underneath the navigation array is the dedicated speakerphone button as well as the dial pad. We were very pleased with the arrangement of the keys; they were well spaced, and while the buttons felt smooth, they were slightly rounded and raised above the surface, which made for easy dialing.
The LG VX5300 comes with a 500-entry address book, each of which can hold up to five numbers, two e-mail addresses, group IDs, a picture caller ID, and one of 11 polyphonic ring tones. Basic features include a vibrate mode, a silent mode, text and multimedia messaging, a full-duplex speakerphone (which you can activate prior to dialing), voice commands, voice recording, a calendar, an alarm clock, a world clock, a notepad, a calculator, a tip calculator, a unit converter, Bluetooth, analog roaming, and a Web browser.
The VX5300 comes with a VGA camera with flash, as well as a variety of camera settings. They include three resolutions (640x480, 320x240, and 160x120), a self-timer, brightness and white balance controls, color effects, various shutter sounds (with an option to turn sound off), and night mode. Naturally, picture quality wasn't comparable to megapixel cameras as images appeared blurry and noticeably grainy. However, when compared to other VGA cameras, the images were of similar quality.
You can personalize the VX5300 with a variety of wallpapers, colors, themes, and message alert tones. Downloading more options is simple with Verizon's Get It Now service, Verizon's mobile Web portal that's easily accessible from the phone's menu options. Though you can play BREW games on the phone, you'll have to buy and download them yourself as the phone doesn't come with any included.
We tested the triband (CDMA 850/1900; AMPS) LG VX5300 handset in San Francisco using Verizon's service. Call quality was excellent on both ends. Callers couldn't tell we were on a cell phone, and we were impressed that we could hear them even when walking down a noisy sidewalk. The speakerphone performed similarly well, and we were impressed with its clarity and volume, though we did have to speak up a little to be heard.
The LG VX5300 has a rated talk time of 3 hours and a rated standby time of 8 days. In our tests, we got a talk time of 2 hours and 55 minutes. According to FCC radiation tests, the VX5300 has a digital SAR rating of 1.27 watts per kilogram.