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LG VX8300 (Verizon Wireless) review: LG VX8300 (Verizon Wireless)

The LG VX8300 supports both Verizon's V Cast and the V Cast Music. You can access the music player when the phone is closed using the handy and well-designed external music controls, and we like that album art shows up on the external display. The interface and menu structure for the music and video players are similar to those of other Verizon EV-DO handsets, and the content offerings are about the same as well. We wish, however, that the player supported native MP3 file playback rather than just WMAs. If you don't want to pay for music downloading from Verizon, you can load your own music files on the phone with a Micro SD card and Verizon's Music Essentials Kit ($19.99).

The 1.3-megapixel camera is virtually unchanged over the VX8100's. You get a variety of editing functions, five resolutions (1,280x960, 800x600, 640x480, 320x240, and 160x120); a self-timer; a night mode; three shutter sounds, plus a silent option; and adjustments for brightness, white balance, and color effects. The only real change is with the VX8300's 4X zoom, compared to the VX8100's 8X. Rather than saving each shot automatically, the VX8300 conveniently lets you erase, save, or send your pic after you shoot it. The camcorder's editing options have been pared down, but it nonetheless captures 3G2 videos with sound at 176x144 resolution. Total video length is up to an hour depending on the available memory, and you can save as many shots as will fit on the phone. The VX8300 comes with 28MB of integrated memory, while the Micro SD slot accommodates cards of any size. Image quality was slightly improved over the VX8100, with bright, sharp colors and distinct object outlines.

The LG VX8300 has superior photo quality.

You can personalize the LG VX8300 with a variety of wallpaper, display themes, and clock styles. Since this is a Verizon phone, there aren't many choices included, but you can buy more via the WAP 2.0 wireless Web browser. There are no included games, so avid gamers will have to buy their own titles.

We tested the LG VX8300 in San Francisco using Verizon's service. Call quality was quite clear, with exceptionally loud audio. We experienced little static or disruption, and callers reported few problems on their end. They could tell we were using a cell phone, but the VX8300 performed well even in noisier conditions. The speakerphone also came through admirably, and we had little trouble with conversations. Automated answering services had more trouble with understanding us, however, when we used the speakerphone. We also connected the phone to the Plantronics Explorer 320 Bluetooth headset and had no issues.

Streaming video quality was on a par with that of Verizon's other V Cast phones. There was little buffering, and clips loaded quickly. Web browsing was also speedy--music files downloaded in less than a minute--and we had no problem finding adequate EV-DO coverage in San Francisco. Music quality was among the best we've heard on a Verizon phone, thanks to the quality stereo speakers. Music also sounded good over a wired headset, but be advised the LG VX8300 uses a 2.5mm jack.

The LG VX8300 has a rated talk time of 4 hours and a rated standby time of up to 16 days. We managed to get only 3 hours, 25 minutes of talk time in our tests and 13 days of standby time. According to FCC radiation tests, the VX8300 has a digital SAR rating of 1.21 watts per kilogram.

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