LG Octane Review

Introduction and Design

The LG enV series has been quite popular and successful for Verizon Wireless, as we saw last year with the of the LG enV3 and enV Touch models. But since then the landscape has changed and smartphones are now all the rage, though there are still plenty of consumers looking for a basic QWERTY messaging phone, without having to get a smartphone or data plan. A few months ago Verizon introduced the LG Cosmos, which is a QWERTY slider, similar to the LG Rumor, but it really wasn’t a successor to the enV 3. Now we have it - the LG Octane VN530.

Included in the retail package is the LG Octane phone, 950mAh battery, wall charger with detachable microUSB cable, and user guides.


Those of you who are familiar with the enV series will easily be able to notice the similarities and differences with LG Octane. The device comes in a dark mocha-brown color with chrome accents around the sides, which gives it a bit more fashionable appearance. On the front is a 1.76” 220x176 pixel TFT display, which is a modest improvement in size from the 1.56” display on the enV3. You can use it with most of the phone’s standard functions, such as dial a number, messaging, viewing or adding a contact, accessing your music, and looking at your saved pictures. The d-pad is now square, which feels a bit larger and easier to use with your thumb than the circular one on the enV3. The layout of the numeric dial-pad hasn’t changed much, but the buttons feel slightly smaller (vertically) when dialing numbers, but still provide good feedback when pressed. Alongthe sides of the phone are the volume rocker, camera key, 2.5mm headset jack, microUSB port, and microSDHC memory card slot with 16GB support.

You can compare the LG Octane VN530 with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

Both the LG Octane and enV3 open up the same and are equipped with a 2-stop hinge. The similarities don’t end there, as both come with a 2.6” QVGA TFT internal display with stereo speakers on either side. When looking at the displays, there is no noticeable difference between the two, as images and text are sharp and colors are adequately reproduced. But for whatever reason the auto LCD brightness feature was removed from the Octane, which means there are just 7 levels of brightness for you to select manually.

One of the most noticeable changes on the LG Octane is with the QWERTY keyboard. It is still 4 rows, but instead of having individual buttons (like on the enV3 and Cosmos), it is a one-piece membrane design where the buttons are all constructed out of one piece of plastic. Because of this, and the little spacing between them, we often noticed that we pressed a few buttons at the same time by mistake when typing, something that almost never happened when using the enV3. We also noticed that the keyboard on the Octane feels “squashy” when pressed, unlike the nice “click” response we got when using the enV3 or Cosmos. Because of these changes to the keyboard, we wish that LG would have kept the individual key design, as it simply works and feels better for typing.

LG Octane 360-degree view:

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