The LG VX5300 is an entry-level phone offered by Verizon Wireless, which replaces the VX5200 model introduced last year. Features of both phones include dual color displays, Analog and Digital coverage, speakerphone, and VGA 640x480 camera with flash, but the VX5300 now adds Bluetooth 1.1 support. The phone is almost identical in features to the Samsung A870, except that the A870 has an internal antenna. The retail package includes the phone, 1100mAh battery with wall charger, and user manual.
The VX5300 is a standard size flip phone measuring 3.51 H x 1.87 W x 0.94D and has a weight of 3.28oz, which is 1 oz. less than the VX5200. It fits very well in the hand and the flip is easy to open with no crackling sounds, but since the antenna is not internal, you will definitely notice it when placed in your pants pocket. The phone is made out of plastic, which is silver in color, and feels sturdier and better constructed than the A870.
Located on the front of the flip are the VGA 640x480 camera, flash, external display, and speaker. We would like to have seen a 1.3MP camera used instead. The External display is 96x64 pixels 65K color OLED, which is smaller than most other phones', but it is easy to read the date, time, and see the icons displayed. Located on the left side of the phone is the 2.5mm headset jack, Volume Up/Down and Voice Command button, with the Camera button on the right side. The first thing we noticed about the Internal Display is that it is very bright and has high contrast, which makes it easier to read when in direct sunlight. It is 128x160 pixel 262K color TFT, which means images will have full color, but the edges of the images and text will be pixilated. A higher quality display would solve this problem, but it is impossible to find on inexpensive phones.
The keypad is laid out nice with the 5-way navigational pad at the top, which will access various functions of the phone, including the Main Menu, Mobile Web, Get Pix, and Calendar. The numeric keypad is blue backlit and the buttons are large and well spaced, which makes text messaging easy and with few mistakes.Software:
Like all Verizon phones, the VX5300 has the same Verizon User Interface, which is divided into 5 sub-menus (Get it Now, Messaging, Contacts, Recent Calls, and Settings & Tools). Menu customization is limited to only 6 color choices (Default, Business, Tropical, Blue, Red, Green), and you can change the color of the top bar to Red, Purple, Navy Blue, Light Blue, and Green. Despite the limited customization, menus are fast to use and navigate through.
Up to 500 contacts can be added, each with Name, Mobile 1 #, Home #, Work #, E-Mail 1, Group, Mobile 2 #, Fax #, and E-Mail 2. You can also have a picture and ringtone assigned to each contact, so when that person calls, the picture will be displayed and the ringtone will be played. Once a contact is saved, you can access the list by pressing the right Contacts button. This will display the contacts alphabetically, but you can also search for a contact by going to the search field and typing in the name. 98 out of the 500 Contacts can be added to the phones speed dial list, which is more than most people will ever use.
Accessing the Calendar will take you to today's date. From there you can view any month and date, and add Events to them, which is an easy way of keeping track of appointments. You enter in the Appointment Name, Start Date & Time, End Date & Time, how often to repeat, and which ringtone to use. When the appointment time is reached, the phone will play the ringtone that you chose and display the appointment information on the screen.
Voice activated dialing is now becoming commonplace on most new phones, and the VX5300 is no exception. You can say the person's name that is stored in the phones contact list or speak the digits for it to dial. Other voice commands are Send message to, Go to menu, Check item, Lookup name, and My account. It works well in most conditions, except in areas where there are many people talking at once.
There is only 28MB of internal memory on the VX5300. This may not seem like a lot, but since the camera takes pictures at a low resolution, and there is no MP3 player, the amount of available memory is adequate. It is also no surprise that there isn't a MicroSD card slot.
The phone is also capable of sending Text and Picture Messages. The easiest way to compose a text message is by using the T9 input mode. When doing so, the phone will predict the word that you are typing. Sending a picture message works similar to a text message except that you can attach a picture to be sent to another cell phone or E-Mail address.
The major upgrade that the VX5300 has over the VX5200 is that it supports Bluetooth Ver 1.1. Supported profiles include: headset, hands free, serial port, dial up networking, and object push for vcard. When testing with a Jabra BT250v headset, we were able to use it up to 12 feet from the phone, and could also use the Voice Command function with the headset.
Internet support is limited to the WAP 2.0 browser and the Verizon Mobile Web service. Connection and download speeds are slow and limited to 1x because the phone does not support the faster EVDO network. Normal HTTP/HTML sites can be viewed, but it is not recommended because they will take even longer to download and will not format properly due to the small size of the screen.
The camera is not very impressive; due to the fact its highest resolution is only 640x480. Images taken from the VX5300 and A870 look almost identical, but the VX5300's pics appear to have slightly better color representation, despite both having poor detail and soft edges. There is a flash, which does improve picture taking in dark environments. Neither phone is capable of recording video clips.
The Camera's Options are:
- Resolution: 640x480, 320x240, 160x120
- Self Timer: 3sec, 5sec, 10sec
- Flash: On, Off
- Brightness: -2, -1, 0, +1, +2
- White Balance: Auto, Sunny, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent
- Shutter Sound: Shutter, Silent, Say Cheeze, Ready 123
- Color Effects: Normal, Sepia, B&W, Negative, Vivid
- Night Mode: On, Off
- Front Display: On, Off (for taking self pics)
The phone does not have a memory card slot, so you cannot use it for MP3/WMA music playback. There are also no preloaded games or BREW applications on the phone. You must download them from the Get it Now service. One of the most useful is the VZNavigator service. With it, you can input a destination and the phone will give you visual turn-by-turn directions and a synthesized voice will read them to you. This service works well and is most useful when traveling in unfamiliar areas.
The reception of the VX5300 was equal to most other LG phones, however the call quality was lacking. While on a call, there was a constant hiss sound in the background coming from the speaker. We tried the speakerphone, wired earbuds, and Bluetooth headset, but each time we were able to hear the hiss sound. Some people may find it more noticeable than others. The ear-speaker volume was good, and could be turned up loud with only moderate distortion; however turning the Speakerphone up too high creates a lot of distortion.
A full charged battery gave us 2Hr 30Min of Talk time or 6 Days of Standby time. This is very close to LG's claim of 3Hr Talk time or 7 Days of Standby time.
The VX5300 is a welcome update to the popular VX5200. It still has all the same features, but now includes Bluetooth support. It is well constructed for the price, but it is a budget phone. This is evident with the camera being low resolution and the call quality not being as good as other mid-range phones. We do recommend this phone over the A870, but not by much. The only strong point with the VX5300 and A870 is that they can be used in areas where there is still only Analog service available. However, if you are in an area where there is good Digital coverage, a better phone choice would be the VX8300, since there is not a big price difference, but you are getting a much better quality phone with a higher resolution camera, MicroSD slot, and clearer sounding call quality.