LG VX8700 Preview
After great anticipation from CTIA, the new LG VX8700 for Verizon has finally been released. It can only be purchased on-line or by calling Verizon, since stores will not carry it until May. The VX8700 is the first “Shine” phone from LG to be available in the U.S. market. Its brushed-metal construction is defiantly an eye catcher, as well as the slim design, measuring only 3.82"H x 1.95"W x 0.54"D and with a weight of 3.77oz. The metal appears to be made well and the phone feels solid and sturdy. Fingerprints are also much harder to see than on the Chocolate and VX8600.
The front of the phone features a 2MP camera and 65K Color 48x160 Pixel TFT Display. The front display is mounted in such a way that you must turn the phone sideways in order to view it. It shows the Time & Date, Signal Strength, Battery Level, and any Message Alters. There are also 6 choices for the clock format, but no way to have you own wallpaper shown. The left side has the Volume UP/Down and Voice Command buttons, as well as the charger/data port. The Camera button is located on the right side. To gain access to the MicroSD card, the battery must be removed. After a while, we found this to be a poor design and prefer a designated card slot accessible on the side. The hinge-flip on the VX8700 is very unique in the way that it is constructed, and operates in similar fashion to the hinge on the enV.
The internal display is 262K Color 320x240 Pixel QVGA TFT, similar to the one used in the Chocolate and enV. We found images to be bright, with good color saturation and detail. Text was also easy to read and did not have any jagged edges. The keypad on the VX8700 is also metal, with the numbers and letters being white back-lit. The combination of metal and white backlighting gives a very modern and sophisticated look to the keypad. We were also pleased that the keypad buttons are easier to use than the ones on the VX8600 that we tested last year. They have better feel to them and provide more tactile response, which was lacking on the VX8600’s flat keypad. The software menu on the VX8700 also carries over the look of the phone with the new Metallic Theme. It is laid out well and is easy to navigate. There is one other theme included (Business), but we like the Metallic Theme best.
LG enV (VX9900) and LG VX8700
The call quality on the VX8700 was a disappointment. From the very beginning, we could hear a “hiss” sound in the earpiece during conversations. Raising or lowering the earpiece volume did not change the volume of this background sound. When talking to someone in a quiet environment, the “hiss” sound was very noticeable. There is only 1 speaker on the VX8700, which is used for phone calls, speakerphone, MP3 playback, and ringtones. We found that turning up the volume past medium while on a call would cause voice distortion to be heard in the earpiece. Also, the speakerphone and MP3 playback would sound distorted if turned up to loud. The enV and VX8300 does a better job with voice quality, speakerphone, and MP3 playback than the VX8700.
Overall we consider the VX8700 a good upgrade from the VX8600. The metal body, 2MP Camera, and QVGA are all welcome improvements. However, the call quality, speakerphone, and MP3 playback was not as good as the enV, A990, or older VX8300.
Expect our full review when final, commercial samples are released.