What's hot: Two large and bright displays and a very usable QWERTY keyboard.
What's not: Battery life is short especially with frequent data usage.
Reviewed June 29, 2009 by Tong Zhang, Senior Editor
Verizon released two new LG enV phones in June 2009; the LG enV3 that replaces the LG enV2 with better specs, and the LG enV Touch with a full QWERTY keyboard and a touch screen. Though grouped in the LG enV line, the LG enV Touch owes more of its design and functional lineage to the LG Voyager, and users who have been using the Voyager should find the enV Touch a logical upgrade. The LG enV Touch sports two 3” displays with the external one being the touch screen, built-in GPS that works with VZ Navigator, EV-DO Rev. A, V CAST Music with Rhapsody and V CAST Video. The phone has built-in Bluetooth with A2DP support, a microSD card slot and an Office document reader. The LG enV Touch upgraded the built-in camera to 3.2 megapixel with autofocus lens and video capturing capability and supports Verizon services such as visual voice mail and Chaperone parent/child service.
The LG enV Touch is a CDMA digital dual band phone that’s offered exclusively by Verizon Wireless. While the LG enV3 comes in a variety of colors, the LG enV Touch currently comes only in black. Mobile users who wish to have a touch screen but in a smaller form should check out the LG Versa that also has a 3” touch screen and adds a removable keyboard-case combo.
Design and Ergonomics
Compared to the LG Voyager, the LG enV Touch has a more modern design and looks less plasticky. The 3-inch touch screen dominates the front and the 800 x 480 pixel display looks bright and sharp. Unlike the capacitive touch screen of the iPhone, the LG enV Touch has a resistive touch screen with haptic feedback when you touch it. The call send, call end and voice command launcher buttons sit below the display, making it easy to handle calls without opening the flip. Just like the LG Voyager, the LG enV Touch has a side flip that hides a roomy QWERTY keyboard and a 3-inch internal display. The flip has two locked positions: tilting and flat. The QWERTY keyboard has a similar layout to the LG Voyager’s keyboard: four rows of letter and number keys and a 4-way d-pad with center OK key grouped with call send, end, clear and speaker launch keys on the right. The keys on the keyboard are slightly domed and have very good tactile feedback and clicking sound when pressed. The internal display, though not touch screen, has the same resolution and color support as the external display, and looks just as bright and color saturated. A pair of speakers flanks the internal display, another design shared with the LG Voyager.
Side buttons include volume up and down, camera launcher, screen lock and a microSD card slot along with a 3.5mm stereo audio jack though no headphones are included with the phone. The charging port lives on the bottom of the phone and the 3.2 megapixel autofocus camera lives on the back along with a super bright flash.
Phone Features and Messaging
The LG enV Touch has decent but not superb reception. In well-covered areas, the phone gets full signal strength most of the time. In spotty areas the phone sometimes loses EV-DO but gets 1X and never drops a call. Voice quality is quite good and the phone works well with Bluetooth headsets. The phone also has an excellent voice command software that works reliably for voice dialing, checking the phone’s status, searching contacts, playing music and more. The LG enV Touch has an address book with storage capacity increased to 1,500 entries and smart search. Other PIM tools include calendar, calculator, Ez tip calculator, stopwatch, world clock, notepad, drawing pad and an alarm clock. In addition, the LG enV Touch has a document viewer in case you need to view attachments from your email. The doc viewer can view MS Office, text and PDF files.
The LG enV Touch has fast EV-DO Rev. A for data, which is good news to mobile music and streaming video lovers. The phone works with Verizon’s V CAST music with Rhapsody either over the air or via desktop PC, and the LG has a capable media player that can play music in MP3, WMA and AAC formats. The LG enV Touch has loud speakers that sound powerful by mobile phone standards. Music playback sounds great via Bluetooth A2DP when working with the Samsung SBH-500 stereo headphones. Thanks to the faster Rev. A EV-DO connection, V CAST video looks very good on the LG enV Touch, even in full screen mode. There is still some lagging in on-demand videos, but the performance has improved compared to devices like the LG Voyager, and the full-length TV show episodes and feature movies play even better.
The LG enV Touch has a built-in aGPS that works well with Verizon’s VZ Navigator. The GPS gets mostly accurate position fixes and trip planning is very quick, though re-routing had some delays in our road tests. Maps look good on the large screen, the loud speakers are great for combating road noise, and the turn-by-turn directions are right on target. VZ Navigator is a subscription service that costs $10/month and there’s a day pass option for those who rarely need the service. The phone also works with Verizon’s Chaperone parent/child service.
The LG enV Touch has a 3.2 megapixel camera with a Schneider-Kreuznach autofocus lens that can shoot photos and video with audio. The still images have natural colors and balanced exposure. Some shots look a bit darker than they should, but they are reasonably sharp. The camera phone has a very strong LED flash and it takes good images in lowlight environments. The camera application has the usual options for white balance, color and effects. You can also choose resolutions and file save locations.
The camera can capture video at QVGA resolution as well as a smaller size for MMS. QVGA video clips look sharp and play very smoothly on both the phone and the desktop. Audio is in sync with video.
The LG enV Touch has a rechargeable Li-Ion battery that’s integrated into the phone’s back cover. The battery is relatively low capacity for a device with two large screens and an EV-DO connection. The capacity is 950 mAh and the claimed usage time is 4.3 hours while claimed standby time is 17 days. The battery lasted over 3.5 hours with a combination of talking, playing music and surfing the web in our tests, but lasted just a little over 2 hours when we searched V CAST Music, downloaded tunes and watched V CAST Video clips. Verizon doesn’t offer an extended battery at the moment.
The LG enV Touch has enough hardware and software updates to be the rightful replacement for the LG Voyager. Though “Touch” is in its name, the LG enV Touch is actually more than just a touch screen phone. The very useable keyboard and the d-pad will please texters and QWERTY keyboard lovers. The new UI looks modern, though not yet as versatile as the touch UIs found on recent Samsung TouchWiz phones. The performance for V CAST content, especially on-demand video, has been improved noticeably thanks to EV-DO Rev. A and the phone’s hardware improvements. And because of the “Touch” moniker and the fact it came to market in the same month as the iPhone 3GS, it’s worth mentioning that the LG enV Touch competes more with the Samsung Impression and the LG Xenon from AT&T as a high-end QWERTY feature phone than with smartphones like the iPhone.
Display: Both internal and external displays: 3” 1.6 million-color TFT screen. Resolution: 800 x 480 pixels. Outer display is a resistive touch screen, inner display isn't a touch screen.
Battery: Lithium Ion rechargeable battery, 950 mAh, user replaceable. Claimed talk time: up to 4.3 hours. Claimed standby time: up to 17 days.
Performance: 250MB internal memory. Phone book can store 1500 entries.
Size: 4.52 x 2.16 x 0.66 inches. Weight: 4.92 ounces.
Phone: CDMA dual band digital phone, 800/1900MHz. EV-DO Revision A for data.
Camera: 3.2 megapixel camera with Schneider-Kreuznach autofocus lens and flash. Supports smile, panorama shot modes. Has self-timer. Still image resolutions: 2048 x 1536, 1600 x 1200, 1280 x 960 and 640 x 480. Can take video with audio.
Audio: Supports MP3 music tones. MP3 player onboard to play music in MP3, AAC, AAC+ and WMA formats. 3.5 mm stereo audio jack. Supports vibration alert.
Networking: Bluetooth v2.0. Supported profiles include headset, hands-free, dial-up networking, stereo, phone book access, basic printing, object push (for vCard and vCal), file transfer, basic imaging, human interface device. USB 2.0.
Software: Touch screen UI (external screen). Full HTML browser on board. Supports SMS, MMS, web email, corporate email and visual voice mail. PIM tools include address book, calendar, calculator, Ez tip calculator, stopwatch, world clock, notepad, drawing pad and alarm clock.