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LG VX8100 Phone

Editor's rating (1-5):
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Review posted August 26, 2005 by Lisa Gade, Editor in Chief

Note: the LG VX8300, released in July 2006 replaces the VX8100. Read our review of the LG VX8300 here.

The LG VX8100 is one of two flagship EVDO flip phones available from Verizon this summer. The VX8100 is all about curves, good looks and small size compared to its somewhat larger competitor, the Motorola E815. The LG packs a nice set of features into a small package: stereo speakers with great sound, vibrant internal and external color displays, a 1.3 megapixel camera, ample memory, a miniSD expansion slot, Bluetooth and support for V Cast over Verizon's EVDO high speed data network. The only thing lacking in the Verizon version was an MP3 player; but now Verizon offers a firmware update to add MP3 player functionality. That's great given the VX8100's excellent stereo sound and expansion slot.

Design and Ergonomics

The VX8100 is a mid-sized clamshell phone that's smaller than the Motorola E815 but larger than "micro" flips such as the LG C1300 offered by Cingular. There isn't a straight line on the device which lends itself to feeling good in hand. The casing is bright silver and the front face has an attractive blue inset which surrounds the large 65,000 color external LCD. Fast forward, rewind and a play/pause button just below the LCD should work well with the MP3 player (we received the pre-MP3 player version). These controls don't control video playback on the external LCD, only audio. The 1.3 megapixel camera lens lives just above the LCD and the large stereo speakers function as the end caps for the phone's sturdy hinge.

LG VX8100 phone

The miniSD slot is located on the right side under a pop-open flexible cover that's permanently attached so you won't lose it. As with most cell phones, the volume up/down rocker is on the upper left side just below the headset jack. The voice command button is located just below the volume rocker.

LG VX8100

The LG's power connector is on the bottom edge and the non-extendable antenna is on the top right. Open the clamshell and you'll be greeted by a large number pad with slightly domed keys that click lightly for just the right amount of tactile feedback. The phone's directional pad is outlined in blue and is quite large and easy to operate. The phone's inner display is vibrant yet easy to see outdoors.

Reception, Data, Voice and Phone Features

The LG VX8100 is a digital dual band phone supporting both the 800 MHz CDMA and 1900 MHz PCS bands. As with most recent Verizon phones, it does not offer analog support. The LG supports Verizon's V Cast service for high speed download and playback of video and V Cast gaming. V Cast offers programming from CNN, ESPN, Comedy Central, E!, Fox Sports and AccuWeather. The phone has both EVDO and 1xRTT for data. 1xRTT is a 2.5g wireless data standard that gets about 90k speeds; while the 3g EVDO, available in many major metro regions, averages a brisk 450k with a range of 300 to 800k. Unfortunately, Verizon has disabled Bluetooth DUN (dial up networking), though folks have found an easy way to enable it. DUN allows you to use the phone as a modem for a notebook or PDA, though Verizon's terms of service prohibit tethering for use of EVDO.




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The phone's OpenWave web browser is fast and renders pages in an attractive manner. The browser uses Verizon's Mobile Web 2.0 service ($5/month) and their VZW Today start page with links to news, weather, email, sports, entertainment and more. Though not pre-installed, you can download a free IM client using the Get it Now feature which allows you to chat on AIM, MSN and Yahoo instant messaging. This app will appear under the Get Extras section of your phone after you've downloaded it and uses text messages to send and receive IMs. Messages were reasonably quick over an EVDO connection (since these are text message based, connection speed shouldn't be important), though it's not nearly instantaneous as true IM-ing using a smartphone or PDA phone. The client can stay active in the background, notifying you when new messages come in.

How does the phone fare for voice? Conversations are loud and clear and the LG's full duplex speakerphone is amazingly loud and doesn't distort unless you crank up the volume to extremes. The VX8100 supports standard features such as call mute, voice privacy, call recording and entering a note while in conversation. Phone reception is average: not as strong as the venerable Motorola V710 but offering adequate reception in even weak areas. Unless you need a phone that works in a very poor coverage area, the LG should suffice. The LG supports 72 chord polyphonic ringtones and has a vibrate function.

The phone has true voice recognition and you can issue voice commands to have it call someone in your address book, digit dial, call voicemail, tell you about your missed calls and read aloud the date and time. The phone's address book can hold up to 500 contacts with several phone numbers each. You can assign a photo to a contact as well as a customized ringtone for voice and a customized tone for incoming messages. You may also assign contacts to groups; either one of the canned groups or one of your own making. In addition, the LG has 99 speed dial slots, with the last three assigned to commonly used Verizon functions (#BAL, #MIN and #PMT) and 1 assigned to voicemail. There's also a basic calendar with day, week, and month views. You can create your own appointments and reminders and set recurrence as needed.

The VX8100 can send both text and MMS (picture) messages. It does not come with a POP3/IMAP email client, though you have the option to download email applications using the phone. The LG does have an email function that takes you to Verizon's web-based email portal for access to Hotmail, AOL mail, Yahoo mail and a few others.

Display, Sound and Multimedia

The phone has an absolutely gorgeous main display that's very color saturated, bright and vibrant. It displays 262K colors at 176 x 220 resolution. Photos, videos and games look fantastic on this phone, making it a multimedia pleasure. 3D games such as Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory ran well and looked good. It's especially well-suited to watching V Cast videos paired with the very good stereo speakers. The two speakers are mounted on the hinge-- one facing left, one facing right for good stereo separation.

The 65K color outer display is excellent by secondary LCD standards: it's bright, colorful and easy to read. It measures 128 x 128 pixels and shows the wallpaper of your choice, signal strength, battery level, time and date.

While the Verizon version of the VX8100 lacked an MP3 player for the first month or so, Verizon now offers a firmware update to add it. We received the pre-MP3 player version so can't describe it's quality. But the great speakers and handy exterior controls should make for a good music experience. The LG has 72 chord polyphonic ringtone support, comes with 15 ringtones and supports multimedia ringtones. In addition, it has a voice recorder which can record 1 minute long voice memos as well as phone conversations.


As you'd expect, Verizon's flagship EVDO feature phone has a camera capable of taking still photos and videos (or Pix and Flix as Verizon and the VX8100 call them). The 1.3 megapixel CMOS camera takes good photos that are a bit dark: mostly sunny days look partly cloudy. In outdoor and good indoor lighting, photos are reasonably sharp and don't show much grain. Other than the "overcast" effect, colors are fairly accurate and photos don't blow out highlights in strong light nor is there much color fringing. The LG offers a variety of camera controls and has an LED flash which helps a bit at close range in poorly lit environments. You can adjust brightness, white balance, turn on night mode, use color effects, enable/disable the flash and change the shutter sound. The phone can take photos at a maximum resolution of 1280 x 960, and can shoot photos at a variety of lesser resolutions. Photos are saved by default to internal memory, though you can use the image viewer to move them (one by one) to a miniSD card. Of course, you can send your photos and videos via MMS as well. The camcorder is of average quality, with some blockiness but good color and nice sound. Video resolution is fixed at 176x144, and the files are saved in 3G2 format (viewable with Quicktime on the desktop).

sample photo

sample photo

sample photo


Bluetooth and miniSD Slot

Want to use a Bluetooth headset or car kit with the LG? No problem; it has integrated Bluetooth 1.1 with support for both headset and hands free profiles. In our tests, it worked well with a range of current popular headsets such as the Motorola HS820, Cardo Scala 500 and Jabra BT800. The phone supports only Bluetooth headset and car kits, it does not have profiles for OBEX push, FTP or DUN (dial up networking). That means you won't be able to send photos to other devices using Bluetooth. You can however, transfer photos to a miniSD card and use a card reader on your PC to manage those files. We tested the VX8100 with ATP and PQI miniSD cards and had no trouble transferring files to and from the card using the phone, a PDA and PC with card reader. Since Verizon has disabled DUN on the phone, you won't be able to use it as a wireless modem for a computer or PDA over Bluetooth unless you do a little hacking yourself to enable that feature. Do keep in mind that Verizon's terms of service prohibit tethering the phone to another device for EVDO data connections.

Battery Life

The LG's 1,000 mA standard battery lasted us two days with the phone turned on from 9am to midnight, 45 minutes per day of talk time and 40 minutes of gaming and watching V Cast videos. This is average for a CDMA phone with a bright screen, high speed data and loud stereo speakers. Should you need more staying power, LG offers an optional 1,700 mA battery. If you're in an EVDO area you'll get better battery life than in an area with fringe or partially deployed EVDO because the phone will hunt for that trace EVDO signal throughout the day, consuming battery power in the process.


A very nice feature phone from LG and Verizon, with great ergonomics in a small clamshell package. The VX8100 has all the top features: 1.3 MP camera, Bluetooth, built in stereo speakers, stereo headset support, a vibrant display and EVDO for watching V Cast videos and downloading some very cool games. The miniSD card slot makes it easy to get photos and videos off the phone and onto your computer. The absence of Bluetooth DUN and OBEX profiles hold this otherwise very good phone back from a five star rating. However, Verizon is to blame for these omissions, not LG who did include them in their original phone design.

Price: $149 with new contract or renewal, $199 without. Various voice plans available. Mobile Web is $5/month and V Cast is $15/month for unlimited use.

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Display: 262K color TFT, 176 x 220 Pixels, 11 lines. 65K color TFT, 128 x 128 Pixels, 7 lines.

Battery: 1,000 mAh Lithium Ion rechargeable. Battery is user replaceable. Claimed talk time: 3.7 hours. Claimed standby: 6.8 days.

Performance: 32 RAM, 64 megs flash ROM.

Size: 3.58" (H) x 1.92" (W) x 1.03" (D), Weight: 4.16 ounces.

Audio: Built in stereo speakers, mic and 2.5mm headphone jack. Voice Recognition software included. Full duplex speakerphone. 72-Chord Polyphonic Sound Support, Voice Memo Recorder (1 Minute Each; Up to 200 Memos Total). Has vibrate feature.

Phone: Digital dual band: 800 MHz CDMA and 1900 MHz PCS bands (no analog). Supports both EVDO and 1xRTT for data.

Camera: 1.3 MP camera with LED flash. 8x digital zoom. Camera Resolutions: 1280 x 960, 640 x 480, 320 x 240, 176 x 144, 160x120 pixels. Video resolution: 176 x 144 pixels, 3G2 format.

Bluetooth: Supports both headset and handsfree profiles. DUN profile not included. Bluetooth 1.1, class 2 radio.

Software: Contacts, Calendar, text and MMS client, instant messaging (downloadable), Gallery, camera, Get it Now (download Pix and Flix, ringtones, BREW games and apps such as email and IM clients) and Open Wave WAP web browser for use with Verizon's Mobile Web service 2.0.

Expansion: 1 miniSD slot.


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