LG Venus Vx8800 Review

By: Corwin Brown

Based on name, it's easy to assume the Venus is a paisley phone with bezels. In reality, it is the latest sleek phone from LG. (The stylish company released a $900 USD Prada phone last year.) And it is hard not to fall in love with its two level design, slick black (or, if you desire, pink) finish, dual screen faceplate, and well-placed touchscreen. Looks aside, however, there isn't much substance to impress.

The LG Venus from Verizon has the looks of a sleek business device and the functionality of a mid-range music handset. It's basically a Chocolate Vx8550 with a nicer-looking case and a small touchscreen where the D-pad array should be. In fact, the software is so similar we're not sure why it wasn't just marketed as an evolution in that line. Other than a sleeker interface, the only real improvement the Venus has over the Chocolate is its touchscreen. Typically phones either go for a full touch screen or none at all; the Venus is unique since its touchscreen is below and separate from the main screen, and only replaces D-pad functionality.

The virtual buttons do add a lot of flexibility and usability to the mostly standard Verizon user interface. When you start the phone, you can immediately jump to messages, contacts, calls, or a shortcut menu by pressing clear, self-explanatory buttons. Within sub-menus, the virtual buttons let you alter settings or options quickly.

LG Venus VX8800 is a music phone which features a split touchscreen with dimensions of 320 x 240-pixel LCD on the top half and a 1.5-inch, 176 x 240-pixel on the bottom half. Other features include EV-DO data support, microSD slot and music players (MP3, WMA, AAC music files).

Design
The front of the Venus has two screens. The top is a normal screen and the bottom is a smaller touch screen. The touch screen is used to display options depending on what function the user is operating.

For example, when bringing up the messaging service, the touch screen shows virtual arrows for navigating the menu, and buttons for "settings," "options" and "back." When on the call screen, the buttons change to "message," "option" "call" and "back.

The touchscreen allows for up to four soft key options, and can display context-specific buttons, such as displaying media controls during music playback. This feature isn't strictly better than its physical counterpart however: it was sporadically unresponsive and didn't allow for rapid pressing. The touchscreen did leave us interested in seeing how this technology will be implemented in future phones. It's a significant step forward from the touch controls on the original chocolate that were almost unusable.

The Venus also supports video playback capabilities using the V CAST Music store. We put on VH1's The Salt-N-Pepa Show; the dancing featured in the video was quick but a bit pixelated, and the V CAST controls took up about a third of the screen. The clip played out its full 2 minutes and 16 seconds without a skip. Our 320 x 240-pixel videos came out clear as well. When we had the phone paired up to Bluetooth and played the videos back, however, we heard a clicking noise coming from the phone, even with the volume turned off.

Like most Verizon Wireless handsets, the Venus supports VZ Navigator for GPS functionality. It costs $9.99 for a monthly subscription or $2.99 per day. Unfortunately, it lacks support for the Chaperone GPS locator feature.

LG
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on LG