Review by Michael Oryl on Friday May 06, 2005.
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LG VX8000Back when Verizon first launched their consumer 3G service, VCAST, the LG VX8000 was the star of the show. The VX8000 was Verizon's first official handset that supported EV-DO 3G data and their new video clip service, VCAST. I've been making use of their 3G service with a card for my laptop since December, but this was my first time using a handset on the EV-DO network. The lure of EV-DO is near DSL download speeds over a wireless connection. That allows you, in theory, to do a lot of things that would be otherwise impossible.
VCAST is basically a content offering for consumers, it is not meant as a data service. Verizon offers an array of video clips and 3D games for their EV-DO handsets. Video clips range from CNNtoGO and NBC News to Just for Laughs, ESPN, and NBA TV. A fairly wide assortment of 3D games are also available for an additional cost, but most of them do seem to be quite good.
Verizon is banking on consumers finding the streaming video clips entertaining enough to warrant a $15/mo additional charge. EV-DO data service costs a whopping $80/month at this time, and isn't available on handsets yet.
VX8000 physical aspects
The LG VX8000 is a pretty hefty phone by current standards. It weighs about 132g (4.65oz) with the standard battery, but most people will probably find that they require the extended battery (available as an optional accessory). The VX8000 with the extended battery weighs 149g, but gets an extra 55% of battery life for those 17 grams (.6oz). The VX8000 is also quite large, measuring 96mm x 51mm x 24mm (3.8" x 2.0" x .9"), making it larger than the Motorola V710. Build quality seems to be quite good, with no creaks to be found on our unit.
The top half of the clamshell is home to the external sub-display, a 262k color 128x160 TFT. That's quite a nice display for a secondary screen, likely one of the best I've seen. Below the sub-display are what appear to be 3 music-control buttons, but we never found any way to get actual music files onto the device that made use of them. The buttons do work well with the camera when the handset is closed for self-portraits, though. Above the display is where you will find the camera and its flash. Around the camera lens is a rotating switch for putting the camera in macro-focus mode for closeup shots. On the left side of the device you will find the volume controls and a button that does double duty as the voice dialing and voice memo button, depending on how long you press it. On the right side of the device is the dedicated camera button, which can activate the camera for taking still photos and videos while using the sub-display as the viewfinder. The bottom of the device houses the charger/data port and its unattached cover, and up top is where the extendable whip antenna is.
Once opened, the VX8000 reveals its large 262k color display. It is 2.25" in size, measured diagonally, and has a pixel resolution of 176x220. It is quite a nice display most of the time, but is not reflective enough for optimal viewing in bright lighting conditions outside. The VX8000's keypad, however, is nice pretty much all of the time. The buttons are large, as is the printing on them. They have a very nice feel to them, one of the best I've come across in a long time. The blue backlighting could have been better, I imagine, but is good enough. The directional controller (d-pad) is quite nice, being both large and accurate. The center OK button is easily found, and the dual function clear/speakerphone and camera/video buttons that sit on either side of the d-pad are handy to have.