The LG EnV Touch was a surprise to us. We thought all of the EnV line of phones would be in the style of the LG EnV VX9900, the LG EnV2, and the more recent LG EnV3.Those phones had numeric keypads on the front, with QWERTY keyboards behind their flip designs. But it appears that the LG EnV Touch is actually a successor to the Voyager VX10000, due to its full touch screen-interface. Perhaps Verizon and LG are going back to the EnV name to reinforce its association with high-end messaging phones.
We gave the LG Voyager VX10000 an Editors' Choice award when it first launched, but it has been almost two years since then, so it's about time for an upgrade. The LG enV Touch definitely offers better design and features. Both the touch-screen and internal displays are bigger, the keyboard has a better layout, the 3.2-megapixel camera has more advanced settings, the 3.5mm headset jack accommodates your own headphones, EV-DO Rev. A offers faster Web browsing, and more. The EnV Touch doesn't have V Cast Mobile TV like the Voyager did, but that's about the only thing missing with this upgrade. Perhaps our only complaints were that the touch-screen interface and Web browsing could use some refinements, and the lack of Wi-Fi was disappointing.
The LG EnV Touch is available for $149.99 with a $70 mail-in rebate and a two-year service agreement, which isn't too expensive for what you're getting.
When the LG Voyager came out two years ago, touch-screen phones were still relatively new. The market is now flooded with them, and the EnV Touch doesn't seem so unique now. However, that doesn't take away from the EnV Touch's design appeal. Measuring 4.52 inches long by 2.16 inches wide by 0.66 inch thick, the EnV Touch is slimmer than the Voyager, though at 4.92 ounces, it's a bit heavier. It has a sleek and stylish look similar to that of the LG Dare and the LG Versa, with a solid feel in the hand and a sturdy hinge construction.
Like the Voyager, the EnV Touch has a large touch-screen display dominating its entire front surface, except for three physical keys at the bottom; the Send, Clear, and End/Power keys. The Clear key doubles as the voice command key (with a short press) and the voice recorder key (with a long press). The touch screen is really stunning, measuring 3 inches diagonally, which is a hair larger than the 2.81-inch display on the Voyager. The display supports a whopping 1.6 million colors and is bright, sharp, and vibrant. You can adjust the screen's backlight time, the charging screen, (what shows on the display when the phone is charging), the menu fonts, and the dial fonts.
Along the bottom of the home screen are five shortcut icons that lead to the messaging menu, the virtual dial pad, the main menu, the phone book, and a Favorites page, where you can list your favorite contacts or group. You'll also find a small arrow to the far right of the display. Tap that, and you'll reveal a pull-out menu of application shortcuts and shortcuts to media files in the My Media library (Media files include photos, browser bookmarks, and videos). You can then drag and drop those shortcut icons directly to the home screen, which is similar to what you can do on the LG Dare. Some of the application shortcuts will just appear as simple icons, like the browser for example. For certain applications, like the calendar and the clock, they will appear as full-on widgets on the home screen. If you want to add a shortcut that's not listed on the pull-out menu, you can tap the Add button on the bottom right to select from your entire library of applications and media files. If you wish to remove the shortcut from your home screen, simple drag and drop the icon to the small arrow on the right.
On the whole, we found the touch-screen interface to be quite responsive. There's a touch calibration wizard that you can go through to help with your precision and sensitivity, and the haptic feedback makes the phone vibrate whenever your touch registers. You can even adjust the length and intensity of the vibration. Also helpful is a sound effect whenever your touch registers on the screen. Aside from just tapping, you can also scroll through menus and long Web pages by dragging your finger across the screen.
Despite all this, the touch-screen interface takes some acclimation. This is especially true with the Web browser, where you need to tap a particular icon just right for it to register. We had to tap links several times before it got through, for example. Also, when scrolling through menus, we would sometimes launch an application accidentally. We got used to it after awhile, but it was frustrating at first.
Instead of having to open up the phone to dial or text, you can do both via the touch-screen interface. We liked the virtual dial pad's large digits. Underneath the keypad are shortcuts to voice dialing, the recent calls list, and the contacts list. As for messaging, you can choose a few ways to enter text: handwriting recognition, multitap or T9 via an alphanumeric keypad, or via a landscape QWERTY keyboard.
The EnV Touch has an internal accelerometer, so you can activate the QWERTY keyboard by rotating the phone horizontally. When using the QWERTY keyboard, each key magnifies as you touch it to show that you selected it, much like the keyboard on the iPhone. All of these text entry methods work fine as far as touch-screen interfaces go, but we would definitely choose to use the actual physical keyboard over the touch screen for faster typing.
On the left spine of the EnV Touch are the dedicated camera key, the volume rocker, and the screen lock key. The charger jack is on the bottom, while the microSD card slot and 3.5 millimeter headset jack are on the right side. We're especially glad to see the 3.5 millimeter headset jack, as it's always good to have the option of using your existing headphones. On the back are the 3.2-megapixel camera lens and an LED flash.
The 3-inch internal display is just as large as the external display and just as attractive, with the same color support and pixel resolution. You can adjust the backlight time separately from the external display. You can also change the menu style interface. Do note that you need to open the phone all the way to 180 degrees to access the controls on the left spine.
There are stereo speakers on either side of the display, while two soft keys rest right underneath. Below that is the full QWERTY keyboard. Even though it looks similar to the one on the Voyager, there are a few important differences. There's now a Favorites button that leads to your favorite contacts page, a dedicated text-messaging button, plus the usual Shift and Symbol keys. The biggest change is that the space bar is now located in the middle of the keyboard instead of to the sides. This is a welcome change, as it is far more natural to have the space bar in the middle. Thankfully, the QWERTY keyboard on the EnV Touch is just as easy to use as on the Voyager. The keyboard is spacious, with keys that are raised above the surface and have a nice give when pressed. The 2, Q, W, E, and S keys are grayed out to indicate game pad controls.
To the right of the QWERTY arrangement is the navigation array. It consists of the Send and End/Power keys, a square navigation toggle with middle OK key, the Clear key, and the Speakerphone key. The up, left, and down directions on the toggle can be mapped to three user-defined shortcuts, while the right leads to the My Shortcuts menu, which can also be customized with up to four shortcuts.