"Terrific design, questionable sound quality."3.5 starson by cmatheny
Pros: Design, LG's interface, gorgeous screens, & touch pad on bottom screen
Cons: Earpiece volume not loud enough for noisy settings, sound breaks/cracks up at highest volume level.
Summary: I just picked up the Venus this afternoon at my local VW store located inside a Circuit City. Was going to get it originally on Tuesday, but it turns out Verizon had the stores download a software update on all the phones before selling. My initial impressions are as follows. Please keep in mind I have not used the phone a lot, nor have I had the opportunity to dive into it's features completely.
I love the looks of the phone. It's very stylish and attractive. The main screen is beautiful with great colors. The fake texturized rubber on the back of the phone gives you a sure grip and feels good to the touch.
I don't understand cnet's classification of "gimmicky" for the touch controls. They perform exactly how they are supposed to. How is that gimmicky??? I love this feature, and am sure will come to like it even more as I get used to it.
Now for the area that has me concerned. The quality of the sound through the earpiece. First, I don't think the volume goes high enough. In areas I wouldn't consider to be excessively noisy, I have to turn the phone up to maximum volume, and still struggle to hear the person on the other end at times. This may not be an issue for all, but it is for me. Another thing that has me concerned is the voice of the person you are speaking to seems to break/crack up at the higher volume settings. I never had this problem on my Motorola E815, and certainly don't expect it on a $249 phone (albeit with the $50 rebate and my new every two it's a total of $99). I'm anxious to see if others experience this same problem. There has also been several instances of an echo when talking on the phone as well. I'll be paying close attention to see if these issues continue to be a problem over the coming days. If they do, it will probably be a deal breaker. At least I have 30 days to figure it out.
The only thing holding me back from giving this phone a 9 out of 10 is the concerns over the sound through the earpiece. I love the design of the phone and its features. It is exactly what I have been looking for. I actually like the Venus more than the Voyager. I hope it works out because there really isn't another phone in Verizon's lineup that excites me. Yeah, the Voyager is nice, but I don't need my phone to have the capabilities the Voyager does, and I certainly don't want to dish out the money they are charging for it.
I will try to give an update as I use the phone more over the next several days with information on signal strength (appears decent so far), more extensive use of the interface, etc.