The LG Genesis is the LG EnV all grown up. It has the dual-screen flip design of the EnV phones, but it ships with Android 2.2, making it a smartphone instead of a feature phone. But that's not the only thing that sets the Genesis apart from its EnV predecessors: It has two touch screens instead of one, and a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, a 5-megapixel camera, Wi-Fi, DLNA, and an impressive five-row QWERTY keyboard. Curiously, however, the LG Genesis is not available for Verizon--the phone has debuted for U.S. Cellular instead for $149.99 with a two-year agreement.
At first glance, the Genesis doesn't look too different from the most recent LG EnV phone, the LG EnV Touch. Both have a large touch-screen display dominating the front, and both have a somewhat clunky rectangular design. The Genesis even has the same shiny chrome border. However, at 4.72 inches long by 2.43 inches wide by 0.66 inch deep, the Genesis is much larger than the EnV Touch. In fact, at around 6 ounces, the Genesis is perhaps one of the bulkiest Android handsets we've held, with the possible exception of the Casio G'zOne Commando.
Despite its heft, you get a typical-size touch-screen display, measuring around 3.5 inches diagonally. The simple 480x800-pixel TFT display won't bowl you over like a Super AMOLED might, but we still found it usable thanks to the screen's 16 million colors. However, the screen suffers substantially under bright sunlight, which washes it out quite a lot.
Thankfully, the Genesis's capacitive display is miles better than the EnV Touch's resistive screen--no calibration required here. The interface mirrors that of the LG Optimus U, with five shortcuts along the bottom of the display that lead to the phone dialer, the phonebook, the main menu, the messaging inbox, and the Web browser. Those same five shortcuts stay at the bottom even when you're in the main menu. As for text input, the Genesis comes with both the standard multitouch Android keyboard and Swype. Aside from these few differences, the interface is not too different from default Android 2.2.
Beneath the display are the four Android keys corresponding to the menu, home, back, and search functions, separated into two long buttons. The 3.5mm headset jack and Micro-USB port are on the right spine, while the camera key, volume rocker, and screen lock/power key are on the left. The camera lens and LED flash sit on the back.
The reason the Genesis is so bulky is that it flips open to reveal yet another touch-screen display plus a five-row QWERTY keyboard. The hinge feels sturdy but is still easy enough to open and close without struggle. The screen flips open to two different positions--you can set it to a slight angle, which is the optimum position for when you want to use the keyboard, or you can open it up all the way so that it is flat. The reason you might want to do the latter is because the aforementioned controls on the left spine (volume, camera, and screen lock/power) are easier to access this way.
The internal display mirrors the external display, except that it measures 3.2 inches diagonally instead of 3.5. As you might expect, it also displays everything in landscape mode. Our biggest complaint about the internal display is that the lower portion of the screen is rather difficult to access, as our fingers kept bumping up against the top part of the keyboard even when the phone was opened up all the way.
Conveniently, the keyboard has a big square navigation pad on the far right to provide an alternative to the touch screen. Sitting above and below the navigation pad are the Send and End/Power buttons. On the far left of the keyboard are the four Android function keys--menu, home, back, and search--plus a dedicated voice command button.
We found the five-row QWERTY keyboard extremely roomy, even with the navigation controls on either side. There are a dedicated number row, a large Space key, shortcut keys to the browser, a new text message, and a .com button. The keys are well-spaced, and each key is raised above the surface for quick and easy typing.