Verizon's roster of color-screen phones is gradually expanding, and with the arrival of LG's VX4400, customers now have another alternative to Motorola's popular T720. Is the LG a better choice? Well, it's not quite as dashing as the Motorola, but it arguably has a superior user interface, a nicer dial pad, and better battery life. In terms of features, however, the two phones are similar. Resembling LG's earlier flip phones, the silver-and-dark-gray VX4400 isn't ultrasnazzy, but it's attractive. The T720 is arguably sharper-looking, but we really liked the feel of this LG's rubberized dial-pad buttons, which are backlit in blue. Additionally, the Send button is backlit in green and the End button in red--a nice touch. The eight-line, 65,000-color, 120x133-resolution display is also impressive, and like most of today's flip phones, this model features a monochrome external display.
|Pocket-friendly: Slightly larger than a pack of gum, the VX4400 is compact.||Love it! The rocker key denotes the calendar with a heart icon.
The VX4400 isn't a supercompact model, but it fits easily in your pocket and feels fairly sturdy in the hand. Measuring 3.39 by 1.85 by 0.7 inches, the VX4400 is more compact than the T720 but weighs exactly the same (4 ounces). All in all, we liked the phone's interface and had no complaints about button placement. Everything is where it should be, with the volume and memo-record buttons on the side, while the OK button sits in the middle of the four-way navigational key. The top menu system is icon driven, but each symbol has a numeral assigned to it, so you can simply press a number to get that menu item (for example, 8 is for settings).
Our one gripe is with the charger. Again, LG has chosen to go with an AC adapter and a desktop charger rather than a more compact travel charger that plugs directly into the phone. It's not a major gripe, but it means you have to carry two pieces instead of one when traveling. The phone also comes with a belt-clip holster.
Accessories included: The VX4400 comes with a nifty holster.
The VX4400 doesn't have a built-in speakerphone like Audiovox's CDM-9500
, but it does have a fairly solid feature set. You'll find a 199-name phone book, a calendar, a calculator, voice-activated dialing, two-way text messaging, voice notes and tags, caller ID, call logs, e911 compatibility, 26 ring tones, and a vibrating alert.
The VX4400 is 1xRTT compatible, so you can browse the wireless Web at relatively high data rates (in theory, about 56Kbps) using Openwave's browser, which we like because it offers caching technology. Still, don't expect instantaneous connections; performance continues to lag a bit in this area.
Like the Motorola T720 and the Audiovox CDM-9500, this LG is BREW enabled; for a small fee, you can download applications, MIDI ring tones, wallpaper, and games (which will come in handy with the color screen) via Get It Now. We had no problem downloading several games, including JAMDAT's just-released baseball app, which is mildly amusing.
Big and bulky: LG includes the desktop charger.
The tri-mode (CDMA 800/1900, AMPS 800) phone performed well in New York City and San Francisco, cities where Verizon's service is considered quite good. We could hear callers fine, and callers said they couldn't tell we were using a cell phone. If anything, the phone's volume can be almost too loud.
Battery life was also respectable for a color-screen phone. Using the backlight judiciously, we were able to surpass the rated talk time of 3 hours by 30 minutes. We should note this is superior to the T720's numbers (with standard battery installed). LG says you can get up 110 hours of standby time, but we managed to surpass that number by 12 hours.