Set in a mirrored frame, the 1-inch-diagonal external display shows the time, the date, the battery life, the signal strength, and caller ID (where available). The screen is monochrome, but it's quite readable, even when the backlighting is off. The internal screen, however, inspired mixed emotions. We were disappointed that it measured just 1.5 inches diagonally, but it is bright and exceptionally readable.
The soft keys are 1.5 inches from the actual screen, creating a slight disconnect between choice and action. A five-way toggle gives you access to the Web browser, Verizon's Get It Now download store, messages, and the calendar/scheduler. Other controls consist of the Talk and End keys and a Clear button. A cool blue backlight illuminates the keypad buttons. Located at the tapered end of the body, the buttons are a bit small, but fortunately, they're slightly raised above the surface of the phone, which inspires a bit more confidence when dialing. The lettering on the numbers is also fairly small, though, making text entry troublesome for the farsighted.
Left-handers will use their thumb and right-handers their index finger to operate the top-mounted orange PTT key. Both operating-grip positions are more comfortable and intuitive than with side-mounted keys found on other PTT phones. Pushing the PTT key activates the speaker, but there's another button on the right side that activates and deactivates the speaker. A separate key with a microphone on the left spine turns on the Driving mode, which is then automatically activated as soon as you open the clamshell. This button also doubles as the memo-recorder button when the VX4700's top is open. The left-spine volume toggle, however, is a bit too flush for confident control by feel. Headset users should note that the rubber plug protecting the top-mounted standard 2.5mm earphone jack proved impossible to pry out without a sharp object. And since the plug is not on a hinge, consider it gone once removed.The LG VX4700 comes with a respectable set of features. You get a 499-contact phone book with room in each entry for five phone numbers and three e-mail addresses. You can also assign contacts or one of 36 monophonic ring tones. Unfortunately, you don't get any polyphonic ring tones, but you can download them from Verizon's Get It Now download store.
The speakerphone, the voice commands, and the driving mode are the raison d'être for the VX4700. Flip open the clamshell in Driving mode, and you're prompted to speak one of the dozen or so commands, including dialing by digit, retrieving voicemail, reviewing and redialing missed calls, retrieving contact information, announcing time and date and phone status, and even turning off Driving mode.