A very welcome if imperfect improvement on the original enV. (August 10th, 2008)
Product Manufacturer: LG
Price: $50 (Telus 3 yrs.) $80 (Verizon 2 yrs.)
- Much more efficient, comfortable design than the earlier model.
- Good battery life for a CDMA phone, especially on standby.
- Simple, no-nonsense interface.
- 3.5mm headphone jack on the in-line mic.
- Telus version gets a 1GB microSD card in the box.
- Voice quality is just average for a CDMA phone.
- Little software; media player and web browser are very simple.
- Bluetooth and USB transfer problems with at least the test model.
- Connectors on the phone itself are still proprietary.
interface and software
Compared to the other split-sided phone Electronista has tried, the Samsung UpStage (or m620), the enV2/Keybo's menuing and interface is a relative pleasure to use; there is never quite the need to switch back and forth to access a missing feature. The basic on-screen layout is also considerably easier to grasp than with Samsung's device and almost second nature after enough time. For those using the phone as intended, it's excellent.
The amount of software included is fairly spare, however. Aside from music and video services -- V CAST Music and Video with Verizon, and Telus Mobile Music plus TV/Radio on the Canadian device -- there is little to work with beyond what LG already offers. Mapping is available, but is handled through VZ Navigator or Telus Navigator and isn't really a substitute for a true GPS phone. This absence isn't necessarily an issue given the phone's focus, as the built-in messaging client is almost certainly the highlight, but it can be slightly disappointing to those used to having an abundance of apps with other phones.
Additionally, there were problems getting the phone to pair properly over Bluetooth. It would only periodically recognize the existence of a PC to link to and couldn't be located from the PC even when both were set to discoverable and searching for each other. Content had to be "pushed" from the phone to the PC rather than downloaded from the PC itself. That's somewhat disappointing for what's often a trouble-free procedure with other phones tested so far.
call quality and battery life
It's difficult to say just how widespread the issue may be, but CDMA networks have often come out at a disadvantage versus GSM in local testing, and the LG enV2/Keybo's performance with Telus is no exception. Calls were understandable and loud enough, but almost invariably sounded slightly muddled versus tests on GSM and were markedly less clear than 3G calls from devices like the iPhone 3G or K850i. It may not be until the next major leap in cellular technology for these networks (most likely to 4G through the Long Term Evolution standard) that this quality issue is solved once and for all.
Still, this particular handset is at least long-running on that network. Active talk time is rated at about five hours, and in practice it gets close to this mark; that's longer than the three or four hours that many other CDMA phones manage, even if it's only just as long as most 3G-ready GSM phones can achieve. Standby time is the real jewel in the phone's crown: at over 21 days, the handset is so long-lifed in this passive mode that it's possible to leave on an average vacation and still come back to enough call time without immediately charging up again.