Based on name, it’s easy to assume the Venus is a paisley phone with bezels. In reality, it is the latest sleek phone from LG. (The stylish company released a $900 USD Prada phone last year.) And it is hard not to fall in love with its two level design, slick black (or, if you desire, pink) finish, dual screen faceplate, and well-placed touchscreen. Looks aside, however, there isn’t much substance to impress.
Features and Design
The LG Venus is built like two parallel candy bars, each about ¼ of an inch thick. The first bar is all black with a silver trim and contains two screens, one long and vertical, the other squat and horizontal. The top, vertical screen is about twice as large as the bottom one. The vertical is the usual cell phone screen. The horizontal display is actually a touchscreen.
Give the first bar a push with your thumb and the second bar is revealed. It simply has the key pad, as well as a few other functional buttons like Send, Clear and Power. The keys have a slick design: every other key is raised, so it is noticeable when you’re drifting to another button. Two pimple-sized buttons surround the “5” to make the middle easy to find. While the sides of the first bar are silverly smooth, the second bar’s sides are packed with holes and buttons. On the left side are the headphone jack, volume buttons, a voice command key, and a USB/charging port. On the right are the microSD slot, a camera key and a video key. On the very back is a small camera lens.
Setup and Use
For having two connected sections and two screens (one of which is a touchscreen), the LG Venus is simple to use. Lightly push the bottom of the phone and the first bar rises to activate the vertical display and the horizontal touchscreen. The touchscreen has four options in squares: Message, Contact, All Calls and Shortcut. Press the appropriate touchscreen square and the vertical display will change along with the touchscreen menu options. It is all contextual. In other words, the Contact touchscreen options include Call, Edit Contact, and so forth. The touchscreen is sensitive without being too responsive, and the phone does a satisfying little shake whenever it accepts your touch. The Venus comes with a half-inch user guide, but most users won’t need it to explore its basic and moderate abilities.
The Venus does come with a disc for Verizon’s proprietary V-Cast multimedia software, but the CD, strangely, just sent us to the website to download the actual software. It is only compatible with PCs, and specifically with Windows XP or Vista, which is disappointing. However, the software download was quick and painless. (The web link is http://www.vzam.net/vcastmusic/.)
Image Courtesy of LG
The V-Cast PC program will search your hard drive for music to collect into its database – a step you may skip – and then open up a browser not unlike iTunes. From V-Cast you can purchase new music, transfer tunes from CD or move music to the Venus. Using the included USB plug, the Venus will sync with the PC. Drag and drop songs or full albums or playlists into the designated Venus area on the PC screen. Each song transfers in about five seconds. Like the iPod, the Venus will also automatically charge when connected to a PC – still a rarity among music phones today.
As far as music quality, the Venus is pretty average. The speakers are all treble and tweeter, and even the most bass-heavy songs sound tinny. It comes with no headphones, so we assume the headphone quality depends on, well, the headphones. On the very positive side, music is well organized by song, album, and so forth, and it took seconds to figure out the interface. It is all done with the touchscreen.
The camera is surprisingly supple. Press the camera button, push the first bar up and turn the phone on its side. Now using the vertical screen as a viewfinder and the horizontal touchscreen as a button, the Venus actually feels like a real camera. The pictures are solid, too, especially considering we’re getting the now-standard 2 MegaPixel resolution and no flash.
Verizon’s LG Venus goes for $249.99 USD, a bit high compared to phones of similar capabilities. Verizon offers a $50 online discount, which makes it more reasonable. It falls under Verizon’s conventional data and minute plans.
It comes with a microSD card, which will work for light photo taking and music storage.The Venus has a great feel and looks wonderful, which may be worth the extra dough. It is perfect for a socialite who wants to have a hot-looking phone. Just don’t expect the multimedia features to blow you away.
• Easy to use
• Nice camera
• Very original design
• Weak music quality
• Average phone