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printed July 25, 2014
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Review: LG Vortex

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Bluetooth

 

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Bluetooth pairing worked just fine on the LG Vortex. I was able to connect with my Bluetooth headset as well as my stereo speakers. Reception through my headset could be spotty, and I encountered plenty of static during calls. Music playback was much better through my speaker system. I was also able to transfer pictures easily to my laptop from the image gallery using Bluetooth.

Clock

The Lg Vortex has a nice big clock on the lock screen, so you can check the time quickly without unlocking the phone. You can place clocks as widgets on the homescreen panels, and LG offers a nice selection of clock designs. There is a clock in the notification bar, and this persists through most apps, though not all of them, so sometimes you'll need to jump back to the homescreen. LG has a nice alarm clock widget, a feature I appreciate since I use my phone as a timer frequently. This eliminated the need to dig through the app menu for the clock app itself.

 

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GPS

VZ Navigator does a fine job handling navigation and some location based services. Though I found the search results from Google Maps to be more current and accurate, there are a few nice extras in VZ Navigator that make it worth keeping. The phone offers a carousel of information on the VZ Navigator home screen. You can quickly check local movie listing, gas prices, special events and concerts in your area, and more. The app did a fine job following me on my trip around the unnamed country roads near my house, and corrected me quickly when I was off course. The navigation interface also looks great, though it does not work with pinch-to-zoom gestures, and it can be difficult to pan around if you want to take a peek at upcoming turns. The biggest problem with VZ Navigator? It costs $10 per month (or as low as $3 if you only want to use it for a single day), while Google Maps, with navigation, is free.

 

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Verizon Extras

There are numerous Verizon apps that you can download from the App Market, but the real attraction will be NFL Mobile. Unfortunately, I did not find the app lived up to its promise. Videos usually refused to load, even if I was just watching simple, short clips. When the video player did work, videos looked choppy and pixelated. It was fine for a quick blast of highlights from time to time, and great for checking stats and other league news, but if you're a real football fanatic, you might want a more powerful device.

 

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The LG Vortex can create a portable Wi-Fi hotspot. Verizon Charges an extra $30 per month to use this feature, though, which is the most you'll pay among the major carriers. Network speeds were not impressive enough to justify this extra expense. If this feature is important to you, you're better off buying a faster Android phone.

There is a bunch of bloat on this phone that cannot be removed. For as long as you own the LG Vortex, you'll have to stare at the demos for Tetris and Scrabble, unless you buy those apps. You can move them to a separate section of the app menu, thanks to the Vortex's customization options, but you can't remove them entirely. Even worse, you can't get rid of the Facebook and Twitter for LG apps. These are sub-par compared to their official counterparts, and having duplicate apps on board clogs up other menus, like the sharing menu in the photo gallery. It would be best if you could simply dump these two unnecessary apps altogether.

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