Hands-On: LG Revolution
Jan 6, 2011, 8:01 PM by Philip Berne
LG's first LTE phone for Verizon Wireless will be the Android-powered LG Revolution. PhoneScoop got hands-on time with a pre-production beta at Verizon's CES press conference.
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The LG Revolution, like all of the Verizon Wireless LTE phones I saw today, is a thick phone. In fact, the Revolution might be the bulkiest of the bunch. With its 4.3-inch display, the phone feels big in the hand, but it has a nicely rounded back and smooth materials all around. It isn't very heavy, either, especially not for its size, so it wasn't unpleasant to hold.
The screen on the LG Revolution looks great. It did a fine job showing off the colorful icons that are part of LG's Android interface tweaks. Even under the harsh red lights of Verizon's conference room, it was easy to see. I also tried out the speakers while playing back video, and they sounded fine. It was difficult to hear over the ambient noise, but sound quality seemed pretty good.
There are few surprises to be found taking a tour around the exterior of the device. There is an HDMI port, which is a nice bonus. But otherwise, you get the same basic volume toggle, headphone port and microUSB connection that you would expect. There is no camera button, unfortunately.
Inside, the LG Revolution does pack a few surprises. The phone has 16GB of internal memory, with a microSD card slot to expand your storage even more. The phone has Wi-Fi with hotspot capabilities, so you'll be able to share that LTE connection with up to 8 devices. The phone also uses Bluetooth 3.0. There is a front-facing camera in addition to the 5-megapixel shooter around back, and Skype video calling will be a mainstay feature for all of Verizon Wireless' upcoming LTE phones.
The Android software running on the pre-production beta unit that I spent time with was certainly not complete. Some apps were missing and the interface only offered two homescreen panels. At the moment, it seems like LG will be using interface designs similar to what I saw on the LG Optimus T on T-Mobile. Those interface tweaks were actually quite useful, so I'm curious how far LG will take the interface on the Revolution. The beta unit I used was running Android version 2.2.1.
To test the network connection, I tried Verizon Wireless' exclusive NFL Mobile app. The app started very quickly and loaded content with no delay. The NFL Mobile service is rich with video, so I tried watching a few clips.
Videos loaded instantaneously on the LG Revolution, almost as if they were stored on the phone and not pulled over the air. Unfortunately, video quality left something to be desired. Clips were blocky and somewhat pixelated. They came through at a smallish resolution, but I could blow them up full screen.
I don't think this has to do with the hardware, but rather it's a problem with the source material. I'm hoping that Verizon Wireless will kick things up a notch on the NFL Mobile app so that the quality lives up to the capabilities of the LTE device with its big, high resolution screen.
I also tried the phone's Web browser, again with some mixed results. Pages loaded very quickly over LTE, but it wasn't so impressive that I was blown away by the load times. That said, there was never a delay in opening the page. Along with the fast download speeds LTE provides, it's obvious from my hands-on experience that there is very low latency on this ultra-responsive network.
I tried loading our own homepage at PhoneScoop.com and the CNN site, and both loaded quickly, though they didn't spring to life like I would have hoped. Flash videos on the CNN site played well. Again, the video quality was not superb, but there was absolutely no delay before a video would start playing. I never had to wait while a Flash movie buffered.
Does anybody actually want to buy this phone?