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Review: LG enV

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Clock

The clock is visible on both the exterior and interior screens of the enV. On the exterior screen, the clock is a fairly small digital read out towards the bottom of the screen. For those hoping to use the enV as a watch, the front screen doesn't make it super easy. If you switch the clock to analog mode, a small-ish and practically unreadable analog clock appears. It's much harder to read than the already hard to read digital version. The interior clock is similar, though a very large digital clock can be selected. Unfortunately there's no middle ground here. It's either very small, or very large. Apparently LG hasn't heard of Goldilocks. Theres no "just right" setting. The analog clock on the interior is easier to read, though that depends a lot on the wallpaper you have selected. The enV also has a world clock, so you can choose the location (by city) and have the time automatically adjust to the local time in that city.

 

Bluetooth

Bluetooth works mostly as expected with the enV, but we definitely found some quirks. Pairing earphones, and stereo earphones was simple enough and the profiles worked well and remained paired. Working with my computer was another issue. The first time I paired the phone and my computer, it worked fine. I was able to transfer image files, unprotected MP3s and business cards back and forth without any issues. When I attempted to re-connect a day later, the phone and computer would not pair up. I had to delete the computer in the Bluetooth profiles on the enV and re-pair it. When I tried to connect a day after that, I experienced the same issue, so there's definitely some sort of bug in the Bluetooth-to-PC pairing. File transfers were speedy, though. I was able to transfer a 2.4 Mb file in less than 60 seconds. The Bluetooth printing option is always nice to have, and sound quality for Bluetooth headphones was clear and strong, with little interference.

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Music Player

Using the music payer software was a so-so experience. In order to access it, you have to go through Verizon's Get It Now menu selection. With the phone closed, it launches straight into the first song in your playlist. The sound through the enV's exterior speakers isn't bad, but it isn't great, either. Headphones are a better option for listening to music if you really care about the quality of the sound. You cannot access the V CAST Music Store with the phone closed. You can, however, start playing a song with the phone closed, and then open the phone without causing the music to stop. Album art is displayed on both the front LCD and the main LCD when playing songs. With the phone open, you have several choices. You can choose to play songs already on your phone (which is the 4th selection in the "Music & Tones" menu set up, or you can go to the V CAST Music Store, which is the first option.

The "My Music" selection takes you to the music player's home page, which is a little confusing. It presents you with 8 options, 5 of which are different ways in which to search your library (artist, song, genre, album, playlists). To me, this set up was not intuitive. "Play" should have been the first option, not the 7th. These search features are probably better utilized with larger libraries. I didn't need 5 different ways to search for the 5 songs I loaded onto the enV. You can play, pause, stop, and jump forward or back a track. Lastly, the enV doesn't let you start the music player and move on to other tasks with the music playing in the background. The only way to get to other applications is to quit the music player.

Another quirk with the music player was it inability to play songs loaded from my PC, though the phone's manual says it will play them. I loaded 3 different unprotected file formats of the same song to the phone, and none of them would play. The phone will not accept protected files at all. The LG Chocolate will play MP3s loaded directly on it, the enV may be running older music software that will not. Songs downloaded from the V CAST Music Store are automatically added to your library.

Playing songs over the speakers when the phone is open isn't terrible. Obviously you can't expect world-class sound from two mini woofers, but set at a high volume you could hear the phone from several rooms away with no problem. If you wanted to use it for some background music while working at your desk, you could definitely do that, but it won't "fill a room" with sound.

The V CAST Music Store is also somewhat frustrating to use. I find that browsing and navigating such a vast number of tracks, genres, artists and albums on a small screen is just tedious. It's best if you know what you want and perform a specific search to find it. Songs downloaded fairly quickly over the air to the phone. When I transferred them to my PC and played them over a real set of speakers, the lower quality of the files became more obvious. One last complaint, the enV comes with a 2.5mm headphone jack. For such a media-centric phone, a standard 3.5mm jack would have been nice (in fact, it should be required!).

 

Calendar

The calendar app was almost useful. It let you add and see appointments easily, but had one major misstep: You couldn't add notes to the appointments. Notes are essential for adding things like a meeting location, or a contact name or phone number to the event. Additional details like this are essential to any calendar app and the enV's falls short. It only let you add a date and time and adjust alerts. Nothing else.

 

Navigation / IM

The included navigation software, part of Verizon's for-pay services, was very good. I easily mapped a route from my home in NJ to San Francisco and other places. It was reasonably quick and intuitive.

The Instant Messaging software was also very easy to use, though each message sent counts as an SMS text message, meaning you need to be careful with how many messages you actually send if you have a limited number of messages permitted in your bundle.

 
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