Hands-On: A day with the hot new LG enV2

Noah Kravitz
 from  Oakland, CA
| May 2, 2008

I got my enV2 - the black one - from the UPS man yesterday and spent last night playing around with it before taking it with me on my appointment filled day in San Francisco today.  How is it?  So far I really like the form factor and internal keyboard, but am not so keen on the look of the external keypad and placement of the Return key.  I'm not sure what it is, exactly, but I keep hitting Return when I mean to strike the "L" key to its left.

All in all, though, enV2 is the enV I might have bought when the first model came out a few years ago.  That is, it's a decently small and very capable messaging handset at a good price.  The original was too bulky and too expensive for my tastes, but the new model is a bit trimmer and not a bad deal at $129 after contract and rebate.  I do wish enV2 was a bit slimmer and had a better looking front panel - those giant keys are easy to dial on but look pretty goofy.  And the lack of a D-Pad limits what you can do with the phone closed (unlike the original, which had a outward-facing D-Pad and larger external display).

Lame as they often feel, the one nice thing about VZW's menus is that they're consistent across multiple devices.  So if you upgrade from Chocolate to enV2, you'll be able to change your wallpaper, search for contacts, and blow $2 on a song download right away.  enV2 comes with a few IM clients pre-installed - no GTalk, though - and I spent $6 on the Mobile Email client, which honestly is pretty underwhelming.  I didn't actually spend anything since it's a review loaner, which is good - Google's GMail for Mobile site offers a better Email experience than VZW's app.

After a very minor bit of wonkiness when I tried it out in my house last night, VZ Navigator has worked well for me today, finding me a Tully's here in San Francisco's financial district where I can "kill" an hour or so between appointments writing and drinking coffee.  Why Tully's?  Free Wi-Fi.  Of course, the Wi-Fi connection at this particular Tully's is on the fritz, but that's not VZ Navigator's fault.  enV2 supports laptop tethering, but my review account doesn't ? but theoretically I could use enV2's Bluetooth connection to get online with my Bluetooth-equipped MacBook.

And, oh yeah ... call quality?  Excellent.  I made a few calls from home in Oakland last night and a few more from here in San Francisco today, and voices came through loud and clear in all cases.

Alright, I'm gonna wrangle with this so-called Free WiFi for a few more minutes before I give up.  Check out my unboxing video for more enV2, and stay tuned for a full review in a week or so.

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