The Good: Fantastic QWERTY keyboard; solid build quality; excellent battery life.
The Bad: Mediocre camera performance; 2.5mm headphone jack.
The Verdict: As a messaging phone, the LG Octane is outstanding. It may not have the best camera, despite what the specs tell you, but it is definitely number one in my book for Verizon's messaging phone line-up.
The enV series will be missed (Verizon is no longer selling them in their retail stores), but, thankfully, we have a worthy successor to the much-loved brand: The LG Octane. It's basically an enV 3, just with a design revamp and new name. If you liked the enV phones, then you'll like the Octane.
Design & Features
The Octane is a sort of short and stalky device, measuring only 4.21-inches tall and 2.16-inches wide, but .63-inches thick. Weighing in at 4.5 ounces, it's very solid and has excellent build quality. The volume rocker and camera key are on the left side of the device and the microUSB port, microSD card slot, and 2.5mm headphone jack are all on the right side. The microSD card slot supports up to 16 GB, though the phone does not ship with a card.
The external 1.8-inch display gives you access to basic features like reading text messages and viewing contacts. You use a D-pad to navigate and the number pad for dialing. You can also use the number pad as a T9 keyboard for typing text messages.
Usability & Performance
The Octane's 2.6-inch internal display is what you'll be using for most of your tasks. It has a resolution of 320 x 240 and looks great. It's not a touchscreen display so you'll be using the two soft keys below the screen and a D-pad for navigating. You're also given four buttons for Send, End/Power, Clear, and the Speakerphone. The UI is pretty standard, with a Main Menu that gives you nine categories to choose from to access any program or feature you're looking for. There are a couple of different design themes so you can customize the look of your phone to fit you.
The keyboard on the Octane is fantastic. Sometimes, having a D-pad makes it uncomfortable to type on the keyboard because it means that everything is offset to the left. I didn't have that problem with the Octane. The keys are raised and have a nice clicking action though they are plastic, not rubber, which some people won't like. Typing was a breeze and I was quickly typing as if I had been using it for weeks. There are some handy shortcut buttons on the left side of the keyboard, which will take you to Social, Messaging, or your favorite contacts. The device does have the option for threaded text messaging.
I was disappointed by the Octane's 3.2 MP camera. I definitely expected better picture quality, especially since it features autofocus and a flash. It was also hard to find a comfortable position while in camera mode. I suppose it's fine for taking quick pictures to send as an MMS, but don't expect stellar picture quality.
Battery life on the Octane was very impressive. At first, I thought the 950 mAh battery wouldn't hardly be enough, but I turned out to be wrong. The battery lasted nearly a full week on standby! With standard use, you'll probably get about 2-3 days out of it.
Now that the enV 3, enV Touch, and Samsung Reality are all gone from Verizon's messaging phone line-up, the Octane is easily the best device in this category. The camera was a little disappointing, but I would definitely recommend it for anyone who is a serious texter.