What's Good: Durable device with good call quality and strong battery life.
What's Bad: No 3G; gold battery cover may be a bit of an overkill.
What happened to candybar devices? We've seen twisting devices, sliding QWERTY keyboards, flip phones, and more, but the age-old bar phone seemed to fade into the sunset. Not so with the LG Glance, as the company has brought the form factor back, and breathed new life into it. Appealing to the entry-level wireless crowd, the Glance packs a reasonable amount of features into a compact design. We just wish it had 3G, and perhaps a more neutral battery cover.
The left side of the Glance houses the volume rocker, a 2.5mm headphone jack, a speakerphone button, while the right side sports a microUSB charging port and a camera key. The front of the device sports a joystick for navigational purposes, two touch sensitive buttons, a send key, clear/voice command key, end/power key, and a standard numeric keypad. As with most of Verizon's devices, the up, left, and down directions on the joystick can be customized with a shortcut of the user's own choosing. The back of the device contains the camera, as well as the speakerphone outlet. The only thing that threw us off a bit was the metal battery cover, as it seemed to be a bit out of place given the Glance's design scheme. Some may be fine with it, but it seems to be a bit gaudy.
The LG Glance ships in a small box, offering a device, battery, a charger, and instruction manual. Coming in at 1.87 inches wide by 4.31 inches long by 0.38 inch thick, the Glance weighs 2.92 ounces, making it perfect for the jeans pocket or a small purse. The Glance's 2-inch display offers 262,000 colors and 320x240 pixels. It's certainly compact, but screen and keyboard size doesn't seem to be impacted by the form factor. What's more, the keypad feels great on the Glance, and is easy to use when it comes to typing. Not only are the keys spacious, but they're slightly raised, making it easier to call or message while on the go.
The LG Glance supports a decent level of customization. Three display themes can be selected, and 13 wallpaper options are pre-loaded. The font size (for menus and general text) can be adjusted, along with the clock format on the home screen. Though Verizon's stock interface is largely present on the Glance, it supports instant messaging and e-mail, though the latter costs $4.99 to download. It's not targeted as a data-intensive phone, but it's nice to see a relatively strong feature set on an entry-level device. Additional features include a notepad, calculator, tip calculator, to-do list, calendar, stereo Bluetooth, GPS, VZ Navigator, and voice commands.
The LG Glance offers a 1.3-megapixel camera, and in our testing, image quality was below average. Given the proper amount of sunlight, pictures were decent, but were near impossible to discern in low light situations, since the Glance doesn't offer a flash. Camera features include three resolutions, a night mode, a self-timer, five white balance presets, five color effects, four shutter sound options (one being silent), three photometry options, and more.
We tested the Glance in the Charlotte area, and call quality was very good. Callers had no problem hearing us, and call quality was clear on our end as well. When we went to a known Verizon fringe area, calls sounded equally clear, even when the phone showed no physical bars of service. We successfully paired the Plantronics Voyager Pro Bluetooth headset to the device, and Bluetooth functions performed admirably. In addition, the Glance's speakerphone was loud; we tested the device in a busy restaurant, and we could hear our callers well. There was a bit of reported background noise, but most callers told us that they could understand our conversation.
Despite the LG Glance supporting 1xRTT data and not EVDO (3G), data speeds were acceptable given the limitations. CNN Mobile loaded in 42 seconds, and other data-intensive tasks performed decently throughout the testing. Estimated talk time is 4.3 hours, and in our testing, battery life was quite good. With moderate use encompassing text messaging, calling, e-mail, and the occasional web surfing, we were able to make it right at two full days before the phone powered off. With little to no use, the device lasted just over six days. As with any device, battery numbers will vary with the level of usage that they're subjected to between charging cycles, but the Glance should please the battery-conscious users out there.
Obviously, the smartphone user or the multimedia junkie aren't going to be swayed by the LG Glance (with the exception of use as a backup device), but for the entry-level crowd, it's a great option. Despite an odd back cover, battery life is good, reception is strong, and the form factor makes it easy to fit into a pocket, purse, or other small space. As the holiday season approaches, the Glance would make for a great gift for a relative.