Who knows if the enV Pro - the supposed "enV phone running Android" device - will ever come out? It's official, it's rumored, it's canceled, I can't keep up. For now, all I know is that the enV line of messaging devices has always been top-notch when it comes to texting. LG apparently thought it was time for a new name though, and just released the LG Octane - a device that's obviously designed after the enV series. It has the same clamshell design with the internal QWERTY keyboard, a 3.2 MP camera with flash, and an overall sturdy feel to it. Is it worth the 99-dollar price tag? Well, I have a couple of more days to figure that out, but for now, here are my first impressions:
- As I mentioned in the intro, the device feels very solid in the hands. There's no hollow feel to it and the overall design with the chrome accents makes it look very stylish. Even the external dialing pad looks cool. The device is a bit smaller than the enV Touch, I will say that. In all, the device measures 4.21 inches by 2.16 inches by 0.63 inches.
- I am very pleased to see a 3.2 MP camera with autofocus and a flash. I would definitely like to see this become a standard for all messaging phones. I haven't tested it much yet, but the numbers alone impress me.
- The internal physical keyboard seems to be great so far. The keys are kinda plasticky and firm, which I don't usually like, but I haven't had a problem with it yet. Granted, I've only typed out a couple of sentences, but I'm liking it. You do have a dedicated number row, which I don't really see any use for, and there are four buttons on the left side for Function, Shift/Favorite Contacts, Messages, and Social.
- The UI is familiar, but it works. Basically, yes, it's something we've seen for a while, but why change it? You have two soft keys as well as a D-pad for navigating. The home screen gives you two shortcuts options or you can go to the Main Menu where you can access anything you'd like. See? SImple and familiar, but effective.
- To note is that neither the external display or the 2.6-inch internal display is a touchscreen. Sort of a bummer, but really not a big deal.
- The 950 mAh battery seems a little underpowered, but I'll have to put it through more tests before I pass my final judgement. LG's estimates give you 6.3 hours of talk time and about 14 days of standby time. We'll see.
Overall, I'm pretty impressed by the phone. It seems like it will be a solid messaging device, despite its small size. The design is updated and stylish and I'm digging the physical keyboard. Check back in about a week for my full review of the LG Octane, available from Verizon Wireless for $99.99 on contract after mail-in rebates.
If you want more, check out my full review for the LG Octane.