New Contract, New Phone – Hands-on Review of the enV Touch

So, I just got my new phone from Verizon Wireless in today (yesterday?). The brand-spankin-new enV Touch has been heralded as “The Voyager 2.0″ And it indeed seems that way, with the model number being VX11000 (as opposed to the LG Voyager’s VX10000).

In simple terms, if you take a Voyager and a Dare and make them have a baby, you get the enV Touch.

The screens are a decent size, both inside and outside screens measure to be 3”. The touch screen definitely takes some getting used to after both my prior cell phones being simple flip phones (LG VX5200 and the Motorola Razr V3M, I won’t rant about the Razr right now). However, after I spent two hours manually transferring my contacts list, I definitely got a feel for the touch screen.

Let me just make an aside here: I’m 21 years old, trying to get through college. I don’t necessarily wanna spend the money on cables and transfers from Verizon. Thus, whilst a nerd, I’m also a budgeteer.

Anyways, back to the phone. The touch screen responds very well actually, despite reviews I’ve read stating the opposite. It simply takes a small bit of attention. Definitely not something you can use as a sort’ve second nature (sorry to all you speed txters).

While texting, you actually have a plethora of options as to how you input your message. First off, there’s the full QWERTY keyboard upon flipping the phone open (no, the inside screen is not a touch screen). Now, for all of us typists, this keyboard definitely takes a little adjustment (shift does NOT turn the 2 key into an @ sign). However, it’s actually fairly simple to pick up. The fun begins when you decide to use the touch screen though. While a bit slower, it adds a small bit of aesthetic pleasure to the texting experience. You’ll have a digital keypad, which can be used for ABC, Abc, 123, and T9WORD input. You can also turn the phone horizontal to have a digital QWERTY keyboard (again, pressing shift an @ sign does not make).

The fun and innovative (note I didn’t say new, Google Palm Pilots) feature is the PEN option. When using the digital keypad to reply, you may at any time select PEN to use the touch interface to actually write the letters you wish to text. This tablet-style input uses the same modes as the keypad (ABC, abc, 123) along with the sym mode (especially for symbols such as . , ‘ ! @ # etc.) to help keep you in line. Now, this feature can be a double-edged sword, as it can be annoying at times to switch modes just to put a period or apostrophe in your text, but who does that?

The web interface definitely has it’s good and bad points. The touch and drag interface makes for easy scrolling, while the flip-open keyboard makes text input a breeze. Double-touching an empty space within a page causes the browser to zoom in, allowing easier touching of links and other elements of the site. This is, sadly, a necessity a lot of the time, as most sites that aren’t mobile-friendly (*cough*Hulu*cough*) make clicking links a real hassle.

Now, we’ll discuss what ALL the reviews rant, rave, and worry us over: the battery life.

I’ll be the first to admit that it’s not the greatest battery life I’ve seen. Not even my razr had to be charged twice in the same day I bought it. Then again, my razr didn’t let me access twitter from anywhere. The phone comes with a straight USB cable, which charges the phone when plugged in. It also comes with a wall adapter, so that you can plug the USB end into the adapter and then into an electrical socket when your laptop isn’t handy. Mine is currently plugged in, and has been twice today already, but then again I’ve been using it non-stop since about 13 hours ago. And the battery is new. In my opinion, the battery life isn’t bad. It’s not amazing, or even great, but it’s not bad.

My biggest beef with this phone is actually the so-called ‘App Friendliness’ load of BS that Verizon feeds us in the commercials. I’ll list what comes on the phone:

  • Mobile Web Browser (Full HTML with some Javascript and Flash support)
    Drawing Pad (use touch screen to draw!)
    Document Viewer (now read your Word and Excel documents on the way to the office!)
    Mobile E-mail
    Mobile IM (Haven’t gotten it to connect as of yet, still working on that.)
    Visual Voice Mail (Extra to activate, not built in to any plan to my knowledge.)
    Need for Speed: Undercover (demo)
    Resident Evil: Degeneration (demo)
    Tetris by EA Games (demo!)
    City ID (Extra to activate, identifies the city and state of callers. 20k cities thus far.)
    VZ Navigator (Extra to activate unless you’re on a Nationwide Premium plan.)
    Corporate Mail (advanced e-mail for businesses, also extra to use.)
    Backup Assistant (backs up contacts incase of loss, theft, or phone change. EXTRA TO USE!)
    VCAST Music and Videos (also extra, but I think you probably knew that by now.)
  • Do you see the trend there? Yeah…and the menus to download additional “Games and Apps” don’t offer much more help. There are a select few (as in, can be counted on one hand) apps available such as MobileWiki. But why would you want a Wikipedia app when you can just use the browser? Isn’t that the mindset ya’ll used for Twitter? Yeah, the only Twittering you’ll do without some future app is through the Mobile Web Browser. Which isn’t bad, but remembering how to spell people’s user names so you can @ them is annoying, and it just plain takes too long to browse through their normal, full HTML site. In short, the enV Touch may be “App Friendly”, but what’s the point if there’s not any apps to use with it?

    Now for all you camera whores out there, I’ll say it up front: the camera is amazing. LG did us good with their Schneider – Kreuznach 3.2 Megapixel lens. But hey, 3.2 megapixel camera phones are nothing new to the market by now. But wait, here’s the real bomb:

    We got decent editing options.

    That’s right, LG came out with some editing software. You can even draw on the pictures using nearly the same interface as the included drawing pad. Not to mention stamping it with several shapes like hearts, wings, and even devil horns (all similar to emoticons found in various Instant Messengers). Let’s crop, rotate, resize. Let’s draw! Let’s…record? Yeah, the video’s pretty cool too. While I’m not sure if the capabilities extend with an inserted microsd card (don’t have one yet), the phone will take 60 second videos by default. And the quality is somewhat good actually.

    A con that you’ll read about in other reviews, and one that I’m backing up, is the volume of the phone. Depending on your ringtone, the speakers (Only inside the flip screen, no external speakers!) may crackle, or you may just not hear your phone at all. It’s not terrible, but most definitely noticeable.

    Overall, I’m happy with the phone and very glad I chose it over the Blackberry Storm (savings of $50, and not all the tech hassle that other people have had with the storm). I just severely hope that the app support gets better within the coming month, or else why did I switch to a Nationwide Connect Plan?

    Also, somebody please do some developing so this great phone gets supported with BitPim.

    Look for a followup when I get to play with it a bit more and give it the endurance test.


    LG VX11000 enV Touch


    Pros: After the adjustment period, the phone is actually quite user friendly. Image editing! Freehand texting!

    Cons: Mediocre battery life. Volume erratically quiet. Falsely advertised apps, with bad support for said “App Friendliness”.

    Rating: 3.7/5.0

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    ~ by chadanthony07 on July 10, 2009.

    4 Responses to “New Contract, New Phone – Hands-on Review of the enV Touch”

    1. VERY NICE DETAILED REVIEW.

    2. […] about in other reviews, and one that Im backing up, is the volume of the phone…. source: New Contract, New Phone – Hands-on Review of the enV Touch, Blog of a Mad White […]

    3. A couple bits of info for ya:

      – Bitpim v1.0.6 works fine, you just need to say that this is a Voyager.

      – If you sign up for a “my verizon” account online, which is free, you get the backup assistant program for free. I did it for my last phone before I switched, ran it again on this one and it automatically transferred all my contacts in a couple of minutes. But hey, at least you got all that practice with the touch screen, right?

      – Finally, ditto on the ring volume, but I’ve been using mine for calls, texting, about 30 pictures (the camera is amazing), and around 2 hours of music playback over about 40 hours now and I’ve still got two bars. I’ve avoided web browsing, but for the three days I’ve had it it looks like I can get 2-3 days out of a charge, not bad for something with a touchscreen and dual 3″ screens at that!

      I liked your post, keep up the good work!

      • Yeah, I actually found a post in a forum somewhere (maybe even envtouch.org) that said you should intentionally kill your battery to the point where the phone won’t even power on, then give it a full charge. Since I’ve done that, the battery lasts me for two days normally (through constant texting, talking, twittering, and checking craigslist).

        I’ve got a blog on the way with a few updates.

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