Bluetooth gives the LG VX5300 a leg up on its forerunner, last year's VX5200. Released by Verizon Wireless, the lighter VX5300 phone features a 0.3-megapixel camera with flash, speakerphone and voice recognition -- all within LG's signature clamshell design.
The VX5300 is solid follow-up to the VX5200, with a comprehensive list of voice commands and a strong battery life. It also supports Bluetooth headsets to make calls, without fumbling for the phone that can instead be kept in your pocket or carrying case while you talk. The added convenience is bound to generate wide appeal for on-the-go business types or anyone with an active lifestyle. And despite a lack of top-tier multimedia like video capturing, the VX5300 will also suit the no-frills type who can stick to the basics.
Its list of features is satisfactory, but not at the top of its class. If you want functionality over form, the VX5300 is for you.
The classic clamshell is a deviation from the trendy, ultra-thin models that have gained much attention. You may find the design boring, but the VX5300 is the right fit if you're looking for traditional form and function.
The design doesn't waver from the VX5200. Headset jack, command keys for volume control and voice recording are positioned on the left side, opposite the camera control key. The phone charges from a port on the bottom.
The top front of the silver-toned shell reveals the 0.3-megapixel lens with flash that can take photos up to 640-by-480 pixels. Beneath, a 65,000 color external screen also doubles as the camera's viewfinder in self-portrait mode. The speaker is also located on its top.
The smooth numeric keypad is paired with a circular control button for shortcut access to the calendar, Verizon's mobile Web, Get It Now and Get Pix services. The 23-key keypad is easy-to-read and accentuated by a calming blue back light. At the center of it all is the convenient, one-touch speakerphone button.
The phone weighs 3.3 ounces -- almost an ounce lighter than the VX5200. While the VX5300 is a lightweight, its 1-inch antenna can make it feel awkward when carried in a pocket. Aesthetically speaking, the VX5300 bears the classic design of an easy-to-maneuver flip phone. You won't have to worry about being caught dead in last season's pinks and magenta hues. With its timeless gray, this is a phone that won't be going out of style anytime soon. Out of the box, the VX5300 includes a battery, home Charger, and user manual.
The built-in 0.3-megapixel camera sports a 2x digital zoom, self-timer, night mode and a self-portrait feature that allows you to monitor the camera viewfinder from the exterior LCD screen.
If you want variety, customizable photo options give you a standard set of possibilities to choose from. Photo resolution, in addition to brightness, white balance and color effects, can be tweaked to perfection before sending photos to an email address or other mobile handsets with the Get Pix function.
The VX5300 can take photos in JPG file format with resolutions of either 640-by-480, 320-by-240 or 160-by-120 pixels. Each picture is around 70-kilobytes in size.
There are five levels of brightness to choose from, a self-timer (off, three, five and 10 seconds), white balance options (auto, sunny, cloudy, tungsten and fluorescent), shutter sounds (shutter, silent, say cheese and ready 123), and color effects (normal, sepia, black and white, negative and vivid).
Additional options are the night mode -- for low light situations -- and front display, which displays the viewfinder on the both external and internal screens -- a handy tool for snapping more precise photos. The built-in flash packs little punch, so if you're taking photos in low light, the night mode or brightness control will make more of a noticeable difference.
With the most current camera phones touting 2- and 3.2-megapixel resolutions, the VX5300 isn't a high-powered camera phone, but the basics are there. But the VX5300 isn't made for imaging. Catering to a different type of consumer, if you want a camera phone with digital camera replacement qualities, consider photo-focused devices like the Samsung A990. Otherwise, you'll be hard pressed to make any quality prints from the low camera resolution. However, the VX5300 is handy for quick snapshots for blog posts or text messages.
The VX5300 is a tri-mode phone that runs on Verizon's analog and digital networks. Bearing a 1-inch fixed-length antenna, the VX5300 provides outstanding reception, operating on three different frequencies to ensure a low rate of failed calls. Tri-mode phones provide increased stability for voice and data communications, using CDMA, a mobile digital technology that allows a greater number of subscribers to share the airwaves.
Notable attributes include speed dial for 98 entries and one voicemail default, full-color internal and external LCD screens, standalone mode for operation in airplanes, TTY/TDD support, hearing aid compatibility -- M4-Rating -- and English and Spanish language support.
The VX5300 kit includes a battery that provides a talk time of up to three hours and a standby time of up to seven days. These times may vary depending on usage as some of the function will require more battery power.
The 96-by-64 pixel external display offers 65,000 colors to show frequently viewed information at four lines of text such as time, date, day, signal strength and battery charge. Built from OLED technology, the external LCD is a bit washed out in direct sunlight, but offers superior power consumption, prolonging battery life.
On the contrary, the 2-inch, 262,000 color internal screen uses TFT technology, in which circuits are built directly onto the glass surface, allowing for faster response time and superior color contrast. With a 128-by-160 pixel resolution, the inner display provides outstanding imaging during camera and multimedia functions.
Offering the best of both worlds, the dual-color displays offer excellent contrast and clarity for main functions on the internal LCD, while conserving battery life on the more frequently used external screen.
The VX5300 can't be used as an MP3 music player, and unlike other more music-capable phones, it's not enabled with 3G technology to access Verizon's VCast Music service to purchase full-length songs over-the-air. However, the VX5300 still supports the basics. It plays MP3 ringtones and comes with 15 unique ringtones, vibrate and silent modes. Though dependable in other respects, the VX5300 wasn't designed as a multimedia phone, and can't really compare to the newer MP3 player phones.
Mobile media features include text messaging up to 1,064 characters, Pix messaging -- sending and receiving photos with text and audio -- Web-based email and instant messaging. One downside is that instant messages cannot be sent to AIM users. But messages can be shared with contacts on MSN Messenger and Yahoo Messenger.
The VX5300 can store up to 350 messages combined from your text and Pix inbox and outbox, drafts and message notifications. Customizable options include a signature feature that lets you create and edit a signature to send automatically with each message. Messages can also be locked or unlocked to prevent or allow deletion. The auto receive function allows you to directly download content from an incoming Pix message.
For Verizon subscribers, the VX5300 is enabled for Mobile Web 2.0 and Get It Now services to stay connected and keep up with the latest trends and download games, ringtones, wallpapers and more.
Get It Now offers five different options for you to personalize your phone with. Downloadable selections include "Get Tunes and Tones" for ringtones or sounds; "Get Pix" to take and share digital pictures with friends; "Get News and Info" for news, stock quotes, weather, sports scores and more; "Get Going" for locating nearby restaurants and ATMs, etc.; "Get Extras" and "Get Fun and Games."
Voice commands can be used to make calls, send messages and check phone account information. Additional features include voice memo recording, alarm clock, unit converter, tip calculator, and a 500-entry address book that can store up to five phone numbers, two email addresses and a picture ID in each entry.
On the whole, the VX5300 gives you the fundamentals of what wireless entertainment has to offer. If you're a first-time buyer, you won't be intimidated by the bells and whistles that other phones flaunt.
Verizon offers Mobile Web 2.0 which allows you to customize your mobile Internet experience with a choice of websites like CNN.com, Fox Sports and ABC News. You can personalize your service after signing up for a free username and password online. Once that is completed, you can create a user profile and start bookmarking your favorite sites.
Although Verizon was the first wireless carrier to offer the 3G Ev-Do service, this high-speed network isn't supported on the VX5300. So you'll have to live with slower downloads compared to other 3G phones. But if you just want a simple phone with good reception, the VX5300 will still do the job.
Memory capacity on the VX5300 is 28-megabytes. The phone doesn't have a memory slot. Nonetheless, since it wasn't designed for multimedia, you won't have much to store.
Bluetooth-compatible devices like a headset or handsfree device can be used within 30 feet. Dial-up networking, object-push profile for vCard and serial ports are also compatible with the VX5300. If you're an ambitious Bluetooth enthusiast, you can create and store 20 pairings, but connect to only one device at a time. Verizon notes you won't be able to support all Bluetooth OBEX profiles.
Praised for its call reliability and strong battery life, the VX5300 is a straightforward and practical phone that has become one step better with Bluetooth. Aside from its role as a phone, the extra features -- the 0.3-megapixel camera and Internet -- don't make much of a splash. Without Ev-Do, the VX5300 is rather weak on imaging, audio and video -- items Verizon integrated in its VCast Music and Video service.
Regardless, the VX5300 was created with a different consumer in mind. While certain phones focus on the camera or music, the VX5300 works on the fundamentals, offering a no-nonsense interface with an attention to reception. With a strong battery life, tri-mode and easy-to-use features, the VX5300 is an ideal device if you need a phone you can rely on. ♦
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