Pros: compact, snub antenna, good sound, color display, built-in camera, nice looking phone
Cons: some might find a battery life of 2.5 hours limiting; no analog roaming
I love new technology and am amazed that it has taken me this long to join those who own cell phones. With my increasingly hectic lifestyle, a cell phone is now a must. After careful consideration, I opted to purchase the LG VX6000 Cell Phone with Built-in Camera.
This is a nice looking silver digital flip-phone with dark blue accents. The ends are curved to help eliminate the boxy look common with some cell phones. When closed, it measures 4 1/2" high x 2" wide x 1" deep. Opened, it measures 6 1/2" x 2" high, and the top of the phone is raised at an angle so that it measures 2 1/2" deep.
The front of the phone has a window that scrolls the time in electric blue digits that are easy to read, and also scrolls the strength of the dial signal and the battery charge level. If using Caller ID, this is displayed on the front panel for incoming calls. The front panel also acts as a mirror to take self-portraits with the camera.
At the back of the camera is where the battery clicks into position. A small 1 1/4" antenna sits atop the phone behind the flip hinge. The antenna does not extend or retract; it is one piece of stubby plastic that is fixed in position. At the bottom of the phone is a data port that supports a data cable (not included), and a tiny rubberized piece fits across the data port when it is not in use.
Two buttons on the left side of the camera serve multiple purposes including volume adjustment and whether the camera is in Normal mode, Manner mode (phone vibrates with an incoming call) or Silent All mode (no vibration or ringers). There is also a headset jack port.
Flipping open the phone, a large color display dominates the upper portion. The lower section of the phone contains a keypad and control functions. At the top of this keypad section are left and right soft keys, which control functions and actions. A center button marked OK makes selections and has a circle of controls around it that offer options such as searching the web and accessing the scheduler. A button labeled Clear is beneath these keys and is used to delete characters or to go back one command level. There are also Send and End buttons in addition to the Camera button that is a shortcut to the camera menu.
In dark areas, the keypad lights up in electric blue, making it easy to see and use. A recharging unit comes with the phone to recharge the battery. The charger is compact, measuring 3 1/4" long x 2 1/2" wide x 1 3/4" tall. The recharger cord is long at just over six feet.
The phone comes with the battery, a charging unit, a smoke-gray plastic belt clip, instruction book in English and Spanish and a CD titled Verizon Wireless: Getting to know your new phone and service.
Since I was new to the cell phone world, I monopolized the sales persons time in order to learn detailed information about the phone (and phone plan). By the time I left the store, I knew enough about the phone so that I didnt need to open the instruction manual to understand its basic operation.
Of course, I quickly wanted to know all the functions of the cell phone, and while the instruction book did cover a lot of information, I felt it also lacked information. It could have been better written. Thank goodness the phone is intuitive to use. It helps that the display is colorful and the characters large for easy viewing. The numbered keypad buttons are easy to push. However, the buttons that operate menu selections are small. I find my fingernail edges come in handy to press these buttons. The buttons along the side edge of the camera are easy to push by accident, but with practice Ive become adept at not accidentally pressing them too often.
The main menu includes these choices: 1) Camera, 2) Contacts, 3) Recent Calls, 4) Messages, 5) Get It Now, 6) Mobile Web, 7) My Media, 8) Tools, 9) Settings. From this main menu it is easy to navigate the sub menus. A handy two-page spread in the instruction book outlines all the menus and their options.
Dont worry about low volume on this phone. The first time I used it at home, someone across the room told me they could hear some of my conversation (the volume was set to medium-high). The sound is clear, too, and the different ringers are loud. Another great feature is voice-recognition, which allows the user to say the name of the person they want to phone, and the phone automatically dials the number.
The contact list / phone book offers a screen for each name added. I like that I can list a variety of phone numbers for each name added to the phone book. There are spaces to add: 2 home phone numbers, 2 office numbers, 2 mobile numbers and a pager number.
I was curious about the quality photographs the built-in digital camera would take since its highest resolution is 640 x 480. At high resolution, the camera can take and store 20 photos and has a x1" zoom. The two lower resolutions have more zoom levels. There is also a timer delay for taking self-portraits. There are options to adjust should you wish to do so: brightness, white balance, file quality, shutter sound, fun frames with pre-made foregrounds, and 5 or 3 multi-shots so that the camera takes several photos in rapid succession. The phone camera will never replace a dedicated digital camera but this phone camera is a good camera. One downside is dim or dark lighting when taking photos. The camera performs best in sunlight or well-lit rooms. If the picture you see in the display is dark, that is the photo you will take. I find it easy to take photos with this camera, and the photos can be saved in a built-in photo gallery on the phone.
This phone supports a headset jack. I have a Radio Shack headset (model HS-1957) that Ive owned for over a year and use with my cordless digital phone. Its a nice convenience plugging the headset into the LG VX6000 cell phone and then setting the cell phone down while I talk and work at the computer. Occasionally I notice the headset garbles a few words, and the person I am speaking with experiences the same problem during our conversation. I dont have the distortion trouble with the cordless phone when using the headset. The vocal distortion is not enough to disrupt our conversation when using the cell phone.
Battery life is about 2 1/2 hours on this cell phone. I had hoped for longer, but the sales person explained that a color display drains a battery faster than a black and white display. If I dont use the phone much during the week, a charge will last me about four days. I like flipping the phone closed to find illuminated on the front panel how many minutes Ive spent on a call.
Update (May 19, 2005) My cell phone would not charge this week. So today I visited a local Radio Shack store. The store manager determined that I needed a new battery for my phone. He provided me with an Extended-Life Li-ion Battery (model # 23-1073). The good news is that with my Radio Shack service agreement, the $69.99 battery was free. What Im also happy about is that this extended life battery is good for 5 hours of digital talk time. That certainly beats the 2 1/2 hours the old battery gave me. The first thing I noticed about the new battery is that it is thicker than the old battery, but it fits fine in the charging unit.
I was not impressed with the plastic phone clip that came with the camera. I dont wear the phone on my belt anyway. Instead, I bought a new purse (any excuse for shopping!), and included with the purse is a beautiful leather cell phone case that can either stay in the purse or clip to the outside of the purse. The phone is light, too, at just under 4 pounds, which makes it easy to carry and use.
Downloading Photos from the Camera onto a Computer
I could not believe it when the sales person told me that I could not download the photos from the VX6000 onto a computer. What kind of set up is that? Granted the photos arent top quality pictures like I take with my digital camera ... but I want to save the photos I take. So being the kind of person who finds answers, I did some digging and found a way to download the photos onto my Gateway 500X desktop computer.
Now for the disclaimer ... you knew it was coming, right? The information below worked for me. It may not work for you (for whatever reason). I am not responsible for any damage to phones, computers or any other equipment or data files. Use my experiences at your own risk.
First I purchased a data cable compatible with the VX6000 camera. I bought a cable from Radio Shack for $20.99. The brand name is FutureDial, and the cable number is 19. The hitch is that FutureDial separately sells software to use with the cable. I visited their website (www.futuredial.com) where there is an area to download the necessary driver for free to use with the cable. But I could not get the driver to install! Frustrating. But I found another driver solution.
I scouted around and discovered another website (www.cellphonemall.net) that provided a driver download for the VX6000. I chose the second option, LG - USB Drivers - Version A since the FutureDial cable has a black box in the middle of it. Here is the URL to the download page: http://www.cellphonemall.net/wireless/store/accessorydetail.asp?id=24510&phoneid=298
Once the driver file was downloaded onto my computer, I unzipped the file and let the Wizard install the driver.
Of course, I needed a program to snag the photos from the phone. There is a freeware program called BitPim that does the job. I went to www.bitpim.org and download the latest version of their free software. The version I downloaded is called "7.20 Official". I installed the program. When the program first opened, it asked me to select my phone model. I choose VX6000.
With the BitPim program open, I plugged the data cable into the bottom of the phone, and then plugged the USB connector into the USB port on the computer tower. The computer detected the new hardware and established the connection between the phone and the computer.
BitPim is simple to use. There are several choices at the top of the BitPim screen: File, Edit, Data, View, Help. I clicked on Data. Then clicked on Get Phone Data. There is the option of collecting the Phone Book, Calendar, Wallpaper and Ringtone files from the phone. The camera photos are considered Wallpaper and will download with those files. As the files download, the file name, size, bytes and origin (ex: camera) are displayed. Also, thumbnail images of the files appear. To view an image in a larger size, I click on an image. There is also the option of saving the .jpg photo onto the computer hard drive.
This software program is designed to not only download information from the phone, but that information can also be edited and uploaded back into the phone. I have only used the program to retrieve photos from the phone and as a backup in case the phone data is somehow lost. I have never uploaded files to the phone.
* Any Key Answer
* Power Save Mode
* Digital Camera
* Speed Dial (98 numbers)
* Phone Book (holds 500 numbers)
* Voice Recognition Auto-dial
* Caller ID
* Voice Memo
* Voice Mail
* Alarm Clock
* Calculator (simple functions; no memory feature)
* EZ Tip Calc (for calculating tips)
* World Clock
* Bilingual (English and Spanish)
Additional Services Available on the Phone
While this phone comes with many free features, there are other features that require payment in order to use them.
TXT Messaging Send and receive text messages. Using this feature does not take time away from Verizon airtime minutes.
Get It Now Allows downloads and use of applications on the phone, such as games, productivity tools and ring tones. No games come pre-loaded on the phone.
Mobile Web Features a mini-browser to view internet content.
Call Waiting Two beeps indicate another incoming call.
I bought my LG VX6000 cell phone at Radio Shack for $49.99. I also purchased a 2-year Verizon phone plan, which reduced the price of this phone from its original price of $249.99. I did not buy any other accessories at that time. After I researched the possibility of downloading photos from the phone onto my computer, I then returned to Radio Shack for the data cable, which cost me $20.99.
Additional accessories are available for the LG VX6000 from the Verizon website (www.verizonwireless.com) Battery $39.99, travel charger $29.99, vehicle power charger $29.99, desktop charger $39.99, holster $14.99, phone case $19.99, carry-all pouch $29.99, and various headsets. There is even an Essential Package for $49.97 that includes the vehicle power charger, a headset and a leather case.
I am very happy with the LG VX6000 Cell Phone with Built-in Camera. It has exceeded my expectations. The phone is easy to use, has an abundance of features, has clear reception and the built-in camera. Its also compact and lightweight for easy carrying. People who see my phone are impressed with it, too. I love using this phone!
Update -- October 24, 2006
Time for a new phone! This LG phone has been great, but toward the end of my two-year phone contract, the phone became a bit unpredictable. I'm easy on equipment, so the back of the battery case had a few scratches, but the rest of the phone was pristine ... not even a mark on the screen. All the features worked wonderfully. However, sometimes voices would cut in and out, despite having a fully charged battery.
So when my two-years was up, and I had a $100 phone credit in my pocket, I went shopping for a new phone. I purchased an LG VX8300. Just click on the link to read my detailed review.
I hope you have found this review useful.
Enjoy your day,
Network: CDMA 800 / 1900
Screen Colors: 262000
Screen Size: 120 x 160 px
Display: 8-line backlight LCD
Navigation: 4-way Keypad
Phonebook Capacity: 500 Numbers
Speed Dial: 98 numbers
Voice Number Recognition: 30 Names
Ring Tones: CMX MIDI
Memory: 1.6 mb
Battery Type: 950 mAh Li-Ion
Low Resolution 160 x 20 (zoom x1, x2, x4)
Medium Resolution 320 x 240 (zoom x1, x2)
High Resolution 640 x 480 (zoom x1)
Please read my other reviews:
Gateway 500X Computer
HP LaserJet 2200dse Printer
Logitech Mouseman Dual Optical Mouse
Logitech Elite Duo Cordless Keyboard and Optical Mouse
Dazzle Multimedia 6-in-1 Card Reader
Casio KL60SR Label Maker
Belkin UPS Emergency Battery Backup
Ott Flex-Arm Plus True Color Light
Curtis Radio/CD Portable Boom Box
Lite-On LVW-5005 DVD Recorder
Concord Eye-Q Digital Camera
Canon PowerShot A400 Digital Camera
Copyright 2004 Dawn L. Stewart