Friday, February 10, 2006

One of the Best Cell Phones Overall - the LG VX4400

Looking for a practical, good looking, easy to use and up-to-date cellular phone? The LG VX4400 fits the bill with cool looks, excellent call quality, simple to operate menu system and extensive options.

Since I was already on my 3rd phone in the last 4 years and the antenna on that 3rd phone had just snapped off, I figured that it was time that I broke down and got myself a cell phone that was not offered for free when I signed up for a plan and was a bit more robust. I browsed through what was offered by Verizon at their local store (as I wasn’t changing plans or carriers, just upgrading the phone so had to stick with Verizon) and settled on the LG VX4400.

I’ll admit it, the color screen, the smooth looking silver exterior, the fact that it was a flip phone, it all attracted me to the phone. When you first see it, the phone has that cool factor that immediately makes an impression with you. The other features that I learned about as I read the VX4400’s description continued to entice me in. The phone has a lot of functions and customizations that include downloadable ring tones, games, applications, a personal organizer function (calendar and appointment functions), a fairly robust phone book option, voice activated dialing and more. In all honesty, the only thing that I wanted and the VX4400 did not have was a speakerphone.

However, after reviewing all of the other phones in the store and their various options, and prices, I kept wandering back over to the VX4400, for the money (retails at Verizon for $269 without a new service plans – the prices drop when you are renewing or starting a new service plan) I felt that it offered the most options and was the best value there.

So I did it, I broke down and got myself a new phone, all the while, my boyfriend was there rolling his eyes going “do you really need to get a new cell phone – what’s wrong with your old one?” Of course I had to have it, I needed a change, I needed a phone that flipped open, I needed that color screen.

VX 4400 Details

So you’re probably wondering about some details on the phone itself. The phone is about 3 ½ inches long and roughly doubles in size when you flip it open. It’s about ½ an inch thick when closed and about half of that when open. There’s an extendable antenna. The VX4400 has two different LCD panels. The interior panel is full color and the exterior one is grayscale. The exterior panel displays the time and when a call is being received, shows the caller ID. The exterior panel also displays messages, notices, etc. when you’ve missed a call or have a voice mail or a text message. The phone comes with a lithium-ion battery, a desktop charger and a belt clip for the phone.

Once I got it home I started the process of getting all my phone numbers into the new phone. Entries into the phone book are fairly easy to enter and the process is not too complicated. In addition to the phone number, you can enter the name of the person, their address and email address, and a voice activated dialing entry for the person.

I will admit it, I did not read the manual at first. But when I started to see all of the options that were available, I did open the manual and attempt to follow it. The manual is very poorly written and gives only a cursory review of the available options. You’re probably better off just playing with the phone and figuring out what each of the options does. There’s really no way for you to screw up the phone (except for the “system” options so don’t play with those unless you know what they are) so feel free to toggle settings and change defaults. Just about everything with the phone is customizable. From the graphics that show up on the color screen, to the color that the outer LCD panel flashes when you have a call or have a message.

One of the coolest features is that you can set up a different ring for different incoming phone calls. You can do this in a basic sense for caller ID versus non-caller ID calls and you can even go down to each entry in your phone book having a different ring tone. That way when your phone rings, you already know who it is.

I have found the talk time and the standby time on the supplied batter to be excellent. I have let the phone go for 2 days without a charge and I am still able to use it before charging. Talk time is equally good. I would imagine though if you spend lots of time working with the phone (such as games, etc) with the color screen running, battery life would probably suffer.

Charging is very quick. A drained battery will fully charge in less than a few hours.

I also purchased the battery recharge adapter for my car. As often I’m traveling and I do not want to have to carry around the desktop charger. The auto-charger plugs into the phone’s data port and also works quite quickly. I would suggest only leaving it plugged in when you need to charge the phone, not leaving the phone constantly connected. It heats the battery and while I’m not sure it hurts it too much, it cannot be good for the battery.

The belt clip is your standard belt clip accessory. The phone slips into the clip and snaps in. I find that the “snap” is helpful because you know the phone is fully in the clip and you don’t stand a chance of having it fall out.

But How Does It Work? Sound Quality and Reception

Sound Quality – I never knew that a cell phone could sound this good. The first time I used it, it sounded like I was talking on my regular phone in the house, or even better for that fact. The microphone produces crisp and clear sounds and the volume is adjustable for almost too soft to hear, to almost too loud to keep next to your head. However, this is a good thing, because as everyone knows, you might be somewhere very quiet, or you might be stuck in the middle of a construction site trying to listen to someone. People that I have been calling have mentioned the difference in the quality and they are like “you are on your cell phone?”

Reception – I’m not sure if it is because of the increased sound quality, but all of my calls sound better. There is significantly less static in the calls and I appear to be able to continue calls without breaking up in areas where my old phone would lose the signal and disconnect. In a month of use in many different areas, I have only lost the signal in a call once. The rest of the times, even in the weak signal areas, the phone is able to hold the call and I can continue to keep talking.

The “Cool” Factor

Everyone wants to have something that makes everyone go “that is cool” when they take it out. The VX4400 fulfills this requirement. Not only is it a great phone to use and carry, it makes everyone else want to look at it and see how it works. It actually got passed around my office with each new person going “wow – I wish I had this one.”

The phone will not make you the most popular person – but it sure is fun to make others jealous. When they have got that old clunky cell phone and you pull out your VX4400…just think to yourself of saying to them… “go ahead, eat your heart out.”

The Final Take

The LG VX4400 is one of the best cell phones out there with excellent sound quality and reception, quick charging capabilities, decent battery life and options and customizations galore. If you are looking to upgrade or purchase your first cell phone, this must be one phone that you have to consider.

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