Verizon LG Revolution review: The best 4G LTE phone yet?

lg_revolution_feature

The LG Revolution is the third smartphone for Verizon that can use the 4G LTE network. In our review, we’ll try and determine if this is on par with other phones in the market, including the 4G LTE-capable HTC Thunderbolt and Samsung Charge.

With handsets like the T-Mobile G2x and the Optimus Black, LG has been on a roll with the high-end handsets. Does the LG Revolution keep that positive streak alive? Read on to find out, friends.

LG Revolution

Available for Verizon Wireless now for $249 on a new contract

Specifications (Spec-Sheet)

Verizon LG Revolution review: Android with 4G LTE

  • 4.3 inch WVGA (480 x 800)
  • 1 GHz Snapdragon single-core MSM8655 processor
  • 5-megapixel camera with LED flash
  • HDMI-out
  • Support for the Verizon 4G LTE network
  • 720p HD video recording
  • WiFi(b/g/n)
  • Bluetooth
  • HDMI, Tethering
  • Mobile hotspot capable
  • Android 2.2 Froyo with custom LG UI
  • Comes with Netflix app pre-installed

The Good

  • The Verizon 4G LTE network is blazing fast
  • Nice big screen that’s quite responsive
  • Despite not having a dual-core, the Snapdragon processor is quite powerful
  • The custom UI isn’t bad

The Bad

  • Battery life could be better
  • Bulky design may not appeal to all
  • Camera is just average
  • Bing as the default (I didn’t mind but some may)
  • Default keyboard makes me want to hurt things

Hardware

Verizon LG Revolution review: Android with 4G LTEThe Verizon LG Revolution is quite a big device and that’s to be expected with the 4.3-inch screen and the large 4G LTE modem. The 480 x 800 display takes up the majority of the face and it’s quite crisp and responsive. The face also has the four standard Android buttons under the screen as capacitive keys and there’s also a notification light and the front-facing 1.3-megapixel camera above the screen. I dig the notification light, as the default shows a very bright blue light that’s quite noticeable when you have a message.

Along each spine there’s a silver bar that’s half decoration and half ports. On the right, you have the volume rocker and the HDMI-out port and the left spine has the microUSB port for charging and sideloading content. You have to pull open a little door to access the HDMI and microUSB ports and these are connected via a flimsy piece of plastic. I would have preferred just open ports or a sliding door like what’s on the Galaxy S lineup.

On the bottom, you’ll find a microphone hole and the ridge to open the battery door. The power/unlock button and the standard headphone jack can be found on the top.

The back is made of a smooth, dark grey pastic that feels nice in the hand. Like the G2x, there’s a stripe down the middle but this one’s dark black and it shows off the various branding (LG, Verizon, 4G LTE) and the 5-megapixel camera and flash. There’s also a large speaker strip on the back which is pretty loud for music and conference calls.

Popping open the battery cover is simple and it reveals the 1500 mAH battery, a microSD card that’s not hot swappable (comes with 16 GB, can handle up to 32 GB) and a 4G LTE SIM card. That’s right, Verizon 4G LTE uses SIM cards so get used to that weird interference sound if you keep it near your computer speakers).

Build Quality/ Fit & Finish

Verizon LG Revolution review: Android with 4G LTEAt 6.06 ounces, the Verizon LG Revolution is quite a heavy phone but it’s not beyond the point of comfort. It’s also quite a thick phone and it’s tough to call the design “chic,” “sexy” or elegant. That’s not to say it doesn’t have its charm though.

It’s about as thick as the Samsung Droid Charge on the top and the bottom but it’s much thicker along the body. It’s not a brick though, as LG has smartly put some curves along the back to give it a good in-hand feeling. It fits nicely in most pockets but some of you skinny jean wearers out there may have some difficulty.

Additionally, the materials used make it feel like a high-quality devices, unlike the somewhat cheap feeling that’s associate with Samsung devices. The exceptions are the port doors which feel like they may snap off depending on how rough you treat it.

I’m also not a fan of the silver trip on the spines and find the port doors to be quite a hassle and cheap-feeling. With that being said, there’s something charming about the LG Revolution design – it’s not trying to be hip, as it’s just wants to be a big powerhouse device. The more style conscious of you may want to nab the HTC Thunderbolt or the Droid Charge but those looking for a big, bad beast of a smartphone may want to look at the LG Revolution.

Software

Verizon LG Revolution review: Android with 4G LTEThe Verizon LG Revolution runs Android 2.2 Froyo

The Optimus UI was found on the international version of the G2x and on the Optimus Black and it’s an assertive skin that’s not too aggressive. You can watch the video below for a good example of what I mean but I believe that LG mostly made good decisions with this. Is is worth not having Gingerbread? I’m not quite sure.

You have seven home screens on the Verizon LG Revolution and LG includes a variety of widgets for news, social networking aggregation and more. I’m pretty set in my Android ways, so I probably wouldn’t use these full time but they’re not bad and each has a nice visual flair.

Customizing your home screen is as easy as doing a long press and this brings up a grid menu for adding widgets, shortcuts or changing your wallpaper. Like we’ve seen with HTC Sense, TouchWiz and MotoBlur you can zoom out to see all of you home screens at once.

The app menu has also been tweaked, as it’s now divided into separate categories like Communication, Media, Downloads, etc. This can easily be managed and adjusted with a few clicks but I wonder if this organization is actually worth it – it takes me little longer to find the apps I’m looking for than with a standard app tray. Oh well, that’s what the home screens are for, I suppose.

The skinning is quite pleasant but there are some weird inconsistencies. For instance, you have four apps at the bottom of your home screen which are customizable by dragging an app from the app tray but it won’t work if you drag a program from the home screen. Weird. Also, part of me thinks that if you’re going to muck around with Android, you might as well go all the way and make it pretty like HTC Sense.

I’m also not a huge fan of the LG keyboard, as I’ve found its auto-correct to be woeful. It often gets what I want wrong and it doesn’t learn well. It also comes with Swype and you have the various third-party options you can download from the Android Market.

The Verizon LG Revolution comes with a lot of preloaded software including Netflix (more on that later), VZ Navigator, Blockbuster, Amazon Kindle, Let’s Gof 2, Slacker, Rhapsody, Tunewiki and various VCast software.

The Bing thing

Verizon LG Revolution review: Android with 4G LTEThe Verizon LG Revolution comes with Bing as the default search and maps and I couldn’t find a way to change this as the default, as you can’t uninstall it unless your device is rooted. I’ve found that Bing is every bit as good as Google search for most things (it lags in news but is better in image search) but it’s different if you’re used to other Android devices. It’s easy to download Google Search or Google Maps but it won’t be as tightly integrated with the Search button. It’s different but I wouldn’t call it a deal breaker by any means.

Benchmarks

We put the Verizon LG Revolution under some benchmark tests to see what kind of power it’s bringing to the table. Using Quadrant, Neocore, and Linpack, we benchmarked the handset three times with each application and averaged out the scores. In parenthesis, we have the benchmarks of the Samsung Droid Charge.

Quadrant – System Benchmark

Average = 2109 (962)

Linpack – Processor Benchmark

Average = 34.886 (36.2276)

Neocore – Graphics Benchmark

Average = 64.36 Frames per second (56.7 FPS)

Web Browser, Multimedia, and Camera

Web Browser

The Verizon LG Revolution has a relatively standard Webkit-based browser than can be found on most Android handsets. The pages load quickly thanks to the 4G LTE network and the big screen makes things highly-readable. I like the auto-zoom and intelligent zooming, too. While there are third-party options like Firefox and Skyfire, I think most of you will be satisfied by the stock browser.

Multimedia

Verizon LG Revolution review: Android with 4G LTELike most Android phones, the Verizon LG Revolution does a fine job at handling your music and videos but the experience is not quite as integrated out of the box as the iPhone. The LG Revolution is the first Android handset to come preloaded with the Netflix app and it’s a cool way to watch movies and TV shows if you’re a member. The interface is nice, it’s easy to manage your queue and videos stream nicely with the 4G LTE network. The big screen works really well for movies that you stream and sideload.

You’ll also find the Bitbop service preloaded (kind of, the demo is preloaded and it’ll kick you to a VCast download) and this costs $10 a month for access to streaming shows and movies that you can also download for offline access.

Google Music Beta works well on the Revolution and the preloaded Rhapsody and Slacker can also handle your other streaming audio needs. Overall, you’ll be very happy with what you can do with the LG Revolution on the multimedia side of things.

Camera

The Verizon LG Revolution sports a 5-megapixel camera with an flash and I found it to be stunningly average. Photos are fine for Facebook or quick e-mails but it’s not as crisp or clear as other 5-megapixel cameras we’ve seen. The photos generally don’t blow up well, as the detail is nothing to brag about. The flash is also kind of obnoxiously bright but it definitely helps in low lighting situation, even if it washes things out.

The UI is sparse and functional, as the shutter button, gallery and video recording switcher are on the right side of the screen and the options, flash control and camera switcher are on the left. Zooming can be handled with the volume rocker or on screen and the shutter speed is pretty good unless you’re using the flash.

You do have a ton of shooting options, as you can adjust the scene (auto, portrait, landscape, sports, night and more), ISO, white balance), change the shot mode to include fancy options like panorama and continuous shots, and there are a ton of effects you can add on. The 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera gets the job done adequately and I found video calls with apps like Tango looked pretty good.

Verizon LG Revolution review with 4G LTE

Flash on, standard settings, dark lighting

Verizon LG Revolution review

Low lighting, no flash, standard settings

Verizon LG Revolution review with 4G LTE

Standard settings, medium lighting

Verizon LG Revolution review with 4G LTE

LG Revolution front-facing camera pic, good lighting

The 5-megapixel camera can record video at 720p HD but I found playback was a tad choppy. It’s not too bad though and the detail is actually pretty nice. You can use the HDMI-out port to watch these videos on your big-screen TV.

Call Quality, 4G LTE and Battery Life

Call Quality, 4G LTE

Verizon LG Revolution review: Android with 4G LTEI found call quality to be quite good on Verizon’s network throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Callers sounded crisp and clear with no static or distortion. People told me I sounded clear but they could still tell I was on a cell phone. Conference calls could have been better with a better speaker but the actual audio clarity was fine.

As for the 4G LTE speeds, I ran the Speetest.net app 10 times and averaged it out to find average speeds of 7.54 Mbps down and 2.99 Mbps up, well within the promised speeds from Verizon. The speeds varied wildly though, as I had highs of 12.7 Mbps down and lows of 3.8 Mbps.

In terms of actual usage, you do notice the speed when you’re out and about. Browsing is just much faster (even though you’re still bottlenecked by the browser itself) and watching Netflix on a bus or train is an awesome and smooth experience.

That 4G LTE comes with a price though, as the battery life is not that great. The Verizon LG Revolution died after about 8 hours sitting on my desk all day receiving e-mails from two accounts. When I took it out and about with heavy e-mail, browsing, GPS and video streaming, it was only able to eek out about six hours on a single charge. Make sure you have a spare charger in your car or office if this is your next device.

The final take: You say you want a Revolution?

Verizon LG Revolution review: Android with 4G LTE

The Verizon LG Revolution has a lot of things going for it, as the big, beautiful screen is nice, the 4G LTE speeds rock and it has enough horsepower to let you blow through apps without experiencing slowdown. The custom LG layer is non-offensive and the Android Market is growing by the day.

On the other hand, some of the design elements are a clear miss and the battery life still leaves a lot to be desired. It’s not quite as sexy as the HTC Thunderbolt or even the Droid Charge but it is a beast of a smartphone that should satisfy users who want 4G LTE speeds and ample power without design frills.

  • Joemays1978

    crap phone that doesn’t compete with the Thunderbolt, and I traded in my thunderbolt for this thanks to Netflix.  This review doesn’t mention that The Revolution doesn’t have the most up to date Android Market, and that it is missing some apps.  That is especially bad when its missing an app that you had previously bought.  It also lags more often that the Thunderbolt did. It also has issues with some apps that typically run on other Androids. The Revolution will be getting returned and I will be getting another Android.

  • Dodadado

    The Bing thing is pretty funny. Also does it suffer from battery issues from the Android OS like other recent models like the Galaxy S II? Not talking about the LTE battery issue. Some folks over at XDA discovered that the apps were draining battery power faster and 2.3.4 Gingerbread should fix the issue.

  • tehdude

    Kinda lost a few credibility points with the HTC Sense statement there. IT might look nice at first glance, but as a TBolt owner I can tell you everything is very screwy like saving contacts on the phone only by default. The calendar also is atrocious. I’m so eagerly awaiting Cyanogen on this thing that I’ve decided to sell a kidney to donate to the cause.

  • Steve

    The Thunderbolt gets beeter 4g speeds. I can get 40Mbps Dow with my T-Bolt. I get 5 with the LG Revolution.

    • Twstd426

      I am getting 40 mbps download and 15-18 upload. I. Think they phone is sick. But I also just switched from they x2.

  • Johnny_pdx

    Stock keyboard does suck!

  • Johnny_pdx

    Oh yeah, a few other things to add:
    – UI and screen/app transitions are laggy. Not unusuable, but as compared to my G2x, this reminds me why I didn’t adopt Android until there were dual-core processors.- Camera is typical LG. Unless something is completely still, the shutter lag is too terrible to have a good shot. It’s at least a good second or two (more in low light) before the camera focuses and takes the pic.- Battery life is surprisingly decent. My G2x dies after 4 hours on high usage. I actually got slightly better on the Revolution and could probably last 4.5 hours on high use, maybe 6.5 on medium use, and probably 9 on low.- Stock keyboard really sucks. Can’t emphasize that the auto correct is awful. It never actually highlights the word I type. – Phone is very thick and heavy, but all LTE phones are like that.

  • Johnny_pdx

    Oh yeah, a few other things to add:
    – UI and screen/app transitions are laggy. Not unusuable, but as compared to my G2x, this reminds me why I didn’t adopt Android until there were dual-core processors.- Camera is typical LG. Unless something is completely still, the shutter lag is too terrible to have a good shot. It’s at least a good second or two (more in low light) before the camera focuses and takes the pic.- Battery life is surprisingly decent. My G2x dies after 4 hours on high usage. I actually got slightly better on the Revolution and could probably last 4.5 hours on high use, maybe 6.5 on medium use, and probably 9 on low.- Stock keyboard really sucks. Can’t emphasize that the auto correct is awful. It never actually highlights the word I type. – Phone is very thick and heavy, but all LTE phones are like that.

  • Mreynolds90

    You can change the keyboard to a 3×4 

  • Sistah Susan

    I have had this phone one week and I have to charge it every 24hrs.  This is my first “smart phone”, is this normal?  If so…not good.

    • Ashley Urbain

      If you are actually useing your phone throughout the day and needing to charge it after 24 hours that is actually considered very good for a smart phone. most people I talk with get 12 hours.

    • Cbrown88

       This is very normal for android 4G phones…

  • Hottchick_2398

    I got my phone a couple days ago.. and i have to charge it every 4 hours.. and im barley on it.. i really like it otherwise.. any advice as to what i can do to save my battery??

    • megan! (:

      theres certain apps to extend the battery life!

  • http://twitter.com/urbanagain terry howard

    Sucks Big Time.

  • Danzig_fiend78

    I dont know if it’s happened to anyone but my Revolution has turned off on me as I’m watching Netflix..

  • Heather

    Hate this phone.  Ive had it for 2.5 months (on my second phone now) been in the store to many times for locking up and shutting off.  They say they have not had any problems reported but I think thats BS.  They have set it to just 3G, reset it to factory setting 3 times and I still have the problems……  I would stay away from this phone if you are looking for a new one

    • Jbarili

      Man this post sounds like I wrote it…..I have the exact same problems.  On my second phone also and has been reset to factory settings numerous time.  This phone it the biggest POS I have ever owned.  And it seems to bring out the worst in the Verizon staff as they are unwilling to do a damn thing about it!!!!

    • Jbarili

      Man this post sounds like I wrote it…..I have the exact same problems.  On my second phone also and has been reset to factory settings numerous time.  This phone it the biggest POS I have ever owned.  And it seems to bring out the worst in the Verizon staff as they are unwilling to do a damn thing about it!!!!

  • Twstd426

    The phone is awesome! I get 40 mbps down and 15-18 up. They battery does suck but, what do you expect from a 4g phone. U buy it to get stuff done fast and it does that very well. I love it. oh it needs gingerbread.

  • Rich

    I wish I checked out this site prior to my purchase.  I definitely have issues with the battery life.  Coming from just a primarily phone-use person, I have found it easy to use, and quite useful at keeping up with all aspects of my life- not sure if this is good or bad.  Too much information at your fingertips can be burdensome!

  • Jchickness

    For some unknown reason I lost my ability to send and rec emails ??  Even when I touch the email Icon, It asks for my password ??  This in unacceptable.  I have used it for 30 dyas without this problem….It just happened 4 days ago.    Any Ideas ?  Thanks

  • WBAnd

    I concur with the short battery life. In addition the phone takes a long time in start up. I have also had problems with voice mail indicating a message when there is none. I have gone to Verizon three time and that have not been able to correct the problem.

  • AirSafetyWriter

    It’s the worst cell/smart phone I’ve ever had, and I’m on my second (a new one plus a “certified replacement”). Everything about it is slow, from keypad response on, plus it’s unpredictable. The latest of its many glitches? It requires re-entry of the password for email accounts on the phone most — but not all of the time. Spare yourself.

  • Kwbryant00

    Great phone when it has a battery charge. A couple hours playing with it and you better be near a charger. At work, in a large downtown building it may last for 5 hours if I dont use it. My old phone would last for a couple days under the same conditions.

  • Jason Eades

    Phone is fast and powerful enough to handle everything I have thrown at it.  However, battery is horrible.  If you go to an 8 hour conference/event, you had better carry a spare battery around with you because this phone won’t last, especially if you actually use it.  I use my phone as an alarm clock and there is a pretty good chance it won’t wake you up because the battery has died at some point during the night.  Sure, you can leave it plugged in all night but that can’t be great for the battery.  Phone will also cut off randomly.  I have found that every other time I open foursquare, the phone completely reboots.  Has also locked up on a couple occasions requiring me to remove the battery. To really be able to utilize this phone, you need to wear a fanny pack and carry around several batteries and chargers.

  • Cindy

    The LG Revolution is the worst phone I’ve ever had.  I changed from a Blackberry to this “smart” phone.   It has a short battery life as long as you don’t use it.  If you actually attempt to use it for phone calls or email, you might as well leave it plugged in all day.  You can actually watch the battery drain while you use the phone.  This is the second phone (first was replaced for being non-responsive) and I have to get a third phone because this one keeps turning into a brick for no reason.  I’m on my second battery because tech support says I should have 7 hours use time.  I don’t know what phone they’re talking about but it’s not the LG Revolution.  When I bought the phone, I took it back twice the first day for problems and was told that  I just wasn’t “familiar” with the way a smart phone worked.  They said  I would have to be patient and “learn” the phone.  I have learned the following about the phone:  It is slow to respond to touch or keyboard.  It freezes and can stay that way for hours until you remove the battery.  The free case I received as a “perk” for buying the phone causes the screen to be even more unresponsive and you can’t have a case on the phone if you want it to work at all.  You need to have three batteries if you’re going to carry the phone all day and I wonder if the extra batteries will drain while I’m carrying them.  This is a terrible phone.  The verizon salespeople told me they had never had a complaint about the battery life of this phone.  They told me there was a no worry return policy, but they refused to let me return the phone any of the 4 times I was in their store the first two days.  DON’T BUY THIS PHONE EVER.

    • Tod

      CINDY when you first charge the phone make sure you follow the initial recomended charge time. do not cut it short if you are supposed to charge a device initially for say 12 hrs make sure you do this as some batteries have charge memories. this is what i have read on many new lithium powered devices, not just cell phones. so make sure that first charge is maximum. hope this helps….Tod

    • Anmamo

       I am having the same problems and have had the intense desire to throw the phone across the room.  My next phone will be an I-phone for sure.

  • Jnapoleon

    LG 4 Revolution is one of the worst phone that I ever have. In 3 months, I already received two certified phones plus the original phone that i paid Verizon $199.00 for. Basically I got three phones in 3 months for which i complained sometimes, it froze, that’s was the original, the second I only have it for probably a month. One morning last week january 6th, 2012, I observed the phone doing an update and the next thing it started to reboot then after that, it continued power off and on. Message was network was not available.. I removed the battery when it ‘s loaded i put it on safe mode and continued doing the same thing all day. I called Verizon and they told that is a manufaturer problem so they can not provide another phone from different manufacturer only to keep sending same model to me under my warranty unless i go on Ebay and purchase a phone according to one technical supervisor. I guess there no lemon law on these phones after complaining for same issues. There are times the battery does not last full day even though that I do not text or call much on a daily basis. I love the phone but why going to all these problems? So I guess it’s my loss to waiste $200.00 on something that does not function properly. One veirzon customer rep told me to choose that phone because that the top 4G phone in the market right now. I was not looking into that, I simply needed a phone for emergency and I hand up going to that mess. Even my contact was expired, they did not give any type of discount as a primary plus I have 2 other phones with them. Sometimes I think of getting out but it might be the same from other places when they keep changing providers. If i try to send a text in french language, it comes back to me undelivered as message not sent. The only way to send it only write a few words not a full sentence, then it will go. Why can’t you format it the same way to English when all these languages are available in it? I went to a store making the complaints they told me there is no problem.

    • Anmamo

       I agree (see my comment below).  I will add that the LG Revolution is causing me to start a revolution…..against Androids.  It’s piece of crap.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_SQ4UYM5MQCEV25LKSIGULF6L6M JohnnyC

    How  does one  extend  the Battery Life  ???

  • Anderson649

    I can’t get my internet to come up, and my GPS will not activate either what happened ? can anyone help me

  • JoWes

    I’ve had mine since it first came out and love it.  Of course, I’m not really a technical person but found it great for emails, texting and chatting.  My only drawback is living in a small country town that has limited *(weak) signals for audio, but texting works 24/7.  I am well pleased with it and have found no faults using it as intened with no major tinkering. 

  • Rarebit

    I’ve had my phone for six months and have screamed “I hate this phone” almost every single day. What makes me twice as angry is I wanted an I-Phone but let the sales clerk talk me into this phone. It doesn’t hold a charge, even when you’ve only made a couple of calls-no games, downloads or any activity that would drain the battery. My friends and I text pics back and forth but you can’t move them to you gallery to save them, my e-mail won’t open half the time…I HATE THIS PHONE!

  • Leandro

    Hi. This smartphone operate in 4g 2500Mhz? tks metatron1979@gmail.com

  • CG

    My revolution is very slow. Has anyone had any problem with the phone shutting off when you take a picture?

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