Review: LG Revolution (Verizon)

Posted by Dan H. on Jun 12, 2011

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LG may not be known for high-end smartphones in the US, but they’ve certainly tried hard to impress with the LTE packing Revolution on Verizon. We’ve been playing around with one for a week, keep reading for our thoughts!

Hardware

The LG Revolution is the last of the three launch 4G LTE devices. It’s pretty similar to the other two 4G LTE smartphones — the ThunderBolt and the DROID Charge.

On the front of the device, you have a 4.3-inch TFT display, with a 800 x 480 resolution, along with four touch-sensitive Android controls — Menu, Home, Back, and Search. There’s a 1.3MP front-facing camera, along with a speaker and an LED notification light.

On the left side of the device, there’s a microUSB port (for charge and sync) hidden under a cheap, plastic cover.

On the right side, there’s a micro-HDMI port (also hidden), along with the volume rocker.

On the top, you’ll find the power button and the 3.5mm headphone jack.

On the back, you’ll find a 5MP + flash, along with a speaker.

The Revolution’s hardware is good, but we weren’t particularly impressed. The chrome on the side and back make the device look cheesy, and the TFT display is disappointing. At 0.52”, it’s also the thickest of the three 4G LTE smartphones. The hardware isn’t our main complaint though…

Software

The LG Revolution ships with Android 2.2.2, with LG’s custom UI running on top. When Gingerbread has been available for months, we really don’t understand why companies still aren’t shipping devices with Gingerbread 2.3.

LG’s custom UI is…interesting. There are seven home screens, each customizable to your liking, whether it be with LG’s widgets, and widgets you download from the Android Market. We really like LG’s media widget – it’s different, and really awesome.

The app drawer on the Revolution is a mess. Apps are organized into categories, and you can create/edit/delete categories. Unfortunately, it’s extremely buggy, and it doesn’t work that well. For example, we tried to move the Music application into the Media category, and it ended up moving the Android Market application into Media, and it moved out the Gallery app into Tools. Music didn’t move from it’s original category at all. It’s completely unusable.

The LG Revolution ships with Bing. We’re fine with Bing, but we’d still prefer Google. The Revolution also ships with a bunch of bloatware. Bitbop, Rock Band, Lets Gold 2, Rhapsody, TuneWiki, etc. On the flip side, the Revolution ships with Netflix for Android. With Verizon’s 4G LTE network behind it, we were able to stream movies without any glitches at all.

We’re not a fan of the software on the Revolution. LG’s custom UI is buggy and extremely frustrating to use. The bloatware on the Revolution is annoying, and you can’t remove it either.

Camera

The Revolution is packing a 5MP shooter + flash. In low-light conditions, the Revolution performed rather well, but in normal light conditions, the pictures looked a little washed out. It’d work for quick shots, but don’t expect too much from it.

The Revolution shoots video at 720p. Videos looked much better than the pictures, but audio quality wasn’t fantastic.

4G LTE

The Revolution runs of Verizon’s 4G LTE network (full review here). Verizon claims that customers should expect download speeds of 5-12Mbps down. We’re pleased to report that we were able to achieve download speeds of 7Mbps down and 6Mbps up consistently.

The Revolution’s 4G connection can also be used as a hotspot for 8 devices. In our testing, the hotspot function is completely useless on the Revolution. When we connected our laptop, we saw dropped connections (at least four times per hour), slow speeds, and sometimes, it just flat-out stopped working. It could be a problem with our unit, but we’ve seen the same problem on the ThunderBolt and the DROID Charge.

Battery Life

The Revolution ships with a 1500mAH battery. With medium to light usage, it won’t be difficult to pull through a day without charging, but if you’re streaming video or music, and using the hotspot, you’ll definitely need to bring around a charger.

One thing we really like about the Revolution is the ability to turn off the LTE radio. Sometimes when you’re running out of battery but you don’t have an outlet nearby, you can jump into Settings and turn off the LTE radio. It does require a reboot though – that’s something to keep in mind.

Pricing

The LG Revolution is available from Verizon for $249.99 with a new two-year contract.

Conclusion

We really liked the HTC Thunderbolt and the Samsung DROID Charge, but we can’t say the same about the Revolution. The hardware is good, but we didn’t like the TFT display, or the general overall design of the Revolution. LG’s custom UI is absolutely horrible, and it’s still running a version of Android from 2010. We really wanted to like the Revolution, as we were impressed by the company’s G2X, but we walked away from the Revolution very disappointed.

Dan H. (119 Posts) - Website | Twitter | Facebook


Dan H. is a gadget lover. The computer is his mother tongue; he started using them since before he could remember. He specializes in mobile devices, and is nuts about any kind of new technology. Follow me on twitter: twitter.com/techshoe. Contact: dan (at) mobilitysite (dot) com

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