By DickieAdams | June 30, 2011 3:25 PM
According to Verizon’s site, and we quote, the LG Revolution “is a major wow-machine. Superior speed is found when the 1GHz Snapdragon Processor and LG’s 4G LTE modem are combined with Verizon’s 4G LTE Network. This power-trio makes it possible to download movies and games in seconds, shoot HD videos and share them instantly, seamlessly multitask and browse the web. Honestly, after one day with this device, you’ll see mobile technology in a whole new way.” A pretty bold statement, if you don’t mind us saying so. Does the phone live up to the hype? Read on for the full review!
In the box is nothing out of the ordinary. Just the device, a microUSB cable, a wall charger for the same cable, and a 16GB microSD card.
Powered by a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, 768MB of RAM (this is difficult to confirm), 16GB of built-in memory (plus another included 16GB microSD), and a 1500mAh battery, the Verizon LG Revolution certainly seems, at least on the surface, to be an outstanding device.
Also included are the standard complement of accelerometer, gyroscope, GPS, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, etc, which one would expect from a device such as this.
In hand, the LG Revolution is heavy, sharp-edged, and generally uncomfortable to use for long periods of time. In fact, as the video mentions, the edges are so sharp it is difficult to hold this phone up to your ear for more than a few minutes at a time.
The build seemed fairly solid when we first started using the device, but multiple lock-ups requiring a battery pull began to cause the back cover to squeak and pop.
Not mentioned in the video is the Qi port hiding under two covers: the back and another rubber bung. Unfortunately, while the capability exists, Verizon doesn’t seem to offer the necessary back with the device by default, nor do they seem to sell the accessory online.
While the touch menu buttons at the bottom of the device are plenty bright, the 4.3″ TFT screen is a terrible disappointment, especially compared to other offerings on the market.
Also on the front of the device is a multi-colored LED (hooray), and a 1.3MP front-facing camera.
The back of the device features a 5MP camera (see more about this later in the review), LED flash, rear microphone, and speaker.
The back cover is soft-touch plastic, so you won’t feel like the device is going to accidentally fall out of your hands. But as mentioned above, repeated replacement of this cover has caused squeaking and popping, especially near the volume buttons.
Underneath the battery cover is the 1500mAh battery, the 4G LTE SIM, and the 16GB Class 4 microSD card. If you look closely on the left side of the device, near the LG logo on the battery, you can see the rubber cover for the Qi port.
Moving to the top of the device, we see the tiny power button and headphone jack. When I plugged a wired phone headset into the LG Revolution, I did get complaints from callers about not being able to hear me very clearly. Audio coming from the same jack was clear with respect to alarms, notifications, and music, but you could hear crackles and pops during calls.
On the right side of the device are the chrome volume keys, both of which were responsive and without problem. Also on this side is the dedicated HDMI port – unfortunately hidden behind a door you have to pick loose with your fingernail.
To the opposite left side is another door hiding the micro USB slot. In our opinion, it’s simply a matter of time before these doors are damaged or tweaked enough to require removal (if they don’t pop out on their own). While the aesthetic is nice, it would probably have been better to leave the charging port exposed.
Oh Verizon and LG, what have you wrought? Rather than rant about Bing, the bloatware, the interface lockups, and the missing standard applications, let us provide this story as an example of the entire software experience.
While in California recently I was using the Revolution to navigate, specifically with the Verizon Navigator app. Normally, I would stick with Google Navigation, but since it wasn’t included by default, it was only fair to give Verizon’s application a chance.
The drive out caused no problems. I was able to create detours around traffic areas, and generally thought, “Perhaps this isn’t too bad!”. Woe to me for trusting things to be so simple, for when I went to make my return trip, the app would pop up an error, and then close. No amount of rebooting, cache deleting, or force stopping would make it work, either. Thankfully, I had already loaded Google Maps on the device, and was able to find my way back to the hotel without further incident. The software never loaded again until I returned back home, at which point I was able to connect.
Just one example which perfectly demonstrates the frustration the software presented. Even setting aside the fact that the phone was released with Froyo versus Gingerbread, the software configuration, on the whole, was disappointing.
The camera, however, was a slight bright spot in an otherwise bleak world. At least with regard to the still images. Colors were bright and accurate, and even without a dedicated camera key, it was easy to take photos. Corner detail was a little fuzzy, and the focus routine was a bit slow, but still, the pictures were actually decent.
The audio quality of the video was actually quite good, since it is bolstered by a rear facing microphone. The 720p video recording suffered from inaccurate white balance issues, tearing in fast moving, high detail areas (note the grass in the background near the end of the sample). Perfectly serviceable for uploading cute videos of your kids or cats to Facebook, but not high quality content by any means.
Sadly, with all the bloat and extras, the LG Revolution, while looking somewhat good in the numbers game, doesn’t perform very well at all. The screen is often unresponsive, even to the point of locking up where the battery had to be removed a few times. Then, without reason, the device would hum along with seemingly no issues at all. The most noticeable performance issue was revealed consistently with the Netflix app. Sound would play smoothly and without interruption, but the video as far from smooth. This compared to another device playing the same movie at the exact same time and demonstring no issues.
Smartbench 2011: Productivity 1196, 1241 Games
LinPack: 37.678 MFLOP, 2.22 Seconds
CALL QUALITY/NETWORK SPEED
Call quality was fair across the board. For the most part the calls were clear, but recently, the conversation would be filled with cracks and pops. It is interesting to note that the LG Revolution also gives off a bit of interference from its charging port which you can pick up through your speakers if data is being passed — likely due to the GSM-based LTE modem. The speakerphone is loud, but with complaints about not being heard, it was back to Bluetooth for 99% of the calls.
Data speeds, especially LTE (averaging 10,000+ kbps down / 2200 kbps up), were fantastic, when you could find it. Thankfully, Verizon is pushing these rollouts at a furious pace. In the meantime, make sure to check your area before paying a premium for LTE. 3G speeds averaged 800-900kbps up and down – on par with Sprint in the same area.
Battery life on the Verizon LG Revolution is sub-par as well. Fully charged it could barely make it through the night, let alone muster 3 hours of phone calls during the day. If you don’t let the device do anything at all out of the box, the “Android System” (this can be read as bloatware) occupies 84% of the battery use. Using the GPS and the navigation software burned through so much juice my car charger couldn’t keep up, finally turning off mid-way through my aforementioned return trip.
Charging the LG Revolution also seems to take an inordinate amount of time.
A perk of the device would be its Qi wireless charging technology, where this battery muncher could be fed a constant stream of electrons. But alas, the cover does not seem to be available from Verizon online at this time.
PURCHASING AND AVAILABILITY
The LG Revolution can be purchased, with a two-year contract, for $250 from Verizon.
+ Large screen
+ LTE speeds (if available in your area)
+ 32GB of included memory
- TFT display
- LTE speeds (if not available in your area)
- Poor battery life
- No way to remove bloatware
- Unresponsive device at times
When you get down to it, the Verizon LG Revolution is an average device with a premium device price tag. Perhaps if the price was $100 with a 2-year contract, then one might be willing to look past the flaws and inadequacies of the the Revolution. But even then, you would be forced to accept Bing and a lot of extra Verizon bloatware which would further dilute the experience. Our recommendation? Don’t expect this device to change the way you look at mobile technology — if it does, the future will seem pretty grim.
We rate the LG Revolution a 2.5/5.
Note: at the time of finalizing this review, Amazon was selling the LG Revolution on a new two-year contract for $.01. At that price, this device would rank a solid 3-3.5. Still an average device, but much more appealing (especially if the community is able to come up with a better custom ROM).