LG's VX8800 Venus for Verizon

The LG Venus is a rather simply styled, yet elegant, slider handset. It weighs a reasonable 111g (3.9oz), and has a fairly compact set of dimensions: 102mm x 51mm x 12mm (4.0" x 2.0" x .5"). It has a textured black rear cover, where the camera's lens is located, and a chrome trimmed sliding front that houses two displays. The top display is where all of the normal on-screen information is presented. It can render 262k colors and offers QVGA (240x320 pixel) resolution, making it quite sharp and colorful. The bottom display, which is touch sensitive, takes the place of the normal d-pad and softkey cluster. In short, softkeys and directional navigation buttons are shown on the screen, and change depending on the current function that is on the main display. The flexible glossy front face of the phone, which is required by the lower touch screen, has a fair amount of give to it, something that, when combined with vibration haptic feedback, improves the touch screen's usability. But also leads me to worry that it might be prone to damage from keys and similar hazards commonly found in a pocket.

The slider mechanism on the Venus is spring loaded and snaps open or closed with a solid thunk. Sliding the front of the phone open reveals the large, and quite normal, alphanumeric keypad. The call send, call end, and dedicated CLR key are also found with the keypad. All of the keys provide great tactile response and are very easy to use both quickly and accurately.

The other hardware buttons are located on the side of the Venus. The rocker switch for volume control is on the left side of the phone, next to the voice dial button and the covered LG power/data port. The right side is home to the camera shutter button, the music access key, and the covered microSD memory card slot. The music key also serves as the touchscreen unlock key when the phone is closed.

In terms of physical design, the VX8800 Venus is a virtual home run. The phone is very solidly constructed and just oozes quality. Everything snaps snuggly into place, and the materials used offer a nice feel and are aesthetically pleasing. My only concerns revolve around the plastic surface on the front of the phone. Its slightly concave shape causes glares to appear from pretty much any lighting source, and I worry about its durability a bit. It seems very resilient, but it makes sense that LG has included a protective pouch for the device.