Verizon Wireless LG Enact Review
Verizon’s latest option for customers looking for an affordable smartphone is the all new LG Enact (VS890). A smartphone that offers a slide-out, physical QWERTY keyboard, Verizon 4G LTE data speeds, a 4 inch display and runs Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean all for the on-contract price of just $19.99.
Verizon was kind enough to send over a LG Enact for us to play with and we have used the device for a couple of weeks prior to writing this review. Read on to find out what we think of this budget-friendly smartphone.
LG Enact Unboxing
The LG Enact smartphone ships with a wall charger, MicroUSB charge/sync cable, a 2460mAh battery, and all of the user manuals and guides you’ll need to get started with the device. The included wall charger’s output is rated at 1.2A and does a good job of charging the LG Enact quickly.
LG Enact Design & Hardware
Overall, the LG Enact is a rather plain looking phone that is neither attractive nor ugly. The phone is completely covered in plastic and is black except for a thin gray band that runs all the way around the outer edges. The most exciting design feature here is the slide-out keyboard, which we’ll go over a bit later in this review. The LG Enact measures 4.37 x 2.06 x 0.62 inches and weighs in at a hefty 5.99 ounces. In the hand, the LG Enact is a good-feeling phone. All of the edges have been nicely rounded, the construction feels solid and the small size makes the touchscreen easily managed with one hand.
Up front, there is a 4 inch LCD display with a screen resolution of 480×800. Four capacitive Android buttons (Back, Home, Recent Apps and Menu) are directly below the display and a 1.3 Megapixel front facing camera, notification LED and earpiece are above it. A 3.5mm headphone jack is on the top edge, while the microphone and a slot for removing the battery door with your thumbnail is on the bottom edge. The volume controls and MicroUSB port are each located on the Enact’s left side and the right side features a Power/Lock button. Lastly, the rear of the phone includes a 5 megapixel camera with LED flash and the main speaker.
The rear of the LG Enact is covered by a user-removable battery door that has been textured to provide a good grip. Removing the battery door allows users to access the LG Enact’s battery, micro SIM card and the MicroSD card slot, which supports up to a 64GB card.
Internally, the LG Enact is powered by a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor and 1GB worth of the RAM. There is also 8GB worth of on-board storage for apps and media. The processor used here is from Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 plus series (Model MSM8930) and is what we would expect to find in a current, entry-level device. It performs well most of the time, but we did encounter a strange case of lagginess while using this phone. The lag only happens immediately after booting up the LG Enact. Once the Enact powers on, the home screens appear blank and the phone stutters briefly while populating the list of application icons. We experienced this lagginess each time we rebooted the phone and it usually lasted for around 15 seconds. After it has fully booted up, the Enact runs smoothly.
LG Enact Display
LG makes some of the best looking displays found on a smartphone, but this isn’t one of them.
At 4 inches in size and with a screen resolution of just 480×800 pixels, the Enact’s display has a pixel density rating of only 233 pixels per inch. That results in text and images showing jagged edges.
Other than the low resolution, the display on the Enact is actually quite nice. We were happy with its size, color, brightness, viewing angles and how well it responds to touch. It is just a shame that LG couldn’t up the resolution a tad bit, because that is the only thing holding this display back.
The main attraction here is a slide out, physical QWERTY keyboard. The keyboard is the only reason a customer might pick the up the Enact over another low price-point smartphone on Verizon’s network – such as the LG Lucid 2. So if the keyboard sucks, the LG Enact doesn’t have any real reason to exist. Thankfully, that isn’t the case at all.
It slides open and shuts easily and smoothly, includes 5 rows worth of well spaced-out keys and feels like it will last for a long time. As far as slide-out keyboards go, this is the best one we’ve ever used. It took a couple days to get acquainted with the keyboard layout, but after that, typing on the Enact’s physical keyboard has been a satisfying experience.
We especially appreciated the fact that LG added dedicated buttons for the search and Write & Share apps. Do you frequently find yourself needing to take a quick note or search Google for information? If so, with the Enact, you can press one button and immediately begin typing in the required apps.
If we had to pick one thing to change about the Enact’s keyboard, it would be the position of the top row of keys in relation to the edge of the screen. Folks with larger hands may find entering numbers on this keyboard a bit difficult due to that lip being in the way.
LG Enact Software
On the software side of things, the LG Enact ships with Android 4.1.2 (Jelly Bean) and all of the goodies it has to offer, including the Chrome browser, YouTube, Gmail and the incredibly useful Google Now app.
Along with version 4.1.2 of Android, the Enact includes LG’s Optimus UI, which offers a ton of customization options. We still prefer using Android in its vanilla form, but the Optimus UI has really grown on us. It isn’t nearly as bloated as Samsung’s TouchWiz, yet still manages to include a massive collection of useful settings and features that allow users to get the most out of their device.
The Enact also includes LG exclusive apps such as QuickMemo and QSlide. LG QuickMemo allows users to easily capture screen shots, add doodles/notes and then share them via email, SMS and social networks. LG QSlide was designed to help user multitask easier by allowing them to run certain applications within small windows that are displayed on top of whatever they are doing with the phone. The windows that contain Qslide apps can be moved, resized or made transparent as needed, allowing users to easily switch their focus between multiple, running applications.
We first reviewed QSlide a while ago, but it has changed considerably since that review was published. The older version only worked with one app, but now you can use it with the Calculator, Rich Note, Calendar and the Video player. One surprising thing we discovered about the latest version of the LG QSlide app is it will now allow users to watch two videos at once.
As the screenshot above shows, You can watch one streaming video and one locally stored video at the same time. Both videos play completely smooth with no frame rate issues and you can even hear each audio stream playing all at once, though mixed together. It isn’t practical to use at all, but it is certainly an impressive demonstration of the true multitasking on Android.
Other built-in applications include LG’s powerful yet easy to use Video Editor app and File Share, which allows users to wirelessly share documents, images, videos and music with other LG smartphone users. The phone also comes with several pre-installed apps from Verizon. You’ll get Amazon, Audible, Dictionary, IMDb, Mobile Hotspot, My Verizon, NFL Mobile, Quick Translator, Slacker, and VZ Navigator, Verizon Tones, Verizon Video call and a few others.
LG Enact Battery Life
LG equipped the Enact with a large 2460mAh battery, which had no problems lasting a full day worth of mixed usage per charge. It charges quickly and has lasted from morning till bedtime each day we’ve used it with plenty of juice left to spare. So no complaints here at all when it comes to the LG Enact’s battery.
LG Enact Call Quality & Connectivity
We didn’t encounter any significant problems while using the LG Enact for making or receiving calls. Not a single dropped call and calls sounded good on both ends, and volume levels from the earpiece and rear speaker were good.
Verizon’s 4G LTE network worked impressively well on the Enact as well. Data speeds while connected to 4G LTE were as fast as any other Verizon Wireless device we’ve used in the past and the phone had no problem finding or keeping a strong connection. Other connectivity options supported by the LG Enact include WI-Fi 802.11 b/g/n (2.4GHz), NFC and Bluetooth 4.0.
LG Enact Camera
The LG Enact features a 5 megapixel rear camera with LED flash. It is capable of capturing 1080p HD video at 30 frames-per-second and is neither the best, nor the worst smartphone camera we’ve used. It is basically what you should expect to find on a current, low-price smartphone. A camera that is perfectly capable of capturing images that are suitable for sharing via SMS or social networks, but not necessarily the best choice for capturing important moments.
LG’s camera software is loaded with features and is easy to figure out and use. You’ll find HDR, Burst and Panorama shooting modes as well as 7 different scene modes. The camera also allows you to control the white balance, ISO and apply color effects to your photos.
The LG Enact is an entry-level Android smartphone with a physical keyboard and an on-contract price of just $20. With all of that in mind, it is hard to find a reason not to recommend the LG Enact to teens looking for their first smartphone or anyone who simply doesn’t like typing on a touchscreen and is in the market for an ultra-affordable smartphone on Verizon’s network.
It wasn’t designed to compete with the latest and greatest high-end Android smartphones out there. So naturally it won’t offer all of the bells and whistles found on more expensive smartphones, but what the LG Enact does offer is an overall good experience in an affordable package. Among the other entry-level options currently available from Verizon Wireless, the LG Enact is one of the best.
The LG Enact is available exclusively from Verizon Wireless and retails for $19.99 with a new two-year agreement.