Smartphones have pushed lowly feature phones to the backburner. But that isn’t to say feature phones are obsolete; after all, some people just need a phone to call and text. The LG Exalt ($79.99 on contract) is a seemingly high-end flip phone with a sleek design, but its set of features doesn’t justify the price. With several similar options available on Verizon Wireless, all of which are better values, the expensive Exalt ends up less than appealing.
The LG Exalt is pretty for a flip phone. It measures 4.37 by 2.06 by 0.62 inches (HWD) and weighs 3.8 ounces, a bit lighter than the 4.9-ounce Casio G’zOne Ravine 2. It’s entirely plastic, with curved, chrome edges and a glossy inky blue exterior that glitters. On the left side is the volume rocker and 3.5mm headphone jack. The right side features a dedicated camera button. A flash-less camera is on the back, while the bottom holds a micro USB port. Popping off the back panel reveals the microSD card slot and a small, removable 900mAh battery.
While the Exalt looks great, the plastic is extremely fingerprint-prone and slippery. In addition, one-handed opening is difficult. The hinge feels sturdy, but requires you to push the whole way through. There are no grooves to make opening it with your thumb any easier.
The interior of the phone is also entirely plastic, with a faux brushed metal finish around the not-so-sturdy backlit keypad. The five-way control pad is surrounded by seven function keys, two of which are for setting the alarm and activating the speakerphone. The Clear button also toggles the voice recorder. All buttons are large and clearly labeled, but they’re all the same white color and recessed, unlike the raised buttons on the G’zOne Ravine 2. Typing on the keypad is easy, even if it wiggles a little, though budding novelists should look for a phone with a keyboard.
Display, Connectivity, and Call Quality
The Exalt isn’t a smartphone, so a high-definition display is out of the question. But thanks to this flip phone’s long body, it houses a 3-inch LCD with 400-by-240 resolution. It’s definitely better than the Samsung Gusto 2′s 2-inch, 160-by-128-pixel display. The 15-by-7 dot-matrix LED screen on the front panel looks cool and displays the time, calls, and messages, but a full LCD secondary display would be more useful.
The Exalt excludes various connectivity options. Like most feature phones, Wi-Fi is out, as is any high-speed data. It uses dual-band 1xRTT (800/1900 MHz), which maxes out at 144 kbps. That’s incredibly slow, but it’s not like you’ll be doing any serious web browsing or video streaming on this phone. Luckily there is Bluetooth 3.0, and is easily accessible through the control pad shortcut.
Since feature phones don’t pack much in the way of bells and whistles, I presumed call quality would be exemplary. Turns out, it isn’t: My voice sounded robotic and muffled, making certain words unintelligible. Noise cancellation was excellent, however. The speakerphone was similarly disappointing, and the awesome noise cancellation was nowhere to be found. Bluetooth calling with the Jabra Style was similar to normal calling, though I sounded more distant through the mic than before.
The Exalt’s 900mAh battery runs just a bit short. In our talk time test, it lasted 6 hours and 28 minutes. LG’s other flip phone, the Revere 2, went for 7 hours and 3 minutes, while the Casio G’zOne Ravine 2 lasted 6 hours and 48 minutes.
Apps, Multimedia, and Conclusions
Preloaded apps include a tip calculator an alarm clock, a calendar, and a voice recorder. You can set up email access through Microsoft Exchange, Yahoo, Windows Live Hotmail, Gmail, or Verizon.net. You can also send messages to Twitter or Facebook through the text messaging. Browsing the web with Opera Mini is a chore on the Exalt, but it’s a better experience than on a phone like the Revere thanks to the larger screen.With the Exalt, you’re limited to Verizon’s feature phone app store, which doesn’t contain much aside from ringtones and wallpaper.
The phone’s internal memory tops out at 260MB, with 225MB available for the user to store images and music. At least the microSD slot accepts 32GB cards. Media playback is available but limited. The Exalt didn’t play any of our video test files. MP3 and AAC music files played correctly, but FLAC, OGG, and WAV are unsupported. Even if it doesn’t play those formats, it does play music, which is more than you get with the Gusto 2 and Revere 2. The 3.5mm headphone jack is a welcome inclusion, and the rear speaker gets plenty loud when playing music, but it sounds muddy at higher volume levels.
The 2-megapixel camera won’t impress anyone with its photos. It’ll do in a pinch, but be prepared for some grainy shots. There’s no flash, making low light shots impossible. Video recording maxes out at a low 320 by 240 pixels, and there’s no front-facing camera.
So the LG Exalt is no substitute for a smartphone, but it’s also too expensive to recommend as a feature phone. It looks nice and has a sharp screen, but its poor call quality, noisy camera, and high price are turn offs. LG’s roughly equivalent Revere 2 is free with a two-year contract, as is the similar Samsung Gusto 2. Finally, if you have more to spend and still prefer flip phones, the Casio G’zOne Ravine 2 sports great call quality and rugged style.
|Service Provider||Verizon Wireless|
|Phone Capability / Network||CDMA|
|Screen Resolution||400 x 240 pixels|
|Dimensions||4.37 x 2.06 x 0.62 (HWD) inches|
|Screen Type||TFT LCD|
|Operating System as Tested||Other|
|Video Camera Resolution||320 x 240|
|Screen Size||3 inches|
|Form Factor||Flip Phone|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc