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LG enV3 Review: Full Review

Wirefly Learn » Reviews

June 24th, 2009


By Ari Driessen
Follow Ari on Twitter

If competition in the cell phone market is war – and it is, particularly this month with the release of 28 hot new phones – call the LG’s trio of phones coming out in June brothers in arms. The middle brother, if you will, is the LG enV3 – falling in between the Glance and enV Touch in price and feature load.

The enV3 has only a slight facelift as compared to the enV2, but is packing a fully enhanced feature set that looks alone wouldn’t hint at. The enV3 comes armed with a 3 megapixel camera/camcorder and a full HTML browser, as well as improved external navigation and internal keyboard layout. LG’s enV3 is a superior messaging phone that could certainly outgun much of its competition.

Look and Feel

The enV3 is a wide, rectangular device with a flat dial pad and small screen that make it reminiscent of a pocket calculator. Sure, comparing a cell phone to a pocket calculator isn’t necessarily flattering – but the enV3 is sleek in its own right. Its unique shape can be better understood by popping the hood to reveal a nice, full QWERTY keyboard responsible for the enV3’s messaging muscle. Open or closed, the enV3 feels sturdy and good in the hand.

With the exception of a silver four-way navigation key gracing the front of the enV3 and a one-touch contacts button instead of what was formerly a music button, the phone is nearly a carbon copy of the enV2. On the front of the enV3 is a small 1.6” moderate resolution TFT screen that provides the usual notifications as well as access to an abridged menu. Defined shortcut keys include access to contacts, voice commands (holding the same key down for several seconds accesses voice memo), key lock, and vibrate mode. The four-way navigation key can also be user defined to allow quick access to most of the phone’s features and applications, including text messages, Bluetooth settings and music. The dial pad consists of four wavy bars that, while effective, would have benefitted from being slightly raised above the phone’s body for easier dialing.

Flipping the enV3 open, you are greeted by a crisp and clear 2.6” screen, with two speakers at either side. The internal screen supports 260,000 colors, and will surely please the visual connoisseur. A new and improved full QWERTY keyboard features a key that provides one-touch access to call or text your 10 favs. Another such key gets you right into text messaging so you aren’t waylaid by a second when that burning need to text your B.F.F. (read best-friend-forever) arises. The keyboard is spacious, and keys feel satisfying when pressed.

On the left of the phone is a volume up/down key coupled with a camera button that will open the camera application or snap a picture. On the right is a microSD slot that supports up to a 16GB card – plenty of room for that overflowing music library. There’s also a 2.5mm headphone jack. If you don’t have a 2.5mm pair of headphones (shocker), it may be a good excuse to go pick up a nice pair of Bluetooth headphones. The enV3 supports stereo Bluetooth.

Like the enV Touch, the enV3’s hinge allows it to open to either a laptop-esque slant or fully flat. I preferred it to be fully flat when responding to a text message on the fly, but tilted like a laptop if I was browsing a web page while sitting at a table or desk.

LG enV3LG enV3

User Interface

The enV3’s interface was fairly basic and intuitive – core features such as messaging and music were well integrated and easy to get at externally or with the device open. The small external screen provides access to most basic applications and functionality, but any advanced task such as creating a playlist or sending a text message to multiple recipients had to be performed with the enV3 open to its internal screen. Access to more advanced applications such as VZ Navigator (available on the enV3 for $9.99/month or $2.99/day if you find yourself up a river without a paddle in the middle of nowhere) or VCAST Music or Videos required also, not surprisingly, required the substantially larger and sharper external screen. The phone’s graphics and animated menu icons were easily identifiable and appeared sharp on the internal display.

I had no problems navigating the enV3’s menus and applications. The phone was quick and responsive, and I experienced no hang ups or freezes, even when trying to overwhelm the phone by opening multiple menus and applications in quick succession.

Features & Performance

Phone & Voice Commands

Numbers or contacts can be dialed from either the external dial pad or internal numerical keys. Opening the phone while in-call activates the enV3’s speakerphone. The speakerphone was impressive – loud and clear, with callers reporting that they could hear me well. The enV3’s phone book supports a generous 1000 contacts with space for 5 phone numbers, 2 email addresses and one physical address. For an additional $2.99/month, Visual Voice Mail is supported on the enV3.

The enV3 is equipped with a comprehensive Voice Command functionality. Pushing the ‘CLR’ button from the home screen activates Voice Command, and you can then command the enV3 to dial a contact or number, access a menu item (Bluetooth for example), or even start playing a particular song from your music library. My success rate with Voice Command was far from perfect, but in general the feature worked pretty well as long as you spoke loudly and clearly.


The enV3 is billed as a Messaging Phone. And its internal QWERTY keyboard, dedicated messaging key, and well thought out messaging interface is sure to please the avid texter. When open, new text or MMS messages automatically bring up a screen allowing for multiple recipients to be added – just start typing the name of a contact, and a drop down list of stored contacts will allow you to easily select a recipient and shoot off a new text. Messages can be displayed by conversation or time sent/received.

The enV3 supports Verizon’s Mobile Email ($4.99/month), offering access to most popular web based email services as well as IMAP and POP accounts. It’s not going to rival the experience of a true email equipped Smartphone, but will satisfy anyone who wants casual access to email on the go. If you need casual access to a corporate Exchange account, an application called RomoSync is available for $9.99.

The phone is also equipped with Mobile IM, offering on-the-go chat through AIM, Windows Live Messenger, or Yahoo! Messenger.

Web Browsing

With the exception of a couple hiccups, the full HTML browser on the enV3 is among the best available on a phone built for messaging. The browser interface is intuitive and easy to use, with the ability to zoom in and out on pages, perform a search for text on a page, or even subscribe to RSS feeds. The browser opens to what Verizon has termed the Dashboard Mobile Web, which offers quick access to news, weather, and sports as well as portals to games and other entertainment. For browsing other sites, you must then launch Mobile Web which by default loads a screen called VZW Today. For the most part, sites rendered nicely and in about 10-15 seconds with a decent EVDO connection. Detracting from the superior browsing experience, however, is the oddity that the browser requires surfing to a Verizon page to enter in a new web address – a process that quickly becomes frustrating when visiting multiple web sites.


With the capacity for up to a 16GB MicroSD card, the enV3 can accommodate plenty of music and pictures. The enV3’s music player interface takes no major departures from that of its peers, providing a simple player that displays any album art associated with a track as well as, of course, song title, artist, and album. Custom playlists are also easy to create. Songs can be downloaded from V CAST Music, or downloaded from your computer using the provided sync cable. V CAST Video also offers a wealth of streaming and downloadable video entertainment, ranging from music videos to episodes of many popular TV shows.

LG enV3LG enV3


Although a slightly unsteady hand was almost sure to result in a blurry picture, image quality on the enV3 was pretty decent. The camera allows pictures to be taken in six different resolutions (2,048×1,536, 1,600×1,200, 1,280×960, 640×480, and 320×240 pixels), and provides a host of customizable settings including shutter sound, white balance, a self timer, and 4 color effects settings. There are also 4 included shot modes – Smile Shot (detects smiles and automatically snaps a picture), Panorama (string together multiple images), Intelligent Shot (automatically changes settings based on conditions for best image quality), and Dual Display (activates external screen for self portraits).

The enV3’s camcorder allows for 30 second video clips to be taken in two resolutions (320×240 or 176×144). While the quality was OK, it paled in comparison to the stellar performance of the enV Touch’s camcorder.

LG enV3LG enV3

Image taken with the LG enV3 Image taken with the LG enV3 Image taken with the LG enV3


Supported Profiles include Headset, Hands-Free, Dial-Up Networking, Stereo, Phone Book Access, Basic Printing, Object Push, File Transfer, Basic Imaging, and Human Interface Device.

The Bottom Line

The enV3 is a powerful device all around – sporting strong multimedia features, an enhanced camera, and one of the better mobile web browsing experiences available on a phone of its kind. And, after all, the enV3 is designed for messaging – and in that realm it naturally doesn’t disappoint.

Buy this phone now!

Shop Now for Phones from AT&T Wirelesss, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless.

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  2. LG enV Touch: Full Review
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  4. Motorola Rival A455: Full Review

20 Responses to “LG enV3 Review: Full Review”

  • Cthulu McGillicuddy
    November 22, 2011

    This phone is great. I have dropped it dozens of times from 5 feet onto concrete surfaces. It lives. The thing is tough.
    My only real complaint is that the T9 on the outer screen will not learn swear words, no matter how many times I say them, and I say them a lot in my line of work.
    I reckon they are not manufactured consistently; some people’s seem to have major problems, while other people’s work well. I blame the president. Somehow it is his fault.

  • i have had two of these phones the first one was bad ass it lasted me for three years but did have the same issue of turning it self off during calls and text. but then the phone took a crap just a few days ago i go a new one in the mail from my insurence and that one is turning off more than the one that took a crap. now i gotta send both those phones in and i am waiting for my new one in the mail what a pain in the ass.if this phone does not work i am going to mad. I just went threw all this with my ps3 i had to take it back three times to gamestop and in the end i dont even have one now i will never buy anything from them again i hope that verizon is not the same get this crap worked out!

  • This phone sucks!! i had it for more than a year. It randomly cuts off..my screen turns white..I cant make more than a 5 minute call with out it diening. It cant even hold a one day charge. When i use the short charger that came with the phone it says not recomended. This is the worst phone i have ever had and no one should ever buy this piece of crap

  • DROIDfreak101109
    November 29, 2010

    this phone(env3) sux. i have had it for 2 years and had three software updates and a WHOLE lot of problems. i would not reccomend this phone to ANYONE!!!!! It has a bad turning off problem. the screens turn white. it will say “use genuine battery” and start counting down from 10 then shut off three times before it fully boots back up. when i plug it up to the charger(that came with the phone) it says “this cord is not recomended” (or something along the lines of that) I have to give it some cridit though becuz it does take pretty decent pictures. Im sorry but this is not a phone I would recomend. Im switching to the DROID 2.

  • Verizon LG enV3 Owner Tom Says Don't Buy!
    November 28, 2010

    My Verizon LG enV3 keeps shutting off and I have had it replaced a number of times and the same shut down problem eventually reoccurs on the substitution phones. Verizon has informed me many times they know the battery phone contacts are defective on the Verizon LG enV3 phones. Verizon now wants me to pay $300. to replace the phone because it is a few days past the one year warranty. This really stinks!

  • I can,t seem to get my Env3 to get out of verbal voice mode without putting it on vibrate mode,I,ve tried everything,went thru the sound settings,looked thru the book,everything!Any suggestions?

  • I have the red version of this phone its great!

  • Verizon has excellent customer service. If this phone keeps failing you, tell Verizon customer service about it. They will replace it, and if that doesn’t do any good, they will even replace it with a totally different phone.

    I had this phone once before, and I did have the random shut-off problem.
    But I loved this phone so much it was almost worth putting up with the random shut-off.

    I later went to a Chocolate-Touch, and liked it also, but it had even bigger problems than the Env3, so I got them to exchange it for an Env3, so I am back to the Env3 once again. I love this phone.

    It is the absolute best texting phone on the market, any carrier. And it is just a great phone. But yeah, I don’t understand all the complaining about phones not working. Just complain to Verizon instead of some online website, and maybe they will take care of it for you. But you are wasting your time complaining here.

    This phone ROCKS! End of story. :)

  • Bryan M
    July 25, 2010

    I’ve had this phone for close to a year.

    Good: I love the loud speakers for listening to music from an SD card. Bluetooth works well for transferring pictures. Messaging is decent but not as good as a smartphone. I like the microUSB port. The number pad on the front is nice.

    Bad: The phone crashes or reboots every other day usually when receiving a text. Pictures are decent quality but get blurred too often. Receiving a text while taking a video usually causes you to lose the video. The 2.5mm port is useless. The notepad and calendar only fit a limited number of items. Sending bulk texts seems like it fails too often.

  • mr.fortune**
    July 14, 2010

    Envy 3 is a good phone but its so sensitive. One problem is crashing by itself. Another is ur phone gets messed up with over a year with good care. I admit its a rly good phone but only if these problems were solved it would be perfect =] Also i wish they organize the music and pic folders. Thanks for readying

  • steve nicks
    June 17, 2010

    I like this Lg eNv3. Hope to have this one.


  • Tucker Stumf
    May 26, 2010

    Don’t get the phone ive had nothing but problems since i got it! Im going to verizon today to ask them wtf is wrong wit it cuz when im talking on the phone the person on the other line can’t even hear me when I yell into the damn thing and ive also had trouble wit it shutting off intermittently.

  • Amber Marie
    March 11, 2010

    Don’t get this phone! I’ve only had it since January, and the outer screen is now permanently white and I can’t see if I am getting a call! I’m going to Verizon tomorrow.

    March 2, 2010



    • i am due for an upgrade and have looking at reviews for this phone… and everyone is complaining about it and every other phone out there as well i am CONFUSED… but i saw what you wrote and was curious on what ou mean by upgrading the software???


  • I would not recommend this phone in the SLIGHTEST. I first got this phone in June, and soon after the phone began to turn on and off during text messages, phone calls, even when I’m not even touching it. After visiting Verizon they gave me a “software update” claiming this would fix the problem. Now, the screen turns white and won’t turn off OR on. I went back to Verizon and they said they’d mail me a new one. That phone couldn’t call or receive calls, and could only text people with Verizon. Finally, yesterday, I went back and got my THIRD Env3, only to find as I turn it on, that half the screen works. Tomorrow I get a free upgrade to the EnvTouch.

    • The EnvTouch is worse….I went through 4 replacement phones within three weeks. Got the Env3 now and i havent had any problems……yet…lol

    February 4, 2010

    i would like to get this phone env3 already have contract how much for phone can it be billed in payments instalments on bill or not?

  • Deborah Ubel
    January 16, 2010

    I would like to get your promotion,but we are with sprint until May. I would like to get these phones for my husband and myself in May. Do you think you will still have $0.00 and free activation. Please let us know because we would like to come aboard with you in May. Thank-you Deborah

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