The LG Enlighten is Verizon's newest entry-level smartphone, offering a slide-out keyboard and Android for a wallet-friendly $80 with new contract.
Editor's Note: This product is currently available for free from Verizon's website with contract.
BUILD & DESIGN
The Enlighten has a fairly simple design. It's also relatively thin for being a slider, at least an entry-level one. The sliding mechanism is a bit subtle; if you didn't know it was a slider, you might take a minute to notice. The Enlighten isn't tiny, but it's compact enough for most people and feels sturdy in the hand, like it's not going to break too easily.
The sides feature a standard micro-USB port for charging and connecting to your computer, as well as a microSD memory card slot hidden under the battery cover. Out of the box, the Enlighten comes with a 2 GB card already installed, although you can buy your own cards up to 32 GB in size.
The screen may be the Enlighten's biggest sacrifice in trying to be less expensive. At 3.2 inches, it's one of the smaller smartphone screens you'll find, and it's a "basic" 320 x 480 (HVGA) resolution. This would be a terrible size if you were trying to type with the on-screen keyboard, but fortunately that's not a problem here, as the Enlighten has a real keyboard.
With that out of the way, the Enlighten manages to make the best of it's limited screen space. It's not going to wow, but it's definitely serviceable for web browsing, music, messaging, and even some light games. It's even got pretty good colors and contrast for being a "cheap" screen.
Fortunately, the keyboard doesn't suffer at all from cutting corners on the pricetag. In fact if anything, its equal to those of more expensive phones.
There's several nice touches that make it so: for one thing, it comes with directional buttons on it for fine control, something that's decidedly tricky on many devices. You've also got the four Android navigational buttons reproduced in the upper corners, making it easy to use the device in landscape mode almost all the time. Last but not least, it has a full row of number keys at the top, which is often the first thing left out in more basic keyboards.
Other Buttons & Controls
Down at the "bottom" of the device, below the touchscreen, you have real buttons for navigation instead of the more typical touchscreen icons. This is the standard set: Menu, Home, Back, and Search.
The only other controls on the Enlighten are the standard power and volume keys, as well as a camera button.
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