Hands On with Verizon's Janus-Faced LG VX8800 Venus (with Gallery)S

You knew there would be a successor to the LG Chocolate by Verizon Wireless (besides Chocolate 2), and Venus was her name. But does she got it?

Hands On with Verizon's Janus-Faced LG VX8800 Venus (with Gallery)S

Hands On with Verizon's Janus-Faced LG VX8800 Venus (with Gallery)S

Hands On with Verizon's Janus-Faced LG VX8800 Venus (with Gallery)S

Hands On with Verizon's Janus-Faced LG VX8800 Venus (with Gallery)S

Hands On with Verizon's Janus-Faced LG VX8800 Venus (with Gallery)S

Hands On with Verizon's Janus-Faced LG VX8800 Venus (with Gallery)S

Hands On with Verizon's Janus-Faced LG VX8800 Venus (with Gallery)S

Hands On with Verizon's Janus-Faced LG VX8800 Venus (with Gallery)S



The Venus is LG's answer to that slender hot-selling mobile device, the iPhone Nintendo DS. Yep, it's got a straight-up LCD on top and a smaller touchscreen below, and buttons change constantly to keep with the context.

It's a hyperserious feature phone, with Bluetooth stereo, support for non-DRM MP3, WMA and AAC, and a microSDHC slot that can take up to 8GB cards (if you can find them).

Forget music though: it's best attribute is its 2-megapixel camera. When you turn the closed phone on its side and tap the camera button, you get an active preview plus a touch-sensitive set of options. Tap "Take" and the menu shifts to saving and sharing, and even zooming (though it wouldn't let me crop after zooming).

Though the camera makes good use of the "DS" concept, the main navigation is irritating. Too often I found myself wanting to touch the inactive part of the screen, and the part that was touch sensitive was not always easy to control. In the main menu, the arrow looks scrollable, but if you touch anywhere but the tips of the arrows, it won't behave.

Of all of the Verizon phones today, the Venus was the one that I had the most mixed feelings about. Maybe it was because of my experience with that damned Chocolate. And maybe it was because the Voyager seemed to shoot past it in good qualities and high performance, without being a whole lot bigger. On top of all of that, it's ostensibly a "fashion" phone, but I can't imagine the girls getting into this one.

I could be wrong, maybe we'll give it another spin when it ships in mid November. Though unconfirmed, it will probably sell in the $200 range.

From the fact sheet:

The Venus™ by LG from Verizon Wireless

Fashion-forward customers will love The Venus by LG, exclusively available from Verizon Wireless. This fashion statement has dual front screens - the lower screen features touch sensitive navigation. The slim, stylish slider comes in both black and pink and features a dedicated music key for easy access to music. The player supports .mp3, .wma and unprotected .aac file playback, plus Bluetooth stereo so customers won't need to clutter their cutting-edge look with headset or stereo wires.

In addition to the sharp dual screens, The Venus by LG also features:

Expandable memory with microSDTM cards, currently up to 8 GB

2.0 megapixel camera with landscape rendering and zoom/review adjustments