Lightning Review: LG enV2 from Verizon

The Gadget: LG's enV2 for Verizon Wireless, a sequel to their fat but fun text message machine, the enV, with a flip-up QWERTY keyboard.

The Price: $130 after rebate.

The Verdict: If you liked the enV, you'll go nuts over the enV2—a remarkable improvement in almost every conceivable way. Check them out, body to body, interface to interface, right here.

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Lightning Review: LG enV2 from Verizon

Lightning Review: LG enV2 from Verizon

Lightning Review: LG enV2 from Verizon

Lightning Review: LG enV2 from Verizon

Lightning Review: LG enV2 from Verizon

Lightning Review: LG enV2 from Verizon

Lightning Review: LG enV2 from Verizon

The enV2 actually isn't a whole lot smaller than the original enV—it just looks that way because the design is a lot smarter. Initial impression might be that it's an altogether different beast than the enV, but once you dive in, you find it's actually just a more highly evolved creature.

For instance, you won't have to relearn the key layout—it's the exact same, crammed into the tighter space by thinning the keys a bit and reducing the spaces between them. They're a smidge taller, so they're not harder to hit. And the front of the phone is light years better—the numbers are a lot more satisfying and easier to press.

Lightning Review: LG enV2 from Verizon

Lightning Review: LG enV2 from Verizon

Lightning Review: LG enV2 from Verizon

Lightning Review: LG enV2 from Verizon

Lightning Review: LG enV2 from Verizon

Lightning Review: LG enV2 from Verizon

Lightning Review: LG enV2 from Verizon

Lightning Review: LG enV2 from Verizon

Happily, the streamlined redesign doesn't stop at the sleeker body—the interface is cleaner, simpler and more intuitive. Fonts are larger and sharper (a big deal on a text-oriented phone), and the colors seems to pop more even though the screen resolution is the same as the original.

The major problem is that e-mail is still not nearly as robust as it should be, which is a crime on a phone built for messaging. Using one of the built-in services, like Yahoo or Hotmail is less of a travesty than pulling in my Gmail account, which was slow loading, with several some messages rendered as gibberish. But Yahoo's formatting still left a lot to be desired. Mobile browsing is obviously terrible, but I wasn't expecting it to be good in the first place. The browser can wait; Verizon needs to fix the e-mail situation pronto.

Final word: If you liked the enV or text like a fiend and don't wanna shell out for the Voyager, this a good 'un to whittle your thumbs away on. Not a smartphone substitute by any means, but a solid one for the teen or texter crowd. [Verizon Wireless]