Tech Review: The LG X Venture — the “white work truck” of phones — is designed to take some punishment.
Call me old-fashioned, but I like to press buttons.
And being in the tech profession, I get to press lots of buttons on all kinds of gadgets. But the trend in cellphones in recent years has been to minimize buttons. Just look at the Samsung Galaxy S8. It has no buttons on the front.
If my experience tells me anything, it’s that cellphone manufacturers like Apple and Samsung will follow each other’s lead. I fully expect the upcoming iPhone 8 to not have a physical home button, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But what if you really just want a phone with buttons?
LG X Venture
Pros: Big, rugged design, huge battery, expandable memory
Bottom line: A tough, yet inexpensive phone that does its job well.
I’ve been testing the LG X Venture, which falls into the limited category of ruggedized phones.
The X Venture is a tough-looking phone. Its black glass front is surrounded on both sides by a metal frame with reinforced corners.
The Android phone still has the traditional front-facing layout with a home button, back button and menu button, all of which are designed to stand out a bit from the glass screen and to be easily pressed, even with gloved fingers.
In fact, the X Venture has glove mode, which is supposed to make it easier to interact with the screen while wearing gloves. Indeed, I could use the touch screen when wearing old-style garden gloves.
The back of the phone is a grippy plastic with a textured finish designed to help you hang on.
The X Venture is a big phone that’s easy to use with big hands and is especially apt for situations in which you might not be comfortable using a less-sturdy phone.
You might call it the “white work truck” of phones. It seems solid, and you aren’t afraid to just use it. It wouldn’t occur to me to put the X Venture in a case. It is built to be dropped and punished a bit.
The handset has IP68 protection from water and dust. It can stay under 5 feet of water for up to 30 minutes.
LG also says the X Venture passed 14 different tests for durability conducted by an independent laboratory that conforms to U.S. military standards. I’m not sure exactly what all those tests include, but they do mention shock resistance.
The LG X Venture has a 5.2-inch display with a resolution of 1,920-by-1,080 pixels. The handset is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 CPU with two gigabytes of RAM and 32 gigabytes of built-in storage. There is also a microSD card slot to add more storage.
It has a 4,100-milliamp hour battery (nonremovable) for up to 24 hours of talk time and runs Android 7.0 (Nougat).
The main camera has a 16-megapixel sensor and an f/2.2 lens, while the front-facing camera has a 5-megapixel sensor with an f/2.2 wide-angle lens.
Connectivity includes 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2.
It also has A-GPS.
It’s 6-by-3-by-0.36 inches and weighs 5.8 ounces. It’s pretty darn big when you compare it to my iPhone 6S.
I’m a big guy with big hands, and I found the LG X Venture perfectly comfortable to use. It feels light yet substantial at the same time.
The specs tell us the X Venture is not a high-end phone, but that’s not its purpose.
There’s a time and a place for the iPhone 7 or Samsung Galaxy S8. There’s also a place for a tough phone like the X Venture.
In fact, I didn’t really notice any lag or slowness in my daily use of the X Venture. It reacts exactly like I expected it would. Calls were clear and loud and connected quickly in my testing.
Pricing and availability
The LG X Venture is exclusively available from AT&T.
The phone comes in black or chocolate brown and costs $329, or $11 a month added to your bill for 30 months.
I have some friends who love the outdoors. They are always hiking or biking or kayaking, and a rugged phone like the LG X Venture is right up their alley.
If you are hard on your phones, it might be time to consider a handset that’s designed to take some punishment — especially one that won’t break the bank.