LG X Venture Review

Exclusive to AT&T

The LG X Venture is a rugged phone exclusive to AT&T for all you weekend warriors out there. It features a durable build and a huge battery, but does it have what it takes for your next adventure? Keep reading to find out.

Design

The LG X Venture comes with a 5.2-inch 1080p Gorilla Glass screen. It gets bright enough to use in most outdoor situations but can feel slightly dim in direct sunlight. The physical navigation keys at the bottom make it easier to press whether you’re wearing gloves or have dirty hands while out in the wilderness. They do not light up, but even in the dark they are easy to find by feel alone. Thanks to the back and recent apps button having a texture while the smooth home button separates them. It still would have been a nice touch to see the buttons light up though.



Unlike most LG phones the fingerprint scanner is housed in home button on the front, much like you would find on Samsung phones of the past. I’m not a fan of front facing fingerprint scanners, though, as they feel unnatural to use to me. In the case of an active phone with physical buttons though, this design does make a lot sense.

The sides are metal giving the phone a premium and solid feel. The power button is on the right side and volume buttons are on the left along with a quick action button. When pressed this launches the outdoors app by default, but can also be customized to do more. Other apps can be assigned to launch with either a double press or long press of the quick action button.

Speaking of the buttons, they are far too easy to press. I would often press at least two of them just trying to get it out of my pocket. This was one of my biggest annoyances while using the phone, but it’s a small complaint.

The back is rubberized to give a better grip as well as more protection. Just how rugged is the LG X Venture? Well, it passed four different MIL-STD 810G tests for durability conducted by an independent laboratory in U.S. that conforms to U.S. military standards. The X Venture also features an IP68 rating making it dust and water resistant, able to withstand up to 30 minutes in 1.5 meters of water.

The camera, flash, and speaker are found on the back. Don’t worry there is also a standard headphone jack for you music lovers. Unfortunately, LG went with a micro USB port here instead of USB-C. This is 2017 and it’s time to move past the micro USB connector. I long for the day when everything is USB-C and the micro USB connector is only a memory. The SIM tray accepts a nano SIM and MicroSD card up to 256GB. So storage space shouldn’t be an issue.

Software

The X Venture comes with Android 7.0 and LG’s skin over the top. I’ve never been a big fan of the look of LG’s skin, but it packs in lots of useful features. Such as double tap to wake, eye comfort mode, themes, and the outdoors app on this specific model. The outdoors app gives you a quick place to check the weather, turn on the flashlight, access the compass, and more.

One minor annoyance about the eye comfort feature is that it cannot be automated. The toggle switch in the quick settings tiles is handy but most other brands automate the blue light filter. If LG did this it would be a huge improvement. Another misstep in LG’s software is the app drawer comes turned off by default. The other problem is that once turned on it is a side scrolling app drawer. This is so inefficient to use and does not match up with how stock Android’s app drawer works. At least this can be fixed by using one of the several popular launcher replacement apps.

Camera

The X Venture features a 16MP f/2.2 aperture rear-facing camera. Don’t expect to see extras like dual tone flash, laser focus, or optical image stabilization on a phone in this price range. LG’s fantastic manual camera mode is also missing, unfortunately.

Regardless, photos weren’t too bad. They tended to blow out highlights and colors weren’t that bright or saturated, but at least the photos were sharp. There is a little lag when taking HDR photos as well. You cannot expect a flagship camera at this price, but the photos are more than acceptable for sharing with friends and family. Low light images are not going to be the greatest. Low light results in quite a bit of noise, but the photos still come out with a decent amount of detail.

The front-facing camera is a 5MP shooter with an f/2.2 aperture and features a wide-angle mode for all your selfie needs while out in nature. The wide angle setting has always been one of my favorite elements of the recent LG phones. If you plan on using this for exploring on the weekend it will be great for capturing selfies in the beautiful outdoors.

Performance

I found it surprising how well the SD 435 with 2GB of RAM performed on the X Venture. It performs all the tasks you expect from your phone and was able to play games without issue. The only downside is, it will do all of this much slower than most phones in this price range. There is some significant lag when loading games and it is laggy when switching apps. As I said, it works but it will just be slower, especially if compared to recent flagships. Those phones all lack the robust build of the X Venture though.

Battery

There is a massive 4100mAh battery in the LG X Venture. This is bigger than even the latest LG G6 or Samsung S8+  that use larger higher resolution displays. Thanks to this massive battery the X Venture has fantastic battery life. It should have no issue lasting you a full day and even two days depending on usage.

Final Thoughts

Phones built for active users are nothing new. Where LG’s X Venture phone stands out is the affordable price. If you’re thinking that means it is built cheap or lacking in quality you’d be wrong. Coming in at $330 dollars it is much cheaper than the Samsung Active models. The X Venture will be slower than the Samsung Active models and have a worse camera. However, this phone was built to take abuse without breaking the bank.

If you’re on AT&T and looking for a phone for your weekend excursions or a harsh work environment. You have to ask yourself, would you rather pay $330 or over double that for Samsung’s Active phone? The LG X Venture is a great affordable option for a phone that will just get beat up anyways.

Buy from AT&T
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