When first looking at the Revolution's box, we experienced a serious bout of déjà vu because it's almost completely identical to that of the Thunderbolt. Exerting the same amount of elegance as its predecessor, the box comes in a minimalistic black sleeve, the logos and words etched very carefully on top. Only the back of the sleeve has anything written on it, which is the normal regulatory certification information. When we didn't look close enough it appeared as if nothing was even there; put in the right light, though, the names and imagery seemed to pop out at us.
Taking the box out of its sleeve, we noticed the same dark theme going on, but when lifting the lid and peering inside, a bright red that matches Verizon's standard livery offered a stark contrast. When we dug deep past the square bed in which the phone laid, we found the usual wall plug-in with USB port and separate micro-USB cord, obligatory user guides and warranty information... and that's it. No headphones or micro-HDMI cables can be found anywhere. We believe that Verizon, much like with the Thunderbolt, assumes that since you're purchasing a phone for $250 on contract, you'll either have the money to spend on a decent set of cables and headgear, or you already have some sitting around in a storage bin somewhere.
At first sight, the Revolution doesn't appear to be a very attractive phone. Don't get us wrong -- it's not ugly, it's just plain and colorless. It's a beast, every bit as large (if not larger in some dimensions) as its LTE brethren, and more boxy on the sides. If variety is what you're looking for, you're not going to find it here. The phone seems to emulate its packaging perfectly, blanketed in a soft black tone that's only interrupted by a chrome strip on the left and right sides and a long piece of glass on the back. That's just not enough for the phone to keep from blending in with dark surfaces. While we don't want to be on the other side of the spectrum and getting distracted with every color of the rainbow, the Revolution is just not as aesthetically pleasing as the Thunderbolt and Droid Charge.
It's not all rainstorms and pouty faces when it comes to the Revolution's design, however. There's a minimalistic theme with this device that we've grown to appreciate; it's not a busy-looking phone at all. Its back and curved corners are the most visually appealing features; the corners are curved with just the right touch of softness, and the back looks like a bulging bubble with steeply tapered edges on the left and right sides.
With a 4.3-inch screen and absolutely massive frame, we were amazed by its heft. Large as the device is, though, it can't even be considered the ultimate champion in the genre. It's taller and wider than the Thunderbolt, but shorter and skinnier than the Droid Charge; it matches the former's thickness at .52-inches (13.2mm) across the board, with no protrusions (such as cameras) popping out of the back. It still sits quite heavy and bulky in our palms -- our average-sized hands can hold it well enough, but smaller mitts may have more of a struggle with its depth and breadth. Fortunately, the phone isn't slippery, thanks to a soft-touch plastic surrounding the entire back. It's not the most portly LTE handset on the market, but it comes awfully close as the 6.08oz (172g) Revolution is only .15oz (4g) lighter than its HTC cohort. With that said, the device's mass and build leaves no doubt in our mind that it's a solid chassis that should easily withstand normal wear and tear, and certainly gives more of a feeling of durability than the Droid Charge before it.
We were delighted to find a micro-HDMI
port for video out proudly displayed on the right side of the Revolution. This port inspires either love or apathy, depending on how you feel about it. We enjoy the additional functionality the micro-HDMI brings -- besides, if we're shelling out the big bucks for a phone and it doesn't screw with the design, it should be thrown in. Immediately neighboring this port is a volume rocker, in the same spot as the T-bolt, while the headphone jack sits on the top left and the power / unlock button on the far right. This is a great location because it lies right where our index finger likes to rest naturally, but we became frustrated that this particular button was flush with the rest of the phone, making it a little more troublesome to press.
Continuing to the left side, all we see here is the micro-USB charging port amidst the chrome lining; nothing rests at the bottom besides the mic and the notch that opens the battery cover. Now we flip the Revolution to its backside, where racing down the middle is a strip of glass that not only houses logos, the 5 megapixel shooter, and LED flash, but doubles as a handy mirror. We found it difficult to scratch up the camera lens because it's recessed from the flat surface of the back; this design choice is wholeheartedly welcomed since it's usually so easy to scuff up your phone's camera when made flush (or worse, protruded) with the rest of the surface. Also present is a thin speaker grill that actually reminds us of one found on the top and bottom of the HTC Desire HD / Inspire 4G
. Curiously, upon removing the battery cover we discovered only half of the grill is used for the speaker; the entire left portion is completely for decoration.
Keeping the battery cover off for a moment, we find an average-sized 1500mAh battery (we'll cover this in-depth later) keeping a SIM card and 16GB microSD company. The extra storage here, combined with another 16GB of internal space, will offer more than enough room for the average music or movie lover, though the microSD can be expanded up to 32GB if you have a hankering for more media.
Finally, the front of the phone is where we'll find the mammoth display with speaker grill on top snuggling up to a 1.3 megapixel front-facing, self-portrait machine. Sure, video chat is all the rage these days, but there's something to be said about taking your own pictures for your Facebook profile without having to get in front of a mirror to do it (or without having friends, for that matter). There are no physical buttons on the front, because the usual four Android navigation keys below the screen are touch-capacitive. One interesting design feature to note is the inclusion of a lip at the very bottom, which angles down until it meets the back to make it look like a slight chin. We're not sure if there's any purpose to the lip, but it keeps the bottom of the Revolution from getting squared off. The entire front of the device reminds us of the Optimus Black; one seamless piece of glass covers the entire display -- including the navigation buttons -- with only a millimeter or two open at the top to leave room for the speaker.
The 4.3-inch, 800 x 480 resolution touchscreen display fits right in with the rest of the LTE crew, without much deviating from the main course. LG opted to throw in a standard TFT
WVGA screen that still looks very sharp compared to lower resolutions, but isn't the top of the line. We sat the Revolution next to the Droid Charge and can't hold a candle to the contrast on the Samsung Super AMOLED Plus
display. The Charge's colors were much deeper and more vibrant, and was easier to read in direct sunlight, whereas the LG was barely discernable. The TFT display turned out to be brighter than the Super AMOLED Plus, but at the cost of washed-out colors. In side-by-side comparisons, the Charge ultimately wins the battle with its gorgeous screen, but we still enjoyed the brightness of the Revolution.