LG X Venture review: A rugged mid-tier $330 phone that's perfect for field work

  • Editors' rating
    8.3 Excellent
  • $329.99

Pros

  • Water, dust, and shock resistant
  • Good camera performance
  • Low price
  • microSD expansion card slot
  • Solid battery life

Cons

  • Overloaded with AT&T bloatware
  • microUSB port for charging

We don't all need high-end, expensive smartphones to get work done, and for some, it is a better option to pick up a phone built for their work environment. The LG X Venture is a mid-tier LG Android smartphone that is ruggedized for inclement conditions without the use of a bulky case.

As a professional naval architect, I conduct surveys of ships and spend time crawling in tanks, bilges, and other areas in the bowels of marine vessels. Others work outside building our infrastructure, aiding others in times of emergency, or exploring the ends of the earth.

With its IP68 dust and water resistance, along with MIL-STD 810G shock-resistant testing certification, the LG X Venture is an affordable solution for these conditions. Folks who work in these conditions also understand that their mobile devices could be destroyed, so it often makes more sense to buy affordable phones that won't break the bank if they are broken.

Specifications

  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 1.4 GHz octa-core
  • Display: 5.2 inch 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution Gorilla Glass 4
  • Operating system: Android 7.0 Nougat
  • RAM: 2GB
  • Storage: 32GB internal with microSD expansion card slot
  • Cameras: 16MP rear f/2.2 camera; 5MP wide-angle f/2.2 front-facing camera
  • Water resistance: IP68 water and dust rating
  • Connectivity: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2 BLE, GPS, NFC, FM radio
  • Battery: 4,100mAh non-removable
  • Dimensions: 152.4 x 76.2 x 9.1mm and 164g
  • Colors: Black and chocolate brown

As you can see in the specifications list, the LG X Venture packs in quite a bit for just over $300. Mid-level specs include the Snapdragon 435, 1080p display, and 2GB of RAM.

Hardware

Similar to the 2015 LG V10, one of the first things I noticed when I pulled the LG X Venture from the box was the textured silicone back. This one is not removable, but it does offer a finish that makes it easy to hold while offering some drop protection.

The sides of the device are metal with the top and bottom having soft touch material. Around the 5.2-inch display there are angled corners on the glass, giving the X Venture a unique look compared to most other smartphones.

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Three physical hardware buttons are present below the display for back, home, and task switching. Pressing and holding the home button, which also serves as the fingerprint scanner, launches Google Assistant.

The power button is on the right side. A quick button, in orange, is positioned along the top left. By default it is used to launch the Outdoor Essentials app, with options to customize a double press and a press and hold. The volume buttons are positioned further down the left side.

The microSD and SIM card tray is positioned near the bottom of the left side. A headphone jack and microUSB port -- no USB Type-C here -- are found along the bottom of the LG X Venture.

The camera and flash are centered at the top of the back. The camera doesn't have the highest specifications we have seen on Android phones, but when you look at the mid-tier phones, it is very capable. I took a few comparison shots with the LG G6 and HTC U11, with the LG X Venture performing very well. I actually preferred the two outside shots of the Seattle waterfront taken by the LG X Venture over the other two.

Software

The LG X Venture launches with Android 7.0 Nougat, and the evaluation unit I tested has the April 2017 Android security patch level. I used the LG X Venture for a couple of days before looking up the processor specification since I couldn't tell in daily usage that there was any compromise in performance.

LG UX 5.0+ is included on the LG X Venture and appears to be the same as the UI we see on most new LG smartphones. It is fairly close to stock, with plenty of customization options that you can tweak as you see fit. While there are plenty of options, the UI is not overwhelming and doesn't impact your productivity.

It was interesting to see the Firefox browser installed on the LG X Venture. I haven't used Firefox for years, but I did enjoy using an alternative to Google Chrome. One aspect I particularly enjoyed on Firefox was the reading mode that is not present by default in Google Chrome.

Unfortunately, AT&T continues to burden Android smartphones with a ton of bloatware apps. On the LG X Venture, these include AT&T App Select, AT&T Call Protect, AT&T Protect Plus, DIRECTV, DriveMode, Lookout, Setup & Transfer, Smart Help, Smart Limits, AT&T FamilyMap, AT&T Smart Wi-Fi, Visual Voicemail, Amazon Shopping, Remote Support, Uber, YPmobile, and Facebook. The DIRECTV utility is particularly annoying since it keeps appearing in the notification shade and nagging you regularly.

The Outdoor Essentials app that LG assigns to the quick button includes barometer, compass, activity, weather, flashlight, and exercise tiles in a 2x3 format. You can tap, hold, and reposition these tiles as you desire.

Price and competition

Samsung typically releases a ruggedized Galaxy smartphone each year for AT&T, designated with the Active series brand. We haven't seen a Galaxy S8 Active yet, so the last model is the S7 Active, which is still being sold by AT&T for $694.99.

The LG X Venture is available now for just $329.99, or $11 per month on a 30-month installment agreement.

Daily usage experiences and conclusion

It was appealing to use the LG X Venture while fly fishing on the rivers, running in the rain, and in my daily life. I didn't have to worry about the elements or accidental drops. The display is not shatter-resistant like some other phones, so it can still break if dropped on its face.

Performance of software was great. The camera performed well. I was able to go more than a full day with fairly heavy usage, and I like the feel of the textured back cover. The quick button is handy for launching favorite apps and utilities too.

Calls sounded good and the speaker is fairly solid, especially considering it is positioned on the lower back of the phone.

The LG X Venture is a great smartphone for those who want something rugged at a reasonable price. It is only available on AT&T and makes a couple of compromises to launch with a price less than half the flagship price of Samsung and Apple phones.

Specifications

Details
SAR Value 1.28 W/kg (body) / 0.64 W/kg (head)
Integrated Components Rear-facing camera, front-facing camera, voice recorder, navigation, digital player
Body Color Black
Cellular
Technology WCDMA (UMTS) / GSM
Type SmartPhone
Integrated Components digital player, front-facing camera, navigation, rear-facing camera, voice recorder
Navigation A-GPS
Band WCDMA (UMTS) / GSM 850/900/1800/1900
Mobile Broadband Generation 4G
Phone Form Factor touch
Service Provider AT&&T
Operating System Family Android
Operating System Android 7.0 Nougat
User Interface LG UX 5.0
Intelligent Assistant Google Assistant
SIM Card Slot Qty single-SIM
Input Device Multi-touch
Phone Features
Phone Functions Speakerphone, voice control, call timer, conference call, flight mode, voice dialing, vibrating alert
Sensors Accelerometer, digital compass
Additional Features Multitasking, HD Voice, Glove mode, KnockON, Clip Tray function, Capture Plus function, Knock Code function, Smart Keyboard, Wi-Fi Calling, Easy Home mode, Content Lock, QuickMemo+ function, LG GATE, Fast Charging, One Hand Mode, LG Health, Shortcut Keys, Battery Saver
Miscellaneous
Compliant Standards IEC 60529 IP68, HAC (Hearing Aid Compatible), MIL-STD-810G
Sensors accelerometer, digital compass
Messaging & Internet
Messaging Services MMS, SMS
Supported Social Networks and Blogs Yes
Communications
Data Transmission EDGE, GPRS, HSDPA, HSPA+, HSUPA, LTE
3G UMTS Band Band 1, Band 2, Band 4, Band 5, Band 8
Wireless Interface Bluetooth 4.2, IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth Profiles Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP), Audio/Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP), Object Push Profile (OPP), Phonebook Access Profile (PBAP), Serial Port Profile (SPP), General Audio/Video Distribution Profile (GAVDP), Generic Attribute Profile (GATT), Generic Object Exchange Profile (GOEP), Hands-Free Profile (HFP), Headset Profile (HSP), Health Device Profile (HDP), Human Interface Device Profile (HID), Message Access Profile (MAP)
Processor
Clock Speed 1.4 GHz
Processor Number MSM8940
Manufacturer QUALCOMM
Processor Core Qty Octa-core
Display
Display Resolution 1920 x 1080 pixels
Diagonal Size 5.2 in
Diagonal Size (metric) 13.2 cm
Smartphone Diagonal Size 5.2 in
Protection Corning Gorilla Glass 4 (scratch resistant glass)
Color Support color
Media Player
Supported Digital Video Standards MKV, FLV, AVI, MPEG-4, ASF, 3GP, TS, WebM, HEVC, 3G2, OGM
Supported Digital Audio Standards WAV, WMA, AAC, AIFF, PCM, AMR, MP3, ADPCM, FLAC, AAC +, OGG, eAAC+, MIDI, OPUS
Memory
RAM 2 GB
Supported Flash Memory Cards microSDXC - up to 2 TB
User Memory 21.5 GB
Battery
Standby Time Up to 30.4 Days
Run Time Details Talk: up to 1440 min
Standby: up to 729.6 hrs
Run Time Details Talk: up to 1260 min
Standby: up to 730 hrs
Fast Charging Technology Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0
Digital Camera
Special Effects Film effect, HDR
Header
Brand LG
Product Line LG
Model X Venture, X Venture H700
Packaged Quantity 1
CE Input Device
Type touch sensitive screen (multi-touch)
Features
Sensors accelerometer, digital compass
Phone Functions call timer, conference call, flight mode, speakerphone, vibrating alert, voice control, voice dialing
Additional Features Battery Saver, Capture Plus function, LG GATE, LG Health, One Hand Mode, QuickMemo+ function, Shortcut Keys, Smart Keyboard, Wi-Fi Calling, multitasking, Clip Tray function, Content Lock, Easy Home mode, Fast Charging, Glove mode, HD Voice, Knock Code function, KnockON
Digital Player (Recorder)
Supported Digital Audio Standards AAC, PCM, WAV, WMA, eAAC+, ADPCM, AIFF, AMR, FLAC, MIDI, MP3, OGG, OPUS
Supported Digital Video Standards 3G2, 3GP, WebM, ASF, AVI, FLV, HEVC, MKV, MPEG-4, OGM, TS
RAM
Installed Size 2 GB
Flash Memory
Internal Memory Capacity 32 GB
Max Supported Size 2 TB
Supported Flash Memory Cards microSDXC
User Memory 21.5 GB
Service & Support Details
Type limited warranty
Full Contract Period 1 year
Front-facing Camera
Sensor Resolution 5 Megapixel
Lens Aperture f/2.2
Service & Support
Type 1 year warranty

Where To Buy

Price
$329.99

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Where To Buy

LG X Venture (black)

Part Number: CNETLG X Venture/BLK
Price
$329.99