Verizon Wireless(s vz) is adding another LTE handset to its smartphone lineup: The LG Revolution arrives in stores and becomes available online Thursday, May 26 for $249 after contract. The Android 2.2 (s goog) smartphone offers a large touchscreen that could appeal to Netflix (s nflx) subscribers because the device is the first phone with the Netflix application pre-loaded.
The Revolution becomes the third phone able to use Verizon’s fast LTE network, following the HTC Thunderbolt and Samsung Droid Charge, all of which can share the 4G connection through mobile hotspot software. Some other key specifications and features:
- 1GHz Qualcomm(s qcom) Snapdragon processor
- 4.3-inch display with 800×480 resolution
- 5-megapixel rear camera with auto-focus, LED flash and video capture at 720p
- 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera for video chat
- 16 GB micro SD card pre-installed
- 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0
- Mobile hotspot to share LTE with 8 devices over Wi-Fi or share 3G with 5 devices
- HDMI port for sharing video or pictures to high-definition televisions
If there was any doubt as to what the 4G radio adds to the retail price of a handset, it’s safe to say that figure is at least $50. Priced at $249, the Revolution specifications are fairly comparable to other smartphones costing $199. The Thunderbolt ($249) and Charge ($299) show a similar premium. That’s understandable, however: The LTE radio is advertised to deliver downloads in the 5 to 12 Mbps range when in areas with 4G coverage — far faster than Verizon’s 3G network.
There are two potential downside of such speeds, however. Verizon is expected to move away from unlimited data plans this summer and move to a tiered data strategy. Customers would then choose a set amount of data, say 2 GB, for example, and would have to purchase another bucket of bandwidth after using their allotment. The issue becomes of one of how fast you can burn through the data on the speedy connection.
The second caution is one of run-time. Because the 4G radio isn’t integrated with the 3G radio on earlier LTE handsets, battery life has been poor when using the 4G connection. We’ll have a better idea of the battery impact after looking at an LG Revolution review unit to see if that’s still a challenge.