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Lifewire / Andrew Hayward
Sleek, minimal design
Large 3-inch display
Excellent call quality
No external screen
Awkward camera placement
Pricey for a flip phone
The LG Exalt LTE is a more polished, albeit pricey take on the classic flip phone
Smartphones have widely replaced the simpler feature and flip phones of old, but for anyone who wants a basic phone for calls, texts, and little more, the LG Exalt LTE has solid appeal. Exclusively available via Verizon, the LG Exalt LTE adapts the familiar flip-phone design with a sleeker and more modern allure. With a decent screen inside and large keypad buttons, it's a good take on this kind of form factor. However, the lack of an external screen may disappoint and the price is rather steep for what you get.
The LG Exalt LTE is still dominated by plastic, but it doesn't have the cheap look of a lot of other flip phones. The overall design is professional and high-end, with flattened silver sides that have a textured pattern along much of the surface and some angular touches.
That said, the LG Exalt LTE doesn’t feel significantly more premium in the hand than competitors. It's still a bit creaky when you give it a good squeeze or press firmly on the buttons. It's a reasonably sturdy-feeling handset, although it's a little loose at the hinge. You could probably twist it in half and crack it open if you felt so inclined, but that's true with the vast majority of flip phones.
The LG Exalt LTE is more sophisticated in design than your average, cheap flip phone.
Inside, the look is a bit more typical. It has a large screen covering much of the top half, and a keypad and navigation buttons take up much of the bottom. The number buttons are large and easy to press, plus there's a circular directional pad above with a large Select button in the middle. The LG Exalt LTE also has dedicated buttons for enabling voice commands and activating speakerphone functionality during a call.
On the left side is a volume rocker and microSD port, while the right side of the phone has a dedicated camera shutter button and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The phone's camera is on the back—but unlike many flip phones that place it on the folding section, it actually sits on the main body. Many times, our fingers were covering the lens when we went to shoot, meaning we had to reconfigure our grip just to take a snap.
The other potential design issue comes from an omission: there's no outer screen to get a glimpse of who's calling before you flip open the phone. However, you can still choose to ignore a call even after you see who's calling. The LG Exalt LTE does have a small red LED light on the outside, however, which blinks if there's a call or notification, and you can set custom ringtones for contacts for a more specific heads-up on who's ringing you.
The LG Exalt LTE ships with 8GB of internal storage, although you'll only have 4.3GB of that to play with for photos, videos, and music. That's still quite a lot for a flip phone. You can also slot in a cheap microSD card up to 32GB to pack in more tunes or store images and videos.
The setup process for the LG Exalt LTE is pretty straightforward. It ships with Verizon's SIM card installed, but you'll need to insert the battery by prying off the back cover. Once the phone's charged, you can activate it from the device itself or via the Verizon website.
Like many Android smartphones, the LG Exalt LTE has a Qualcomm processor within—but this quad-core Snapdragon 210 is at the bottom end of speed and sheer processing ability, which makes sense given the phone's relatively basic functionality.
Navigating around the interface is pretty responsive, although it can take an extra second or two for content to load once you've opened a feature (like the photo gallery).
As the name suggests, the LG Exalt LTE is built for Verizon's 4G network. Many flip phones on the market still run on 3G networks, but Verizon is shutting its 3G network down at the end of 2019. As such, the LG Exalt LTE is one of the rare basic phones that will work with Verizon into 2020 and beyond.
Visually, the LG Exalt LTE is a cut above other flip phones with its minimal allure and classier design.
Aside from improved voice quality, there isn't a whole lot that you'd actually need LTE service for on the LG Exalt LTE. But if you decide to surf the internet with the built-in browser, graphics tend to load pretty swiftly. It's not as fast as using a recent smartphone, but the browsing experience was better than anticipated.
Luckily, you can connect to a 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi network to avoid using up all of your data when home or near a hotspot. The phone also offers its own mobile hotspot capability, letting you create a local Wi-Fi network for another device to connect to and access your Verizon data plan. However, it was not compatible with the particular prepaid plan we used to test the device.
The LG Exalt LTE has a rather large screen for a flip phone at three inches diagonal. It boasts a 400 x 240 resolution (155 pixels per inch) and a TFT LCD. Text and graphics look fuzzy plus there's a bit of blurriness to everything, and while the viewing angles aren't great, they're much better than the rival Alcatel Go Flip.
However, the screen is solidly colorful and gets pretty bright, and it'll get the job done for most basic tasks. Having a larger screen also helps with visibility, so it's a handy upgrade.
Flip the phone over and you'll find a tiny little speaker grate next to the camera. The LG Exalt LTE isn't really designed for booming playback, but it'll play music decently. It's a little tinny, and you'll definitely hear how confined the speaker is on the higher volume settings, but it does a serviceable job if you need quick playback on the fly.
Call quality is thankfully strong due to Verizon's 4G LTE network and its HD Voice functionality. The phone also supports Wi-Fi calling, in case you're without cellular reception. The speakerphone sounds pretty clear on the LG Exalt LTE, but unfortunately doesn't get very loud. Also, a caller on the other line said that the voice quality wasn't as clear when we had speakerphone engaged.
No surprises here, the 5-megapixel camera on the LG Exalt LTE isn't designed for top-tier mobile photography. It's a low-end, straightforward shooter that's capable of capturing still images and 720p-resolution video at 30 frames per second.
You won't get anything that's quite Instagram-ready from the LG Exalt LTE, but then again, you won't be using Instagram here anyway.
It has autofocus, so at least the phone can hone in on what you're trying to capture, but even a well-framed shot is likely to be a bit blurry and lack fine details, not to mention look washed-out. Low-light shots aren't very good and consistently show a lot more blur, and there's no flash to illuminate darkened scenes. Likewise, video clips are about as good as the stills.
You won't get anything that's quite Instagram-ready from the LG Exalt LTE, but then again, you won't be using Instagram here anyway. For a quick snap of a pet, a landscape, or a curious sight, it'll serve fine.
The 1,470mAh removable battery pack promises up to six hours of talk time and up to 10 days of standby time. Your actual day-to-day uptime will depend on how much you're actually using the phone for things like calls, text messages, photography, and web browsing. If you're just making occasional calls and sending texts, then you might swing several days from a full charge. On the other hand, if you're opening the phone repeatedly every day for a variety of tasks, then you could be reaching for a charge every couple of days.
LG's interface here is pretty straightforward. The center button within the directional pad opens up the Menu screen, which provides access to messaging, the camera, the internet browser, and settings. It's also where you'll find basic tools like a voice recorder, calendar, alarms, a calculator, and notepad.
Browsing the web is not a very intuitive experience on the LG Exalt LTE, as you'll slowly use the directional pad to move the pointer around to click links, or use the number keys to tap in URLs. It's not something we wanted to do regularly, but if you need web access in a pinch, it's there. Pages typically load pretty well on this larger flip phone display, and you can even watch videos if you don't mind squinting.
The Exalt LTE has a dedicated button for voice commands, letting you call or text a contact or number, open a tool, or play music, for example. It's not an internet-connected voice assistant like you'll find on smartphones, but it can be quicker than navigating through menus.
At a retail price of $144 from Verizon, the LG Exalt LTE is a fair bit more expensive than many other flip phones on the market today, including devices from companies like Alcatel, Tracfone, and ZTE that can be found for half the price or less.
The upside is that the LG Exalt LTE is more sophisticated in design than your average, cheap flip phone, and the 4G LTE connectivity means that calls sound great and that the phone will continue to function even as carriers shut down their old 3G networks. Still, at a price near $150, you have to think about whether it's worth getting a budget smartphone instead.
The LG Exalt LTE and Alcatel Go Flip are among the few current, LTE-capable flip phones on the market, but there are significant differences between them. LG went for a more refined, almost professional look for the Exalt LTE, while the Go Flip looks and feels pretty cheap. It has an outer display, however, while the Exalt LTE breaks from typical flip phone design by ditching that feature.
We think the Exalt LTE provides the better overall user experience, including a larger screen with better viewing angles and a more responsive interface (despite both phones using the same processor). However, with the Alcatel Go Flip ranging in price between $20-$96 depending on carrier, it's much more of a bargain.
Pay for added polish?
Visually, the LG Exalt LTE is a cut above other flip phones with its minimal allure and classier design. Functionally, it's still very much a flip phone. It benefits from great call quality and speedy web browsing from Verizon's LTE network, but otherwise, it's still limited by the flip phone form factor and the lack of an outer screen may frustrate flip phone aficionados.
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