If you work outdoors, or you just like to spend a lot of time outside, you know that there are mini disasters that can occur which are out of your control. Dirt, wetness, and fumbling resulting in drops are to be expected, and not every phone can handle that kind of abuse. The AT&T LG X Venture, however, can.
Billed as dust and water-resistant and military-grade shock resistant, the LG X Venture has an IP68 rating. The IP means International Protection; the next number is for dust resistance. The X Venture has a 6, which is the highest dust rating; it means “No ingress of dust; complete protection against contact.” The next number is an 8, which is the highest IP rating; it means it can handle immersion beyond 1 meter.
The equipment is suitable for continuous immersion in water under conditions which shall be specified by the manufacturer. Normally, this will mean that the equipment is hermetically sealed. However, with certain types of equipment, it can mean that water can enter but only in such a manner that it produces no harmful effects. – source
In other words, this phone can handle dirt and water without any issue.
As for the military grade shock resistance, it was tested at MIL-STD-810G, which means that it “passed 14 different MIL-STD 810G Tests for durability conducted by an independent laboratory in U.S. that conforms to U.S. military standards.” These tests were performed in a controlled environment, and you shouldn’t attempt to do them yourself, but the long and the short of it is that this phone is rugged and ready for just about anything you can throw at it. The fact that it has a 4,100mAh battery (with fast charging) means that you should be able to go all day long and then some without worrying about charging.
You can read a full list of the specifications here.
The LG X Venture measures exactly 6.1″ tall by 3 wide by 0.4″ thick, and it weighs 5.8 ounces. The display is Corning Gorilla Glass 4; the sides and corners are metal, and the top and bottom are rubberized. The 5 MP wide-angle front-facing camera is on the top left; it is also an FHD Camcorder, and it has a f/2.2 low-light lens. There is a combination fingerprint reader/home button in the center bottom, which is flanked by raised, texturized silicone Back and Multi-Window buttons.
While your first reaction to these raised buttons might be that they are slightly obtrusive, imagine how easy they’ll be to press when you have gloves on or if the phone is wet (or underwater). It all makes sense now, doesn’t it?
On the left side of the X Venture, there’s an orange multi-function QuickButton, a volume rocker, and a combination nanoSIM and microSD memory card (up to 256GB) tray.
The phone comes programmed so that when you press the QuickButton once, you’ll pull up a suite of outdoor essentials (I’ll discuss them later in this review); pressing the QuickButton twice will put the phone into Glove Mode, which allows you to use the phone when wearing gloves. If you press and hold the QuickButton, it will pull up Settings. You can pick different functions or apps for the QuickButton to pull up or open if you’d like.
At the top of the phone, there are what appear to be dual mics.
On the right side, there is a Power/Screen Lock button.
On the bottom, there is a 3.5mm headphone jack, a microphone, and a microUSB charging port. I’m not sure why LG didn’t go with the new on-it’s-way-to-becoming-standard Type-C, but since most Android people likely still have tons of microUSB accessories and cables, this isn’t too terrible.
The non-removable back is covered in texturized silicone; it is quite grippy and you’re not likely to drop it.
The X Venture has a rear 16 MP autofocus camera and FHD camcorder with LED Flash and a f/2.2 low-light lens.
In hand, the X Venture feels solid; the rubberized areas are nice and grippy, and the curved edges are a bonus. There is nothing too sharp or too edgy anywhere when holding the phone; I like it. Think about it like this: the phone doesn’t really need a case, so if the size or silicone areas bug you at all, think about what your usual phone looks and feels like once you’ve stuck it in an Otterbox; this is much slimmer and less bulky with much the same protection. If you get caught in a downpour, it’s no biggie; if you drop it in the mud you can just rinse it off; if you drop it in the pool, it will be just fine; and if you drop it at all, it shouldn’t break. Sweet!
The 5.2″ 1080 x 1920 pixels display is a 16M colors IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen; it is very visible outdoors.
The LG X Venture has 32GB of built-in memory and 2GB RAM. It has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 1.4 GHz x 4 + 1.1 x 4 GHz OctaCore MSM8940 processor, and it is running Android 7.0 (Nougat). For those of you keeping track, that’s not the latest and greatest processor, but you really can’t tell when using the phone. And at this price? You can’t complain.
I streamed Netflix and HBO shows on it, and there were no stutters or stalls. I played a few games and had no issues. The built-in speakers are decent, but nothing special; they’re a little tinny with unimpressive bass. It’s a much better experience to use BT or wired headphones or to stream to an external speaker.
I had a great photo-taking experience when I reviewed the LG G6, but I was afraid that the camera on this non-flagship model that costs half as much as the G6 might be sorely lacking; I needn’t have worried. Pictures taken outdoors were beautiful, crisp, and had a lot of detail.
Indoor photos weren’t bad, either! I use whatever mobile device I’m carrying to take pictures for all of my reviews, and the X Venture did a very good job with closeups and photos with no extra light. Here are some examples …
The LG Outdoor Essentials Suite
Because this phone is meant to be used outdoors without fear, it includes an Outdoors Essentials Suite that is accessed by clicking the orange QuickButton on the left side of the X Venture. Apps in the suite include a barometer, compass, an activity tracker, an exercise log, the weather, and a flashlight. There’s just about everything that you might need to keep from getting lost and to keep track of your outdoor activities.
Other Built-In Software
Well, it’s an AT&T branded smartphone, so you know what that means … a full suite of AT&T apps and other things they think you might like. Are you ready? Apps include AT&T Call Protect, AT&T Protect Plus, AT&T Smart Wi-Fi, Device Help, DirecTV (especially annoying), DirectTV Remote, FM Radio, Lookout, Drive Mode, myAT&T, Setup & Transfer, Visual Voicemail, Amazon Shopping, Uber, Facebook, YPMobile, Firefox (?!), and possibly a few others. None can be deleted, but you can at least hide them so they aren’t on your main launcher.
The more I play with and use the LG X Venture, the more convinced I become that it would be an excellent smartphone not just for outdoor enthusiasts but for teens. I have a 14-year-old stepdaughter, and she has the worst luck with phones; I no longer get her “nice” phones — she gets older, second-hand phones because we know they will inevitably be destroyed. If she’s not getting them wet, she’s dropping them and shattering the screen (or one of her friends does it accidentally) — even when the phone is in a case; I don’t know how she does it, I’ve never seen anything like it. I think the X Venture might be the first phone I’ve reviewed that she couldn’t kill without putting some serious effort into it, and the price is right. The X Venture doesn’t need a case, and it’s still slim and pocketable; that’s an unlikely compliment for such a rugged phone.
The LG X Venture retails for $329 (or $11/month with 30-month AT&T installment agreement); it is available exclusively from AT&T.
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample
What I Like: Ruggedized build that is ready for almost anything; Very good camera; Excellent battery life; Great phone for anyone who is outdoors a lot; Excellent phone for teens; Surprisingly great value
What Needs Improvement: MicroUSB connector rather than the new standard Type-C; The built-in speakers are nothing special; So many AT&T apps … enough already!