If you can afford the $100 or so premium depending on rebates the LG VX 8100 is well worth considering. At just over 4 ounces the VX 8100 has a solid feel to it without being bulky. Surprising since it's packed with technology. The VX 8100 includes 1.3Mp camera with flash, Bluetooth, MiniSD External Memory Port, V CAST Music, Speakerphone, Voice Dialing and a large bright color screen. But perhaps most importantly the VX8100 performs well and you'll never have to open a manual to figure out how to use it.

One of the biggest difference between an entry-level phone like the SCH-a850 and the LG VX 8100 is performance of the processor inside the phone. With the cheaper phones sometimes the phone has a hard time keeping up with fast fingers and there is a noticeable lag when dialing numbers or navigating menus. It's like the difference between an old 386 and Pentium. For this reason, we find the entry-level phones very frustrating to use.

In terms of sound quality it's hard to quantify a difference. The reason is each call uses different cell under ever changing traffic and interference scenario. Rarely does the person on the other end notice a difference. Whenever we test a new phone we call the funkyfresh team in the Midwest to see if they notice any difference in sound quality. The answer is always, 'you sound fine.'

What we'd really like to see Verizon and the other wireless carries focus on now is the issue of dropped calls. All these new features are nice but there's nothing worse than redialing the same party over and over to finish a conversation. While the feature set and ergonomics continue to improve we still get the same number of dropped calls along our northern California route. I'll take one continuous phone call to built in camera and music capabilities any day.

Be that as it may, the VX 8100 is a nice step up and good choice for a V CAST Phone.

Keep if funky ' Rick Spence

Visit Verizon Wireless for more information and all the specs on its line of V CAST phones.