LG Decoy Mini-Review Verdict: Brilliant (When It’s Quiet)

Remember that series of odd but unforgettable Guinness commericals that featured two paper cutout Irish brewmasters who kept yelling “Brilliant!” all the time? They might love the LG Decoy even more than the beer. Why? Because LG has just made it much easier for heavy talkers to go hands free by integrating a Bluetooth headset right into a phone. You don’t have to worry about schlepping around a separate charger or go through a confusing pairing process. I actually saw this concept a couple of years ago during a Plantronics press event, and I’ve always wondered why no one ever brought it to market. So when the LG Decoy showed up this morning (which supports all the usual Verizon services like V CAST Music and Video, as well as VZ Navigator), I was excited to see how well it worked. Here’s my quick take. What we like:

  • The small blue headset is very discrete and produces only a minor bulge on the back of the phone. Ejecting the headset is a cinch using a small button on the top of the handset.
  • An animated wizard walks you through the pairing process, which consists of detaching the headset and then holding down the call answer/end button on the headset until the blue light stays on. That’s it. The Decoy takes care of the rest.
  • Headset charges while docked and automatically powers down to save juice.
  • Mono headset plays downloaded music (50 seconds to download “Lost!” track from Coldplay’s new Viva la Vida) and audio from V CAST Video (five seconds to download Family Guy clip).
  • Phone has stylish two-tone finish with large mirror-like 2.2-inch display. Nice soft-touch dialpad.
  • Good voice quality on headset indoors and in quiet environments.
  • Can activate voice command menu with single tap of headset button (or button above dialpad).
  • Five-way joystick works well despite being slightly recessed.
  • Loud speakerphone.

What we don’t like:

  • Other callers said they could tell we were using a Bluetooth headset, and that we sounded like we were in a tunnel. Worse, when walking outside with only a slight breeze one caller said they could barely hear us.
  • No noise reduction technology means other callers will hear what’s in the background.
  • Volume rocker button on headset is really narrow.
  • Just 2 hours of talk time on headset.
  • At 4.1 ounces this phone/headset combo is a bit on the heavy side.
  • Phone’s LCD picks up smudges quickly.

Verdict: The LG Decoy is a great concept and is pretty well executed. This slider is especially convenient for those who forget to charge their wireless headsets or find themselves scrambling to find theirs in a pocket or purse when the phone rings. However, $179 (after a $50 mail-in rebate) is a lot to pay for this two-in-one functionality when you can get a decent standalone Bluetooth headset for less than 50 bucks, and the lack of noise or wind reduction diminishes the Decoy’s appeal. We’d wait for the price to come down a bit before taking the plunge.

AUTHOR BIO
Mark Spoonauer
Mark Spoonauer
Responsible for the editorial vision for Laptopmag.com, Mark Spoonauer has been Editor in Chief of LAPTOP since 2003 and has covered technology for nearly 15 years. Mark speaks at key tech industry events and makes regular media appearances on CNBC, Fox and CNN. Mark was previously reviews editor at Mobile Computing, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc.
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  1. ahe Says:

    i thot the decoy was silver wtih a blue black?

  2. mo Says:

    I wish the decoy was in black… the silver one with the blue back looks so cheap and tacky

  3. Maggie Says:

    I’ve had the Decoy for 4 days and I’ve learned a couple of things:

    As long as you keep your head very still, especially while driving, the bluetooth headset will not fall out of your ear. Turning my head a few times to look for oncoming cars resulted in mine falling out four times within roughly an hour. My colleague also checked it out – it fell out twice while she was working at her desk.

    I love the look of the silver/mirror finish but unfortunately the glare can make it almost impossible to read the display. You have to work at getting the right angle. Glancing at the display on a sunny day while driving is not an option.

    Lastly, the smudge factor is HUGE. It absolutely looses its appeal with oily fingerprints all over it (forget make up).

    On the flip side – it’s easy to use, the size is great (its not bulky at all) and the clarity of the headset was much better than I anticipated.

  4. Julie Says:

    I am thinking about getting the decoy but im not sure. i dont think the bluetooth will fit in my ear and do they sell it in black at verizon?

  5. Leo Says:

    The Verizon sales rep talked me into buying a pack of small foam pads for the bluetooth earpiece, because of keeping it clean. I have no problem with it falling out of my ear with these foam covers installed. And they are small enough that the headset still fits into the back of the phone.

  6. Enzo Says:

    I got the Decoy after going through so many LG Voyagers (6!). I must say i love how small this phone is and its really not bad at all!! I wish the joystick stuck out a lil bit more. But other than that I love the camera/camcorder on this thing compared to the voyagers!! yuck! I miss the Voyager, somewhat. but this phone definately is different and I love it now! :-) p.s. i havent tried bluetooth cuz i dont need it really therefore im sure what is said about it is true. But nothing is perfect.

  7. Skarekrow Says:

    I’ve owned the LG Decoy for 6 months and it’s spectacular!
    I would highly recommend it. I havent had any problems with the headset.
    However, i do have to keep it in its own case in order to keep the shiny finish from scratching.
    It’s an extremely reliable phone and im glad to have bought it! :D

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