September 7, 2008
LG Dare from Verizon Wireless (VX9700)
Fun and Function
The LG Dare from Verizon Wireless (VX9700) has been great fun to review. I really like the Dare. A full 3 inch touch screen that rotates to landscape and has a full QWERTY touch keyboard as well as a large touch dial pad that is very easy to read. The camera/camcorder at 3.2 Megapixals has more pixels than a Sony Cybershot that was my first digital camera. It even has face detection. This is an interesting product that lives up to its press. I have to admit I have not even held an iPhone let alone used one so forgive me if I am somewhat over the top here. I will try to contain my enthusiasm. Let’s move on to the LG Dare features and my experience with them.
Costs and deals
$249.99 minus an online discount of $50.00 makes the Dare cost $199.99 with a 2 year Verizon Wireless Contract.
In the Box
Standard Li-Ion battery
Travel adaptor/USB Cable and CD
Quick Reference Guide
First Thoughts - After getting acquainted with the LG Dare physical layout and the feel of the touch screen I found the LG Dare is easy to setup. Dialing is a snap as is entering text or numbers for contacts and e-mails. Yes I did push the wrong buttons many times.
3 Inch Touch Screen a really bright and screen with vivid colors.
As with all other keypads I need to be very careful where I place my fingers on the touch screen. I suggest using a stylus when fingers do not seem to work. There were times when I had to touch the key I needed several times to get the message across to the sensor. I did use the calibration wizard twice in an attempt to increase the screen’s sensitivity. Sometimes even backspacing would not work and I had to start over. That is a bummer when an e-mail address has 24 characters. It seemed like I would touch a letter and it would show the function of the key above or below it. This has to be an overlap caused by my fingers. Using a Stylus did make a difference when working with text and numbers. Even with that issue the LG Dare from Verizon Wireless was the easiest touchpad phone I have used so far.
Navigation - It is possible to add contacts with photos to a Favorites screen for quick recognition and access to their contact information. Menu icons can be dragged and dropped to the home screen for easy access. Want to draw a map or just send a smiley face to a friend? The Dare does it. A small arrow tucked into the upper right slide of the screen will take you to a list of available applications. There are more application options than I had time to check out. On most screens there is a back arrow that helps you go back one screen. There are a number of animated drawings to entertain those who want that. The animations and the dramatic movement of the menu items when starting the phone are cute and snazzy for impressing friends. I guess that is why they are there. I was more impressed with the rotation of the screen from horizontal to vertical every time you change the direction you hold the phone. Moving the phone in that manor also changes the display. For instance you might be in the vertical Dial Pad and, when rotated to horizontal, the screen changes to the QWERTY keyboard. That tickled me so much that I sat there changing the phone’s orientation and grinning for quite awhile.
Camera - The Dare 3.2 MP camera was a dream as far as photos were concerned. (SEE FLICKR SITE) Images were clear and sharp. It did produce reasonably good color. Image editing capabilities include; zoom, rotate, crop, add frames, icons, and write over images. Videos from the Dare camera were better than I have seen on many phones. (CLICK HERE TO VIEW A SHORT QUICKTIME SAMPLE) Camcorder sound was a little garbled at times.
Music - The inclusion of a 3.5 mm Stereo Jack made me very happy. My stereo headsets sounded great as did the Bluetooth stereo sets I tested below. VCast Music with Rhapsody is a pay-for-music site. It is an extensive and sometimes daunting area to search. If you want to download your purchases to your PC you will need to download the software from Verizon (It is also on the CD included with this phone.) I installed the software on the Lenovo ThinkPad. Downloads are .99 cents to your phone or $1.99 if you want to download to your PC and phone. The included USB/Charger cable will need to be used in its USB mode to connect the phone with your PC.
VCast Video - VCast Video was fun. I ordered a Family Guy Episode and a Road Runner cartoon and laughed out loud. I tested some trailers and watched some news and sports. It is a fast loading experience. Mostly good colors and sound. Some clips slightly hazy but no dropouts.
VZ Navigator - I asked VZ navigator to create a route from Key West to my long ago family address in Detroit, Michigan. A 1710 mile trip with voice and text directions was created in seconds. It was complete in every way. I have no immediate plans of taking the trip.
Messaging - I have mentioned my occasional problem with using the touch QUERTY keyboard. Beyond that messaging worked quite well. I tested text, e-mail, and IM with positive results. I used Picture Messaging to send 20 individual photos from the LG Dare to my work e-mail address. I could find no way to select more than one photo at a time for sending.
Bluetooth - I used a Jaybird HD-200 and Genius Bluetooth Stereo Headset for this test. The LG Dare paired with both and sound in each ear was fine. Hands free answering was perfect. Some other interesting Bluetooth functions on the Dare are; Print & Send User–Generated Pictures (JPEG) via Bluetooth Supported Profiles, Dial–Up Networking, Advanced Audio Distribution (stereo), Phonebook Access, Basic Printing, File Transfer,
Handwriting - The handwriting tests worked well on photos but not so well when entering contacts and other data. It took a while for me to understand what was expected in the way of handwritten characters and how to move between the icons ABC. abc, and 123 when writing. Once I had those down things went smoother. Adding handwritten text or drawings to photos was more intuitive. Some colors are available. Be sure to use a stylus and not a pen or sharp object or you will mess up the touchpad.
Storage - The LG Dare for Verizon Wireless comes with minimal internal memory. It will handle up to 8 Gigabytes of memory on a Micro SD card. The memory slot is easily available on the left side of the phone.
Miscellaneous -Able to hold 1000 contacts with up to five entries each the LG Dare is well equipped for some business use. I would have liked to have the ability to do a “Delete All” from contacts or at least checkmark ones that I want to remove so as to remove them in bulk.
The LG Dare from Verizon Wireless is a full featured, fun filled experience. It makes you feel cool while performing like a champ. Oops, There I go again.
For more info on this and other LG products Click Here.
For more info on the Dare and other Verizon Wireless offerings Click Here