LG Dare (VX9700) Review| By Marisa Genuardi
The LG Dare is a touch screen smartphone out to join the emerging brawl for dominance in the next big wave of cellular phone technology. Led by Apple's revolutionary iPhone, the fanciest of high-end phones must now engage touch screen technology head on.
But Is the Dare up to the challenge? On the surface, all of the key ingredients are there -- multimedia capabilities, a 3.2-megapixel camera, and a compact, keyboard-less design, complete a full-panel touch screen dominating the front of the phone.
Users navigate the menu with flick of a finger, flipping through the contact list for speedy texting, emailing and phoning. Favorites can be reached with a drag and drop photo interface. Featuring 3G VCast capabilities, the Dare supports VCast Music to download from over two million songs and VCast Video to stream entertainment clips, sports highlights, breaking news and weather.
The Dare is a PDA-style phone: a compact rectangle of a phone small enough to fit into the palm of a hand or the back pocket of jeans. It doesn't open or slide or flip, but simply is. Its dimensions are slight and its mass negligible. Simply put, the Dare is a professional-looking phone in a conveniently-sized package.
The front of the phone features a full-panel touch screen, allowing for beautifully customized wallpaper to dominate the look of the active phone. Of course, a full-panel touch screen leaves plenty of room for fingerprints and scratches, so buyer beware -- treat the phone with love or buy a protective covering.
A light sensor on the upper left detects the amount of light and adjusts the brightness of the LCD to conserve battery power and extend screen life. When close to the proximity sensor -- within 2- to 3-centimeters -- in the upper left corner, the LCD turns off, letting users only adjust the volume or end a call so that they don't inadvertently activate the feature. When blocked with the phone case, the LCD backlight also turns off. The sensor is inactive when the speakerphone or Bluetooth is on.
A simple 90 degree rotation, and the Dare transforms from phone to camera. The entire back panel of the phone is solid black, with the exception of a rectangular camera lens and flash pooling in an upper corner. The camera button on the edge of the phone makes the transformation complete.
The edges of the phone feature the usual buttons and ports: Side Volume Keys, Unlock/Lock Key, Speaker Key, Camera Key, USB Accessory Charger Port, microSD Slot and Headset Jack. The camera face slides off to reveal the Battery Slot. With a sleek PDA-style design, the Dare presents a unified front of professionalism and convenience. Out of the box, the Dare comes with a battery, travel charger and user manual.
A good way to establish the flashiest new phone on the market is to integrate the most state-of-the-art camera as possible into the design. The Dare certainly puts its all into its camera, with a high-quality 3.2-megapixel Schneider Kreuznach lens -- the current maximum for high-end camera phones. And, of course, options abound. In addition to high-end standards like a flash, zoom, and auto focus, the phone features an Image Editor for true customization.
The camera is accessed in one of two ways: through the menu screens or by simply pressing the shutter button on the edge of the phone. Its 240-by-320 pixel screen makes for an expansive viewscreen for the camera. But, the touch sensor causes some problems for the camera. The zoom and brightness levels are controlled by touch-sliders on the screen, which have the same sensitivity problems as scroll menus elsewhere on the Dare.
Perhaps the problems with these sliders will diminish as users acclimate to the touch mechanism.
One other potentially irritating factor is the shutter button -- pressing it all the way down does not take an image, but rather switches between video and still camera modes. In order to take a photo, consumers must be careful only to press the button down lightly. For heavy-handed photographers, this may take some time to get used to.
Options abound on the Dare's camera, beginning with Color Effects and ending with Scene Mode. The former include the old standbys Sepia and Black & White, as well as Negative, and, for bathing photos with a splash of underwater adventure, Aqua. The latter includes Normal, Portrait, Landscape, Night, and, in order to capture the funniest of times, Sports and Beach. The ever-popular Shutter Sound option lets users sit back, relax, and let someone else say "Say Cheese!" or "Ready? 1, 2, 3!" Those with more subtle tastes may choose a standard shutter sound or no sound at all.
Other, advanced options include ISO (Auto, 100, 200 and 400), Photometry (Average and Spot), White Balance (Fluorescent, Sunny, Glow and Cloudy), SmartPic, and Face Detection.
Resolutions range from 320-by-240 to a hearty 2,048-by-1,536 pixels. Multi-Shot and Shot Type (Panorama, Split and Frame) are also available for exciting fashion shots and artistically captured vistas.
A Video Recorder and Image Editor are also available. The Video Recorder offers similar options to the regular camera, and comes in three resolutions: 640-by-480, 320-by-240 and 176-by-144 pixels. The Image Editor allows users to use a pen in various colors and shapes to "write" on photographs.
While it may take users awhile to get used to the camera's controls, the camera itself is state-of-the-art, with a 3.2-megapixel lens and a whole host of photo options.
The Dare offers the usual basic features, with a brand new menu experience that goes along with the touch screen format. For example, a touch of a button on the side of the screen reveals the customizable shortcuts menu, from which users can drag and drop icons onto the desktop. This handy feature allows for easy access to the features one uses most often -- be it Calendar, Text Messages, Alarm Clock, or a host of other choices. Once icons have been added to the desktop, consumers can drag and drop into whatever combination they see fit.
It offers a Phonebook Capacity of 1000, which should be enough for even the most enthusiastic networkers. Each Phonebook entry stores a contact's name, two mobile phone numbers, two email addresses, fax number, home number and work number. Users can assign each contact a Group, Photo and Ringtone as well.
The Dare is also equipped with speakerphone and standards such as voicemail and call waiting are also available. The phone has an automatic locking feature, which is released with a touch of either a side button or a special icon on the screen. With a customizable desktop, ample Phonebook and standard features, the Dare offers the user a satisfactory array of standard features.
The Dare has only a single screen, but what a screen it is. At 240-by-320 pixels, the touch screen provides a broad canvas for wallpaper, screensavers and media viewing. And, with 262,000 colors, the visual presentation is sure to be rich and full of colorful life.
Touch screens, of course, bring a whole new aspect into screen consideration: how well does the screen-touching actually work? The Dare's touch screen has a bit of a learning curve, with certain reviewers spending several tormenting moments tapping, rubbing and knocking on the screen trying to get it to work. Once users get the knack of it, though, the touching method of the screen itself shouldn't be so bad.
Learning to navigate the touch screen menus is a similar story: potentially tough at first with eventual enlightenment. Trying to input handwriting, however, remains somewhat problematic unless a stylus or long fingernails are involved.
The large front screen allows for beautiful wallpapers. In additional to traditional wallpapers, users may use drawings from the Drawing Pad function, and well as pictures taken with the camera. The phone comes pre-loaded with fun animated wallpapers, including adorable baby ducks following their mother around the screen, or, for the more meditative, koi swimming around in a deep blue pond.
Since there is no alternative to the touch screen for any of the Dare's functions (dialing, text input, etc.), users should consider how well they think they will adapt to this kind of phone before making a commitment. PDA veterans should know already how they feel about this kind of functionality.
Today's state-of-the-art cell phones must answer an important question: can it sing? In the case of the Dare, the answer, of course, is yes. The Dare's ringtones are MP3 -- no need to stick to those old-fashioned MIDI varieties. The phone of course also offers an MP3 player through Verizon's standard VCast Music.
For $15 a month, customers can use VCast Music with Rhapsody PC software and a compatible USB cable -- sold separately -- to load songs from a PC to the Dare. Users can experience unlimited access to millions of songs, listen on the phone, compatible portable player, PC or browser and get editorial content and recommendations.
Veterans of Verizon's music phones should be familiar with the program, but for those who aren't, the media player offers all of the standards -- songs organized by playlist, title, artist and album, as well as shuffle and repeat options.
In addition to simple text message, the Dare also offers picture, video and voice messaging. All messaging can be easily sent via touch menu to any contact, favorite contact, phone number, or social network. Should these features still be insufficient to meet users' communication needs, the Dare also offers connection to email (POP3, IMAP4 and SMTP) and Chat (AOL, Windows Live, Yahoo) via its internet browser.
Users may scribble a note with a stylus in the Drawing Pad application and enclose it in a regular picture message. With texting and access to email and chat, the Dare does its best to ensure that users get their message across in plenty of time.
The Dare includes the standard applications expected from the modern cell phone: Calendar, Alarm Clock, Calculator, Stopwatch, World Clock, Voice Commands and Notepad, as well as some new features, like Drawing Pad.
The standards are all here in full force, and users should not be disappointed by these most fundamental of applications. The Drawing Pad is a fun addition that allows users to paint onto a blank screen with the same colored-pen function as in the Image Editor.
In addition to these programs, the phone comes pre-loaded with VZ Navigator, should the user become lost and stranded in some strange town late at night with only half a tank of gas. Directions to safety are a mere touch screen away.
Additional tools and applications are, of course, available for download at an additional price. But with the standard options offered for free, users should be able to keep themselves relatively organized and keep them driving in the right direction.
In terms of games, the Dare is compatible with those of the BREW variety, but all games must of course be downloaded at an additional fee. Streaming multimedia is available through VCast Video. With MP3, game and video player capabilities, the Dare offers high-end features for a generally entertaining phone.
The Dare connects to the Internet via high-speed 3G technology. An improvement over Verizon's Ev-Do Rev. 0 technology (with speeds of up to 2.4-megabits per second), the Dare runs on the upgraded Ev-Do Rev. A technology for broadband speeds to up to 3.1-megabits per second.
The Dare comes with an ample 148-megabytes of internal memory. But should users need more, a microSD slot accepts memory cards up to 8-gigabytes in size, located on the left edge.
Between Bluetooth, USB and the Internet, the Dare should be able to connect to almost anything the user needs it to connect to. It offers Bluetooth 2.1 with profile support of A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile) to listen to music on Bluetooth stereo headphones, BPP (Basic Printing Profile) to directly print to Bluetooth printers, DUN (Dial-Up Networking) to use the Dare as a laptop modem, HFP (Hands-Free Profile) for Bluetooth car-kits, HID (Human Interface Device) for devices such as mice, joysticks and keyboards, HSP (Headset Profile) for wireless conversations via Bluetooth headsets and OPP (Object Push Profile) to transfer files between devices.
To the layperson, this means easy connection to peripherals to communicate and transfer multimedia files. It can also be connected to other devices via a physical USB cable, one of which is included in the box with the phone.
The touch screen takes a little getting used to. With a high-end 3.2-megapixel camera, multimedia capabilities and other standard features of today's high-end products, the Dare bursts onto the scene as a state-of-the-art addition to the world of cell phone technology. The sleek-looking touch screen design truly brings it to the forefront of the mobile pack.
Since both the Dare and iPhone have touch screens, users may be unsure which to purchase. The answer depends on the user's taste. Other than the touch screen and general shape, the two phones are actually not too similar. The first issue is network: the Dare is on Verizon and the iPhone is on AT&T. Users with a strong preference for a network already have their answer.
Undoubtedly, comparisons with the iPhone will be made. And while neither the refinement nor the brand-recognition is there, the Dare offers a solid entry into the playing field of high-end cell phone technology. ♦
TFT / Accelerometer
Categories: Business | Fun | Messaging
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September 13, 2008
A fantastic phone (with caveats)
Feature-packed phone! There's nothing lacking if you want to listen to music (MP3 player), surf the web (has an HTML browser), bunch of tools (calendar, alarm, notepad, etc.), camera and video (3.2MP and high-speed video) and with Verizon Wireless very good call quality.
The touch screen controls mostly every feature and has an individual camera button, volume button and call and power buttons. It has a conventional dial pad-like keyboard
that will flip to QWERTY touch screen keyboard when you flip the phone from vertical to horizontal position.
The Dare uses external memory (microSD card) up to 8 GB and can be accessed by Bluetooth or USB mass storage.
Design is elegant. Surrounding the 3-inch touchscreen is a chrome trim that's nice to the touch and the back of the Dare is rubberized for good grip. The back also features the camera lens with flash and the external speaker.
The MP3 player can be a glitchy and it's not compatible with iTunes (doesn't sync). Sometimes there's initialization problems but this could be attributed to the microSD card.
The 3.2MP camera that touted with as a Schneider Kreutznach lens is over-hyped. This won't replace your digital p / s camera. Lag-time for taking candid photos is challenging. Even at the highest resolution, quality can disappoint. It's better with video, IMHO. Though the camera is fun with its Panoramic setting.
The HTML browser doesn't do flash and those used to the iPhone will be disappointed. It's so-so. Not great but not bad, either. Favorites are limited to 23(?) addresses.
The touchscreen attracts smears and smudges like crazy. You'll find yourself constantly wiping the screen but when it's clear it's beautiful. Some point out that the screen is not glass rather plastic and could be a negative. I don't have a real problem with this, though you may want to be more careful in not damaging the screen. Though the touchscreen can be calibrated there's occasional mis-types. But with a good calibration the keyboard responds fairly well.
Summary: I really do enjoy the phone for all its features. I almost find myself using this more than my 17-inch MacBook Pro! When all of the features work, it's fantastic. The Dare gets a lot of looks and often mistaken for the iPhone. Calls are about the best you can get for cell phones and VZW's high-speed service makes accessing the web convenient.
I highly recommend people who are interested in the iPhone but aren't interested in AT&T to look at the Dare and Verizon.Was this review helpful to you?
5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.
August 20, 2008
This is one of the best phones released for Verizon network. The touchscreen is amazingly accurate especially coming from the voyager which touchscreen sucks in accuracy. So they really improved it when making this phone.
Multi-tasking music player is also a plus when your on those bored days with nothing to do besides texting.
- Light, Small and Compact.
- Good Battery Life
- Good Signal with a Fast Browser
- Rubberized back for good grip
Some things that need to be worked on are some of the glitches that the phone produces such as the phone restarting when doing something such as scrolling through text messages on the phone but you can fix this by resetting the phone which I found out on LG-Darecom.
But I believe the restarting problems can be fixed in a firmware update. But the phone has alot of tricks and features which you might not figure out until a couple of days after you get the phone. I know LG made a site thats basically a picture manual for the LG Dare and it really helped learn the phone also.
- Texting is hard to get good at for some people like me
- Low light produced for backlight(glare)
- Sometimes people complain of not being able to hear me.
- Video camera has a blue tint problem in high speed.
5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.
July 04, 2008
Just picked this phone up yesterday as a birthday present to myself and so far I love it. I'll highlight my favorite features below:
The touch navigation on it is amazing. It's much better than the Voyager or the god-awful Glyde. It offers the usual vibration feedback when selecting items and scrolling through lists. My only gripe with it is that sometimes when you are scrolling through a list with your finger, you may accidentally select something you didn't want to select. Maybe I just have to practice more with it.
Of course, the camera is one of this phone's greatest features. It has a 3.2 MP camera with a special German-made lens that takes crisp pictures and the flash is almost blinding it's so bright. You have tons of options to choose from like Face Detection, Shutter Speed, Burst Shot, Auto focus, Editing options, Fun Frames, and you can even draw on the pictures or with the touch screen.
It has many of the iPhone's trademark features like the accelerometer that rotates the screen when the phone is rotated and a 3.5mm headset jack so you can use your favorite headphones with it. You can also drag and drop icons using your finger.
Speaking of downloads, this phone also has EV-DO Rev. A which allows super fast internet speed. I downloaded a copy of Bejeweled in a matter of seconds. Web pages opened up very quickly as well.
All in all, this is Verizon's best phone in a long time so if you're still on the fence I would suggest going to the store and trying it out. I only wish this phone came with a protective pouch like my LG Venus.Was this review helpful to you?
5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.
October 09, 2008
Agree with all the latest reviews except...
I just got this phone and think it's pretty cool to maneuver with all the features.
Speaker: The speaker is freagin' awesome, Loud and crystal clear.
Talking: Talking to peeps, they say it kinda sounds like I have them on speaker phone, which I didn't.
3.2mp Camera: The 3.2mp camera, well I think my old phone which had a 1.3mp camera was about the same. Don't get this phone for the camera. I the idea is great but the actual option isn't.
Texting: It's pretty easy and cool with the virtual keyboard and all after you calibrate it.
Note: If you have big fingers your gonna hate this phone as there are some small buttons to push; but, I suppose you could use a pen (with the ink closed, of course) to use the phone too.
Big Con: The one thing I really don't like is that you can't do anything with one hand. Which is pretty key with me. I can do everything with one hand on my old LG VX8600 phone.
Needless to say: I like the concept of the phone and for all that it can do it's pretty amazing. Not being able to use one hand for normal stuff. Looks like I'll be going back to my LG VX8600, till I find something that works for me. I do really like LG phones for the record.Was this review helpful to you?
4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.
April 09, 2009
Great phone with a few flaws
I have had the LG Dare for 3 months now. All in all, it is a decent phone, but it does have some shortcomings.
First, the LG Dare is a very feature rich phone that almost everyone will benefit from in one way or another. With it's feature-packed 3.2 megapixel camera, it makes a great second camera. The best feature, in my opinion, is the full html browser. The browser on this phone is AWESOME! If you can pull the webpage up on a PC, you can most likely pull it up on this phone's browser. There's no mobile web garbage browser on this phone.
Another main feature of this phone is the virtual qwerty keyboard. This definitely takes a long time to get used to. This is the main reason why I ditched the Dare in favor of a Voyager.
The size of this phone, in my opinion, is too wide. Holding it seems to be more of an issue that with other phones. It just doesn't seem "natural".
The reception of this phone rates a 4.25 out of 5. While it is no Motorola E815, it does have great reception, comparatively speaking. When the phone can hold on to an EV-DO signal, the browser is lightning fast. This phone uses the newer, much faster EV-DO signal, so it is truly a fast phone.
The menus of this phone are very comprehensive. One great thing about this phone is the fact that you have a shortcut placed on the front display menu that takes you to your favorite contacts, which you can choose. This is a feature I wished the Voyager had. That way, you don't have to scroll through all your contacts to find one of your favorites.
The touch screen on this phone seems to be abit tempermental. I have been constantly pressing one key, but it registers the one beside, above, or below it. You have to hit the keys just right. Of course, I have short, stubby, fat fingers, so this may just be me.
Battery life is absolutely fantastic, unlike the Voyager.
A lot of people I called told me that they kept on hearing an echo on their side of the conversations. However, I never did hear an echo. After much research, I found out that two things on other's Dare phones was caused by either a screen protector being installed on the Dare, or voice privacy being activated, or both. I turned off my voice privacy and took off the screen protector I had installed, but my calls still complained of an echo occasionally. I seem to think that it may of had something to so with the rubber skin I had put on the phone. But I never did test this theory out.
In summary, if you want a phone with the best internet browser and some nifty features, the LG Dare may just be for you. However, if you text a decent amount, this phone may be a headache waiting to happen to you. If you want a touch screen phone with a keyboard, then spring for the Voyager.
- Excellent, fast browser
- Great photos
- Huge tocuhscreen
- Excellent battery life
- Reception is above average
- You may have problems with people you call hearing echos
- Not very ergonomically designed
- Virtual keyboard very difficult, especially with larger fingers
- Scrolling capability is very tempermental
5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.
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