After spending the last few weeks checking out T-Mobile phones, I thought it was time to give Verizon’s latest and “greatest” phone from my friends at LG a go. The LG Versa hit the shelves last week and is a pretty slick little phone. This small touch-screen is somewhere between a “dumb” and “smart” phone. It’s for people like me who want a standard phone with more features (like a prettier interface, touchscreen) but don’t want to get hosed with expensive data plans. The problem is with Verizon’s network they nickel and dime you on everything so no matter what you do, if you go beyond the call plan you might as well bend over and just take it. Once I activated the phone on my plan I went and added the mobile web and email functions on the phone. Cost $15 a month and the experience isn’t all that good – more on this later in the review. Let’s start with the positives.
This phone is pretty slick. The size is just right and fits perfectly in the palm of my hand. The touchscreen has tactile feedback and makes a sound when you click it. I find this to be pretty annoying, luckily you can turn these features off. The touch feels just right, you have to press a little hard on it, but it’s not a button like the Storm, it’s more natural. The phone has a nice heft to it, not to light or not to heavy, you’ll know it’s in your pocket. The battery life feels a bit off to me, I don’t know what the claimed battery time is, but it seems like the standby time is less than 24 hrs, every morning when I get up there’s only about 2 bars worth of power left. I’m not a heavy talker so I can’t really comment on the talk time. Call quality is clean, didn’t have any problems with signal strength like I have in the past with Verizon phones. The phone has Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
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You can save all your photos and music to a microSD slot. The phone supports up to a 16 Gig card. The built in speakers are clear and loud and the standard headphone jack is a nice touch. I plugged in my Bose Headset and was jamming. The problem is the phone isn’t compatible with Macs – won’t even work as an storage device, so I wasn’t able to utilize the nice music functions like playlist, albums, etc. from my iTunes Library. The best I was able to to do was plug my memory card into the Mac and manually transfer music over, all of the tunes are “unsorted” at the root level of the music directory. It would have been nice if I was able to easily create Ringtones out of my music, but of course Verizon won’t let me, unless I paid them another $15 a month. There’s a 2.1 Megapixel camera included with the phone that takes both pictures and video. While the screen preview is really nice and clear, even in low light, I found it impossible to get a decent shot. The camera has an annoying 5 – 10 second delay so every photo came out blurry.
One of the unique things about this phone is you will eventually be able to use add-on modules with it. The first one is a full QWERTY keyboard that you attach by sliding out the back. The keyboard is really nice, but it makes the phone look “big” and bulky and completely takes away the design of the device.
This isn’t a smartphone, so I’m not sure what I was expecting here. It’s compatible with all of Verizon’s “high” end features like Rhapsody Music, Navigation, Ringtone Maker, etc. But Verizon nickels and dimes you to death on all that stuff. So it would have been nice if it would work with some 3rd party applications. It comes with a contacts list and calendar that’s nicely laid out, the email service isn’t compatible with Gmail. When I signed up for the Mobile Mail account they didn’t even tell me what my verizon email address was. I set Gmail to forward to my hotmail account and it worked alright but there were some messages that never appeared on my phone despite them being available in my Hotmail inbox.
Verizon’s network is painfully slow and the browser on this phone is out of the dark ages. It takes forever to open up the default Verizon crap, I couldn’t figure out how to change the homepage. The few pages I finally pulled up were horrible viewing experiences, Google wouldn’t even work on this phone. Google! I love the phone’s accelerometer function it rotates much faster than my iPod Touch and seems to be more accurate.
The default menu settings is beautifully laid out with nice “smartphone” style easy to understand buttons. Everything is in a logical place, I didn’t have to hunt and peck to change things. There are three main screens (Favorites, Shortcuts and Media) where you can easily add items to the screens.
If you lower your expectations and understand that this isn’t a smart phone, it’s a pretty decent device. The problem is Verizon and their draconian pricing policies. $15 a month for essentially just email is unacceptable to me, especially when the web browsing experience on this phone is so awful and I can’t even make my own ringtones. The lack of Mac compatibility and the fact that I can’t get the phone’s bluetooth to work with my overpriced car system also hurts it. I like it well enough, just don’t love it.
Final Grade B-
EM Review by
Originally Posted 3.11.09