LG Versa Review
Composing a message can be accomplished by using the touchscreen with either multi-tap, T9 predictive, handwriting recognition, or by turning the phone horizontally and using the on-screen virtual QWERTY keyboard. But the more avid TXTer will probably attach the physical keyboard, as it is easier and more accurate to use. Another new feature is the Threaded Messaging, which will group all inbox messages by the sender. This has been requested by users for several years, and we’re glad to see it on the Versa.
There is the option of downloading a program called Mobile Email so that you can connect with your own personal E-Mail accounts while on the go. The updated version will periodically check your accounts for new emails and notify you, but they do not get “pushed” to the phone. It comes preloaded with the ability to connect to Yahoo Mail, Windows Live Mail, AOL, AIM, and Verizon.net, but you can also manually configure it to connect to any other E-Mail account. We were able to access all of our E-Mail accounts without any problems, and could send messages through the account server. When viewing a new message, you can choose not delete it from the server, so that you can download it later when you are connected using a PC.
For people who like to use Instant Messaging, the Versa comes preinstalled with Mobile IM, which will connect you to AIM, Windows Live Messenger, and Yahoo. After signing in, you and can send and receive IMs, but it is basically glorified text messaging to people on your buddy list and will count on your calling plan the same as using text messages.
The new Visual Voicemail program can also be installed, which is another improvement when compared to the Dare. With it, you can easily playback your voicemail messages using the on-screen controls, instead of just listening to the prompts.
Connectivity and Data:
The Versa is a dual band phone that operates on the 800MHz and 1900MHz CDMA Verizon Wireless network. Non-voice data, such as Web and E-mail, are transmitted using Verizon’s 3G EVDO Rev A network, which is said to have download speeds between 600-1400kbps and uploads between 500-800kbps. However, this can vary during the time of day and the amount of network congestion. We tested the Versa at different times downloading a 1MB file from DSLReports.com. On average we got between 500-800kbps, but on occasion would see from 900-1100kbps. While roaming, the phone is backwards compatible with the older EVDO Rev 0 and 1X networks.
Bluetooth version 2.1 + EDR (enhanced data rate) is supported and allows up to 20 pairings. Supported profiles include: headset, hands-free, dial-up networking, stereo (A2DP/AVRC), phone book access, basic printing, object push, file transfer, basic imaging, and human interface device. When connecting with our Motorola HT820 stereo headset, we did not experience the auto-pair problems like we did with the Dare we reviewed last year, but that was eventually fixed in a firmware upgrade.
For Internet connections, the Versa uses Verizon’s EVDO Rev A network, as it lacks built in Wi-Fi, but there is a rumored Wi-Fi module that may (or may not) come out. When launching the browser, you are taken to the VZW Today homepage, which has quick-launch icons for several categories, and browser will automatically change viewing modes depending if the phone is in portrait or landscape position. There are two icons in the bottom corners, one for quick zooming and the other to bring-up the full menu bar. Across the top is the address bar, which you can enter in a web address via the touchscreen or QWERTY keyboard. Next to it are three Tabs, which act in similar fashion to tab viewing in Internet Explorer and Firefox, so that three browser windows can be loaded at once and you can select which one you wish to view. Since the browser is HTML compatible, most sites are displayed and rendered as they would appear on a PC, but due to the small screen size, there is a lot of horizontal and vertical scrolling that must be done. This can be eliminated some by zooming out. There is also a mini-map that you can enable, which shows a small thumbnail of the web page with a red rectangle that can be moved around. Even though the touchscreen is more sensitive and accurate than the Dare, you will still need to zoom-in on small hyperlink text or use a stylus (one is included).
The Versa is also the first non-smartphone to support Adobe Flash plug-ins, but as we found out, that support is quite limited. When going to a web site that contains a Flash file, there will be a green play button that you have to press. This will download the file, but if it is too large or complex, it will give an error. Some embedded Flash files did work, such as being able to view YouTube videos directly in the page, but others, such as interactive games or manuals, would not work right. Because of these limitations, don’t expect Flash to work for every site you visit.
The time required for the browser to completely load graphically rich sites, such as PhoneArena.com, is 22 seconds, which is identical to the Dare, but noticeably quicker than the 50 seconds required by the Voyager and Glyde. We’re sure that this is due to the device supporting the faster EVDO Rev A network. More simplistic sites, such as Google, only took 3 seconds to load. Overall, the Versa’s browser is the fastest and most functional that we’ve seen on a non-smartphone from Verizon.
Detaching the USB cable from the wall plug allows you to use it for connecting the Versa directly to a PC. When going into the settings & tools menu, there is an option for USB Auto Detection (Sync Music, Sync Data, Ask on Plug). When selecting “Ask on Plug”, each time your PC is connected to the device, the phone’s screen will ask if you want to sync music or data. If you select “Sync Music” you can use Windows Media Player, Real Player, or Rhapsody to transfer music files to and from the phone’s internal memory or microSD card. However, if you select “Sync Data” then go to Tools and USB Mass Storage, the microSD card is shown as a Removable Storage device connected to your PC, where you can copy pictures, videos and music files. This is by far the easiest method of transferring files, as it eliminates the need of having to carry around an external card reader.
1. Legion (Posts: 397; Member since: 12 Dec 2008)
22 seconds to load phonearena.com??!!?? That is 100% not true. 5-6 MAX! What were you on 1x? You know thats not accurate. You actually expected to be able to play flash games?? You subtracted points for that?? Wow, can I have some of what your smoking? "Video playback is limited to Verizon’s VCast Video Service" - Now thats just misleading, your review of video playback is one sentence long about the ability to stream clips? How bout supported formats and quality of playback for starters!
2. Mr_LaZy (Posts: 21; Member since: 30 Jun 2008)
I don't understand why they can't just improve the firmware of the older phones to be identical to this one. The Dare's firmware is so full of bugs and is extremely sluggish and ugly. This thing's is beautiful, especially the QWERTY touchscreen keyboard. If they could put that on my Dare, I'd be happy. And Verizon giving free game demos? =O How many years has it been since they did that!?
3. Da Jay Man (Posts: 5; Member since: 26 Dec 2008)
they dont upgrade the firmware, because they want you to buy the new phone.