Verizon Hub Review
home screen shows a background wallpaper, four widgets (date/time, weather, call/messages, and calling features) and buttons for menu, home, and dial pad on the left side. The widgets can be placed anywhere on the screen and even removed if not needed. The Main Menu with 12 icons is displayed in a grid format. Selecting the Communications icon will take you into a sub-menu where you can tab between the speakerphone dial pad, recent calls, contacts, voice mail, messaging, and directories. You can only store up to 128 contacts, where most cell phones accept 500-1000. It allows you to enter the first and last name, home/cell/work phone numbers, location address, email, group (family, friends, other, work), Picture ID image and ringtone. This is very basic, as we’d like to be able to enter more than 3 numbers for a given person and have the ability to upload our own ringtones. One feature missing here is speed dial, which would be quicker than having to search for a stored number each time you need it.
calls the Hub, it will show their caller ID information on the screen or Contact information if stored. It doesn’t support Talking Caller ID, which has been around on cordless landline phones for several years. When a voice mail is left, the widget on the home screen will show how many missed calls and voice mails there are. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have “call screening” where you can listen to a voice message while it’s being recorded. When going into the menu, it shows a column on the left with the person’s name, number, and date/time of message. When you select the message you want to access, the right side shows icons for play and stop, as well call return, text message, and map location. We found the layout easy to use for beginners as everything is shown logically on the screen. You can also access your messages on-line with any PC by logging into you’re My Verizon account. The only problem we encountered was when a voice mail was left, the Hub was not notified and it did not show up in the voice mail menu. During our testing, this happened at random, but occurred about 50% of the time. We contacted Verizon support and were told that there is a network problem with voice mail notifications, but it is being looked into and will be resolved. Recently, this problem has become less noticeable, with most voice mail notifications being shown. Text and Picture messages can also be sent and received between the Hub and other Verizon Wireless cell phones.
The built-in Directory service allows you to search by categories (restaurants, entertainment, stores, travel, medical, services, and automotive) based on your City or Zip code location (GPS is not included). If looking for an Italian restaurant, for example, it will show a list of restaurants on the left side with a map and their location on the right side. You can then change the map to full screen mode, zoom in and out, and even drag the map around with your finger. Once a restaurant is selected, you can call it directly, or send its location to your Verizon cell phone with VZ Navigator. The People Search is basically an updated White Pages, where you enter in the person’s name and location (city or zip) and it will show matching results. The Reverse Lookup allows you to enter in a persons phone number and it will search for a matching address.
One of the more interesting features of the Hub is the Movies menu. You can browse current listings as well as upcoming releases. When a movie is selected, it shows a synopsis, nearby theaters, and even the trailers. When selecting a theater, the showtimes are displayed, and you can change dates and even purchase tickets. We found that the quality of the trailers to be not that great, with the video looking fuzzy and dropping frames. We believe this is due to the low-quality encoding being used, but the Hub does support higher quality MP4 H.264 playback.
VCast also comes included, with categories for news/sports, entertainment, food/dining, and lifestyles. Once again, video quality isn’t as good as we’d like to see, and is equivalent to the movie trailers. Streaming Internet Radio, powered by iheartradio.com, was recently added and currently provides 12 stations. The selection is limited and doesn’t provide too much of a choice, as most play the current “top 40” hits. More stations are expected to be added over the following weeks. The music quality is rather good through the base station’s rear speaker and can get rather loud if the volume is turned up all the way. There is also a 3.5mm audio out jack on the side that you can connect to a stereo headset or even to desktop speakers. You can exit the player and keep the music playing, with a new music widget on the home screen. Some multitasking is allowed, but the music playback will stop if you place/receive a call, access voicemail, or any other audio service.
Another way that the Hub integrates with your Verizon Wireless service is with the Chaperone application. This allows you to view the current location of your mobile phones on a map, child safe zones, and send messages.
The Calculator is also very basic and doesn’t do anything more than add, subtract, multiply, or divide. We’d like to see this updated with some measurement conversions for use in a kitchen.
There is a Traffic application, but is limited to 37 metropolitan cities around the U.S. After a 12 second commercial for the UPS Store (why is this there?) it will show a video with traffic conditions, accidents, and construction in the area. This could be very useful to check in the morning before leaving for work, but we’re not sure how often it’s updated.
Going into the Settings menu allows you to make numerous changes and customizations to the system, but some do require you to log into your Hub’s online account. Under the General tab you can customize the weather locations, select which widgets are shown, adjust the date and time, and add additional handsets. The Features tab is for making changes to the different calling features. One of them is Simultaneous Ring, which will ring up to three other phones when there is an incoming call. If you answer the call on a phone other than the Hub, such as your cell phone, the call is transferred to it. The Backup Number is useful when there is a power or Internet outage, as calls are automatically routed to a different number. The Display tab allows you to select different wallpapers for the Home Screen, but you can only upload new pictures by going to the on-line account. The Screensaver can be changed between two different slideshows (one is customizable with uploaded photos), the weather/time, and can have a delay or 5, 10, or 30 minutes. The Network tab is for verifying or connecting the Hub to a wired or wireless network, and the Sound tab allows you to change the volume of the system, speakerphone, ringer, and media, as well as selecting the default ringtone, but you can’t upload your own. The final screen is for System, which shows some technical information, such as the firmware version, MAC and IP address.
1. The Godfather (unregistered)
I love this device, for all the things it offers under the 35 dollar price tag it is well worth it, plus it is now my 4th digital picture frame. And yes you can customize ringtones
2. PhoneArena Team (Posts: 238; Member since: 27 Jun 2006)
Thank you for your comment. Our testing shows that you can select from a list of pre-installed ringtones, but you can't add or upload your own ringtones.
3. brikz4real (Posts: 173; Member since: 24 Dec 2008)
In reference to PhoneArena criticizing them for making this exclusive to VZW customers only: It will definitely NOT limit the device's growth. If any of the other cellcos had this they would probably do the same thing. Part of the Hub includes VZW's proprietary Chaperone service and VCast video. They now also have included internet radio at no extra cost. Also, you forgot to mention that calls to Canada are unlimited as well ( as is certain U.S. territories like Guam ).
4. volvoracr (Posts: 5; Member since: 09 Nov 2005)
brikx4real-You think if you make a editorial the PhoneAreana Gods will bless you with a comment like The GodFather??? Not likely... But anyway...This is definitaly something the other carriers can use. Sprint Gods...pay attention. GET THIS!!!
5. cyberspyder (Posts: 1; Member since: 05 Apr 2010)
I realize this topic is almost 1 year old, but i will ask my question anyway. My question being, i notice in the beginning of the article it was stated that this was used with comcast, was the $35 service fee required to use ALL the device features or just certain proprietary ones? Can i use this device at all for free, or must i pay the $35 fee just to hook it up and use any of it's features?