Hands-on preview of the LG Dare
Most everything we liked about the Voyager has been improved upon and packed into a small, sleek, and sexy phone that will definitely turn heads. The first thing we noticed is how remarkably thin it is, measuring only 4.1"H x 2.2"W x 0.5"D and with a reasonable weight of 3.76 oz. Compare that to the Voyager's 0.71"D and 4.70 oz. Between the Voyager and Glyde, the Dare is by far the best looking and more compact device.
The front is dominated by the largest display we've seen on a non-smartphone by Verizon, measuring 3" diagonal and with a resolution of 240x400 pixels. It is pressure-sensitive like the Voyager, instead of being capacitive-sensitive like the Glyde and iPhone. Despite this, we found the response to be quite accurate, putting both the Glyde and Voyager to shame. Across the top is a light sensor that will automatically adjust the display's brightness based on the surround light level, and a proximity sensor to turn the display off when it is next to your face. Both of these are said to help improve battery life.
The user interface is the most advanced we've seen on a standard Verizon phone. Icons on the main menu can be moved around and placed in any order. The shortcuts menu is also customizable, allowing icons to be dragged-and-dropped to the home screen for true 1-click access. Like the Voyager, the theme choices are limited to only 2 options (white and black), with the only other menu customization being the the font type.
Text messaging is a different experience when you only have a touchscreen to use. When holding the phone in portrait mode, you can use multi-tap, T9 predictive, and handwriting recognition. Turning the phone horizontally (sideways) brings up a QWERTY keyboard on the screen. After trying the different methods that are avaliable, we found that T9 and QWERTY to be the fastest and most reliable means of entering a text message.
Your MP3s are no longer limited to the out-dated VCast music player. The updated player is capable of viewing album art and has a built-in equalizer with 12 settings. You can also multi-task by minimizing the player to the background, allowing you to send text messages and even browse the web while the music is playing. Sound quality is good, but since the speaker is located on the back, it will become muffled when the phone is laid down. You can counter this by using a pair of earbuds with the 3.5mm headset jack, or a wireless stereo Bluetooth headset.
Next to the rear speaker is a 3.2MP Autofocus camera and flash, featuring a Schneider Kreuznach lens. The camera interface has many options to choose from, including advanced setting like ISO, smart picture, and face detection. We took a few test pictures outside, and were quite pleased with the results. The image quality crushes the Samsung FlipShot, which is the only other 3.2MP cam-phone currently being sold by Verizon.
So far, the Dare is turning out to be one feature-rich phone with a lot going for it, and we can tell it's going to be a big seller.
Click here for our Full Review of the LG Dare.