LG Versa Review
Voyager and Dare. It builds upon the previous models in terms of usability and functionality, but brings something unique to the table: a detachable QWERTY keyboard module. One could say, “if you don’t need an attached keyboard all the time (like the Voyager), but do need one on occasion, then the Versa is the best of both worlds”. But does it hold up to all of the hype? Let’s find out.
Included in the retail package is the Versa phone, QWERTY keyboard module, 1100mAh battery with cover, combination wall charger/microUSB cable, user manual, and stylus.
At first glance, the Versa looks like it could have been separated at birth from the Dare, as both appear almost the same. It is constructed out of plastic, but instead of being black, this time around uses a dark cappuccino color with silver accents. The front remains a fingerprint magnet, and the back has the familiar soft-touch coating that is found on most LG models. The modular phone overall feels a little more durable than the Dare, and is easier to hold in your hand or place in your pocket, since it’s not as wide.
You can compare the LG Versa with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.
Attaching the QWERTY keyboard can be a tad tricky at first, but after a few times we had no problem using it. First you have to remove the battery cover by sliding the release lever (if you are using the extended battery you’ll have to change to the standard battery), then line-up the connecting pins on the keyboard and snap the two together. If the phone’s power is on, you’ll know that it’s properly attached since the buttons will light up. The keyboard module is the same color as the battery cover, but has a faux leather embossed finish on the exterior, which looks a bit tacky. We found the keyboard to be laid out well and easy to use for typing, since the buttons are large and well spaced. They also provide good feedback when pressed, but unfortunately are smooth and almost flat with the surrounding plastic. After typing for a while, we began to notice that the unit was top-heavy, since most of the weight is in the phone, instead of being evenly distributed like the Voyager and enV2.
When you do not use the keyboard, you can “close” the phone, as with the Voyager. The exterior front has a small 56x120 pixel blue OLED, reminiscent of the older VX6000, and can show the signal strength, battery level, date and time. When someone calls, it will then show the number or phonebook name. Located at the bottom is the Send and End key, but the Send key will also act as a redial if pressed twice. Since there isn’t an external numeric keypad, you have to flip it open and dial the number on the internal display, then close it back, as there is a small slit above the OLED to hear through. After a while, we found this opening and closing a bit tedious, but it is a trade-off for having the keyboard attached. We believe that a better design would be a sliding keyboard, similar to the Samsung Glyde. That way you could slide the keyboard out when you need it and slide it back when you’re done, thus eliminating the constant opening and closing of the flip.
The Versa’s main display is 3” diagonal, 240x480 pixel TFT that supports up to 262K colors. It is slightly taller than the Dare’s display, but not as wide. It continues to use resistive technology, but is more sensitive than previous models and is firmer to the touch, instead of the “flexing plastic” that we experienced with the Voyager. The intergraded light sensor will automatically adjust the display’s backlight based on the surround light level, which works well most of the time, but lacks any manual adjustment. We also found that images and text looked better on the Versa, probably due to the slightly higher pixel count. There is also a proximity sensory that will turn the display off if the phone is next to your face while you’re on a call.
Just like with the Dare, there are a limited amount of physical buttons on the exterior. Located on the front are the Send, Clear/VoiceCommand, and End/Power buttons, with the Volume rocker and Camera button located on the left side. There is also a 2.5mm headset jack, microUSB port, and microSDHC card slot that supports up to 16GB memory cards. Unfortunately, the memory card slot is not accessible when the QWERTY keyboard is attached. The 2MP autofocus camera and flash are located on the back.