Touchscreen phone comparison Q3 - U.S. carriers
The iPhone set the standard for a mobile interface, and nothing has changed with the 3G; it is still the easiest phone on the market to use. With the introduction of the App Store it can get more cluttered than we’d like, since every application has its own icon and there are no organization options. However, it’s completely customizable and the user can arrange the icons in whatever desire they wish, including the four bottom icons that remain static when you change pages. The iPhone is the only one of the four that can directly interface with Outlook calendar and contacts (or Calendar and Address Book for Mac,) though the Instinct can indirectly sync with Outlook contacts via Sprint’s Mobile Sync web tool.
An important element to the iPhone’s success is the ground-up approach Apple took with the UI design. When it debuted it was unlike anything we had ever seen before; striking in both its simplicity and practicality. Samsung and Sprint set out with the same approach for the Instinct, and did an awfully good job. You are never more than three clicks away from any of the phone’s functions, and with a customizable favorites menu that can hold up to 12 shortcuts most users are only one click from what they use most. Like the iPhone, the Instinct UI is simple and intuitive. It lacks the polish of Apple’s OS, but we do like that Samsung has included a back button which the iPhone lacks.
The Vu also has an intuitive UI that lends itself to touch-friendliness. Unburdened by carrier requirements, the Vu runs the tabbed LG UI we’ve seen on phones such as the Glimmer, Viewty, KF700 and KS20 smartphone. It’s simple, easy to use and visually pleasing. Our main complaint is that there is no real customization to it, what you see is what you get. Another gripe we have is scrolling. It has become standard to grab a list or webpage from the bottom and flick upwards in order to scroll down (like you’re actually grabbing the list and moving it up) but this is reversed on the Vu. It is also the least smooth of the four, with lists sometimes moving slowly, other times taking off when you’re trying to move slowly and most annoyingly scrolling when you try and select something.
The Dare runs a mashup of the Vu and Verizon’s UI, with some new features. It has some advantages, but its fatal flaw is that Verizon is behind it. The shortcut bar on the home screen is the same style as the Vu, but underneath is a completely different UI, but still it’s the best UI Verizon has ever put out. The menu animations are visually pleasing, and there are some pretty nice customization options. There is an 11 item shortcut menu, and users can actually drag items directly to the home screen, which acts like a desktop. Unlike past Verizon UI’s, such as the Voyager, the Dare’s menu takes advantage of the touchscreen’s capabilities. Verizon has some work to do still, but at least is moving in the right direction.
Rating: iPhone 5, Instinct 4.5, Vu 3.5, Dare 3.5
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