Touchscreen phone comparison Q3 - U.S. carriers

Multimedia:

Music:

The mobile industry has been struggling with merging cell phones and mp3 players for years. Carriers and manufactures alike have gone as far as to launch music stores, but nobody has ever gotten the player right. Along comes the iPhone, and not only do you have a revolutionary phone but also arguably the best music player ever, phone or not. To be quite blunt, no manufacturer has come close to replicating the multimedia experience of the iPhone, and this section will pretty much be a comparison between the other three phones. Video codec support is weak, but otherwise the iPhone’s media playback is perfect in every way.


The Instinct and Dare both run carrier media players, whereas the Vu runs a native LG player. All three have their shortcomings, most notably in file recognition. We loaded the same six albums on each device. All six were in .mp3 format, properly tagged with artist, album, track title and number information, and each had embedded album art. The iPhone read everything flawlessly.

The Sprint Music Store player performed the best of the three despite its overall sub-par performance. It recognized tags on three of the six albums, and album art for 1.5 albums. Art was not displayed properly however, the image was way larger than the allotted space and it appears that the file must be a certain resolution. It did recognize track numbers, so when you chose to play an album it plays in the proper track order.


The Vu was the next best, slightly ahead of the Dare. It only recognized two albums, and only one had album art. When the album is recognized it does play the tracks in the proper order, otherwise it plays the unrecognized tracks in alphabetic order. We did have an issue with one of the albums skipping, making it unlistenable, but the other five performed fine. Unfortunately the battery has to be removed to access the microSD card, and even then you’ll need a long nail or a paperclip to pop the card out.


Bringing up the rear is the Dare and its VCast Music player. It actually recognized four of the six albums, but no album art. Even though it read the album and artist info, it didn’t read the track number info though and plays in alphabetical order. Further adding to the frustration, the Dare does not recognize folders, which meals all the music has to be sideloaded loose. Unless your files are all named with the artist, album and track number it gets very messy. The player does make use of the accelerometer, and when rotated the orientation will follow suit in all four directions. While in landscape mode the album art of the previous and next track are displayed semi-transparent and in the background, like we first saw on the Venus. However, you cannot swipe between them like on the iPhone and it didn’t actually recognize any album art, so all we got were some grey music notes.


The iPhone ships with 8 or 16GB of internal memory, whereas the other three units all use microSD expansion. All three can handle up to 8GB cards, and should handle 16GB cards when they are released later this year, and any future microSDHC card above that. The Instinct comes with a 2GB card, but the Dare and Vu require a separate purchase.

Despite being multimedia oriented phones, none of the four feature stereo speakers. The iPhone appears to have a pair at the bottom, but in reality the right hole is the mic and only the left hole is a speaker. Despite this it is pretty loud, and without external speakers will get the job done. The Instinct’s single speaker emanates from the earpiece and is pretty good, though at the highest setting has some slight distortion. The Dare has a decent speaker, but it sits on the back which means it gets muffled when you set it down. The Vu is a bit quieter than and not as full as the others.

The iPhone, Instinct and Dare all feature a 3.5mm headphone jack. The Instinct, Dare and Vu have stereo Bluetooth. Sound quality was fine on all four, though the iPhone may have been slightly better. We’re sure an audiophile would have issues with that statement, but to our commoner ears all four devices sounded good enough.

Rating: iPhone 5, Instinct 2.5, Vu 2, Dare 1.5

Video:

Of the four devices the iPhone has the nicest video interface. Videos take up the entire screen, and with 16m colors in the display they look much clearer, richer and crisper due to the iPhone’s higher resolution. The Instinct has a similar interface, but not as clean as the iPhone. The Vu was very clean, though videos didn’t look nearly as good as on the Instinct. Videos looked worst on the Dare, which also has the worst interface.

We found some interesting results here. We tested several different MP4 videos in combinations of resolution, frame rate and codecs (either H.263 or the higher quality H.264). The Dare could handle 320x240 video with H.263 codec at 30fps. The Instinct and Vu were able to handle 320x240 in H.264 up to 60fps, the highest we test for. The iPhone was unable to handle any of them. It should be noted, however, that we use Videora to convert videos to iPod/iPhone compatible formats and they look flawless, though the process takes slightly longer than the video’s runtime.

The Vu and Instinct both have the ability to play live TV, but the Vu is much better at it. Supporting MediaFLO, the Vu has a dedicated network for high-quality TV whereas SprintTV runs over Sprint’s data connection at only 15fps. The Instinct can also get on-demand clips, as can the Dare via VCast Video. Both were of equally mediocre quality. The iPhone has no video services beyond side-loading.

Rating: Instinct 5, Vu 4.5, iPhone 3, Dare 1

Camera:

The Dare leads the pack with a 3.2-megapixel, autofocus camera with Schneider-Kreuznach optics and an LED flash. The Vu has a 2MP sensor, also with autofocus, and the Instinct and iPhone have 2MP sensors without auto-focus. In a surprisingly close battle the Dare edged out the iPhone for overall image quality, though the iPhone outperformed it at times. Both produced crisp, clear images and the iPhone may have slightly better color saturation and representation. The Vu lagged behind the pack, with harsher images and the Instinct was the worst of the four.

The Dare wins points for its plethora of options and its very cool image editing mode. The Vu also has plenty of options, though no on-board editing software. The Instinct and iPhone both are option-less. The iPhone loses more points due to its inability to record video. The Dare bests the other two with its ability to record slow-motion video at 120fps.

Rating: Dare 5, iPhone 3.75, Vu 3.5, Instinct 2.5








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174 Comments

1. unregistered

whoever wrote this review is an idiot and an apple fan boy how can a phone get a perfect 5 in almost everycatagorey, no phone is perfect especially not the Iphone. WOW can i get an unbiased review please. this is just rediculus cell phone reporting/reviewing.

2. unregistered

i have been reading reviews from alot of different sites n everybody has rated the iphone as the best phone out of all touch phones....there is even like 5 youtbe videos that has all the phones ( iphone...instinct...vu...dare...) n all of them says that the iphone is the best...there are only 1 or 2 things that the iphne doesnt have n the things that it does have tops the other phones.....just stop hating and face it...the iphone is the best n no phone can beat it when its hacked

3. unregistered

i don like iphone and i don use iphone and i'm a big verizon samsung i760 fan.. but there's one thing i agree.. the iphone is the best touch screen phone out there.. so don be mad at this article #1..

18. unregistered

they are not saying it is perfect. they said the top phone in each category would be the standard. that means the top phone got 5 by default. it may have barely beat another phone in a category but it still beat it and got the boost to a 5.

41. unregistered

DARE is so much better than the other ones! No questions asked.

54. unregistered

i'm not going to get into a fanboy pissing match about the I-phone ruling the world and everything else sucking.... But what i noticed during this review, is when reviewed by itself the Dare was highly reviewed and 95% of the"issues" mentioned in this review were never brought up in the other one I'm not saying the Dare is the best phone in the universe or that the I-phone sucks, it just seems more than a little biased that the Dare is trashed in this review in order to make the I-phone and even the instinct look like much more superior products This lowers my opinion of this site's reviews considerably

95. unregistered

and im not saying that the iphone is the best in the world becuase there are some features i world take from the dare the vu n the instinct to make my perfect....to b honest there is no prefect phone it is all in who ownes it.....

103. unregistered

I dont think u all read the last page of the review. On a average score rate basis, the instict is the best of the four. Dumbasses learn to read before you start making judgements and all the iphone freaks are stoooopid.lol

107. lessthanzach1 unregistered

This review is a wonderful way to market the cruddy INSTINCT. We have the verizon GLYDE by samsung and if that screen is anything like the INSTINCT's then it is indeed no comparison to the lg or iphone touchscreens. This review sucks.

117. unregistered

the glyde and instinct use completely different screen technologies. glad you based your opinion of the review off of your ignorance.

151. unregistered

Ok, because VZW has a crappy phone from Samsung, then this review sucks. Makes a lot of sense. How about you at least check the Instinct out before you spout idiotic comments. If you did, you would see there's no comparison between the two.

173. soundofclocks

Posts: 1; Member since: Dec 17, 2008

Actually, the person who wrote this article is an idiot b/c the Dare is the ONLY one of the 4 phones that uses a resistive screen. The iPhone, Instinct, and Vu ALL use capacitive screens. Try using a stylus on any of the phones but a Dare and see if it works.

174. SellPhones82

Posts: 569; Member since: Dec 11, 2008

The Instinct comes with a stylus and it works on it...only the iPhone has a capacitive touchscreen of the four phones.

4. unregistered

this review is hilarious. this same site gives the iPhone 3G a rating of 8 and the LG Dare a rating of 9 in their individual phone reviews. Yet, when they compare the two, the Dare scores below a 3 out of 5 in most categories??? That doesn't make any sense.

27. unregistered

indeed. my thoughts exactly...

36. unregistered

Cause the dare sucks

42. unregistered

iphone sucks! DARE kicks everyones A@@ BEST PHONE hands down :-)

75. a1016neo unregistered

BYE BYE TROLL! STOP POSTING THIS GARBAGE ALL AROUND PHONE ARENA! I will look into a Dare once it gets a proper browser & E-mail, multimedia, 3rd party apps, and exchange support....

98. LessthanZach

Posts: 106; Member since: Apr 29, 2008

its not a pda you moron, so I suppose you wont be looking into it...

132. unregistered

they gave it a 9 out of 10 in their review. That's usually a good score

5. unregistered

Why did the iPhone always comes out on top in these sites? It's because all these so called news blogs are AMERICAN websites. They will hype up American junk more than Asian excellence. These stupid Americans lost out in the auto industry with their sub par build quality so now the only thing they have is the iPhone. Apple is the one American company they think will save them from their reputation of mediocrity. It's so sad really.

6. unregistered

The iphone was built in California... but manufactured in "el Asian Excellence of China", where nearly all the cheap crap in America comes from. YAY!!!! This site is full of Verizon Wireless fanbois' and Verizon Wireless Employees, iPhone Reigns supreme.

7. unregistered

So you are saying that Americans are so inept that they can't even make their own junk? They have to use slave labor? Where do you Americans get your money to buy your horrible Iphones, Starbuck's, Big Macs and gas guzzling SUVs? Can't be from selling your houses. Oh that's right, the credit card companies.

9. unregistered

As Jeremy Clarkson said, "California, the land of fake teeth, plastic breasts and plastic houses" "Built in California...but manufactured in..China"

10. unregistered

Just another example of American education.

14. motoman117

Posts: 15; Member since: Jun 22, 2008

you guys are so pathetic. get over yourselves. the first comment is just a moron. You see, if you were SMART, and you did RESEARCH you would see that American cars actually DONT have sub par quality. but no, all you morons go out and buy your priuses....the hidious, expensive, japenese prius. When guess what, the saturn aura hybrid costs $10,000 less and gets same fuel economy. Saying that this review is biased is just crap. I hate the iphone, have posted it many times, but the fact is, its the best touchscreen phone on the market! Hey man, which would you have picked to win the comparison. Jeez, get real. I hate apple, and the phone is way overhyped, but is still good. Of course, you throw in a touch diamond and Xperia X1...hehe, forget it. What are you anyway, french?

16. unregistered

Hey #14 you need to do some research on cars. The prius base price is 3000 less than the aura hybrid, and the prius can get nearly 50mpg in the city, the aura will be lucky if it can get over 30 on the highway. lol always good to have your facts straight before you make a big post like that. Oh and btw im american and i have a japanese car so i must be a moron. Anyway, ill agree that the iphone is prolly still the best touchscreen phone, but that doesnt mean i like it :D

23. unregistered

#14 - about the cars ... american cars are way too huge on fuel consumption u cant ever compare it with a european car or a japaneese... america is the most poluting country in the world big cars, big engines, big fuel consumption, low performance i hate american cars... i dont have anything with american people but the cars.......... it makes no sense

31. unregistered

ya good luck getting your iphone 3 g to work.... i have 3g service everywhere i go east west north south you get here and there its sad really, i have an ipod touch that has everything an iphone has and it still runs better...

34. unregistered

ya number 23 america isnt the most polluted country its asia...i mean they have to shut down half the city over there when the olyimpics are goin so people with asthma can actually compete haha they def didnt do that over here

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