Touchscreen phone comparison Q3 - U.S. carriers


More and more customers are turning to their phone for driving directions rather than a separate GPS unit. The Vu, unfortunately, is not compatible with AT&T’s navigator service. The iPhone currently only has Google Maps, though Telenav has announced they intend to bring their services to the iPhone. For now though, users cannot get voice-guided navigation on their device.

The Dare offers VZNavigator, perhaps the worst GPS navigation software you’ll ever use. The program isn’t particularly hard to use, it just isn’t good. The interface is clunky and ported from the red-bar UI, and we often had a scroll bar on the right side indicating that there were more options, but we couldn’t scroll either with the bar or via the normal grab and flick method. Users do get voice-guided turn-by-turn directions however, so it’s a major upgrade from the iPhone.

The Instinct is without a doubt the best mobile GPS experience we’ve had. Telenav is a wonderful program that goes well beyond simple driving directions by letting the user search for nearby businesses, gas prices, Wi-Fi hotspots, ATMs, and anything from tattoo parlors to dry cleaners. To say it was comprehensive is selling it short. While we wish it could go widescreen, the GPS directions look fantastic on the Instinct’s large screen. The coup de grâce is the Instinct’s Speech to Action function, which allows the user to open Live Search with their voice, speak to search for a nearby business and with one click be taken to a navigation session.

Rating: Instinct 5, Dare 4, iPhone 2, Vu 1


So it’s great that you can watch a movie and download music and get baseball updates on your device, but at the end of the day if it doesn’t perform as a phone than you just have a UMPC, and a rather poor one at that. So, how do the four stack up?

We realize reception will vary greatly around the country, but we live in top 15 metro area and tested the phones where all four phones had strong coverage. Using our seasoned test subject, we were told that the Instinct sounded the best, like a “landline” a “10 of 10.” The iPhone was close behind at a “9.5,” but sounded “a little more hollow.” The Dare was “7 or 6, a little distant and garbled at times.” Rounding out the four was the Vu, which sounded “a little hollow, the worst of the four. It sounds like a cell phone with lots of hum” in the background, especially during moments of silence.

On our end the results were similar. The caller sounded significantly better on the Instinct than any other phone, with the iPhone coming in a relatively close second. The caller sounded distant on both the Vu and Dare; on the former they sounded thin and they sounded hollow on the latter. The Vu was slightly better than the Dare, but both were well behind the sound quality of the Instinct and iPhone.

We had some reception issues with the iPhone. There were several times we were not able to place a call, and it would drop calls from time to time. The signal indicator on the Instinct fluctuated wildly, often jumping from one to six bars, but despite this we never had a problem making or holding a call, and call quality did not suffer.

The iPhone won the battery test at 8:40 of 2G talk time, though that fell short of its claimed 10 hours. The Dare was next, at 6:11 which represents a one third increase over its claimed 4:40. The Vu was third with 5:30 of talk time and the Instinct last at 3:30. However, the Instinct comes with two batteries and a battery only charger, so the phone really never needs to be plugged in.

Rating: Instinct 5, iPhone 4, Dare 3, Vu 2.5


Of course not every feature is going to fall neatly into our previous categories. While the devices aren’t exactly going head-to-head here, they are rated on what they bring to the table. If the phones were potential NFL draftees, these would be their intangibles.

First up is a very tangible number: price. The Instinct is the most affordable phone, at just $129. The 8GB iPhone and Dare are $199, and the Vu and 16GB iPhone ring in at $299. As far as value goes, the Instinct is pretty hard to beat.

Despite its low price, the Instinct includes the most accessories in the box. The user gets a 2GB microSD card, 2 batteries and a battery only charger, USB data cable, stereo headphones, leather pouch, stylus and of course the AC adapter. The iPhone includes stereo headphones and the USB cable, which doubles as the AC charger with the included adapter. The Vu gives the user stereo headphones and the AC adapter, and the Dare simply an AC adapter, though at launch Verizon ran a promotion where new activations set up online received a free 8GB microSD card.

The aforementioned Speech to Action on the Instinct is a logical extension of prior speech recognition programs. It is powered by VoiceSignal, which has long allowed you to open programs with your voice. Opening the camera, for instance, wasn’t all that useful though. Now the user can open relevant items, such as weather, news, sports, movies and most importantly Live Search, in addition to the standard voice dialing services. For those not familiar with Sprint phones, Live Search is a local business search application which allows the user to search via voice, and utilizes the phone’s GPS capabilities to deliver local results.

The Dare and Vu (we seem to be saying this a lot) both feature a more standard voice command program. The iPhone, however, comes up short and does not offer voice command of any sort.

The iPhone’s App Store means that developers can finally take advantage of the platform and bring to market games, applications and business tools for users. We wouldn’t exactly call it open, Sling will testify to that, but it represents a new direction for the iron-fisted Steve Jobs. The Instinct runs on an open Java/BREW platform, and Sprint has created a Developer Program for it, but we have yet to see anything come of it.

There are iPhone issues galore, and right now the software is quite frankly unstable. We’ve experienced everything from slight menu lag to temporary unresponsiveness to lock-ups and even had some unexpected restarts. On our demo unit the screen shrunk after the first week of use; no longer does the display take up the whole LCD, there are several rows of unused pixels on the left and top sides, a few on the bottom and one or two rows on the right. The view is the same however, it’s not like the pixels are dead, just the view is shrunk. There are countless reports of unstable App performance, MobileMe failures, SIM issues, lost data and more. When it’s working properly it’s great, but right now the iPhone 3G isn’t worth the headaches it is causing.

The Dare and Vu are much more clean-cut. As we covered in the interface section the Dare has some nice UI enhancements, but both phones are paper tigers to some degree. Their spec sheets and feature lists look impressive, and to an extent are, but they lack the experience that the iPhone and Instinct give. It’s cool to use those devices, and the LGs just don’t have “it.”

Rating: Instinct 5, Dare 3, Vu 3, iPhone 2.5



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 ( 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 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

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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