Verizon Wireless Escapade WP8990VW Review

Introduction and Design

The Verizon Wireless Escapade WP8990VW, manufactured by Pantech PCD, is the second flip phone from the carrier to offer global roaming, as it is able to use both CDMA and GSM networks.  The Samsung Renown U810 is the only other current non-smartphone from Verizon to offer this, but there are some key differences between them, such as the Renown having a QVGA internal display, microSDHC memory card slot, and the ability to use Verizon’s EVDO network for data.  Because of this, the Escapade is geared more to the casual international traveler, who only requires a basic phone to use while abroad.

Included in the retail package you will find the Escapade WP8990VW phone with preinstalled Vodafone SIM card, 920 mAh battery with cover, wall charger with 3 adapters, and user manuals.


The exterior of the device is stylish with a dark maroon color used and three chrome accent pieces on the front.  The build quality also seems good, as the hinge opens and closes smoothly and the phone’s overall plastic construction should hold up to normal daily use.  It is also about the same size as the Samsung Renown, so it is comfortable to hold and can be placed into your pant’s pocket without being too noticeable.

You can compare the Verizon Wireless Escapade WP8990VW with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

Located on the front of the Escapade is the rather small 1.1” diagonal 96x96 pixel external display, which shows the data & time, signal strength, incoming Caller ID, and background wallpaper.  On the left side of the device is the volume rocker and 2.5mm headset jack, with the camera button, voice command button, and proprietary charger/data port on the right.  The 2MP camera is found on the back, right above the battery compartment.  It is unfortunate that a microSD card slot is missing from the Escapade, as it would allow for easier file transfers, but we can conjecture this was done to help keep the cost down.

Flipping open the Escapade reveals the 2” diagonal 176x220 pixel TFT display, which is capable of 262K colors.  Because of its lower resolution, images and text have jagged edges to them, in contrast to what you see on the Renown’s QVGA display.  Also missing are any type of brightness settings, which means the Escapade’s internal display is almost blacked-out when trying to view in direct sunlight.  Directly below it are the d-pad and numeric keypad.  Even though the keypad buttons are large and easy to use for dialing numbers and text messaging, we found the left & right arrows of the d-pad to be quite small and difficult to press

Verizon Wireless Escapade WP8990VW 360 Degrees View:

Software / Features:

There isn’t anything too surprising about the Escapade’s main menu, as it is laid out in traditional Verizon fashion with categories for media center, messaging, contacts, recent calls, and settings & tools.  Thankfully, there are four themes included on the Escapade (business diary, the world, water, and white), where the Samsung Renown only comes with two.  The themes can be displayed in tab, list and grid view, and you can even replace certain grid icons with others and move them around.

The phonebook on the Verizon Wireless Escapade WP8990VW can only store up to 500 entries, compared to 1000 on the Renown.  With each one you can enter in the contact’s name, 5 phone numbers, 2 emails, IM screen name, as well as their physical street address.  After a contact is saved, you can assign them to one of 500 speed-dial locations.

One area of disappoint came when testing the 2MP camera.  Since the Verizon Wireless Escapade WP8990VW does not come with a memory card slot, the only way we could export images from the phone was to email them using picture messaging. Unfortunately, the images we took at 1600x1200 pixel resolution could not be sent from the phone, which forced us to retake the images at 1280x960 resolution.  We don’t see the point of having a 2MP camera if you can’t get them off the phone at that resolution.  Needless to say, once we emailed the 1280x960 images to our PC, we were not impressed.  Pictures taken outside looked blurry and out-of-focus, with poor image detail and color saturation, not to mention the quite noticeable purple fringing.  Interior images looked so fuzzy that we suggest to not even use the camera inside.  Because of these issues and that lack of a memory card slot, the Samsung Renown is better equipped in this area.

Since the Escapade doesn’t come with a memory card slot, it should come as no surprise that it doesn’t come with a music player either.  Your only option here is to download ringtones from Verizon.  However, the Escapade does come with Mobile Web 2.0, VZ Navigator for GPS guided directions, and the ability to download various games and other applications.  Unfortunately, the Escapade does not support EVDO, which means that it has to use the slower 1x network for data.

The Verizon Wireless Escapade WP8990VW is capable of operating on the Verizon CDMA 800/1900 MHz networks within the US.  When roaming outside the US it can also connect using GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz, but UMTS 3G is not supported.  Bluetooth 2.0 is standard and supports headset, handsfree, phonebook access, and object push profiles.


Call quality and reception are two important areas that stand out when testing a mobile device.  Unfortunately, both are sub-par with the Verizon Wireless Escapade WP8990VW.  The call quality was below average, as it was sounding like people were talking into their hand, with their voice somewhat muted, even with the volume turned up.  The reception was also poor, as we would only get 1-2 signal bars in high coverage CDMA areas.  Even though the Samsung Renown also got below average reception, the call quality was much better than what we experienced with the Escapade, as voices sounded clear and natural.

Accessing any of the downloaded applications is easy and there is very little delay in opening them up.  The user interface is fast, regardless of which of the four themes and layout we chose.  Internal memory is limited to a total of 57MB, with 15MB used out of the box.  This is not very much, considering the lack of a microSD card slot.

The included 920 mAh battery is rated to provide the Escapade with up to 3.7 hours of talk time or 13 days of standby time on a full charge.  We were only able to achieve 3 hours of continues talk time, which is 1 hour less than we got with the Samsung Renown.


The Verizon Wireless Escapade WP8990VW is designed for the occasional international traveler that needs a basic phone without a bunch of added features.  Because of this, the price is much lower than that of the Samsung Renown U810.  But if you are planning to use this phone every day and not occasionally while traveling abroad, then the Renown is a better choice.  Not only because it has more features, but mainly because of the higher call quality.

Verizon Wireless Escapade WP8990VW Video Review:



  • CDMA and GSM global roaming
  • Attractive color and design


  • Poor call quality and reception
  • No microSD memory card slot
  • Low quality internal display
  • Lacks EVDO for data

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