24 March 2009

Tech Tuesday - LG Dare

Today's Tech Tuesday is going to feature my new phone, the LG Dare.  It's been touted as an iPhone killer, so let's see if that holds up. 

First off, the Dare is sleek and light, with dimensions of 4.1"x 2.2" x 0.5" and a weight of 3.76oz.  It's dominated by a large touchscreen and has 3 physical buttons along the bottom edge, plus a volume rocker and dedicated camera button on one side, and screen lock and speakerphone buttons on the other side.  

The phone boots fast, only a couple seconds and a short VCast screen before the phone is running.  The touch screen is bright, with a 240x400 resolution.  It's also more responsive than the iPhone's screen, in my opinion.  It features a resistive screen and haptic feedback, making it much easier to type on.  Menus pop up fast and navigation is easy with two menus, one the original and the other a shortcut bar of sorts.  The shortcut menu is customizable, so you can set the stuff you use the most there.

The main menu sits at the bottom of the screen and takes up VERY little real estate, with only 5 sleek icons.  Most of the menus are animated as well, which shows off the power this phone really has.  It has an onboard memory of 148MB, but is expandable up to 8GB with memory cards.  Also, the charger cable doubles as a data cable, letting you link the phone to a computer for easy transfer of music/pictures.

On to the touch screen.  While a bit smaller than the iPhone's, it makes up for it in sheer usability. The screen is very responsive, and the haptic feedback gives a little buzz to let you know you've hit a button, rather than just poking the phone til something happens.  The contacts list makes use of the scroll feature, in which you just push up or down on the screen.  This scrolls the list up or down, and one touch stops it.  It's a handy feature, as the contacts list on this phone can hold up to 1000 contacts.

The camera is definitely the crowning jewel of this phone, though.  At 3.2MP, it's one of the highest quality cell phone cameras on the market.  It takes beautiful photos too, let me tell you.  They're very clear, and the phone has all the same anemities as a decent camera, like auto focus and blur reduction, as well as different settings for nighttime pictures, motion, etc.  The phone stores the pictures in a higher resolution too, so they're still decent quality when they get to your computer.

The battery life is very good, boasting 4.7 hours of talk time and 360 hours of standby (that's 15 days!).  I'm on day 2 of one charge, and I've used the phone quite a bit for phone calls, texting and other things.  I'm at one bar of battery now, which is FAR better than my old phone.  I expect I won't need to charge until I get home later tonight.

The Dare is also customizable with different applications (some from Verizon, some homebrew), and has built-in GPS capability.  This is one of my only problems with the phone, and it's not even the phone's fault.  Verizon tends to cripple their phones with GPS to push VZNavigator.

Quite honestly, I'd take the Dare over the iPhone any day.  It's got a better battery, a more interactive screen and the capacity to expand beyond the iPhone.  Add the 3.2MP camera and Verizon's coverage and price, the Dare comes out on top.  Now it's just up to LG and Verizon to push the Dare.  A comment on another review that I felt rung true was "The iPhone is a great multimedia platform with phone capabilities. The Dare is an excellent phone with multimedia capabilities."


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