"Good iPhone Alternative for those who want to stay Verizon"4.0 starson by habubauza
Pros: Battery Life, Light Weight, Good User Interface Excellent Rececption
Cons: HTML Browser a little inconsistent, requires use of stylus, lacks adequate syncing capability
Summary: This is an excellent phone for people like myself who are reluctant to leave Verizon Wireless. I like many others were awaiting the release of the iPhone 3G in July. However after the release and reading many of the reviews including my own hands on experience at the Apple store it was a pretty easy decision for me to make and stay with Verizon. The first priority is the phone which is why I give the LG Dare a pass on some of it's shortcomings. Also I anticipate Verizon to roll out updates to fix some of the problems that I consider minor.
The LG Dare is incredibly light, the battery lasts forever on a full charge. I am able to start in the morning, use the internet browser, chat, instant message (which I do a lot of) use the GPS which shows the nearest gas stations and prices, as well as movies and movie times. I talk all day with excellent reception everywhere and at night after a full day of use I still have 3 out of 4 battery charge bars. Pretty impressive. The phone has a 3.2 megapixel camera with flash which takes great pictures (including panoramic) and you can do quick minor edits right in the phone such as crop, exposure adjust, etc.. The phone has excellent video recording that allows you to capture full 640 x 480 video clips. There is also the ability to write and draw on a notepad (use a stylus). Touch and Drag shortcut icons, and lot's of neat customizable features.
The internet browser is where the LG Dare can start to use some improvements. It works well and when I compared it to the iPhone (Wi-Fi disabled) at the Apple store the LG Dare was faster on Verizon's network getting consistently over 750 kbps. The iPhone on a 3G signal was never able to get higher than 280 kbps at mobilespeedtest.com This was in the Apple store. I did 3 separate tests and the results were consistent on both phones. Now the user interface on the Dare requires some finessing and getting used to. The screen although large for a phone is still small when compared to a regular computer. The user must be aware of that because your experience will be influenced by the website you visit as well as your knowledge on how to navigate the website. You have several choices when viewing a website. You have Standard view which gives you the full Web Page, but due to the size of the screen you will be required to pan the touch screen to navigate various sections. You have the screen optimized view which optimizes the website to fit on the screen and pretty much eliminates the need to pan left and right. Finally there is the text only view which loads the fastest and displays only text for viewing such things as blogs and news sites. There are some websites that are optimized for mobile devices. One thing to keep in mind is that if you need to visit a website that requires a lot of user input (i.e., travel websites such as Priceline or Travelocity) you will pretty much need to use the standard view and pan the web page for sections that you need. Not all websites will respond as expected. I had some issues on Expedia, and some bank websites but no issues on Priceline, Autotrader or Travelocity. So it depends on which web pages you try to load. Most will work. Although many people normally wouldn't use a mobile phone for those type of websites, what if you are in a bind? One time I was stuck at an airport after the last flight to my home was canceled due to weather. I was a 6 hour drive away and needed to be home desperately. Since many other flights were canceled a lot of people were making a mad dash for the rental car counters there was a line and they were selling out of cars fast. So, I quickly booked a car on priceline and alleviated any worries of not being able to get a car. That is an example of where a working HTML browser on your mobile device could save you a lot of trouble. I fully expect that Verizon with firmware and software updates to improve their browser and ultimately the user experience. On the LG Dare it is very difficult to consistently select links on a web page using this browser with your finger. It becomes much easier with the use of a stylus. (Where I live the Verizon store is just handing them out to people purchasing Dare's) Speaking of using the touch screen with your fingers, many people are complaining that using the device for texting and sending sms messages is not as easy as a full qwerty key-board. That is true. However, after some practice you will get used to it. You will be able to text quickly and fluently and in my estimate get to within 90 to 95 percent of your full qwerty key-board texting speed.
Another item on the phone that I am hoping that Verizon fixes soon is it's lack of applications. If you go onto the Verizon Wireless's website you will notice for the LG Dare (9700) there are only about 9 or 10 applications. By comparison there are about 50 on the Voyager and about 70 on the VX 9900. But applications that Verizon releases for their phones are usually good and solid and are properly vetted. There are many games that are currently available for download. I was told by the Verizon technical rep that I could expect to see many more applications in a month or two. I have no reason to doubt that. One application that is not available yet that is highly anticipated is visual voice mail, which would be free with a premium plan. Premium plan includes vcast which is: unlimited mobile web, mobile email, texting, instant messaging and GPS navigator. Another thing that you have to be aware of about Verizon and their LG phones is that for some bizarre unknown reason they simply don't seem to think much about the phones sycnicing capabilities. I have a macbook and I can not sync my calendar, my contact list, to do lists, notes, etc, etc.. However there is a 3rd party application that's free and will allow you to do that. Although, a little sloppy it will allow you to get the job done. One good thing is that I am able to sync pictures and music (not sure about videos yet) using bluetooth between my macbook and the LG Dare.
Overall I gave this phone an 8 out of 10 but with a few tweaks from Verizon it can easily become a 10/10. Why do I choose the LG Dare over the iPhone? Because although not as beautiful or elegant, it works! The phone doesn't drop calls. I can consistently get 3G speeds on the web browser. I work in an industry that has me traveling all over the U.S. and I need a phone that doesn't drop calls. So I have a good phone, can surf the net, good GPS navigator and can check my email. It is good enough for me and I can only see the phone getting better.