Verizon released the LG Versa, a nice touch screen phone with a detachable full size QWERTY keyboard for easier messaging and web browsing. The device is a great phone, with a really REALLY smooth UI, fast OS and unique features, and anyone in the market for a text-centric phone with a touch screen might consider the LG Versa.
The Versa allows the user to swipe through 4 different home screens (3 when the keyboard isn’t attached) and the touch screen responds extremely fast. The haptic feedback is a nice touch, and the responsiveness of the touchscreen is very well executed by LG. It definitely outperforms the LG Dare, which was the last major touchscreen player from LG on Verizon.
The big draw with the LG Versa is the detachable keyboard. It works well, and it is definitely sturdier than I was expecting. However, it adds considerable bulk to the device, and that cheesy faux-leather look. The external display is a nice addition, with the ability to take and end calls with the keyboard on, and you can still talk through the leather cover. I tried resting the phone as if it were a laptop, keyboard out and phone folded back, but the Versa was just too heavy, and it made typing on a surface too difficult to manage.
The Versa sounded great on all my phone calls, and Verizon didn’t drop a call once. I had to use the speakerphone on a few occasions, and I was very pleased with the performance. Calls came through loud and clear on it, and I never had a hard time understanding the caller.
Other nice little nuances include a proximity sensor, an ambient light sensor and a very sensitive accelerometer for changing screen orientation.
Overall, the Versa is a great phone, and a definite progression in Verizon’s touchscreen lineup. My only concern is that the small screen and reliance on the keyboard might make every day use a bit frustrating. After the novelty wears off, carrying around that keyboard, which swaps with the battery cover or vice versa (ha, wait, I get it), will get tiring.
The LG Versa is out on Verizon Wireless for $199 after discount and with a 2-year contract.
The phone menu is called a “smart menu” and includes the top picks for Media, messaging, settings, etc., and allows you to scroll through them quickly to find what you’re looking for. The menus have a nice, refined look, like they got the idea from Windows Vista (if you think that’s “refined”).
The browser is definitely an item of interest. It’s relatively full featured, if cramped on the undersized screen, yet it features tabs and FLASH, besting the iPhone with the ability to play Flash content. However, the UI is cluttered on that small screen, and your finger presses better be dead on, or you’ll find yourself hitting the back button frequently.