Added features are more abundant than you'd think. There's voice dialing, instant messaging, Web-based POP3 e-mail, a voice recorder, an airplane mode, Verizon's VZ Navigator GPS service, support for the Verizon's Chaperone child-locator service, a voice-readout feature for keypad digits, contact list entries, recent calls, and caller ID. Bluetooth is also on board--there's no stereo profile, but you can use Bluetooth for object transfer.
The VGA camera takes pictures in three resolutions, from 640x480 down to a special size for photo caller ID. Camera features include a self-timer, brightness and white balance controls, three color effects, a multishot mode, nine fun frames, and four shutter sounds (there's no silent option). The VU204 neither records video nor does it have a flash. Photos quality was good for a VGA camera; there was some image noise, but colors looked natural. The handset offers a respectable 26MB of shared internal memory.
You can personalize the VU204 with a variety of clock formats, wallpapers, alert tones, and display themes. You can also type a personalized banner. You can download additional choices and more ringtones from Verizon using the wireless Web browser. The VU204 doesn't come with any games, but a selection of titles is available for purchase.
We tested the VU204 in San Francisco with Verizon Wireless service. Call quality was quite good, with a strong signal, clear audio, and loud volume. Voices sounded natural and we didn't encounter any static or interference from other electronic devices. Speakerphone calls were loud and relatively clear, even though the speaker faces the rear of the phone. Bluetooth headset calls were satisfactory, as well.
On their end, callers said we sounded great, with some not even noticing that we were using a cell phone. A couple of callers said the phone picked up a fair amount of background noise, but they were in the minority. Automated-calling systems could hear us most of the time. The VU204 is compatible with M3/T4 hearing aids.
The VU204 has a rated battery life of 3.96 hours and 18.63 days standby time. It has a tested talk time of 5 hours and 23 minutes. According to FCC radiation tests, the VU204 has a digital SAR rating of 1.55 watts per kilogram.