The Good The LG Dare has an intuitive touch-screen interface, an advanced 3.2-megapixel camera, a full HTML browser, EV-DO Rev. A, and plenty of other powerful features. It also has excellent call quality.
The Bad The LG Dare's touch interface has a slight learning curve, and we weren't too pleased with the handwriting interface. Also, the Web browsing experience was quite disappointing.
The Bottom Line The LG Dare is an innovative and feature-rich handset, with several surprises that set it apart from other touch-screen phones.
LG Dare (Verizon Wireless)
One of the most notable fallouts of the Apple iPhone launch last year is the ever-growing trend of touch-screen phones. LG was one of the first manufacturers out of the gate with phones such as the LG Voyager and the LG Vu dazzling us with features that we couldn't get on the iPhone, like live mobile TV and 3G connectivity. Samsung then came blazing out with the Instinct, a phone that directly targets the iPhone with visual voice mail, integrated GPS, and corporate e-mail support. Yet, many of these phones still walked on familiar ground with its design and features.
LG's latest handset, however, dares to take things in a different direction. The appropriately named LG Dare presents a few tricks we haven't seen before in the touch-screen phone genre. For example, you can drag and drop icons to make your own customized shortcuts on the home screen, or you can use a drawing pad to sketch ideas or draw a map, which can then be sent via MMS to a friend. The Dare also has one of the most advanced cameras we've seen on a touch-screen phone--its 3.2-megapixel camera has settings like face detection, noise reduction, panorama photo stitching, and a SmartPic technology designed for taking photos in low light. The built-in camcorder can even record high-speed video and play it back in slow-motion, which is a first for U.S. camera phones. We certainly wouldn't want to call this an iPhone killer since it doesn't have features such as Wi-Fi, and its Web browser and media player aren't as good. However, the Dare is a very appealing alternative for Verizon customers who want a touch-screen phone with a difference. The LG Dare is priced competitively at $199 after a $50 mail-in rebate and a two-year service agreement.
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