The LG Dare puts the world into the palm of your hand, literally.

With direct access to the World Wide Web, a camera that puts handhelds to shame as well as GPS capabilities, the LG Dare covers all of a consumer’s basic technological necessities and it covers them well.

As far as being a phone goes, the Dare doesn’t really go above and beyond. Then again, anyone who wants a phone just to send and receive calls and text messages probably shouldn’t be dishing out between $199.99 and $599.99 for what is an all-in-one gadget. Calls are easy to make and receive; the only snag comes when you are using a different aspect of the phone and a call interrupts.

Text messaging is a little more difficult, as the Dare sports a virtual keyboard is that when held vertically is a DMFT keypad (like the ones on your cell phones), but when tilted horizontally is a QWERTY keypad (like the ones on your computers). The actual touch screen isn’t very exact and it takes a couple of tries to hit the correct letters, which is why the Dare is not the best phone to type with. Still, it certainly does the job.

The Dare’s interface is one of its coolest aspects. Once you get past the three different menus, you can customize your own by dragging and dropping your favorite utilities onto the main screen for easy access. That’s a big step up from hunting for the link to your music whereas now it’s just one tap away.

The features on the phone are infinitely cooler than its calling capabilities. The VZ Navigator, a GPS utility, is easy to access from the phone. Instead of dialing 411 to find your movie times, the Navigator will look up the nearest movie theaters for you and then follow up with directions. It can also find nearby restaurants, gas stations, hotels, and parking. The only time things get difficult are when a call or text message comes in mid-travel.

Coming in at a  close second is the Dare’s camera, which takes pictures that rival many handheld cameras’ in quality and clarity. The Dare’s camera sports 3.2 megapixels with resolutions up to 2048×1536 pixels for pictures and up to 640×480 pixels for video. The Image Editor allows for some cool touch screen interaction, like the ability to write over images, but the menu screen itself can be slightly confusing. Trying to zoom in and out is way more effort than it should be, and after you click the camera button to take a picture, it takes about 10 seconds for the picture to actually be taken. This leaves you with pictures in motion or of the wrong object rather than the picture you were looking for. Once you snap the right shot, though, it looks great.

The Internet capabilities are quick to load (for the most part) with 3G speeds and allow easy access from the VZW Today bookmarks browser, but the touch screen is temperamental when it comes to scrolling down or across the page and when pressing certain buttons. The ability to access the Internet whenever or wherever you want is extremely useful, but actually viewing it gets stressful at times. Having to zoom in and out of a page in order to see what you’re looking for or to gain access to a text box can be frustrating.

The mobile e-mail feature makes it easier to access sites like Windows Live Hotmail, Gmail, and Yahoo! Mail versus trying to find it through the Internet (which is also possible), but if you’re looking for a phone to receive e-mails for business then this is not the one for you. Typing for e-mails has the same issues as when typing for a text message, and that gets frustrating very quickly.

As part of the Verizon network, the Dare has access to V Cast, from which consumers can download music and stream videos for a monthly fee. Scrolling through the lists of songs and movies to listen to or watch can be a pain, but the Dare makes up for it in its excellent sound and video quality. The Dare is compatible with MP3 and AAC music and audio formats and offers VGA video playback.

The phone has a three inch screen, up to eight gigabytes of hard drive space with a microSD card inserted, is Bluetooth enabled, and includes all of the basic functions like a tip calculator, calendar, and stopwatch which are incredibly useful as a rule.

The LG Dare is a very solid phone; it has all of the aspects anyone could need, it’s just using them that gets a little difficult. No, it won’t replace the iPhone, but if you’re looking for a network alternative smartphone, the LG Dare is the right phone to choose.

About The Author

Terri Schwartz was a Blast Contributing Editor from 2008-2009.

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