LG Dare Touch-Screen Phone
Permalink: LG Dare Touch-Screen Phone
by Franz Bicar
The LG Dare is probably one of the more popular iPhone “alternative” out in the market today. It sports features that many people clamoring to be included on the popular phone from Apple. It has features like mobile TV and 3G connectivity, which the 3G iPhone has now (only 3G), but still a lot of people are dissatisfied. So let’s take a quick look at the LG Dare and see if it does give users more functionality than that of the Apple iPhone.
The LG Dare takes things in a different direction. It sports a few tricks that most users haven’t seen yet on a touch-screen phone. Some of these features include the ability to drag and drop icons to make customized shortcuts on the home screen, or use a drawing pad to sketch ideas or draw a map, this can then be sent anywhere via MMS. One thing that’s missing from the iPhone is a built-in camcorder, which the Dare also has, that can even record high-speed video and play it back in slow-motion.
However, the Dare does have its flaws. I wouldn’t call it an iPhone Killer just yet. It has missing features like Wi-Fi, and its Web browser and media player aren’t as good. However, the Dare is a very appealing alternative for users who want a touch-screen phone with a difference.
First of all, let’s take a look at its design. The LG Dare, like all touch-screen phones, is dominated by a large display covering almost the entirety of the phone’s front surface. It’s only visible keys on the front are the Call, Clear/Voice command, and End/Power keys. It is smaller than the iPhone measuring at only 4.1 inches long by 2.2 inches wide by 0.5 inch thick. It has a stainless steel border along its sides, and a black soft touch surface on the back that gives it a nice grip in the hand. It weighs about 3.76 ounces, which gives it a light yet solid feel.
The LG Dare has a 3-inch-wide display and supports 262,000 colors and a 240×400-pixel resolution. It is a beautiful and colorful screen that displays graphics and text brilliantly. Users have the ability to change the backlight setting, the time, the menu fonts, the dial fonts, the display theme, wallpaper, and even the image of the charging screen. As mentioned earlier, the LG Dare let’s users drag and drop icons to change the order in which they appear. However, the coolest thing is that you can also drag and drop them directly to the home screen. Simply tap on an icon and drag it toward the home screen, and let go. You can then arrange the icons anywhere on your home screen as well. Another innovative aspect of the Dare’s touch screen is the option for a scattered menu interface layout.
Another feature that is missing from the iPhone is the tactile feedback. Some users would love to have this feature, speciall on a touch-screen phone. It’s very helpful when selecting menu options, since it provides a physical confirmation of the selection.
This brings us to the touch interface itself. The touch interface on the Dare is certainly very sensitive. But after a few tries, users would get the hang of it and type on it easily. Dialing and texting on the LG Dare is easy. It has a standard numeric keypad, a voice command button, a handwriting button that will let you write the numbers instead of using the keypad, plus two shortcuts to the recent calls list and the contacts list.
There are several input options for texting. You can either use the virtual T9 keypad, or you can twist the phone 90 degrees in the counterclockwise direction and a QWERTY keyboard will automatically appear. The keyboard has a dedicated space bar, return button, period, and alias keys, plus a Shift button to switch between capital letters and other symbols. Unlike the iPhone, you can indeed copy and paste text, simply by highlighting with your fingers and hitting a Copy button.
The Dare’s other features include a proximity sensor that will automatically turn off the LCD while in a call to prevent accidental touch input, similar to the iPhone. It also has a light sensor that adjusts brightness automatically to conserve on battery life. As mentioned above, the Dare has an accelerometer that will rotate the display 90 degrees counterclockwise for certain applications like the browser, the texting keypad, and other applications. For the picture view screen and the music player, the screen can be rotated 360 degrees.
On the left spine of the Dare is a Hold key, a microSD card slot, a speakerphone key, and a USB charging jack. On the top is a 3.5mm headphone jack, while the volume rocker and dedicated camera sit on the right spine. On the back of the phone is the camera lens and LED flash. There’s no self-portrait mirror though.
The Dare comes with a 1,000-entry contacts list. You can also save callers to groups, and you can pair them with a photo and one of 26 polyphonic ringtones. Other essential features include text and multimedia messaging, a vibrate mode, a speakerphone, a calculator, a tip calculator, a calendar, an alarm clock, a stopwatch, a world clock, and a notepad. More advanced features include full Bluetooth support with stereo A2DP, the capability to use the phone as a modem, and file transfer. There’s also mobile e-mail, mobile instant messaging, a USB mass storage mode, voice command and voice dialing, voice recording, and GPS functionality. Mobile e-mail is restricted to popular Web mail services such as Hotmail, Yahoo, and AOL.
The Dare has a full HTML browser, however, it’s not as great as the iPhone’s Safari browser. It won’t support Flash, but that’s fine for a phone such as this. Zooming in and out is a a bit difficult and panning the browser page with our fingers takes some time to master.
Arguably, the best feature of the Dare, lies in its 3.2-megapixel camera. You can take pictures in five resolutions, five white balance presets, five color effects, four ISO settings, and six preset scenes. Other camera settings include spot or average photometry, multishot, three shutter sounds, auto focus, a self-timer, flash, and four different shot types. It also offers face detection the SmartPic technology, which enhances images with face color compensation, as well as light compensation.
The Dare has an excellent Schneider-Kreuznach certified lens that promises excellent photo quality, and it delivers. Images looked sharp, with accurate colors, and everything looked in focus. After you take your picture, you are presented with an array of image-editing options, such as zooming, rotating, cropping, changing the contrast, sharpening, and blurring. You can even use your finger to doodle over the image, or edit it with frames, effects, and stamps.
The built-in camcorder performs very well too. It’s one of the first camera phones to record up to three resolutions. You can record videos up to 470KB for MMS. Settings are similar to that of the still camera. Another bonus option is the ability for high-speed video recording. You can record videos in 120 frames per second (fps) and then play it back with 15fps slow motion.