Does the LG Voyager (from Verizon Wireless) Offer A Worthwhile Mobile Journey?
What’s your mobile destination? If it’s a phone that delivers interesting functionality, superior service and great applications, get ready — LG and Verizon Wireless are ready to take you on a wireless voyage. Welcome to the world of mobile convergence!
From sharing photos on-the-go to text-messaging and searching the Internet, today’s mobile devices — like the LG Voyager from Verizon Wireless — lets users connect to others and find things easier and quicker than before — and they even have the ability to make voice calls! Want to learn more? Keep reading.
Appearance and Design
The Voyager is an intriguing device — especially in appearance. With sharp yet subtle colors (black and metallic silver) and a large ‘interactive touch screen’ filled with bright icons for the various functions — and often compared to Apple’s iPhone, LG has created a phone design that will make others take notice. When you flip it open, you’re presented with a compelling experience as well — a full-size QWERTY keyboard and an internal display that works with the outside touch screen (at times) — essentially two color screens for the price of one. This innovative design offers a much easier way to handle text messaging and e-mail with a familiar keyboard rather than the typical challenges associated with “phone typing,” one of the Voyager’s strongest benefits and differentiators.
For those concerned about how the Voyager will sit in your hands, the physical attributes make it a substantial yet comfortable fit. The dimensions are 4.64 inches long, 2.12 inches wide and .71 inches thick, while it weighs in at 4.69 ounces. It even has a pull-out antenna, but more about that shortly.
Functionality and Performance
While design is an important component for most products, the mobile experience is driven by performance and functionality in both the device itself and carrier service offerings. The LG Voyager is packed with both the necessary functionalities and the bells-and-whistles. The outer LCD touch screen provides an essential control center for all of the phone’s primary capabilities with the phone, Internet, gaming, application and messaging functions. One of the default settings with the touch screen is a constant vibration when you tap the screen — some may like this, but I found it annoying. For me, the vibration setting is best for silent mode when you don’t want to hear the ringing. The user interface is decent, but isn’t seamless between the outer and inner screens. Multiple interfaces seem confusing at times, but I suspect it just takes some getting used to.
Regarding the carrier offerings, I think Verizon Wireless offers one of the most comprehensive and robust libraries of applications, games, media and other services available in the cell phone market today. Among the various services and as previously mentioned, the Voyager includes a pull-out antenna that transforms the device into a real-time television through Verizon Wireless’ V CAST Mobile TV network (for an additional $15 a month). Unfortunately, this service was unavailable in the Raleigh, North Carolina market. Another interesting application was Verizon Wireless’ VZ Navigator GPS mapping and direction service, which essentially offers users a mobile GPS opportunity whether driving down the road or walking down the street of your local town or city (monthly or daily usage fees apply). Like most GPS and mapping services, VZ Navigator was fairly accurate — with a few “misguided routes” along the way.
Aside from actual voice-based calls–which included great coverage, the phone is fairly disappointing at addressing two main features — e-mail and Internet browsing. It takes a few clicks to get into the e-mail application, but it’s relatively simple to use with Web mail accounts or other IMAP/POP3 based providers. If you synchronize your mobile device with your personal computer, Voyager misses the boat on that–which is surprising, since contact lists and calendars seem to be increasingly important for users today (although it’s possible to download a BREW application to accomplish this). The Voyager’s full HTML Internet browser was satisfactory and displayed pages accurately, but appeared relatively slow for running on a third-generation data network. The problem may be more with the overall mobile browsing and Internet experience than the Voyager’s Web capabilities, but I found it to be slightly disappointing. It also lacks a Wi-Fi connection capability to hop on home networks and/or local wireless hotspots when available — a big thing for me these days, unless you choose to get an unlimited data plan. Overall, the entire user interface for the various software features could be improved.
A Few Other Capabilities and/or Shortcomings
Some other notable features and misses:
- Bluetooth-enabled: you can use a wireless headset to make and receive calls and listen to the music player.
- Speaking of music, Voyager’s built-in digital music player was okay but far from the iPod experience. Luckily, Verizon Wireless makes it simple to buy music online ($1.99 per song).
- The 2-megapixel camera was better than expected, both for images and video. The files were easy to locate and send to others.
- Battery life was also less than expected, with the phone needing to be charged more often from using the various functions. I’d definitely explore premium battery replacements.
- Internal memory was adequate for basic functions, but another great benefit is the possibility to add memory cards up to 8GB … which should provide more than enough space for song lists, photos, e-mail messages and more. However, you’ll need to purchase your own microSD card — it’s not part of the package, so the cost is rising!
- Laptop users and business professionals that travel a bit will value Voyager’s capability to link to a PC as a modem through the Verizon Wireless broadband wireless data network — probably the best one available today.
Pricing, Availability and Conclusion
The LG Voyager is available directly from a variety of Verizon Wireless channels, including stores and the Web site. It’s base price is $349.99, but Verizon Wireless has offered a $50 mail-in rebate with new 2-year agreements. As a result, $299.99 sale price is extremely competitive to other mobile devices in this category — with a variety of service plan options and add-ons (like Verizon’s V CAST Mobile TV network for an additional $15 monthly charge).
While the LG Voyager from Verizon Wireless has many impressive qualities and was worthwhile to test, the interface and applications aren’t as robust and seamless as some other options on the market. For the average consumer looking for a good and fairly affordable phone with expanded capabilities, it’s worth considering and testing out with something like the iPhone. The business professional will most likely find it a bit limiting, since it’s not a smart phone that runs on one of the popular Palm, Windows Mobile or BlackBerry operating systems. It will be interesting to see the next version of the Voyager and how they address the shortcomings that exist today. Overall, it’s a good device — but not the best on the market, although Verizon Wireless provides the best carrier services available.
GadgetReview Quick Summary for LG Voyager from Verizon Wireless:
- Large 2.81″ External Touch Screen
- VibeTouch™ Technology for Tactile Feedback
- QWERTY Keyboard with Large, Widely–Spaced Keys
- Music Player for MP3, WMA, AAC, & AAC+
- Dual Speakers for Stereo Sound
- microSD™ Memory Port with up to 8GB Support
- Bluetooth® compatible
- 2.0 Megapixel Autofocus Camera & Camcorder
- Camera Resolutions: 1600 x 1200 (default), 1280 x 960, 640 x 480, 320 x 240 Pixels
- Video Resolutions: 320 x 240, 176 x 144 (default) Pixels
- HTML Web Browsing with Touch Navigation
- V CAST Mobile TV*, Music and Video
- Text, Picture, Video Messaging & Mobile IM
- Mobile Email
- VZ Navigatorsm & Chaperonesm Parent
- One–Touch Speakerphone (via internal keyboard)
- USB Mass Storage – transfer files between PC and phone – microSD™ card required
- Calculator, Calendar, Alarm Clock, Stop Watch, World Clock, Notepad, EZ tip Calculator
- Retractable TV Antenna for Enhanced TV Reception
- Up to 1000 contacts with 5 entries per contact
- Frequency: 1.9 GHz CDMA PCS, 800 MHz CDMA
- Data Transmission: High–Speed EV–DO
- Dimensions: 4.64″ (H) x 2.12″ (W) x 0.71″ (D)
- Weight: 4.69 oz.
- Internal LCD: 262K Color TFT, 400 x 240 Pixels, 2.81″
- External LCD: 262K Color TFT, 400 x 240 Pixels, 2.81″
- Usage Time: Up to 240 Minutes
- Standby Time: Up to 480 Hours
- Hearing Aid Compatibility
- 2.0 Megapixel Camera with Autofocus Camera & Camcorder
- microSD™ Memory Port, up to 8GB
- Dual Speakers for Stereo Sound
- Bluetooth® Capable*
- TTY Compatible
- Standard Li–Polymer Battery (950 mAh)
- Travel Charger
- USB Cable
Available directly from Verizon Wireless.