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LG Versa review

March 24, 2009

in All Articles,Cellphone reviews

Post image for LG Versa review

The LG Versa is a slick phone with common features implemented in a fairly unique way, and some unique features implemented very well.

In some phones, this comes across as forced, or making the user tolerate certain features in order to use the device. With the Versa, I experienced no such problems. I didn’t have to tolerate anything. The more advanced features are well-designed and are integrated so well that this phone is now among my current favorites.

Though I think some of the other features are more impressive, the biggest initial draw to the phone is the removable keyboard, so we’ll start there.

The Versa can operate in three different modes:

  • There is a physical keyboard and this keyboard is removable.
  • There is a virtual keyboard.
  • There is a back-of-the phone display, so you can still see important information even with the phone in the closed position.

Use the Versa with the physical keyboard

As we see by the pictures, the Versa comes with a keyboard. If you don’t like it, or prefer using predictive text input via the virtual keypad, that’s fine too. The keyboard is removable.

Use the Versa without the keyboard

Above you’ll see the Versa alone, without the keyboard attachment. The empty keyboard is open on the left. The Leatherman is in the middle for size comparison. The Versa, without the keyboard, is a pretty small phone. At least, for a phone with a good-sized screen meant for multimedia and web browsing, it’s small. The clamshell keyboard adds some thickness to the device. It would still fit comfortably in a loose pocket, but not a tighter one. I’d say with the keyboard attached, the Versa is approaching holster territory – if I owned one, I’d probably want a belt clip or holster for it.

Use the Versa with the keyboard case closed

This is one of those small features that I really appreciate. If you’re using the keyboard, you can close it up. You can see by the picture at the top of this article that (while we obviously can’t type in that position) we can still get caller ID and other information from the integrated display on the case itself. There is a hole for the phone speaker, so you can even make and receive calls by holding the closed device. You don’t need to open it if you just need basic call functionality.

Touchscreen interface and navigation

Parts of the Versa’s interface and functions (down to the design of the clamshell keyboard) remind me of the LG Voyager. And there is indeed a strong relationship between the two phones. But the Versa is far better than the Voyager. In my review of the Voyager, I had some display problems with the web browser. I don’t have them on the Versa – the browser works great. The Voyager gave me hassle with the touchscreen – scrollbars and other small icons were very hard to use. They work well on the Versa.

Something more should be said about the touchscreen interface on the Versa, because I’m very impressed with it. It’s fast and fluid. The navigation is very similar to the iPhone’s “scrolling with inertia” feeling – the scrolling and animated screen refreshes are responsive and intuitive. When navigating the phone features, the graphics are elegant and fast. This is the first phone I’ve seen – besides the iPhone – that got this feature right. It’s about time, and I’m happy to see it on the Versa.

(Miscellaneous cool thing: The LG Versa’s web browser supports tabbed browsing! You can have up to three different tabs open at a time.)


The LG Versa packs a lot of features. In some phones, this is done poorly – the phone design itself suffers, or usage becomes bloated and confusing. Not so with the Versa: it’s well designed, and its feature set is among the best implemented and versatile in Verizon’s lineup. It’s got Bluetooth, can handle massive amounts of removable memory (microSD – up to 16GB), and it supports the usual lineup of Verizon’s services like VZ Navigator, V CAST, Chaperone and Visual Voice Mail. See the list at the end of this review for the full feature set.

In my case, if I were to have the Versa as my current cellphone, I’d leave the keyboard integrated. It’s nice that it’s removable, but I personally like a physical keyboard over a keypad’s predictive text-entry, and I want to be able to send messages with ease. Since the unit flips closed in a slick-looking case, I don’t think the additional size requirement of the keyboard is an issue.

In doing these reviews, I often ask, “would I use this phone myself?” I’m happy to report that for the LG Versa, the answer is “yes”.

I happily recommend the LG Versa. I want one.

Admittedly, the Versa lacks the capability to sync with Microsoft Exchange databases – this is a requirement for anyone wanting to access their corporate email, contacts and calendars, and is a feature on almost all business-class cellphones. I hope Verizon realizes that their entire phone lineup would benefit from this functionality, instead of reserving it for a select subset. However, the Versa isn’t designed for the hardcore business exec (though I can easily see execs using this phone). It’s made for any tech-savvy consumer, particularly those needing capability for multimedia, web access and messaging. If your needs match the advanced feature set of the Versa, you’ll be very happy with this device. In my case, functionality, usage and performance all exceeded my expectations.

The LG Versa is available from Verizon Wireless for $200.


Additional features and capabilities of the LG Versa include:

  • Virtual QWERTY keypad
  • 2.0 megapixel camera and camcorder with autofocus, flash and image editor
    • SmartPic technology for improved image quality
    • Camera resolutions: 1600 x 1200 (default), 1280 x 960, 800 x 400, 640 x 480, 320 x 240 pixels
    • Face detection – automatically detect a face when taking a picture
    • Zoom: up to 2x
    • Image editor: zoom, rotate, crop, add frames and icons, and write over images
    • Video resolutions: 640 x 480, 320 x 240, 176 x 144 pixels (default)
    • Video recording time: 30 seconds for sending or up to one hour for saving
    • Video player for WMV, MP4, 3GP, 3G2 formats
    • Customizable brightness, white balance, shutter sound, color effects, photometry, and self-timer
  • Music Player –
    • Music player for .mp3, .wma, unprotected .aac and unprotected .aac+ formats
    • Multitask while playing music – hide player to send messages, edit contacts, and browse the Web
    • Create and manage playlists
    • Music Library – organized by artist, genre and album
    • Music Only Mode (RF off except Bluetooth ®)
  • microSD™ memory port with up to 16 GB support (16 GB card available in mid-March)
  • USB Mass Storage – transfer files between microSD card and PC
  • Bluetooth Version 2.1 + EDR (Enhanced Data Rate) –
    • Supported profiles: headset, hands-free (car kits), dial-up networking, stereo phonebook access, basic printing, object push (for vCard and vCal), file transfer, basic imaging, and human interface device
  • Animated three-dimensional interface for home screens – customize up to three home screens with favorite features and applications
  • Module home screen when QWERTY keypad is attached
  • VZ Navigator-capable – get visual and audible directions to thousands of destinations, locate businesses and other points of interest, get maps of a location and share directions with others
  • Chaperone ® Child-capable – allows the LG Versa to have its location shared with family members via the Chaperone Web site, the Chaperone ® Parent application or Child Zone ® SMS alerts
  • Chaperone ® Parent-capable – with the Chaperone Parent application, customers can view location information or be notified of the whereabouts of the Chaperone Child phone
  • Visual Voice Mail – delete, reply and forward voice mail messages without having to listen to prior messages or voice instructions
  • Mobile Web-capable – customizable, enhanced wireless access to the latest in news, sports, weather and more
  • Mobile Email – access MSN ® Hotmail ®, America Online ® and Yahoo! ® accounts to exchange e-mail
  • Media Center-capable – downloadable games, ringtones, wallpapers, location-based services and more
  • Mobile IM using AIM ®, MSN, Yahoo!
  • Auto Screen and Key Lock – prevents unwanted key actions
  • 2.5 mm headset jack
  • Text, picture and video messaging
  • Supports threaded messaging
  • Personal organizer with calculator, EZ Tip Calculator, calendar, alarm clock, stopwatch, world clock, notepad, and drawing pad with character recognition
  • Speakerphone and voice commands
  • Bilingual interface – English and Spanish
  • Phonebook with up to 1,000 entries with multiple contacts
  • TTY/TDD-capable
  • In Case of Emergency contacts
  • Frequency: 1.9 GHz CDMA PCS, 800 MHz CDMA
  • Data transmission: EV-DO Revision A (Rev. A)
  • Dimensions: 4.16” (h) x 2.07” (w) x 0.54” (d)
  • Weight: 3.81 ounces
  • Hearing Aid Compatibility = M4/T4
  • SAR: head 1.38 W/kg, body 0.764 W/kg
  • LCD: 262K color TFT, 480 x 240 pixels, 3.0”
  • Ambient light sensor controls the brightness on the LCD according to surrounding light
  • Proximity sensor turns LCD off when a customer is placing a call on the LG Versa
  • External LCD: monochrome OLED, 56 x 120 pixels, 0.94” (only available on the QWERTY keypad attachment)
  • Standard battery: 1,100 mAh
  • Usage time: up to 290 minutes or
  • Standby time: up to 430 hours

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