Though designed as the "Iphone killer," the new Voyager from LG doesn't quite hit that lofty target. However, it surpasses the Iphone in some ways and surely makes for an overall great texting device and a pretty cool phone.
At first blush the Voyager, from Verizon Wireless, doesn't look like much unless you fire up the touch screen on the front. That brings to bear a whole host of offerings from Web browsing to music to video, all with a cool vibrating feedback to each button press. If you subscribe you can even get live TV, but I would be near a power outlet a lot.
Flip open the case and you get the full keyboard you're looking for, which I prefer to the touchpad on the Iphone. Text messaging was simple and easy and responsive. It was perhaps the best keyboard I have used, considering it was horizontal, as are two thumbs on most humans.
What I liked about it:
• The touch screen is cool, especially when I remembered to lock it and it wasn't making calls and playing videos in my pants. (Which is a good name for a band if anyone is looking for one.)
• The keyboard rocked.
• The design with the flip up screen and the vertical/horizontal movement was awesome. The color depth was amazing and surprisingly bright.
Having two displays (one outside, one inside) is cool but has to burn batteries.
• The 2 megapixel camera was clear and sharp for a camera phone; I once paid $700 for a digital camera this good.
What I did not like:
• Battery life: On my new unit I was lucky to last an entire workday using the device heavily. Clearly the Holy Grail of small devices is battery life; my Motorola Q suffers the same fate, as does my Ipod and many other small toys I own. Love the device, hate the battery.
• It is hard to keep clean. CSI Miami likely gets a lot of fingerprints from these things.
• No Wi-Fi. This should have been added and is a big miss, but clearly they would like you to use their air time and not free Wi-Fi, right?
Overall I liked this phone. It's a bit on the large side but considering all you get that is OK. It can hold up to 8 gigs of music on an SD card so that is great; just beware the battery killer when you're sitting on the subway listening to tunes.
Discussing pricing on things like this is like list price on a car; no one pays list, which is $349. I would find that steep for any phone, including this one. It's cheaper with an agreement, cheaper after rebates and all that stuff. Current pricing at my Verizon store is $299, your mileage may vary.Bottom line: way cool phone, way cool video, kinda sad battery.
James Derk is owner of CyberDads, a computer repair firm, and tech columnist for Scripps Howard News Service. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org