- Versatile design
- Removable QWERTY keyboard
- Good battery life
- Reasonable price
- Slightly awkward to use with keyboard attached
- No Microsoft Office apps
The LG Versa is one of the newest phones available on the Verizon network, and it’s aptly named because it is indeed quite versatile.
Depending on your needs, it can be configured as a standard candybar-style phone — similar to the LG Dare reviewed here a couple of weeks ago — or as a horizontal flip-style messaging device with the addition of a keyboard that doubles as a case to protect the device while it’s in your pocket.
With the plain back plate installed instead of the keyboard, the Versa is similar to many other devices on the market today. It is relatively long and narrow, measuring 4 1/8″ by 2″and is right at 0.5″ thick.
The device is refreshingly sleek, with very few hardware buttons and controls. There are a few on the left edge of the phone, but most functions are managed by software via touchscreen controls.
Display: The LCD display is a 3-inch touchscreen that has a resolution of 480 by 240 pixels. I found it to be quite good overall, with sharp graphics and rich colors. It does wash out a bit in direct sunlight, but it is still readable. I also found it to be more responsive than the LG Dare, and I didn’t have to press as hard to make my selections when manipulating on-screen menus, using the dial pad, etc.
The screen offers tactile feedback in the form of a brief vibration when you hit an onscreen key. Of course it doesn’t mean that you hit the *right* key, but it is nice to know when you hit the mark, so that you won’t be frustrated if the phone doesn’t operate properly because it doesn’t recognize your input.
Keyboard: In just a few seconds the Versa can transform into a powerful messaging device with the addition of a removable QWERTY hardware keyboard.
Simply pull down a switch on the left edge of the phone to remove the back cover, then align the right edge of the phone with the contacts inside the keyboard case and snap down the left side of the phone. You don’t have to do anything else; the keyboard simply works when installed. Even better, when you tilt the phone to use the keyboard, the screen orientation changes automatically and very quickly — no frustrating delays here.
It seems that the designers thought of everything — the keys are tall and narrow, but well separated, so I didn’t have much of a problem with hitting the wrong key. There are 50 keys altogether, with a dedicated number row at the top in addition to navigation arrows in the bottom right corner. The keys are illuminated, and the only thing I really didn’t like is the space bar, which is just a bit too small for comfort, since it is only two keys wide.
The exterior of the keyboard attachment is covered in a brown leather-like material that adds a touch of class to the phone. There is also an integrated secondary display that shows the time, battery charge level, and network signal strength. Speaker and camera lens cutouts on the back of the case ensure the unhindered operation of all the phone’s features.
The phone is somewhat top-heavy when you’re using the keyboard, since 95% of the weight is in the phone not the keyboard, but it works well. I didn’t really notice an imbalance while using the keyboard. It is slightly awkward to make phone calls, however — you must first choose a contact or enter a number using the touch screen or the numbers on the keyboard, then close the case to actually carry on the conversation. A message pops up on screen reminding you that closing the case won’t terminate the call, but it still takes some getting used to in order to feel comfortable.