Think you might have the phone that does everything? Think again, since Verizon Wireless’ Voyager features V Cast Mobile TV (and your phone probably doesn’t).
The LG Voyager is not a larger version of the LG enV, though the two are both side-opening QWERTY clamshell phones. Instead, think of the Voyager as the phone the LG should have been, or would be for an extra $200, give or take. While we complained about the tiny external screen and lack of features on the enV, we’ll have no such complaints about the Voyager. The face is dominated by a large touch screen. We don’t have specific measurements, but upwards of 2.5-inches or more would be our best guess. The interface relies heavily on the touch screen, and includes plenty of icon-based menus and shortcuts to help navigate without having to open the clam.
Like the interface on the LG Venus, every aspect of the Verizon Wireless interface gets an upgrade to utilize the touch screen on the LG Voyager. We were especially pleased to find included functionality in the music player, as the simplistic controls and navigation on the V Cast player always bugged us. The phone gets the full host of V Cast services, including music, V Cast videos, VZ Navigator, and even V Cast Mobile TV. The TV service relies on a tiny, thin external antenna, a very dainty twig of metal that made us nervous even as our rep withdrew it from its slot on the side of the phone. We didn’t get to see the service in action, as the beta version of the phone wasn’t active on the MediaFLO network.
We like this phone’s design, and can definitely see a market for it. Perhaps a slider keyboard would have made more sense, and cut down the number of non-touch screens on the phone, but the familial relationship to the LG enV might encourage some customers to swap up, once they’ve compared the two. On the inside, with the clamshell open, the Voyager is still a nice phone, though it isn’t nearly as interesting.
What we like best about this phone, and the LG Venus, for that matter, is the improvements LG has made to Verizon Wireless’ interface. Verizon Wireless believes, at least from what our reps told us, that users like to learn an interface and then find it useful on the next phone they buy. We don’t buy it. Phones are improving too fast, with too many new features every season, and users want a phone that makes sense. Maybe it made sense to bury the touted HTML browser under the “Get It Now: News and Info” submenu in the past, but now, that’s the last place we’d look.
The promise of touch screen phones like the Voyager and the Venus are in their adaptability. They can handle any feature, because their interface can adapt and change to fit the situation. If Verizon Wireless, or any manufacturer, neglects this concept, the feature will be doomed to novelty. The new Voyager and Venus phones begin to bridge the gap, and they definitely make the Verizon Wireless interface more pleasant and intuitive to use, but why hobble them from the start? We’re more curious to see what LG would do without restraints.