LG Versa First Impressions

The most surprising thing about the LG Versa so far isn't that the detachable keyboard isn't the flimsy craptacular dongle I thought it'd be. It's the OS. It's really, really fast.

It's markedly faster than the OS that was on the Dare, LG's last major touch phone for Verizon. The 3D UI, which lets you rotate between four home screens, though gratuitous, is quick and smooth, with no stuttering. Menus pop up instantly, as do most apps (except the browser). The speed feels nice. I also really like the "Smart Menu" version of the main menu—it's a flickable list that's sorta Zune-y and gives you quick access to everything, even though it's not quite as pretty as the standard main menu.

What screws everything up is the hardware. It's got the worst LG touchscreen I've used. It's really imprecise, even after calibration, and sometimes you have to click stuff a few times before it works. In the browser (which is surprisingly decent and full-featured, with tabs and Flash), it's pretty maddening, since the cluttered UI with lots of tiny elements requires laser accuracy. I think this partially because the screen is small—it makes the keyboard cramped and crappy, even though typically I like LG's touch keyboards.

The keyboard attachment is surprisingly sturdy, but it's still plenty awkward, which the weight of the phone resting up when you grip it by the relatively thin keyboard flap. It's also fantastically ugly—cheap, faux brown plastic with an awkward bulge caused by the hinge. It replaces the entire backplate, so you can't just pull it every time you change your mind unless you've got the backplate as well. The keyboard itself is good, with a solid layout and just enough roundness to the keys to make it easy to touch type.

In other words, so far it's a mixed bag, but not for the reasons I thought. Laptop Mag has a full review, if you wanna check out more.

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